Monday, August 13, 2012

Fr. Mark Kirby on Paul VI and His 'Credo of the People of God'

A time when "Many lost their footing in the faith."

Fr. Mark, Prior of Siverstream Priory wrote a sort of synopsis of what was going on when Pope Paul VI released his Credo - noting the indifference with which it was received.  This document predated Humane Vitae by less than a month - and history demonstrates how that was received.

What I appreciate about Father's post is his concise history of the 'moment'.  While he was faithfully seeking God - I at that time was indulging myself in the new found freedoms of the age.  Father's perspective is right on - something I came to understand in the summer of 1972.  The big difference between someone like me and Fr. Mark is that Father remained faithful to God throughout his life - I did not.  Perseverance is the key to sanctity.  But I digress.

I Survived the Summer of 1968
Pope Paul VI promulgated The Credo of the People of God on 30 June1968, less than one month before releasing his prophetic Encyclical Humanae Vitae. I lived through these events. I remember them well. It was a very hot summer; I was volunteering in a program for disadvantaged inner-city children. Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated earlier that same summer on 5 June.

Priests, religious, and seminarians were thrust into a whirlwind of liturgical, theological, and moral confusion. Many lost their footing in the faith. Even "enclosed" monasteries were affected. It was not uncommon to find that Zen Buddhism, so-called "Catholic" Pentecostalism, and a fascination with Garabandel and other apparitions had all made inroads into the same monastery. The Trappists, it seems, were especially hard hit by the rage for pluralism. The idea was that there should be something for everyone: "I'm OK, You're OK" (published in 1967) was the new Summa. Everything was subject to redefinition and reformulation. And, not to be forgotten: The National Association for Pastoral Renewal came out with the "Make Celibacy Optional" bumper sticker.

In Paris, student protesters and strikers launched the now famous social revolution of mai 68, the matrix of a generation of soixante-huitards (sixty-eighters), who, alas, would carry their groovy ideologies forward into the new millennium in both the world and the Church.

In the world of popular culture, the Broadway musical Hair opened in April 1968, offering young people a combination of music and lyrics that glorified every manner of sexual license and perversion. The pollution of the sexual revolution poured into the Church through the windows opened at the Second Vatican Council to let in fresh air. Young Religious of the Sacred Heart, formerly so ladylike and prim, discovered the joy of theological dialogue with edgy long haired Jesuit scholastics in jeans and sandals . . . and the rest is history.

Among Catholics, there was a heady feeling in the air, enticing even the brightest and the best to believe that everything in the Church and in society had to be re-imagined and re-created, beginning with the liturgy. Tampering with the liturgy led to tampering with the doctrine of the faith; and tampering with the doctrine of the faith led to a skewed moral theological and ethical praxis. - Finish reading here.
Fr. Mark knows how we got where we are today too.

"Allow yourself to be taught." - John of the Cross

1 comment:

  1. I have great respect for Father Kirby. His posts are always both eloquent and meaningful. I will have to read the whole thing.

    Terry, you wrote, "The big difference between someone like me and Fr. Mark is that Father remained faithful to God throughout his life - I did not. Perseverance is the key to sanctity."

    That's probably true but the important thing is that you realized you were on the wrong path and have sought to be faithful with the remainder of your life. How many more have continued on the road to perdition?


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