Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Neo-Medievalist and proud of it

Very well, we are neo-Medievalists... but could we end the ignorance of the Middle Ages anyway?


The supreme indictment came in an article published by "progressive" Catholic periodical "Commonweal". Though it is certainly an honor for us to be placed alongside those mentioned below, it is quite a disparate group:

Francis also faces criticism from those who seek to restore nineteenth-century European Catholicism, like the historian Roberto de Mattei. His Lepanto Foundation holds that Vatican II was a radical break with tradition, as do the online magazines he oversees: Corrispondenza Romana and Radici Cristiane. The neo-medievalists resist Francis because they oppose Vatican II on liturgical issues. The widely read blog Rorate Caeli falls into this camp, as does Vittorio Messori, who co-authored the famous Ratzinger Report (1985). As recently as May 28, he wrote about the church’s diarchical papacy—two popes, Benedict and Francis—in Italy’s most important newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera. (Massimo Faggioli, The Italian Job: Can Pope Francis Manage His Local Opposition?

The great RĂ©gine Pernoud would be so frustrated! Decades after her main works, over a century worth of studies that demystify the long period that lasted roughly from the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West to the Protestant revolt and that was anachronistically defined simply as a "middle" age -- as if every age were not the middle between one that came before it and one that succeeded it -- and the term "medieval" and its derivations are still used, misused, and intended as disparaging. Even by Catholics, who should be the first to know better.
 It's bizarre for baptized Catholics to speak Medievalist as if it were a pejorative. Wasn't the whole progressive project of aggiornamento at Vatican II to erase fifteen centuries of development and return the Church to the imagined practices of the second century? Pope Pius XII didn't think highly of this exaggerated antiquarianism:
59. The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august eucharistic sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days -- which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation -- to other dates; those, finally, who delete from the prayerbooks approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.

It's almost like he's calling out the entire hierarchy of the 21st century, isn't it? The problem I have with the progressive project is that it reeks of Deism. To hear them tell it, Jesus gave the Great Commission and the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, but after that God abandoned the Church to the tides of history. By arguing that we need to return to the Church of Antiquity, they imply that the Church has gotten everything wrong since the sixth century. They imply that the Church went far astray in the Middle Ages and that the most glorious period in the history of Christendom was all a mistake that needs to be erased. Fortunately, those wise, holy, ingenious men of the Second Vatican Council convinced the Holy Spirit to give us a Mulligan so we can pretend the Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation never happened.

This may be why clergy and laypeople of a certain generation are desperate and will do anything, anything to ensure that Vatican II was not a failure. They will move goalposts, rationalize manifest disasters, explain away the Church's cataclysmic demographic decline, anything at all to convince us that the emperor has clothes. The Church is a living organism as Pius XII said. We have a divine guarantee that she cannot and will not solemnly teach error in a way binding upon the faithful. That leaves a lot of room for the Church to make decisions that are wrong, destructive, or just plain stupid. She is our Mother, and just like our biological mothers, she can do drugs, get drunk, put on fishnet stockings and scandalously short miniskirts in an attempt to seduce strangers. We don't abandon her when she goes off the rails, but we tell her to clean herself up and start acting like herself again.

It'd be one thing if the progressive project led to a true renewal of the Church with increased vocations and conversions of souls. But everyone knows that it hasn't and that it won't. By their fruits ye shall know them, and the fruits of progressivism have been heresy, apostasy, immorality, worldliness, and decline. The chaos will continue until the last progressive goes on to his eternal reward. Too many careers and reputations and too much money is staked on our current course. But the Church will eventually right herself. She has to.

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