Tradition Reminds Us: Theological Differences Need Not Rupture the Unity of the Church
Eastern Catholics, while fully Catholic and in communion with Rome, differ in more ways than just liturgy.
They also possess a unique spiritual tradition, as well as a unique theological approach.
Roman Opus-genre Evangelical Catholicism also possesses its own traditionalist spiritual and theological approach significantly aligned with Church Councils prior to 1962…as different from Vatican II (1962-65) which was distinctly different from prior councils in its non-absolutist approach to Catholic theology, government, and liturgy. (See https://www.scribd.com/document/311633660/Exploring-a-VATICAN-II-Catholic-Rite)
A uniquely transformative council from its very outset, Vatican II was often perceived as a threat to traditionalist Catholicism and its future. In light of this perception, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI gave Opus Dei the canonical status and structure of a papal prelature in support of its existence and propagation throughout the world. To date, this move has resulted in the resurgence of traditional Catholicism globally.
Consequently, now it is the Post-Vatican II Church which is in danger of disappearing into Opus-genre Evangelical Catholicism with its well-funded strategic focus on laity as the servants of a clerical Church. (See Heidi Schlumpf’s three-part FOCUS series at https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/focus-campus-ministry-has-big-money-conservative-connections
Meanwhile, the post-Vatican II Church falls into the background… as if the Second Vatican Council was about nothing more than spiritual renewal and the laity’s call to holiness.
Opus-genre Evangelical Catholicism is now the majority universal expression of Catholicism. Given this, perhaps we ought to pay more attention to the Catholic tradition of unity in diversity that existed for many centuries between Rome and those Eastern Catholic Churches in union with Rome. The quote below is from a website introducing the West to Eastern Catholicism:
“Is it true that the Eastern Catholic Churches are allowed to have different theological expressions?
If so what does it involve?
This certainly is true. The Eastern Catholic Churches are not only “allowed” but are actively encouraged to cultivate their own distinctive theological expressions.
Eastern Catholics, while fully Catholic and in communion with the Pope, differ in more ways than just liturgy. We also possess a unique spiritual tradition, as well as a unique theological approach.
While we agree with the Latin Church on fundamental matters of doctrine, we approach doctrine in a very different way – from the Eastern perspective.
While the Western Church has traditionally formulated doctrine in terms of scholastic Latin theology, we rely almost exclusively on the theology of the Eastern Church Fathers. This difference, rather than rupturing the unity of the Church, further expresses the true UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s Church.
This is authoritatively taught by the Second Vatican Council:
“All in the Church must preserve unity in essentials. But let all, according to the gifts they have received enjoy a proper freedom, in their various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in-their different liturgical rites, and even in their theological elaborations of revealed truth” (UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO, no. 4).”
(Excerpt above from Doctrine | From East to West)
Returning to the first Roman Catholic prelature approved by two popes, Opus Dei has different theological perspectives on Vatican II. That theological perspective has been updated and rebranded in George Weigel’s book, EVANGELICAL CATHOLICISM. Opus-genre Evangelical Catholicism, now global majority Catholicism, is very different in perspective from Vatican II Catholicism.
Given the above, wouldn’t a Vatican II “Branch” Church with its much more culturally-open theological perspective be the best resolution to national and global Church polarization?
A Vatican II Prelature would perhaps be the first step to a global Vatican II Church. A Vatican II Church could be an invaluable asset to the universal Church alongside the global Opus-genre Evangelical Catholic Church and the 25+ other Eastern and other Rite-Churches in union with Rome, no?
Also see: Can the Church Dialogue Its Differences into Unity?