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I read with interest the book The Council in Question, a dialogue between Fr Aidan Nichols OP and Moyra Doorly. I am neither a theologian nor a scholar but a simple housewife and mother (now widowed). As an ordinary laywoman-cum-pewsitter who has endeavoured to practise the faith I have been taught since my childhood I submit the following observations.
I would have liked to comment on what Fr Nichols has said but there is little you can really grab hold of. Moyra Doorly had a uniform pattern set out, stuck to it, and quoted from the Society of St Pius X's actual words and the reasoning they conveyed.
Fr Nichols, in my opinion, would have clarified his position better had he challenged the actual quotes and the reasoning that issued therefrom since he seemed to be the one correcting the ideas of the "Confused Catholic".
On pages 3-4 Fr Nichols writes: "In the upshot, however, the Second Vatican Council left little unchanged in Catholic life and thought." If that is so, why, following Vatican II have so many people left? Why are so many Catholics today practising contraception? Why did the general rite of reconciliation substantially replace individual confession? Why was the paedophile scandal covered up? Why did Pope John Paul II leave the flock unprotected while he embraced the world stage in the name of ecumenism?
Is it unchanged in the life of the Church that a post-Vatican II lay person can distribute Holy Communion to an unshriven individual who has not practised the faith for many years?
Would such an individual be shocked to learn that before Vatican II only the consecrated hands of a priest could distribute Holy Communion? And that if such a priest was aware that a person was in a state of mortal sin he was bound to refuse to administer it. Instead his response was: "God loves everyone".
And why was it sinful for one to attend a non-Catholic service pre-Vatican II and not now for the Pope? When did the Church tell us plainly that it is now OK to attend such services?
The matters raised here are merely the tip of the iceberg. But just as a final observation, when there was one Mass universally practised and described as "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven", and when we had what was perfect, why are we trying to reform the less perfect Novus Ordo, taking the original Mass as a model, when that "extraordinary form" of the Mass still exists?
On page 3, Fr Nichols refers to "the movement called Catholic Traditionalism", or less graciously, "Lefebvrism", and again on page 62. Being myself a member of the SSPX, I emphatically state that I am a traditionally-formed Catholic in union with the Church under the present Pope Benedict XVI. There is no such thing as "Lefebvrism".
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 10 (November 2011), p. 14
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