Can the Church Dialogue Its Differences into Unity?

A conversation with Paula Ruddy in regard to her comments to our post,  Church Unity: NOT about merging disparate factions, on this website.

Paula Ruddy:

“I can see the intention for this, empathize with it. However, I think there is another way to unity through dialogue among people of different worldviews.  

The postmodern cultural view that all are equally valid ways of viewing “reality” supports this strategy for unity, but is it true that Vatican II can be interpreted both as true to the Gospel in opening to the world and as not true to the Gospel in opening to the world? Isn’t there some objectivity in what the Gospel teaches and how the Church should exist in the world?”

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

Yes, there have always been different ways of viewing “reality” with every view claiming its own view as valid, even superior to the other’s view of reality. 

The problem within the Catholic Church begins when two or more worldviews diverge so radically that they no longer see the Gospel through the same “objectivity” lens.   This is the case of the different Gospel views between Opus Dei/ Evangelical Catholicism AND Post-Vatican II understandings of the Gospel.  In other countries, the problem is that cultural adaptation to the Gospel is thwarted by “one way only” interpretations of Catholic doctrine and practive.

Pope Benedict may have correctly described the two interpretations of Vatican II as continuity and rupture…continuity with the Council of Trent and rupture as break.  However, one might interpret his words differently…as meaning continuity with Church Tradition AND rupture…NOT break or Schism as Pope Benedict implied…but rupture into a new shoot, an evolutionary outgrowth from the Root of Jesse.

Paula Ruddy:

“What about the Petrine Ministry to lead in the Gospel direction? Should the Pope say ‘all interpretations of Vatican II are valid’?”

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

Insofar as any interpretation of Vatican II can be supported by Vatican II documents or post-Vatican II theology, it would seem the pope ought to consider those interpretations valid.  

Of course, this has not been the case with the two popes preceding Pope Francis.  For many Catholics today, including George Weigel, the interpretation of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI are the ONLY authorized interpretations of Vatican II.

As for the Petrine Ministry of the Pope to lead and unify the Church in the Gospel direction, perhaps the papal ministry for the future lies in coordinating/negotiating the differing Gospel interpretations within a shared Papal/People of God relationship… a negotiating servant-leadership for a challenging multifaceted set of Gospel interpretations. For example, the 20+ Eastern Catholic Rites/Churches in union with Rome, the Opus Dei prelature, and the Anglican ordinariate are but a few examples of this negotiating servant-leadership.

Paula Ruddy:

“The question I have about dividing us up is this: Is it good to abandon the mainstream Church to the point of view that the Holy Spirit is NOT IN the world while establishing an ordinariate that believes the Gospel calls for discerning the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God WITHIN the world as it is?”

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

The questions we have here are these:  What is “mainstream Church” Catholicism?  The majority viewpoint?  The viewpoint of the presiding pontiff? 

Is there any point of view within the various Catholic Rites/Churches, prelature, or ordinariates that teaches “the Holy Spirit is NOT in the world”?  Perhaps the answer is “yes” when we consider post-Trent Church vs. world theology where the Holy Spirit resides only in the One True Catholic Church.  The Second Ecumenical Council pushed back on this view of Church and  world.  Is this theological viewpoint what is “dividing us up” along with the scientific revolution, the loss of leadership credibility, clericalism, and marginalization of women, divorced Catholics, LGBTQ+, etc? 

Paula Ruddy:

“Isn’t it better to continue the dialogue among people with evolving worldviews within the Church, depending on the Holy Spirit, faith and reason to keep us together?”

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

Indeed, it is ALWAYS better to continue dialogue within the Church.  When there is radical divergence in theological interpretation, however, dialogue becomes much more difficult, if not impossible. 

Throw inequality of relationship into the mix, as Leonard Swidler discusses in his Dialogue Decalogue and dialogue actually becomes impossible.  One has to ask if even the Holy Spirit is impeded from holding us together if we cannot treat each other as the sisters and brothers that Jesus called us to be.  

Paula Ruddy:

Do the believers in the rightness of Vatican II have brave spokespeople who can make the vision clear and compelling to the mainstream Roman Rite Catholic? If not, how are they going to run an ordinariate?

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

One has to wonder if it is necessary “to make the vision clear and compelling to the mainstream Roman Rite Catholic.”  If the goal is to win mainstream Catholicism back from the decades of spiritual groundwork done by Evangelicial Catholicism (and its precursor, the Opus Dei Movement/Prelature), that ship has left the harbor.

What we see as possible and URGENT is the redirection of energy spent by those who stand continually waiting in the vestibule of Roman Rite Catholicism, begging and hoping that someday Vatican II will rise again…if only we are patient enough.

If the Apostles never came out of the Upper Room, there would be no Catholic Church today.  What were they waiting for?  Approval by the Temple High Priest?

 

As for “brave spokespeople” of the great Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, we have many both in this life and in the hereafter.  Fortunately, those who have left us in this life have also left their writings for us to study and discern the earliest spirit and wisdom of Vatican II. 

