I prefer instead to occupy myself with a reality that gives me great joy: Pope Benedict XVI's discourses on the Fathers of the Church.
That is, on Tradition (with a capital T), that long chain of truth and authority that makes of Peter's Church the mystical Body of Christ, from which we receive Scripture as well as Tradition.
Wheover, like me, who lived the years after Vatican-II as the Church's worst attempt at self-destruction, now takes part with great joy, as we see once again, in this Pope's words and actions, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church - living tradition as well as mystical sacrament.
Make no mistake! Still pervasive, especially among progressivist theologians and liturgists, is the Protestant influence according to which only Scripture is the source of Revelation, and that Tradition is very much subordinate.
But Papa Ratzinger is here now, and he gives voice as Pope to that long line of holy men who have evolved the language of the Church, expressing our beliefs as well as our capacity to approach God's Mystery with words.
If the Magisterium were to be only Scripture, then it would mean that Christians can have access to the divine only through the words of others long gone, those who experienced the divine and expressed that experience in the Scriptures. As though the experience that made possible the Church had ended with its founding, that the Holy Spirit no longer works in men and remains enclosed in the pages of a book and perhaps in the words of preachers constrained by the injunction 'sola Scriptura'.
But the Catholic Church announces that Pentecost is a continuing event, that the Holy Spirit continues to speak to Christians and allows them in their own way to experience the faith that animated the Church from its beginnings.
That is why the life of the Church has the breath of the eternal, in the certainty that words spoken centuries ago are timeless and beyond time: and that every Christian in his own time can truly participate in the experience that the apostles lived. And so, the Mystery of divine life, which was conveyed on that first Pentecost to those who had witnessed the passion and the Resurrection of Christ, lives on in every believer.
Whoever, like me, lived the Babel-like years after Vatican-II of discordant polyphony in which every theologian was a judge and every exegete a Biblical authority, now feels intensely how this Pontiff sees the Church as the Mother-Teacher who gives every Christian the possibility of living the divine Mystery that it announces.
We have a great historical event happening under our eyes: the Church, one in time and space, within which the Pope of Rome shows with authority that it is indeed the Mystical Body of Christ.
It was a special joy to hear the papal commentary on Dionysius the Areopagite, who showed the ineffability of the divine mystery which is above and beyond reason, but which can be reached by the experience of faith fully lived in the concreteness of day-to-day human life.
This, to me, is true history, and only one who has suffered through how much was lacking all these years can appreciate what is happening as nothing less than divine intervention.
Many Christians had been awaiting this with little confidence but with great hope: A truth that is not confusing, and infused into us by the Holy Spirit in that charity that makes us all one.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Bringing order into Babel of post-Vatican II
~Here's a piece in Tempi written by Gianni Baget Bozzo on Pope Benedict's catechesis...the restoration happening under Pope Benedict's guidance. Found at Papa Ratzinger Forum. He began with a brief nod to the present political landscape and then confessed that is not what he's interested in: