Post-VATICAN II RITE, Theological Activism for the Sake of World Survival, Peace, and Justice

Post-Vatican II efforts to significantly rethink Catholic theology have been suppressed over the past few decades, in the same way that the implementation of a Post-Vatican II Rite has been suppressed. WHY?

  • Because a post-Vatican II Theology would cut across the political and economic agendas of western civilization, both church and state?
  • Because a post-Vatican II Theology created cracks in the wall that kept Judeo-Christian scriptures and tradition within strict political and economic boundaries?
  • Because the foundation and daily functioning of top-down church/state structures depend most heavily on the Roman “God-in-charge” model?
  • Because the survival of western political/economic agendas depends on the  image of an all-knowing, all powerful, judgmental (exclusionary) God-in-Charge?   If that image changes, do political/economic agendas change as well?

Modern communication breakthroughs have chipped away at the religious rationale and justification of the Roman Rite western model of authority and power as the gift and will of God.  This “chipping away” appears to some as an attack on “God-in-Charge” theology, as if there can only be one and only one theological view of authority .

Post-Vatican II progressive theology emphasizes power-sharing images of God as core scriptural and traditional concepts…concepts heretofore minimized and neglected in favor of the Roman Rite western standard.

Constructionist/activist theologian, Joerg Rieger* explains that the “God in Charge” theological perspective is not the only one, nor even the most beneficial one for society in our time.  Rieger explores the popularity and success of right wing theological activism in our time and poses this question:

“Is it possible that Trump’s way of projecting power resonates with the way in which many people of faith perceive God’s power to be at work?”


  • (God/Trump) as a doer who can single-handedly fix things if he wants to.
  • (God/Trump who) acts without consulting others and without asking for permission
  • (God/Trump who) acts without being influenced by anyone else.
  • (God/Trump) projects power…strictly from the top down, from a subject to its objects, from the ruler to the ruled.
  • (God/Trump) can do anything. According to this logic, might also makes things right.

If “Trump’s way of projecting power resonates with the way in which many people of faith perceive God’s power to be at work,” then the post-Vatican II Rite urgently needs to engage in a Theological Activism that highlights shared power as bona fide scriptural and tradition-based concepts and practices…shared power in no way inferior to the efficient Roman model.

The present underlying theological substructure of politics/economics continues to support the political rise and popularity of dictator-type personalities and trickle-down economics.  With no input from progressive activist theologians, is there any hope for substantive change of heart and mind in regard to the stranger? …or any hope, that matter, for change in the ultimately apocalyptic direction in which we are moving at full speed ahead?

Activist progressive theologians, Joerg Rieger* and Kwok Pui Lan*, raise two important questions for us to ponder:

  1.  Is it time for people of faith to think more deeply about the God they are worshiping and the kinds of power they want to support?
  2. SHOULD we be leaving prayer-based theological activism solely in the hands of politically conservative religious leaders? (And, whether we acknowledge it or not, are we already doing so at our own peril and the peril of our faith, country, and world?)

A post-Vatican II rite in union with Rome has no fear to engage in prayer-based Theological Activism in ecumenical dialogue…exploring how we might see God in new ways…in wisdom ways that are invitational, NOT confrontational or polarizing.

——————————————-

References:
*Activist theologian and author of several books on this subject, Joerg Rieger, co-author of OCCUPY RELIGION: Theology of the Multitude with Kwok Pui Lan are both part of the Occupy Theology Movement.

JOERG RIEGER’s Website: http://joergrieger.com/

URL Link for Huffington Post piece: “Divine Power, Donald Trump, and How the 2016 Presidential Elections Challenge Common Religious Assumption” by Joerg Rieger

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joerg-rieger/divine-power-donald-trump_b_12488082.html

Vatican II, A Rupture in Catholicism?

For too long, we Vatican II Catholics have understandably confused Roman Rite Catholicism with the Universal Catholic Church,
…mainly because Roman Rite Catholicism is internally confused about that one as well.

Vatican II, however, was definitely a rupture in that kind of confused thinking.
More than that, Vatican II was a rupture in the very theology that
…supports what Rome defines as bona fide Catholicism.

Meanwhile, Roman Catholicism has tried to quietly stitch together that rupture between
…Vatican II theology and RC theology with authoritative words
…like “continuity,” “tradition,” and “unity”.
The  justifiable effort here was to spiritualize the aggiornamento (updating) of the Church …in order to save the Church from the “excesses” of Vatican II.
The unintended consequence of this action was to shut down /melt down  Vatican II …into business (theology/governance/liturgy) as usual.

