NEWS: May 30, 2012
Bird’s Eye View of the News
Atila Sinke Guimarães
THE OFFICIAL HERMENEUTICS OF RUPTURE - I - In a May 2, 2012 interview to I Tempi, a periodical of the Italian movement Comunione e Liberazione (Communion and Liberation), Card. Kurt Koch, President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, blamed Fr. Hans Küng as the one responsible for the entire onslaught made by Vatican II against Catholic Tradition. According to Koch, at the base of that attack would be the Küng’s interpretation of the Council that it was a rupture and not a continuity with the past. These were Koch’s words:
“In the German-speaking world, there has been, above all, the diffusion of Küng’s idea that the Council constituted a rupture with the tradition of the Church and not an evolution of it. … In my opinion, this interpretation has caused the current disquiet [in the Church].”
A little further, Koch expanded that malefic influence beyond those German-speaking countries to include Italy in the area under Küng’s hex: “I believe our countries received Vatican Council II in a very particular way, above all by embracing the interpretation given by Hans Küng and, then, by much of the mass media” (The Tablet, May 5, 2012, p. 28).
Card. Koch as a sycophant minion is merely following the lead of the Pope. Indeed, the last years we have seen Benedict XVI intensely promoting the “hermeneutics of continuity,” trying to present the Council as a harmonic development of the previous Magisterium.
Card. Koch: Only Kung is to blame...
This is not, therefore, a new maneuver, but Card. Koch’s interview is the first time that a high Vatican representative has singled out just one theologian as responsible for presenting Vatican II as a rupture. For Kurt Koch, the scapegoat for the entire “conciliar revolution” supposedly is Fr. Hans Küng.
This “official choice” of a single scapegoat for this revolution shocked me as a rare expression of hypocrisy.
The Vatican officials know perfectly - as does Benedict XVI - that this is not true. There is not just one single theologian to blame for either the Council or its fruits. The Council was the product of more than 100 years of an unremitting onslaught of a current of thinkers, who belonged successively to Catholic Liberalism, Modernism and Progressivism, carried out against the Catholic Church as Militant, Monarchic and Sacral.
In its turn, the fruits of Vatican II have been uninterrupted fostered by the five Conciliar Popes and by the ensemble of the Catholic Hierarchy for more than 40 years. Most of the progressivist theologians strongly concurred as well to produce the result of what is now called the hermeneutics of rupture.
Therefore, it is bogus to see Pope Ratzinger changing the reality to make the Council more palatable to Catholic public opinion, which in the last decades has become increasingly conservative in some regards. And it is a rare example of hypocrisy to see Cardinals of the Holy See trying to pick a single scapegoat to save themselves and their dear Conciliar Popes from the obvious blame they share for the wholesale rejection of the Catholic past.
I believe I can easily substantiate my assertion by presenting a few samples of how those Popes, Prelates and theologians have favored this hermeneutics of rupture. Collaterally, these texts may serve as weapons to defend my reader to not be fooled by this new wave of false conservatism, which could better be called a mitigated Progressivism.
Ratzinger: Gaudium et spes was a counter-Syllabus
The first example I bring is a text by Joseph Ratzinger himself, today the Pope of the hermeneutics of continuity. In his book Principles of Catholic Theology, he boldly states that the Vatican II Constitution Gaudium et spes was meant to be the negation of the Syllabus of Pius IX against Liberalism and the Modern State. Therefore, there is no harmonic evolution in progress, but a blatant and deliberate contraction. This is what then Card. Ratzinger wrote:
If one is looking for a global diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et spes], he could say that it (along with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter-Syllabus ...
Undoubtedly, many things have changed since then. The new ecclesiastical policy of Pius XI established some openness toward the liberal conception of the State. In a silent but persevering combat, Exegesis and Church History increasingly adopted the postulates of liberal science; on the other hand, in face of the great political upheavals of the 20th century, Liberalism was obliged to accept notable corrections.
This happened because, first in central Europe, conditioned by the situation, the unilateral dependence on the positions taken by the Church through the initiatives of Pius IX and Pius X against the new period of History opened by the French Revolution was to a large extent corrected per viam facti. But a fundamental new document regarding relations with the world as it had been since 1789 was still lacking…
Card. Ratzinger: 'We must raze the bastions of the Church'
In reality, the mentality that preceded the [French] Revolution still reigned in the countries with strong Catholic majorities; today almost no one denies that the Spanish and Italian concordats [accords between Church and State] tried to conserve too many things from a conception of the world that for a long time had not corresponded to reality. Likewise, almost no one can deny that this dependence on an obsolete conception of relations between the Church and the State corresponded to similar anachronisms in the domain of education and the attitude taken toward the modern historical-critical method ...
Let us content ourselves here with stating that the text [of Gaudium et spes] plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789. On one hand, this visualization alone clarifies the ghetto complex that we mentioned before. On the other hand, it permits us to understand the meaning of this new relationship between the Church and the Modern World.
