Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rapture & Rupture

It's at these sort of times that I'm rather glad that the Church, in her wisdom, can be rather vague. Some wag, during the week, noted that 'rapture' was the word preferred by those who couldn't spell parousia. For those of you not plagued by the nightmares of a millenialist childhood, the 'rapture' is the term commonly used by millenialists (and others) to describe the disappearance of 'true' believers at the end times before or after the tribulation according to which hue of millenialism you adhere to. Parousia, on the other hand, is a bit more general encompassing the events surrounding the second coming of Our Lord. Thankfully the Catholic Church has never seen fit to define a timetable for the events at the end times nor has it sort to identify particularly a mark of the beast for that matter. At little bit less egg on the face in this corner. The details of all this are thankfully hidden from our view (they don't call it the Apocalypse for nothing) however that won't stop speculation. Indeed we are enjoined to look for the signs but perhaps some people need to be reminded that 'no man knoweth the hour' (Matthew 24:36).

For some reason the whole business of rupture in the development of the liturgy is raising it's head again. I guess with the whole business of Summorum Pontificum subsiding there needed to be another cause dragged out of the cupboard again to keep the presses busy. At the moment it's largely electronic media in hyper drive but watch this space. Here's the basic question; Was the liturgical reform of 40 years ago a continuance of an ongoing process or was it a rupture with the tradition of the Church? The dividing lines here are not clear cut. You get scholars from both ends of the spectrum siding with either side. You also get some liturgists sticking their oar in.

More importantly there is a theological question. Are certain aspects of the teaching of the 2nd Vatican Council a continuance of traditional Church teaching, a development of it, or a departure from it? A satisfactory answer to this question would seem to provide the basis for an answer to those skirmishing liturgical questions. Do I hear the scratching of quills as another document is prepared?


  1. Do you think D. Athanasius Schneider is correct in his asking for a "Syllabus of Errors" to clarify all the confusion?

  2. Good question and one that I will have to give some proper thought to. As far as the 'end times' go I doubt it would be possible. As far as the broader issue of continuity or discontinuity goes I'd suspect that even a 'syllabus of errors', written today, would be imbued with quite ambiguous terminilogy as to just add fuel on the fire. I suspect I'm being pessimistic.

  3. Well if one has been following the wrangling going on over at www.Chiesa - hosted by Sandro Magister – or read the Italian volumes on Vat II (“Un discorso da fare” “Il discorso mancato” “Una storia mai scritta” – not to mention the ponderous “History of the Council” produced by the ‘Bologna School’), it all becomes very confusing.

    You have the theologian Mgr. Brunero Gherardini and historian Roberto de Mattei in one corner, the philosophy professor Fr. Martin Rhonheimer in another corner, Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli OP of Bologna in another corner and now the Benedictine Dom Basile Valuet who eschews corners and appears to be of the opinion: “none of the above”. And then there are the Lefebvrists. The list goes on…

    What is one to think? While initially tempted to delve into the arguments and counter arguments – which would have engaged me as a student half a century ago - I have decided that life is too short and I’ll leave that to minds still blessed with the energy of youth.

    On the principle “Ubi Petrus…” I think I’ll stick with the Holy Father and his “hermeneutic of renewal in continuity”. I think I know what he means and it has the advantage of brevity - which, at my age, is increasingly welcome.

  4. I'm guessing the "VC2 dust" will only settle a century or more from now.


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