Matt C. Abbott
Pope Francis and Vatican II
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By Matt C. Abbott
March 19, 2013

I think it's safe to say that many liberal Catholics – if they're even practicing their faith – like to misrepresent the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. And in all likelihood, that's not going to change.

Just as unlikely is Pope Francis repudiating Vatican II. Ditto for any living cardinal. None of them have done so thus far, and there's no reason to think they will do so in the foreseeable future.

Was Vatican II a disaster? This much is certain: The Church since the council has indeed suffered greatly. In 2009, I had the following letter published in The Wall Street Journal:
    Regarding Father Edward T. Oakes's review of Father John W. O'Malley's book on the Second Vatican Council ('Chronicle of a Council,' Dec. 26): It is not a stretch to assert that the Catholic Church, particularly in the U.S., has suffered greatly since the council took place.

    Kenneth C. Jones compiled an 'Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II,' published in 2003. Among his findings: While the number of priests in the U.S. more than doubled to 58,000 between 1930 and 1965, that number has fallen to 45,000, and by 2020 there will be only 31,000. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns, but by 2002 that number had fallen to 75,000; Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one third since 1965, while the annual number of annulments rose from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002. (Regarding the annulment process, it is said that, for better or worse, psychological factors have been taken into consideration much more so post-Vatican II.) And, of course, we have the clergy sex abuse scandal that culminated in 2002 and continues to this day.

    Such statistics and events are sobering for any assenting Catholic. The cause? I submit that the zeitgeist and the activities of a number of morally corrupt churchmen are responsible for the problems in the Catholic Church since Vatican II and prior to the council, for that matter.
But when all is said and done, the council – more precisely, the teachings of the council – is here to stay; and it's not going to do one darn bit of good for traditionalists to rail against it at every turn. I'm not saying that all traditionalists are doing this, but some go on and on and on and on and on and on ... you get the picture.

Again, Vatican II is here to stay.

In regard to Pope Francis, I appreciate the commentary of traditionalist Michael J. Matt, editor of The Remnant, who writes (excerpted; click here for his commentary in its entirety):
    He's known to have a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother (is said to pray fifteen decades of the rosary every day), and in fact called upon Our Lady several times from the loggia during his first message to the world last night. This morning one of his first papal acts was to make a pilgrimage to the Basilica Santa Maria Maggoire. There he placed flowers on Mary's altar and knelt for several long moments in prayer. If externals mean anything, our Holy Father's devotion to the Mother of God is as genuine as it is touching, which, of course, bodes well for him and for us all.

    Over the years he has distinguished himself as a champion of Christian marriage, speaking out courageously against his own government's stand in favor of so-called gay marriage. He's also an outspoken defender of the unborn. These are two happy realities that will most assuredly put our new pope at odds with the modern world, which is always a good thing. There is no greater social or moral threat to our civilization today than that presented by the international warriors against the Christian family. At least in this arena, it seems the forces of evil will have a force with which to be reckoned in Pope Francis....

    So forgive me for not combing the Internet for evidence of all the faults and missteps of Cardinal Bergoglio. At this moment, I feel obligated before God to add my humble prayers to those of all the loyal sons and daughters of the Holy Father throughout the whole world for him. May God grant him the strength to restore order to our Church in chaos and the faith to lead the world out of the valley of the shadow of death and into the light of Christ our King.
Well said. And I would add that my prayer life can't hold a candle to the prayer life of Pope Francis.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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