"World" is understood here, at depth, as the spirit of modern times. The consciousness of being a detached group that existed in the Church viewed this spirit as something separate from herself and, after the hot as well as cold wars were over, she sought dialogue and cooperation with it. (1)
Ratzinger: The Council presumes razing the bastions of the Church
The future Benedict XVI also defended that to properly apply the Council, it was necessary to raze the bastions of the Church and never again return to the anti-liberal principles of the Syllabus. Affirmations that hardly tally with the hermeneutics of continuity… Here are Card. Ratzinger’s words:
The duty is, therefore, not to suppress the Council, but to discover the real Council and delve deep into what it truly wants with regard to what has happened since then.
This implies that there is no possible return to the Syllabus, which could well have been a first step in the combat against Liberalism and the nascent Marxism, but which cannot be the last word. Neither embraces nor the ghetto can resolve the problem of [relations with] the modern world for the Christian. Hence, the 'razing of the bastions' that Hans Urs von Balthasar called for already in 1952 was in fact an urgent duty ...
It was necessary for her [the Church] to raze the old bastions and confide only in the protection of the faith, the power of the word that is her unique, true and permanent strength. But to raze the bastions cannot signify that she no longer has anything to protect, or that she can live owing to other forces than those that engendered her: the water and the blood that poured from the open side of her crucified Lord. (2)
Wojtyla: Vatican II ended the Constantine era of Church
Card. Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul II, also clearly stated that the Council was a break with the past of the Church. In a book-interview he listed its goals: increased authority for the Bishops, collegiality, the decentralization of the government of the Church, inculturation and abandoning her Western characteristics, breaking the traditional model in Church-State relations, giving more importance to lay people; ecumenism. All these elements are what Wojtyla expected the Council to do, as in fact it did. He stated:
Question - What problems will be oriented differently by the Council, Your Eminence?
Wojtyla's Answer - Above all, it will serve to give more value to the authority of each Bishop and to promote decentralization inside the Church, as well as to return to the principle of collegiality, re-evaluate pastoral methods in force until now, and effectively introduce new methods and ways - at times most audacious ones.
There is also the question of the universal character of the Church; there is a change of attitude toward the ancient cultures of the non-European peoples. It is necessary to de-Westernize Christianity. The peoples possessing their own ancient cultures have understandable psychological barriers against Christianity when it presents itself in its European trappings! The Africanization, Indianization, Japanization, etc. of Catholicism reveals itself as necessary. This consists of making Christian substances germinate in their cultures. We know that all this is neither simple nor easy to accomplish.
1965 - Paul VI at the UN: The end of Constantine era of Church-State relations
It is the end of the Constantine era, which was characterized by a strict accord between the Altar and the Throne, between the Church and the State, illustrated in its highest point by the birth of the Holy Roman Empire in the 9th century. We face a grave problem: to elaborate new forms for relations between the Church and the State, the right of the Church to religious liberty.
Going further, it is necessary to speak of giving new importance to the lay people in the Church, and, finally, to develop ecumenical ideas on a scale unknown until now in the History of the Church.
Paul VI: Following the Council we will abolish intolerance & absolutism
In the wake of the Council and in its name, Pope Paul VI announced his decision to do away with the disciplinary measures that used to suppress abuses in teaching and action in the Church. By withdrawing these long-established sanctions, he strongly encouraged and endorsed the plethora of excesses that came as a consequence. Paul VI affirmed:
The mentality favored by the Council’s teachings gives wider reins to liberty - much more than the previous almost nonexistent liberty - in the interior forum of the conscience. It tends, thus, to temper the interference of the external law and to increase that of the interior …
Paul VI renouncing the Tiara as a symbol of the Papacy - An enormous rupture with the past
In the life of the Church and, consequently in the life of each of her children, we will thus have a period of greater liberty, that is to say, of fewer legal obligations and less internal prohibitions.
Formal discipline will be reduced; all arbitrary intolerance together with all absolutism will be abolished; the positive law will be simplified; the exercise of authority will be tempered; the sense of that Christian liberty – which so greatly interested the first Christian generation when it was free from observance of Mosaic Law and its complex rituals – will be promoted (Gal 5:1). …
In summary, our times, which the Council interprets and guides, requests liberty… (3)
Here are just a few samples showing that the rupture with the Militant Church of the past cannot be attributed to some few radicals of the ilk of Fr. Hans Kung. This is a blatant inaccuracy, so blatant that I would say that anyone who employs it is either a complete illiterate in Church matters or a consummate hypocrite.
I still have many texts proving that the hermeneutic of rupture is inherent to Vatican II itself, confessed by those who made the Council. I plan to list some of these documents in other articles (here and here) to come.
1. Joseph Ratzinger, Les Principes de la Theologie Catholique - Esquisse et Materiaux, Paris: Tequi, 1982, pp. 426-427
2. Ibid, pp. 437-438; 3. Mieczyslaw Malinski, Mon Ami Karol Wojtyla, Paris: Centurion, 1980, pp. 190-191
3. Paul VI, "Educarsi all'uso schietto e magnanimo della liberta," July 9, 1969, in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1969 pp. 100
Related Topics of Interest
Ratzinger Receiving Orientation of Karl Rahner
Heading to a Hybrid Mass
Fr. Ratzinger: The Tridentine Mass Is a Dead Liturgy
Contrasting Liturgical Paradigms
Inculturation with Pagans
Nudity at Papal Mass of JPII
Native Masses in the U.S.
The Impossible Hermeneutics of Continuity
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