Vatican II: Was It The Locusts’ Fault?

I will not beat around the bush: I was shocked at reading the latest intervention of the Holy Father concerning what was wrong with Vatican II. His analysis boils down to the concept that whilst Vatican II  was wholesome in itself, it was… the Press who disfigured it, and the planet promptly followed.

By reading this, after the first reaction of shock a second one came, and I was reminded of the wonderful scene in Blues Brothers where John Belushi explains to the angry woman he had left alone at the altar why he was not able to show up. In an astonishing piece of comedy, he tries everything from not having fuel to the dry cleaners, to his mother’s funeral, to flooding, earthquake, and the unforgettable locusts…

And seriously, this latest excuse for Vatican II would be as funny as John Belushi’s ones, if the immense importance of Church matters would not make of this a really tragic exercise in escape from reality and flight from responsibility.

The Holy Father’s excuse is, of course, not more credible than John Belushi’s ones, and he owes it to his position that his rather naive attempt at justifying the huge cracks in the edifice of Vatican II with external interventions does not cause the explosion of laughter caused by John Belushi’s locusts.

I have seldom seen a Western man with a public position so entrenched in denial as the Holy Father in this intervention. The attitude he shows reminds one of old Politburo members in the years of rapid decomposition of Communism, or of the ability to correctly analyse reality of the North Korean government.

Try to imagine any other leader of a big organisation – like Coca-Cola, or Boeing, or Fiat – saying to his stakeholders “things have gone badly in the last fifty years because the press has misrepresented what we do” and, so to speak, count the minutes until he is kicked out.

What is happening within the Vatican truly gives you the full scale of the self-delusion and – as I have pointed out often in the past – sheer incompetence that has been reigning undisturbed within the Vatican this past fifty years; and one must truly stun, and looks heavenwards in gratitude, at the greatness of the Church and the wonderful protection accorded to her by the Holy Ghost, if the tragic behaviour of the last decades at all levels (starting from the Popes, and trickling down; then we must never forget the fish always stinks from the head) has not caused Her complete destruction, which by any other organisation would most certainly have been the case.

I have sometimes thought in the past that the Conciliar Popes should have taken the name Pollyanna I (Pope Roncalli) to Pollyanna V (Pope Ratzinger), such is the sheer naïveté showed by all of them concerning the direction things were taking. But one can say that at least Pope John XXIII died before having the possibility of seeing the consequences of what he had put in motion; that Paul VI was at least painfully aware that the cause of the problems was within the Church, not outside of Her; that Pope John Paul I did not have the time to tackle the problems (and if you read “Iota Unum” you’ll realise he might have been a very energetic Pope and a man of action if he had lived); and that even John Paul II never tried to place the blame on the press, the lack of money to grab a taxi, or the locusts…

Pope Benedict’s intervention was clearly meant to leave some kind of explanation or justification for fifty disastrous post Vatican II years, and in this indirectly defend his pontificate; but frankly, he has made things worse, and has shown once again such an inability to face reality that one wonders whether the allegedly so high intelligence of this Pontiff (a man apparently able to have a great strategic plan for the next fifty years, but unable to select the right collaborators – down to his very butler – today, or to grasp simple concepts like the one that he is supposed to be in charge and no one else) was not rather overvalued the whole time.

What stands in front of us is a good, well-intentioned, but rather deluded old man in a state of complete denial concerning several decades of Church history – and, by reflection, his own papacy -; unable to even see the huge elephant in his own room, and eager to the last to say “it wasn’t our fault”. I have already written and repeat today that I am absolutely persuaded of his good intentions and love for the Church. But it is very clear to me he wasn’t right for the Papacy, and his being tarnished with Vatican II, of which he was one of the last surviving protagonists, prevents him from seeing clearly the devastation to which he has contributed.

I have more than a suspicion that the following generations will see Pope Benedict as a Paul VI plus Summorum Pontificum. After his last utterances, I am unable to see how he will be able to escape this destiny.

Important as Summorum Pontificum was, I think it is fair to say this papacy was another waste of time for the Church, whilst the Western world burns.