As for how a Vatican II prelature or a Vatican II ordinariate might operate, we do have models today within the Church, models which might be adjusted and applied both to different national cultures and different evolving understandings of a Post-Vatican II Church in an ever-changing world.  As in every institutional model, what the model presents is always ONLY a model.

Paula Ruddy:

“I appreciate the “Rite Beyond Rome” effort to discern how we should proceed. I hope we keep talking.”

Sisters Lea and Consilia reply: 

We appreciate your efforts and the efforts of all those working to discern how we should proceed in moving forward.  We intend to explore the prelature, ordinariate models here on https://RiteBeyondRome.com as precursor to a Post-Vatican II Rite/Church in union with Rome, if that is where the Wisdom Spirit of God leads.

And YES, let’s keep talking!

https://RiteBeyondRome.com

Vatican II…Going the Way of Climate Change?

Like the adversaries of the climate change movement, many in the Church pacify themselves with the idea that change happens in centuries.   Trouble is, we don’t live any longer in an age where change happens strictly at a century-by-century pace.

Meanwhile, the Spirit of Vatican II as a “game-changer* “is locked away securely in a Roman vault where it can be safely guarded, controlled and memorialized.

*game-changer…that which changes
the way things are thought about,
the way things are done,
the way things relate to each other in new contexts.

Pope Francis is a game-changer in his own way, yet even he keeps the Spirit of Vatican II away from the “rooms” where doctrine is stored, making his game-changing moves dependent on his own longevity, health, and good will.

Theologians and others, who work to revive Vatican II within the Roman Church these days, do their reform work very carefully so as not to disturb the organization that can make or break their careers.

Many espouse the belief that the Church is working at the Holy Spirit’s pace.  And who determines the Holy Spirit’s pace?

COULD WE BE FAILING TO REALIZE??…THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT MIGHT BE DEPENDING ON OUR COURAGE to bring Vatican II  out from under Rome’s claim of sole control over the interpretation and implementation of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council in our world and Church?

Rome is perfectly free to normalize or spiritualize Vatican II and its implementation within Roman Rite Catholicism, but NOT within the realm of universal Catholicism.   There are many Catholic Churches in union with Rome. https://ritebeyondrome.com/2016/05/02/diagram-of-riteschurches-from-jerusalem/

The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, brother-rite/church to 22 other Catholic rites/churches which were also full voting members of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council of the Catholic Church. These 23 other Catholic rites/churches are in full union with the Roman Rite/Church.

As some are perfectly free to go on ignoring the threat of CLIMATE CHANGE…TO THE PERIL OF OUR CHILDREN AND AND OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN…

…so, too, Catholics are likewise perfectly free to sit back and allow Vatican II to fade into the background of our unchanging Church…citing age, helplessness, or despair as reasons for not heeding the threat of the very extinction of Catholicism and perhaps even Christianity itself.

* **********************************************************************

There are alternatives to schism when we envision the future of the Church…alternatives NOT based on changing the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. There is also an alternative NOT based on forming another catholic church separated from Rome.

In fact, the alternative already exists among us by virtue of all the local Vatican II communities, both throughout the world and online. Together we comprise a Vatican II Church, whether Roman Rite Catholicism recognizes us or not. This Catholic Branch/Rite exists whether or not we ourselves recognize it. History will declare what has already taken place through the work of the Holy Spirit among us!

Remember, the Jerusalem followers of Jesus never could have known they were founding a Catholic Church, much less the 23 other present-day official Catholic Rites in union with Rome.  So, too, we do not know what Church history will claim about us…nor should we base our work today on what others will write or think about us in the future.

We may dismiss the idea of a Vatican II Branch/Rite of Catholicism because we dread the work of creating a new organizational structure.   But think…a Vatican II branch of Catholicism in union with Rome might be bi-rite (belonging to both Roman and Vatican II Rites) much as Early Christians were both Jewish and Christian.

We’d love to hear your ideas on all this!
To comment, click on title of this post and scroll down to bottom of page.
https://RiteBeyondRome.com

For Download of PDF Discussion Points:
EXPLORING THE WAY TO A VATICAN II RITE (PDF SLIDES)

Warm regards to all,
Sisters Lea and Consilia

Dare We Catholics Believe Differently?

Have we even begun to understand what degree of change the Holy
Spirit was/is calling forth from within the event of the Second Vatican Council?

Some Catholics see the past few decades…from a different viewpoint…
…as an erosion of faith in the doctrines we have…

But others look at Vatican II as a gift of the Holy Spirit,
as God calling forth a whole new perspective on doctrine…
in which case, there is the need for a very deep deconstruction of
“how we believed before and often still do now.”

A deconstruction of Catholic belief
down to the very bedrock of our faith…

leaving behind
cherished understandings of doctrine…
in order to get to the root of doctrine
and its applications for our time.

NOT to change or break down Roman Rite theology …
which keeps the institution focused on certainty and security in the everyday world,
…
BUT to be a “next-door” theology in union with Rome…
……..from the point of a world constantly adapting to change…
…that each theology may call forth and challenge the other 
in our uncommon faith
in Jesus the Christ and our proclamation of the Good News to the world.