The Holy Spirit, however, was not to be shut out or melted down into business as usual.
Just as the first Pentecost was a rupture in the Judaic vision of itself, humanity and God,
…so was Vatican II a rupture in the Roman Church’s view of itself, God and the world
…a rupture in Roman Catholic Theology.
(Vatican II expert Richard Gaillardetz discusses “micro-ruptures evident in the teaching of Vatican II” in Boston College School of Theology video, “Fulfilling the Unrealized Vision of Vatican II”.)

With Vatican II, the Holy Spirit initiated a challenge to Roman Rite theology,
…as well as RC hierarchic style of governance and its liturgical/sacramental practice.
Vatican II also challenged the ROMAN Catholic  vision of the Church
…as well as its concepts of Catholic identity and Catholic culture.

Any kind of rupture, even sacred micro-ruptures in theology alone;
…these were not the intent of Vatican II,
…but these ruptures were definitely the consequence of the Vatican II event.

The purpose of Vatican II was the updating of the Roman Catholic Church,
…and some cardinals/bishops didn’t even see the need for that.  

The Holy Spirit had different ideas, inviting the Council to move in other directions
…right from the start
…as typified when the cardinals/bishops resisted
…the imposition of a curial-fixed agenda on the Council proceedings.

How often, the Holy Spirit calls us in one direction, only to take us off down a road we never expected, always with results beyond any we could ever have imagined. 

Continue reading

IS This Pontificate Stuck in the Mud?

Text below is response to this NCR link:
The pontificate might be stuck in the mud | National Catholic Reporter

Is this pontificate stuck in the mud as the above NCR article suggests…
OR is it our unrealistic expectations of this pontificate that are stuck in the mud?

Almost one millennium ago, Roman Catholicism rejected synodality in favor of monarchical papacy and centralized government in opposition to Eastern Church synodality…resulting in the East-West Great Schism of 1054.

Vatican II re-introduced synodality to the Roman Church/Rite through the influence of Patriarch Maximos of the Melkite Eastern Church/Rite in union with Rome.
Yet, because of an official note Pope Paul VI attached to Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, papal monarchy was once again preserved in its former glory dating as far back as 5th century Christianity.

In response to the official papal note attached to Lumen Gentium, AMERICA Magazine article on Synodality said, “While the advance of collegiality among bishops is regarded as one of the great ambitions of the Second Vatican Council, it was an idea still born.”   7/1/2013

WHY?  Because papal monarchy and centralized government are embedded in Roman Church/Rite theology and tradition. 

As long as God is held in faith as the Divine Monarch, so long will Roman Catholicism model its divinely appointed government on monarchy over synodality.
Likewise, so long will the most significant breakthroughs of Vatican II be still born.

When are we Vatican II Catholics going to stop expecting Roman Rite Catholicism to surrender its theological understanding of itself? 

Synodality and collegiality are NOT compatible with Roman Rite theology, governance or liturgy.

WHAT CHOICES ARE LEFT FOR VATICAN II CATHOLICS? 

Must Vatican II Catholicism remain still born for another millennium or longer?
Do we just wait and watch from heaven?  God will take care of everything for us?

Could we at least look at the possibility of a Vatican II Catholic Rite in union with Rome?  Might that be something the Holy Spirit is calling forth during this papacy?

Click here for PDF visual slide presentation “Exploring the Possibilities of a Vatican II Rite”.  Link, Share, or download this and/or Position Paper on “Saving Both Vatican II and Traditional Catholic Visions

Vatican II Catholics & Church Reform?

Is the Roman Catholic Rite capable of being reformed by Vatican II Catholics?
To that question, we would answer a definitive “NO!”…
Not because we don’t love the Church,
but because we are no longer of the ROMAN Catholic culture.

For too long, we Vatican II Catholics have understandably confused
Roman Rite Catholicism with the Universal Catholic Church,
mainly because Roman Rite Catholicism is internally confused about that one as well.
Vatican II, however, was a definitive rupture in that kind of confused thinking.
More than that, Vatican II was a rupture in
the very theology that supports what Rome defines as bona fide Catholicism.

To those of us in the position of being outsiders to Roman bona fide Catholicism,
God is no longer the divine monarch who rules the heavens and the earth,
meting out rewards and punishments according to obedience/disobedience ratios.

