Tuesday, October 11

Relevancy in the Church : why I hate Vatican II

Part of the joy and pain of having my particular skill-set is that I observe and analyze on a near-instinctual level and question if an idea/concept/thing has been obsolesced or is it still needed and/or has value.

As you can imagine, these skills are of great help and value in the 21st century where change occurs at an ever quickening pace.  This brings me to my church and one of the times when it WAS asked, front and center - Vatican II.

One of the best 'short answers' to the question of "What is the ECC?" is that it is a communion of churches fulfilling the promise of a catholic Church as embodied in Vatican II.  As far as it goes, I find that to be an accurate description of things and that's the problem.

You see, ecumenical councils and synods are formed in response to perceived problems and are generally focused to resolve present issues within the Church.  Whether it be the Council of Jerusalem or the second Vatican Council, they are reactionary and responsive to the times in which they are held.  This is why during the healthiest times of the Roman Church's history, one sees a council every generation or so to subtly alter positions and doctrines in a manner to best meet the needs of the laos.

On October 11 1962, 49 years ago today, Pope John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Council.  The Cold War was at it's peak, the US was just starting to send uniformed troops into some little country named Vietnam, President Kennedy made his iconic 'moon' speech about a month ago, formally throwing down the gauntlet for the Space Race, nobody had heard of the Beatles and the modern civil rights movement was just beginning to get a head of steam.  This was the time which defines the largest generation in modern times, the Baby Boomers, and a time which changed the western world.

But that time was (almost) 50 years ago.

Today, the Cold War is over, the great era of space exploration is done, The Beach Boys have been replaced by Lady Gaga and the few arguments which remain regarding racial and gender equality are about 'how much is enough', not 'if'.  Today, the issues are about corporate avarice, environmental destruction, sexual orientation and teen suicide/bullying.

If the church, any church, is to have relevance, it needs to be willing and able to address the concerns of the people in the here and now, in the 21st century.  Having an understanding of the past is well and good, but living in the 20th century does nothing for the Body of Christ.  Just ask the RC folks, whose leadership seems determined to live in a 19th century world of Fundamentalist Evangelicism and a 'Perfect City of God' where only those deemed worthy may worship.


  1. Excellent Tim - great synthesis and also highlights the dilemma those of us who want change that moves us forward not backwards.

  2. Great posting. the RC church is in mortal danger of becoming a beautiful anachronism. all show, no substance.

  3. Thanks to you both. It is both heartening and alarming that it appears I am not off in left-field somewhere.

    I'd prefer to be, honestly.

  4. I feel that one mistake Vatican 2 made was to change the Mass. I think the Novus Ordo lacks the,beauty of the Tridentine Mass.