Thursday, February 14, 2013

Council of the Media and Hermeneutics of Politics

Rorate Cæli reported on the Holy Father’s address to Roman clergy today; below, I’ve included the text of the address as posted there. This is not an official translation and contains some grammatical errors.

The interesting thing to me is that, in this address, we finally see some real acknowledgement of the derailment of Vatican II, and of the problems that have resulted…and from a Pope, no less!

The Holy Father’s statement near the end is the one I’ve been waiting to hear:

And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us.

Now he has said the words: we must uncover the true Council – the part that is consistent with Tradition. Renewal hasn’t happened with the interpretation of the last 50 years – the Pope obviously acknowledges that fact.

I wonder how many dioceses and/or parishes have implemented a program for the Year of Faith that involves a serious investigation and discussion of the Vatican II documents.

Here’s the speech (bolding and italics were in the Rorate Caeli post):

[T]here was the Council of the Fathers – the true Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media. So the immediately efficiently Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellect, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council – as I said – moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics.

The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the “people of God”, the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all … popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help.

This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: “Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world”. Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of ​​the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith. And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized … and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church.

It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us.

I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious! Thank you.

Benedict XVI

Meeting with Roman Clergy
February 14, 2013


  1. I guess I'll have to spend more time reading his words but what I came away with is that the actual Council was fine and good, but the problem has been the distorted information the laity and clergy received from the media. What am I missing? If I read that correctly, then he's saying there was absolutely nothing but good in the VCII but we've just gotten incorrect information. Huh?

    The documents are the documents, vague and questionable in many areas. That's not filtered through the media. The new Mass was indeed created. That's not from the media.

    What am I missing, Jay? You seem to be happy about this statement of our Holy Father's and I don't see why.

  2. I'm happy because at least he's saying there was much to the detriment of the Church that came from the Council - even if he wants to blame the media more than the actual content. I think the wording of the documents is way too vague in most cases, and that allowed a liberal interpretation; and there seems to be good evidence that the ambiguous language was intended by the liberal forces so that it COULD be interpreted in a "progressive" way. And I think the media coverage would definitely have tilted the interpretation toward the liberal side. So liberal bishops had the ground prepared for them by the media.

    You can read much of what is said in the documents and find the traditional meaning. From what I've read, it seems to me that the objections of the SSPX pinpoint the real problem areas, and they are not saying that every word or document is wrong, as far as I know.

    Also, it seems to me that when he was writing as Cardinal Ratzinger, the pope clearly recognized the problems with the Novus Ordo. What he would like to do with that and what he was able to do are likely two different things.

    It's going to be a slow move back toward orthodoxy and tradition, but I do believe Pope Benedict XVI at least put the wheels in motion, even if they are in low gear and slipping a bit.

  3. Hello, I'm so frustrated I should probably not speak,but I need some encouragement. Did the Pope twice say in this, I or we hope the Lord will help us? Is that a good thing for a Pope to say? Is he as discouraged as I and millions+millions in the Church are?

  4. Anonymous, we can only hope the Lord is with us in things WE think would be good for us. I suspect that is what the Pope meant - or something along those lines. God could let things slip in the Church even more if He so desires, and it would all be part of His plan. But the Pope also says at the end, "We will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious!"

  5. Yes he did say those very good words to close.MAYBE I'm being nitty picky.I thought ,why didn't he say I or We pray.Hope is a good word.In it's theological meaning a very good word.But in hoping the Lord will be with His Church and rescue It,it sounds sort of as if He hasn't been and might not bother with It anymore.Hoping is just hoping.Praying is asking,beseeching,cring out to the Lord. Oh well I'll get over it.


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