Uncommon Faith speaking from two different perspectives:

+Roman Rite Catholicism from the perspective of the “strong force” of a
…hierarchical, unchanging, all-knowing, all powerful God who is everywhere,
a God who designed the universe according to the order of His Will.

+ Vatican II Rite Catholicism from the perspective of the “weak” strength of a
…God that calls and promises but doesn’t command, awaits response but doesn’t demand.
The Name of which God carries an event that stretches us
beyond what we know to where we are certain we must go,
to an order other than hierarchy (the internal order of chaos theory perhaps),
…a divine “stepping back” which reveals how much we tend to rely on force as power,
…a divine will that models and solicits forgiveness, hospitality and love of the other
as the determining factors of who discovers or “gets into” the kingdom of God

More on Vatican II Theology to come on Rite Beyond Rome.
Meanwhile, read John D. Caputo’s books:
On Religion and The Weakness of God, A Theology of the Event with us.
Interested in conversation…comment below and/or email 4Vatican2Rite@gmail.com

View, share, download:
Slide Presentation: EXPLORING A VATICAN II RITE

Position Paper:  Resolving Polarization of Vatican II and Roman Catholic Visions

Sisters Lea and Consilia
https://ritebeyondrome.com

A Whole New Branch of Catholicism?

For some the path to a healthier church is about waiting for the orthodox positions of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church to change.

Others see no hope in this patient hopefulness…no hope that “patient hopefulness” will eventually resolve the polarization afflicting the Catholic Church in a post-Vatican II age.

Once Judaism had to face a similar case of on-going polarization within itself.  From this realization flowed the diversified branches of orthodox, conservative and reform interpretations of their faith.

What if we are in need of a three-pronged Catholicism…orthodox, conservative and reform?

  • Not such a strange idea as it seems, if you check out “Will Catholicism go the way of Judaism?” by Marquette University theologian, Daniel Maguire.*
  • Why even Pope Francis sees the need for a “multi-faceted unity” of faith in Cardinal Kasper’s article, “Vatican II: Toward a Multifaceted Unity,” (ORIGINS, July 2, 2015)**

Catholicism is not new to the idea of branching out.  Rome, Antioch and Alexandria are today three branches of the original Christian “mother” Church in Jerusalem.  Has the time come to officially recognize a Vatican II Branch of Catholicism?

We could say Holy Mother Church has already conceived a new Vatican II vision by the Holy Spirit at Vatican II.  That vision is the seed of a new branch of Catholicism born in the documents and in the people who experienced the implementation of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council and in those who were later influenced by it.

 

The Roman Branch of Catholicism was reared and educated in scholasticism, systematic theo-logic and an ethics of justice.

The yet-to-be-proclaimed Vatican II Branch has been nurtured in a conciliar commitment to “the construction of a new form of the church adequate to the demands of our age” as Richard R. Gaillardetz puts it.*

This new form of Church would, according to Gaillardetz, include:

  • dialogical engagement compared to hierocratic monoply on truth
  • mutual respect between clergy and laity, differing from a hierarchy of respect
  • pastoral approach to doctrinal formation  in contrast to a scholastic approach
  • unity-in-difference committed to humble learning from each other

In his book , An Unfinished Council, Chapter 4, “Toward a New Ecclesial Form,” Richard Gaillardetz does not suggest the formation of a new branch of Catholicism, but rather a rebuilding of the temple from within the ruins of the old temple by means of a “synthesized reading” of the documents of Vatican II.

We do not find this solution to be a fair assessment of Roman Catholicism and its contributions to the Church.

  • Roman Catholicism is hardly a temple in ruins. It has complete control of the Church.
    • Even though that complete control has driven many from the pews,
      Roman Rite Catholicism has a very faithful following of cardinals, bishops and people who want the the church to return to the highly-structured Roman system of theology/doctrine, governance and liturgy.
  • Not to mention, there will always be people who find support in highly-structured systems for the certainty and security of mind they provide. It may also be that we gravitate toward a more structured approach at different times in our lives.

There will also always be people who need a less-structured variation of Catholicism……those who need a more open Catholicism…

…much as Paul of Tarsus needed a more open interpretation of the Apostles’ original interpretation of Christianity as a Jewish sect entirely compatible with Judaism.

…much as early Catholicism later needed to make room for the Roman and Eastern Rite branches of the faith.

For these people and all those who see Vatican II as a singular event in the course of the history and future of the Catholic Church, we ask again,

Would a Vatican II Branch of the Church be such a terrible thing?

Would it not unify the Catholic Church and PREVENT schism?

Would it not it make the Church MORE healthy and LESS myopic?

For more information:
https://ritebeyondrome.com/picture-the-possibility-of-a-vatican-ii-rite/
For further discussion:  https://ritebeyondrome.com

Links below are to sources quoted in this article:

* https://cruxnow.com/faith/2015/09/13/will-catholicism-go-the-way-of-judaism/

**http://dc2015.ei-research.net/origins/

Continue reading

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

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