Please Lord, give Pope Benedict a serene and prayerful time in his courageous retirement, and give us – unworthy as we are – a Pope willing to see the devastations of Vatican II, correct them with energy, and start the fight we need to see now if we want to avoid Christianity wiped out of Europe, and perhaps North America, in the next generation.


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Posted on February 16, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Bee in your bonnet?
    Personally I just cannot see everything in the material life of the church through the prism of VII, for good or for ill
    God bless

    • Well yes and no.

      For ill or for ill, V II is what determines the situation in which we are today, and pervades every aspect of the Church activity.

      It is, therefore, worth writing about again and again.


  2. I would like to see the full text of the comments. I don’t trust the press to report this accurately. But if it is accurate, I share your amazement.

  3. I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a while now, and I still don’t understand your position:

    Either you consider the Church – and the Pope – infallible, and then you must believe the documents of Vatican II domgatic, or you deny the infallibility of Church and Pope – which would allow you to reject Vatican II – but this would make you a heretic. ‘Tertium non datur’.

    Lithurgical Reform has happened throughout the church’s history and it may happen again. These are not dogmatic questions, so this isn’t the issue. But rejecting the VII Declarations “Dignitatis humanae” and “Lumen Gentium” means you do not believe in these explicitly infallible documents of the Catholic Church, i.e. you are not Catholic. You can redefine what you mean by Catholic, but as this definition doesn’t include the Pope it wouldn’t be the Church of St. Peter – or Pius XII for that matter. ‘Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia,’

    Would be interested in your view on this dilemma.

    All the best,


  4. BXVI attempts to see good in everything and everybody, hence his having the (anti) Pope of Tubingen to lunch – Hans Kung, whose vitriol against BXVI is well known. Hence he has attempted to see good in Vatican II, et al. But in his heart of hearts he knows otherwise.

    There are those in the hierarchies who know, to put it mildly, that the congregations have been sold a load of cobblers (idiomatic English), but are incapable of creating a reversal; there are those who deep down know the situation, but are psychologically incapable of admitting it, and finally there are those who revel in the mess that has been created.

    The solution: God only knows!

    • Frankly I think the solution lies at the tip of the undertaker’s shovel. It will take some time, and much more damage i the meantime, but I think we will get there.

      As to Pope Benedict and the others, I think there is a simple matter of the huge “investment” made in Vatican II. They have lived an entire life defending it, and if they now reject it they reject their life work. It’s not a valid reason to avoid the work or reparation, but at least is a very human one.

      Then, as you say, there are the saboteurs and fifth columns. More on that tomorrow.


  5. Boy, that’s a big Amen. I enjoyed this post very much, although ‘enjoy’ isn’t quite the right word! I too had a similar reaction when I first read the article with Benedict XVI’s comments regarding the media and VII. Stunned. Laugh-out-loud-stunned. I’m rather surprised to read more than a few comments on some more or less traditional Catholic blogs that are just swooning with joy and gratitude over these words of HH. That’s almost just as shocking to me. I pray, pray, pray, for our new Holy Father to be a lion ~ fierce, unwavering, swift-acting, completely Traditional (or as much as we can hope for these days).

    I’m a new reader of your blog and thank you for it. I love it!


    • Thank you, Elizabeth, and welcome to the blog!

      I know a couple of Catholic lay(women) blogs who thinks even a word of criticism of the Pope’s speeches does not belong there. It is not for me to tell others how to write their blogs, but I prefer to give my blog a rather different profile.

      The Catholic blogs run by priests are obviously different, and obviously in that respect other considerations must be made and a different metre applied.

      I can assure you as long as I will run this blog you will never find the sugary uncritical approvals at all costs of the Holy Father I read around, which in many cases smack of clericalism.

      Obviously, other will be offended at my criticism, or at the way I express it. They are have clicked in the wrong place.


  6. Just as in the Blues Brothers, John Belushi finally convinces his girlfriend (at least for a short time), so the church at large will accept this explanation. Also for a short time? I’m not certain we can predict!

    For the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican II was an unmitigated disaster. Anyone who can’t see that is no different than an alcoholic who won’t admit he has a problem.



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