Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Prophetic Warning by Venerable Pope Paul VI

 I was at the Adoration Chapel in DBQ this afternoon. While there I was reading some selections from Venerable Pope Paul VI's encyclical Mysterium Fidei. This encyclical on the Holy Eucharist is somewhat unusual. Normally a pope does not write or release an encyclical when an ecumenical council is in session. But he wrote this after the end of the 3rd session of Vatican II in 1964. He released it on 3 September 1965, 11 days before the opening of the 4th & final session.

Now why would Pope Paul make such an unusual move? While the term hadn't been coined yet, he saw how some people were already starting to push what we now know as the false "Spirit of Vatican II". That so-called spirit has been used to justify the actions of those who want to change the Catholic Church by throwing out magisterial teachings on a wide variety of subjects. At the time, I highly doubt those theologians were even thinking of Vatican II as an excuse. They were just pushing for their changes in doctrine. The people who followed in their footsteps after Vatican II used that spirit to justify their changes. 
In this case, Pope Paul was concerned about the undermining of certain doctrines about the Eucharist, as well as the Mass in the Latin rite. He was trying to nip these abuses in the bud. Unfortunately, this encyclical was ignored at the time. Yet, it deserves to have attention paid to it as Pope Paul used it to make clear exactly what Vatican II was & wasn't saying about the liturgy & Eucharistic devotion.
As you will see, many of the things he was concerned about, have since been pushed as being in the "spirit of Vatican II" Vatican II despite the fact that what Vatican II was something totally different. The real "Spirit of Vatican II" on the Eucharist is found in this encyclical. 
After giving a short summary of what the Fathers of Vatican II wanted, Pope Paul says that what he is seeing is something totally different. & that he must speak out as it is his duty as Pope to do so.

For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved.(par 10, emphasis mine)
Doesn't this sound exactly like what all those who are pushing for changes in all areas of the Catholic Church that go contrary to 2000 years of teaching are saying? How often do we hear that something is pre-Vatican II or the Church's teaching on marriage, divorce, abortion, _____________(fill in the blank) is out of date & we need to change with the times?
In a sense, it should be no surprise that Pope Paul put into words what the past 50 years of dissenters would do & say. He was exercising his Petrine charism to teach. That means that the Holy Spirit was working through him & revealed to him what needed to be addressed.
After giving a couple of examples, Pope Paul goes on to state something that really struck me a the answer to those who scream about how out of date Eucharistic devotion is, especially in the form of Eucharistic Adoration.

And so, with the aim of seeing to it that the hope to which the Council has given rise—that a new wave of Eucharistic devotion will sweep over the Church—not be reduced to nil through the sowing of the seeds of false opinions. (par 13)
Yes, you read that right, Pope Paul & Vatican II both intended Eucharistic devotion to increase, not decrease to what it did in most places. Instead the "false opinions" bore fruit that lead to just the opposite of what the "Spirit of Vatican II" wanted.
When I was a child & teen, I remember plenty of opportunities for Eucharistic devotion in the form of Eucharistic Benediction. This was especially true during Lent when my parish had the Stations of the Cross followed by Benediction on Sunday afternoons. After I was able to start serving as an altar boy (7th grade, for me the Fall of 1967) I never felt closer to Christ than when I was serving at Benediction. I would be kneeling there on the steps of the high Altar with Jesus in the monstrance above the tabernacle.
But as time went on, that mostly vanished. We also saw how many churches were "remodeled" to move the tabernacle off to the side, or totally out of the main part of the Church. While most of the newly built churches leave much to be desired, some of them did build a decent chapel with easy access for people to visit Jesus. In that aspect, they did do the right thing, unintentionally I suspect.
For the most part, when the tabernacle wasn't all but hidden in the main body of the Church, it was relegated to, what was nothing more than a closet. It was definitely not condusive to adoration.
We also saw a rise in the failure to teach the doctrine of the Eucharist. & depending on the survey, up to 70% do NOT believe in the Real Presence. This was 1 of the things Pope Paul hoped to prevent from happening.
I won't go into the details, but Pope Paul gives an excellent explanation of the Church's teachings. He does so using the writings of many teachers in the Church, especially those of the Eastern Church.
Instead I would highly recommend reading the encyclical in its entirety. Since Pope Paul intended it to be read by "the Faithful of the entire World ," Pope Paul wrote it in a way that makes it easy to be understood by all. So there are no excuses for not reading it.
There are several quotes from the documents of Vatican II in the encyclical. That alone shows how this is the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. Thankfully, Blessed John Paul II & Papa Benedetto have worked to bring back the proper understanding of what the Council intended. We still have a long way to go. Getting the teaching of this encyclical out to the faithful will go a long way in restoring what was never meant to be lost.


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