‘When Bishops Meet’

by Alan Fimister

How important was Vatican II? On the one hand it seems a ridiculous question. The Council has clearly, for good or ill, been revolutionary in its impact upon the Church in the sixty years since it was summoned by John XXIII. Fr John O’Malley S.J. veteran Church Historian of Georgetown University and author of weighty histories of Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II, has no doubt as to the importance of the twenty-first Ecumenical Council and seeks to shed light upon it by contrasting its teaching and style with that of its two immediate predecessors in his book-length essay ‘When Bishops Meet’.[1] And yet, while admitting the undoubted contrasts between the Second Council of the Vatican and all its predecessors perhaps we should not take its importance as so much a first principle as Fr O’Malley elects to do, but rather subject it to examination.

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The Mirror of the Benedict Option

Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (New York: Sentinel, 2017).

One of the great sorrows that I encounter as a priest is the sorrow of parents whose children have abandoned the Faith. Their sorrow can be more bitter even than the sorrows of those parents who suffer the fata aspera of having to bury their children. To have given the gift of life, only to see that gift taken too soon, and to be able to give only the “unavailing gift” of funeral flowers, is a bitter fate indeed. But for those who have come to believe that true life is the eternal life of Christ, it is still more bitter to have brought a child to the waters of Baptism, hoping for that child to receive a share in the inheritance of infinite bliss, only to see that child trade the infinite good for the vain pomps of this world. If it were not for the hope of future repentance, this would be almost too much to bear. And yet, it is a sorrow that Christian parents have had to bear at all times. Children of believing parents have been abandoning the narrow way that leads to eternal life since the Church began. But the great falling away from the faith in Austria in the past five or six decades or so have given so many parents that sorrow. It is of course difficult to tell whether that is because hypermodern culture has actually led more children astray, or whether it has simply made straying more obvious— previous generations of worldly children were perhaps better at pretending to their parents that they were still in a state of grace. When I tell such parents that I come from a family of eight children they often ask me whether all of my brothers and sisters are still practicing Catholics. And when I answer affirmatively they invariably ask: “How did your parents do it?” Continue reading “The Mirror of the Benedict Option”