Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Historicism: License for the New Theology of Vatican II?

Historicism has apparently been proposed by the progressivists (neo-modernists) who prevailed at Vatican II as the overarching principal by which the perennial truths of Sacred Tradition are now to be considered.

Reduced to its lowest common denominator Historicism appears to refer to the new ecclesiology by which those doctrinal truths which prior to Vatican II were always and everywhere believed by Roman Catholics vis a vis the Vincentian Canon-- have been rendered subject to change on the assumption/declaration that all such apparently immutable pronouncements apply only to the time in which they were formulated. Thus, other times and circumstances may demand that they be either altered or completely eliminated. In one fell swoop the entire notion of immutability of key doctrines/dogmas has ostensibly been done away with and for that matter one leg (Sacred Tradition) of the "3" legged stool which historically stabilized the Catholic faith.

Thus the Church of Christ which for almost 2000 years was identical to the Roman Catholic Church has now become something which only "includes" the Roman Catholic Church among other Churches, sects etc. (albeit to a greater extent than the rest according to Vatican II). It is now possible to belong to the Church of Christ to greater or lesser degrees. Presumably, this does away with the troubling problem of violating the law of non-contradiction. What appears to be a hopeless incompatibility/contradiction is overcome by declaring that Truth is relative to time and place. This undermines the very meaning of absolute (timeless) truth--if words are to have any meaning. Under the New Theology it is never possible to know for sure if a given doctrine/dogma/belief or practice is foundational/stable.

For example, at one time it was necessary to prohibit Roman Catholics--on pain of mortal sin--from participating in the religious services of non-Catholics. During another period e.g. the one in which we now find ourselves, ecumenical inter-religious services are even encouraged and participated in to varying degrees by the Holy See. The Pope has even been seen distributing communion to notorious non-Catholics--a practice which at one time would have been unthinkable.

Moreover, at one time in the history of the Church it may have seemed necessary to hold that the Roman Catholic Church was identical with-- in fact was the only Church of Christ. At another, it is apparently propitious to claim that she is only one among many other sects/organizations which themselves are to some degree members of the Church of Christ. What was once an all or none phenomenon has now become a kind of "sliding scale."

With Historicism as a new foundational principle, one wonders to what extent it is even reasonable to believe that the new pronouncements are correct even now. What assurance is there that in 50 years the current beliefs and practices will still be valid--and if not--given the evolutionary nature of the Catholic Church vis a vis Historicism, why not allow each person to determine what personally seems valid to them--ala the principle of "private interpretation" much as so-called "cafeteria Catholics" do now? The Vatican at least implicitly accepts private interpratation given that the new view of the Church of Christ includes those Protestant churches who still adhere to Sola Scriptura as a dogma. On what basis are Roman catholics to be denied a belief in private interpratation for that matter even on such contentious topics as artificial contraception and procurred abortion? Why should any professing Catholic be disciplined (such as in withholding of the Eucharist) for failing to accept Roman Catholic Church teaching on these or any other issues which currently confront contemporary Christians--e.g., a pro-choice abortion position, divorce and re-marriage, destructive embryo research, euthanasia etc.?

What if one's personal degree of "theological evolutionary* progress" outstrips the contemporary view of the Vatican on belief or practice? Who is to say then that such a belief seriously held, is unacceptable--the current, the past or the future Magisterium? These are all questions which I find difficult to answer given the new Historicism of the post-Conciliar church.


*Guimaraes, Smith and others maintain that evolution of belief was a foundational principle which unifies Vatican II ecclesiology. The progressivists who prevailed at Vatican II apparently admit as much in their own words and statements.

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What/Where is the Roman Catholic Church?

In light of Traditional Catholic dogma/doctrine, how should the Second Vatican Council be viewed ? Is it consistent with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and prior Magisterial teaching?

What explains the tremendous amount of "bad fruit" which has been forthcoming since the close of the Council in 1965? “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)

This site explores these questions and more in an attempt to place the Second Vatican Council in proper perspective.