Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pope Benedict, Chesterton, and the Church

I took exception to something in my local newspaper.

The paper has a series of blogs, some written by citizens (such as one that I do for them), some by staff members.

This appeared in the “Editorial Blog” written by one of the newspaper’s editors.

The pope pontificates

Any other Catholics out there a mite perturbed at the way Pope Benedict is going at ecumenical relations? First he makes a point of endorsing the Latin mass, within which are prayers that offend Jews. And this week he says that non-Catholic Christian churches are defective. He says he's not undermining Vatican II. But that is very much the impact of these public statements. Repudiating Vatican II is an impossibility for this pope or any. But the pope can find ways to dismantle at what he and others feel was the door leading to the very fractured Catholic Church of today.

I responded in two posts:

He's simply restating what has always been the official teaching for those who cared to read it rather than relying on what they hear and "popular" (mis)interpretations.

From the Documents of Vatican II - "This is the sole Church of Christ ...."

"... in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centureis much more serious dissension appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church ..."

There are more instances in the Documents of Vatican II, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In this case, then, he is simply stating what Vatican II said, not undermining it.

Endorsing the Latin Mass? The Latin Mass has been said in Rochester for years - with official approval - at St. Stanislaus Church, so it has already been endorsed by Bishop Clark according to the rules promulgated by Pope John Paul II. All Pope Benedict did was loosen those rules to make it easier to say it. So there might be wider use of that Mass. But he did not repudiate the Novus Ordo (post-Vatican II Mass), and that will continue as the main (and most likely only) Mass in most places.

One of the things that drew me to Chesterton was the story of his conversion – which I encountered years ago during a time when I had questions about the faith (I resolved them).

Part of what stuck me was his certainty that the Catholic Church was THE Church.

As he noted in The Catholic Church and Conversion, “And it is simply a historical fact that the Roman Church is the Church and is not a sect. Nor is there anything narrow or unreasonable in saying that the Church is the Church.”


E said...

Lee: It sounds to me as if the newspaper's editor is good at regurgitating what he reads in the popular press. My hunch might be unfair, of course, since I'm basing it solely on that one excerpt in your post, but that excerpt clearly doesn't show much independent thinking or unique analysis.

Alan Capasso said...

The journalistic comment “…the Latin mass, within which are prayers that offend Jews”, is another example of reporting without research The prayers they are referring to were in the Good Friday Mass where a prayer was said for the conversion of Jews. This prayer was eliminated from the Mass in 1959. The Latin Mass the Pope is endorsing is the 1962 version so this is a non issue.