For the #straightouttairondale Set, the Canonisation of Paul VI is a Brown Pants Moment

It’s coming soon:

Acclaimed Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli reports that a unanimous vote has taken place at a meeting of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, positively recognizing a purported miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini, 1897-1978). This development effectively paves the way for the Pontiff’s ‘canonization.’

But the #straightouttairondale people aren’t happy about it, to say the least:

The ‘canonization’ of Papa Montini is nothing else than a ‘canonization’ of the sordid agenda and disastrous orientation of Vatican II, the abysmal Novus Ordo Missae, and the embarrassing entirety of post-conciliar legislation and innovation.

This is unsurprising.  Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had as their basic mission the walking back from many of the changes that took place under Paul VI.  That, of course, would include the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which was in many ways spoilt by its leadership.

And as for me?  I think that my fate as a Roman Catholic was sealed by his death in 1978, when I came back three years later things were not moving in a nice direction for those of us who were the product of the previous decade.

It’s also worth noting that most of the Catholic music linked to here came from Paul’s pontificate.

2 Replies to “For the #straightouttairondale Set, the Canonisation of Paul VI is a Brown Pants Moment”

  1. With all the discussion from (and not usually between) those for or against the Second Vatican Council, few people actually read the documents, which are beautiful and sensible. The so called rad trads tell us to judge the tree by its fruits. True, some interesting misunterpretations and abuses occurred in the council aftermath. However, one should not judge rules by those who break them. Likewise, if practices were introduced incorrectly and were not permitted by the council, they had to go. Did too much change back under the next two popes? In some cases, perhaps yes. However, the Church also stopped a lot of things which never should have started.


    1. The Second Vatican Council and its aftermath is probably the most discussed–and cussed–issue in Roman Catholicism, either directly or indirectly. It will remain so long after those of us who experienced the Church in the years immediately following are dead and gone. Although a comprehensive discussion is far beyond this post, I’d like to make a few observations.

      First, your characterisation of Vatican II’s actual results is absolutely correct. Vatican II was based on the idea that the Church, over the years, while correct in its doctrine, had accrued many accidentals (using a good Scholastic term) which needed to be streamlined or eliminated. No where was that more evident that liturgically; I ran a series a few years back on Cipriano Vaggagini’s book on The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform. Reading that makes it evident that the Novus Ordo Missae wasn’t a major break from the past but a broadening of the use of liturgies used by apostolic churches. That’s why my first parish priest had no problem recommending a catechism like Martin Farrell’s when I swam the Tiber in 1972. (For more on him, click here.)

      Second, I think that much of the way the #straightouttairondale crowd (and this crowd is not perfectly univocal, to use another scholastic term) feels about Vatican II is purely sentimental. They believe that, if we could just go back to the way things were before the council, and restore all of the practices of the faithful before that time, that everything would be good. That’s not only unrealistic; it shows a lack of prioritisation between what is essential and what is not. It’s not a fair representation of what happened, either. As an example, if one peruses the Catholic music offered on this blog, a good deal of it is pre-NOM. By the time the NOM came around, traditionally conducted Masses with Latin were pretty much a thing of the past. NOM, in fact, restored a good deal of order to the situation by imposing a uniform translation and implementation of the liturgy.

      Third, if Paul VI made a major mistake, it was to lose control of the situation. That, in this country at least, was due to the fact that American bishops lost control of the situation, and it’s very difficult for a pontiff to keep a lid on things when his bishops won’t. The American church basically threw the baby out with the bath water. Paul’s issuance of Humanae Vitae was deeply unpopular in this country at the time, going against the changes taking place in the 1960’s, although in the long run it was a game changer (at least for abortion) for both Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

      I can’t help but think that, if Vatican II’s pronouncements on the role of the laity in the church were better implemented, things would have been more stable than they were. Unfortunately the one thing that the American church never quite got off the ground was a decent reform of the parish system into stronger communities, and that explains much of the bleed in parishioners the Church has experienced.

      Like most of this society, the RCC in this country is dominated by either/or thinking: either we have Catholicism “in the spirit of Vatican II” (which doesn’t always square with the letter) or we have #straightouttairondale. A “meeting of the minds” to properly implement the Council’s pronouncements would be welcome, but in the current climate I’m not holding my breath.


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