Thursday, September 25, 2014

another angle on the familiar tensions

conventional wisdom:  PreVatican II= conservative, post-Vatican II=liberal but submarined by lurking conservatives, now rehabilitated by Pope Francis.

OK, so we've all heard that tune before.  But then consider this reading of the same period;  the Benedictines, supporting Pope St. Pius X, set up the Mass as the high point of Catholic prayer while the Jesuits give a prominent role to individual reflection (following the lead of St. Ignatius Loyola).

Read it all here.

This conclusion seemed particularly interesting:
Perhaps the most ironic twist in this still unresolved (and now more complicated) debate is the contrast between the current pope and his predecessor. Although not a Benedictine by profession, Benedict XVI closely identified throughout his career with the monastic vision of the all-pervasive centrality of the sacred liturgy, where God and man can meet most profoundly in praise and in communion, at once expressing and accomplishing the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ. At his first general audience in April 2005, he explained that he had chosen the name Benedict in large part as a homage to the Father of Western Monasticism, co-patron of Europe and architect of Christian civilization. With the first Jesuit and overseas pope, we have a pastor who appears to hold many of those modern Jesuit views that Blessed Columba Marmion and other Benedictines, in the name of fidelity to St. Pius X, so stalwartly resisted in the first half of the twentieth century, and that Ratzinger/Benedict himself patiently opposed in his writings and magisterial acts. We have unexpectedly seen the trajectories of the two schools played out before our very eyes in the magisterium, ars celebrandi, and priorities of each pontificate.

Quite honestly, while intrigued I am not quite ready to accept this too readily. After all, St. Ignatius Loyola made it pretty clear:  we are to think with the Church (see #353).  Still, it's an incredibly helpful perspective when considering the state of contemporary Catholicism. Which, btw, a recent poll indicates there remains much room for improvement.


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