Given this scenario, how can WE even hope to reform Roman Rite Catholicism?
It is precisely because we no longer operate out of Roman Rite theology
that we must disqualify ourselves in the effort to reform ROMAN Catholicism.

By removing ourselves from reform the Roman Catholic Church,
we can free up Roman Rite Catholicism to reform itself.
More importantly, we free ourselves up to attend to our responsibility
to raise Vatican II from the globe-shattering council it was
to the Rite it needs to be right NOW!.

As long as we delay the consummation of this divine rupture in Catholicism,
for fear of acknowledging it or fear of what it demands of us,
that much longer will we delay the action
the Holy Spirit initiated at the Second Vatican Council.

The fact of the matter is that
The Catholic Church  NEEDS BOTH  the Roman and Vatican II Rites,
each for very different reasons…
just as we needed the Eastern Catholic Rites
and the very significant role they played in
re-introducing synodality, collegiality and other reforms
at the world-wide, ecumenical Council of Vatican II.

Catholicism needs its many rites
in order that we may challenge and learn from each other.

The unity of Catholicism is the miracle of a “separate yet one-with” diverse unity,
an unimaginable oneness of seemingly contradictory perspectives
that can only be brought together by the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Google:  Rite Beyond Rome
Sisters Lea and Consilia

“Be open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit?”

“In his homily Thursday Pope Francis stressed the need to be open to the novelty of the Holy Spirit, by discerning new movements and directions without being immediately closed off from them.”

Source: Be open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis advises :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

One of those surprises might be that the Holy Spirit is calling Vatican II Catholics to raise up a new Rite in union with the Pope and alongside the 23 other Catholic Rites including the Roman Rite.

As part of a larger family from its beginning, the Roman Rite/Church has blessed Catholicism with its many gifts, flaws and demands. In all this, it has always operated out of a monarchical God/authority theology with its rewards/punishments system of order.  Vatican II altered that vision of God and Catholicism.

  Vatican II will always be unacceptable at heart to the strictest understanding of Roman Rite Catholicism, except for those document statements which back-up traditionalism.  Roman Rite Catholicism is merely protecting and defending both the theology it considers to be God’s Will and the Church’s role and identity as it sees it.

Therefore, in appreciation for the Roman Rite and all it has done to bring Catholicism forward to us, we Vatican II Catholics have basically two options for remaining within the larger Catholic family in union with the pope…other than staying with the Roman Rite or joining one of the 22 Eastern Catholic Rites in union with Rome:

(1) Fight exceedingly well-organized, well-connected and well-supported entities like Opus  D e i which are not going to allow their Rite/Church to meld into a Vatican II mold no matter how patiently we hope and pray otherwise, no matter how hard Good Pope Francis tries to bring them around to the Spirit of Vatican II and other “innovations”.

(2) The other option for Vatican II Catholics is to take this “now quiet but still strong” rejection of Vatican II on the part of Roman traditionalism as the work of the Spirit…calling us forth to stand as strongly in our understanding of Catholicism as they do in theirs.

Then, maybe we hear the Holy Spirit trying to tell us something we don’t want to hear, even telling Pope Francis something he doesn’t want to hear…that we need both a Roman Catholic AND a Vatican II Rite within the fold of the Universal Church.

Seeing (2) as a viable option, we might at some point just want to discuss the possibilities in small groups, then in non-canonical parish or diocesan councils.  You think?

Whatever you do, don’t get overwhelmed with thinking that all this would demand duplicating Roman Rite Church structure.  It would not.

 

Different Rites for Different Visions?

 

Source: Vatican II Essays

Vatican II and Roman Visions for the Church:
Do They Really Sync?

by Lea Hunter and Consilia Karli

Fifty years after Vatican II ended, liturgy has become, for the most part, a TV dinner served up in “one size fits all” portions instead of being a celebration of Catholic diversity in unity.   Why has liturgy lost so much of its Vatican II spirit of diversity?  We would answer:

1.     Because Rome’s understanding of unity is order, uniformity, hierarchy and obedience to hierarchy,

2.     Because diversity in unapproved thought or liturgical practice is viewed as the seed of schism from the Roman Catholic perspective.

