Pentecost And The Vatican II Tree

Much pomp, no fruit: Vatican II

You may want to read here at Insight Scoop some interesting reflections about Pentecost. The links between the Old and New Testament are very neatly presented, as is the reference to the voice of God being, always in the Old Testament, associated with fire.

This could be the starting point of some short reflections about Pentecost. How many Catholics know what Pentecost is? Yes, the churchgoers are properly instructed in this matter and all of them would – I hope – answer without hesitation if asked. But we are talking of 20% of the Catholic population.

What do the others know about Pentecost? Have you tried a small mini-poll among your non-churchgoing friends? You might be surprised!

I hate quoting Martin Luther, but I must admit that the image of the good tree bearing good fruit is – if not abused theologically – a very powerful and efficacious one.

For one and a half generation we have been surrounded by clergy more worried with spreading social issues among the general public, than sound Catholicism. When the non-churchgoing Catholic hears about Catholicism, it will generally be on radio and tv, most often from non-Catholic sources. It would be, then, particularly important that the Catholic clergy tries to approach the mass media with the Catholic message, rather than doubling politicians’ issues.

If the press agencies were, on occasion of all important religious festivities, bombarded with press releases of bishops clearly centered on the religious feast at hand, no doubt some press agency would relaunch them and from there they would find echo in the mass media, even if only as an excuse for the wrong kind of debate. Similarly, if the bishops started making clear to the media outlets that they will only speak to them if the interview/program/initiative allows them to properly handle religious issues, there would certainly be those among the journalists ready to recognise a need among the public and deal with those issues. Little by little, the message would be out among non-churchgoers, and the general public would be regularly reminded of a world that is not dominated by social instances, but of something much more important: their own path to salvation.

We can clearly see from historical sources that exactly this used to be the case. The Church was very attentive to go to the media for the right reasons. Look at this and notice how the Church was clearly bent on reaching the faithful – and the non faithful – in their cinema seats, all over the country.

After Vatican II, this assertive communication of the Catholic message outside of the Church has been greatly lessened. Nowadays the Catholic clergy is too often Catholic from the pulpit, but they become only a pale, vaguely religious “social presence” when outside of the church, seemingly uninterested in promoting and spreading the Catholic message among non Catholics and non churchgoers. The priest as vehicle of Catholic values has become, once outside the church, the priest as the defender of social justice or, even, the environment.

Can we honestly say that the tree of Vatican II is bearing good fruit? Can we, comparing with two generations ago (many of us still vividly remember people born at the end of the last XIX century, and have through them a clear idea of how the world was organised then), honestly say that feasts like Pentecost are now better appreciated than this used to be the case? Can we say that there is not enough discussion about social justice so that we need our bishop to comment on the government’s policy? Can we say that there is enough discussion about Pentecost, and about salvation, so that there is no need for the clergy to talk to the public about them?

Without aggressive spreading of a Catholic message, Pentecost will be vastly ignored by the media and its message will therefore fail to reach – even if only as foot note, or as question mark – the great, non-churchgoing or non-Christian public.

The tree of Vatican II is giving no fruit.


Posted on June 11, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ignatius Press are VERY pro-Vatican II. They publish all the ‘resourcement’ theologians like Congar, de Lubac, Von Balthasar etc.

    I agree with you that Vatican II has been a total disaster.

    • Shane,

      the blog is very good.

      I see the problem with Vatican II that there was a mistake, so to speak, in the planning. It is true that the “spirit of Vatican II” was not included in the Conciliar documents, but I think it is fair to say that the mentality informing the Council was bound to cause the rise of such “spirit”.

      To want “aggiornamento” without “spirit of V II” was as naive as wanting the Perestroika without the fall of Communism.


    • Shane,

      I am surprised that my post about the “Ordinariate” for the SSPX hasn’t caused any comment.

      I literally can’t think of anything else at the moment.

      Do you think the readers are discountign the news until they read about it somewhere else? Messa in Latino is generally very well informed….


  2. Mundabor, that’s because Rorate Caeli posted about it also!

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