Traditional Anglo-Papist

03 August 2006

More Vatican II

It always makes my day when this blog (or my other) gets a mention A conservative blog for peace. So to move the discussion on Vatican II along (and out of the comments section), I offer this quote from Fr Richard Neuhaus:
The party of continuity is the center. From the Council of Jerusalem to Vatican II, from Peter to John Paul II, there is—the variations, deviations, and ambiguities of history notwithstanding—a continuing and identifiable community that is the Catholic Church. There have over the centuries been much more powerful parties of discontinuity than we have experienced these past forty years. But it is to the continuing community that Jesus promised he would send the Spirit to lead us into and keep us in the truth. Even if one does not believe that promise, can anyone really believe that the likes of Garry Wills or the Society of St. Pius X are the future of the Catholic Church? The extreme discontinuants of the left are angry because their understanding of Vatican II’s promise of a preferred future, a promise that was never made, has been broken. The extreme discontinuants of the right are angry because they believe Vatican II broke a promise with a preferred past. Both live off their anger; both live off the Church that they condemn. As for the Laodicean moderates such as Mr. B and his counterparts on the right, they will, in their broadly middle way, continue to grumble incoherently about this and that. But I expect they are secretly grateful for the people who—inspired by the Second Vatican Council and in continuing communion with Peter—see visions and dream dreams for the renewal of the one Church that was, is, and will be until Our Lord returns in glory. Parties of discontinuity we will have with us always, but the center holds.

From The Public Square by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things 132 (April 2003): 72-92.


  • Thanks, Father. Contra 'the centre is always right' remember Newman in the Apologia - in one early-church row the church and one faction were the extremes with the Monophysites in the middle. Newman wrote that one day he looked in the mirror at his via media self and found a Monophysite.

    Fr Neuhaus can keep 'for you and for all', westward-facing and political neoconservatism.

    By Blogger The young fogey, at Thursday, August 03, 2006 10:05:00 AM  

  • Ah, don't be so hard on Fr Neuhaus. It's just that he was once a lefty and now he's a neo-con, and like all of us getting-older-fogey's, we like to believe that it isn't us who've changed, but them. RJN himself has said somewhere that where you place the "centre" depends on where you stand.

    And didn't I read somewhere that one of the Catholic bishops recently had to defend himself against one of RJN's friends (George Weigel) when he was accused of being a "centrist for centrism's sake"?

    By Blogger Schütz, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:14:00 PM  

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