Given this situation, it is hard to believe that liturgical reform was first on the agenda of Vatican II.
“This decision (to address liturgical reform first) was a profession of faith in what is truly central to the Church… a Church freed from the hierarchical narrowness of the previous hundred years and returned to its sacramental origins.” 
These are the words of the 35 year-old Joseph Ratzinger writing in his 1966 book about his views and experience as a scholarly advisor to the Second Vatican Council.  (Theological Higthlights of Vatican II by Joseph Ratzinger)

Little did the then-future pope know that liturgical reform would reach so deeply into and question so profoundly “what is truly central to the Church”.  Little did Fr. Ratzinger know then that he and his papal predecessor would do everything they could to shut down liturgical diversity along with all its concomitant theological inquiry. 

The situation in the Church today is this: Roman Rite Catholicism and Vatican II Catholicism are like conjoined twins moving in different directions.  Only this…one twin is stronger, always dragging the other along with it.  Vatican II is not yet a Catholic Rite alongside the 20+ other Catholic Rites in union with Rome.  So Vatican II, like the conjoined twin, has no life of its own, no freedom to develop its own theological perspective, it own liturgical expression or its own means of governance as other Catholic rites have.  As a result of this, the conjoined Roman/Vatican II Catholic body continues to bleed members into larger and larger pools of Dones and Nones, such that the entire conjoined body is at great risk of dying, or worse yet… at risk of becoming entirely irrelevant in the near future.

There is still opportunity to remedy the inevitable and unnecessary demise of a Church that believes itself invulnerable.  If Vatican II were raised from Council to the status of equal Rite/Church in union with Rome and the other inter-independent Eastern Catholic Rites/Churches, such separateness could redound to the greater benefit of the whole Body of Christ… making inculturation and inclusion, among other difficult issues, much easier to resolve.

If Rome were not amenable to raising Vatican II to a new rite within the Church, then one might remember that schism is not the dirty word it is made out to be.  If it weren’t for the Eastern Church schisms, for example, Vatican II would not have had the modern experience of inter-independent governance as a working Catholic model for its teachings on collegiality.  (Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church by Archbishop John R. Quinn)

Vatican II expert, Richard Gaillardetz, wrote in his recent book, An Unfinished Council:  “Vatican II was in many ways an unfinished council.  The council bishops were able to establish key pillars in the construction of a new vision for the church of our time, but, for various reasons, they were not able to draw those pillars together into a coherent, unified structure.” 

Along comes Francis, who is trying “to draw those pillars together.”  Meanwhile, the energy of many Church reform organizations has been put on hold, as if this good pope and his advisory council can whip the Roman Catholic Church into a Vatican II mode… if only we wait long enough.  Likewise, theories abide that our pontiff can pack the curial court with Francis-type cardinals available for the next papal election… if only he lives long enough and we wait long enough. Yet as popular as Pope Francis is himself, no up-tick in Mass attendance has been evident.  And as for any possibility of doctrinal change, Pope Francis disavows the need for it.

The unfulfilled challenge of Vatican II is “to draw together those (key pillars identified by the council bishops)… to draw them “together into a coherent, unified structure” representing a new vision for the church of our time.  The questions we raise are these:

1.     Is the task of syncing the Vatican II and Roman visions for a vibrant unified Church an impossible task… as it has been for the past three papacies prior to Pope Francis? 

2.     Is this present task as impossible as was the syncing of the Eastern and Roman rite visions of the Church almost a thousand years ago?

3.     Do we need to abandon the idea of syncing different visions for the Church?  Could syncing these very different visions ultimately sink the Church? 

Historically, different rites developed in the Church.  These Catholic rites so needed to express their vision for the Church that they risked and endured schism in order to be faithful to that vision.  The universality of the Church calls us to stop looking at different western visions of Catholicism as inferior or as threat to the vision that the Roman Rite holds for the Church-at-large.

The full implementation of Vatican II may very well require the establishment of a new inter-independent Catholic rite alongside the 23 other Eastern rites already in union with Rome.  The work on this project starts with the self-identification of women and men, lay and clergy, as Vatican II Rite Catholics in union with Rome.  Much of the formation of a Vatican II Rite has already started with national and international reform organizations comprised of laity, theologians, clergy and religious, including local and regional Eucharistic communities. 

Now is the time to pick up the unfinished business of the Second Vatican Council:  transvaluation of doctrine and its intimate connection to liturgy.  The evolution of computer technology continues to make this task easier by the day while it also increases the potential for full and active participation of all.

In closing, we remember these words from Pope John XXIII’s inaugural address at the opening of the Second Vatican Council, October 11, 1962:

“In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations… And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the church.”