There’s been a lot about ‘Catholics for a Changing Church’ (CCC), and other similar, bodies on the blogs recently; not least in the context of ‘Stand Up for Vatican II’. This appears to be an umbrella body which, it seems to me, could almost be prosecuted for misleading advertising, given that almost none of the things they want to stand up for were no part of the teaching of the Council, but were instead products of gross subsequent misrepresentation and lawlessness.
However : I have a very simple suggestion, which might solve a lot of problems in a wide variety of directions.
These people apparently want a whole list of things, all of which are available in the Church of England – so why don’t they go there ?
First, that would give them what they want.
Secondly, as the Church of England has been suffering falling numbers for many years, it would be of benefit to it – even if only temporarily, given the age of many of those involved.
Thirdly, a sizable proportion of those falling numbers have been Anglicans converting to the Catholic Church to escape exactly things which CCC & Co think are so wonderful; so they’d be spared having to cope with them.
Of course, they will say ‘Yes; but we’re CATHOLICS : we couldn’t possibly go and join a Protestant Church !’
However, in recent years, it has been very carefully – and on the whole kindly – explained to them (and everyone else) exactly what is wrong with the things they are seeking; and exactly why they are not compatible with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church : not least in the liturgical and doctrinal writings of one Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, sometime Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith . . . of course, he’s moved on since then . . . now where exactly did he go ?
Now : Canon 751 of the Codex Iuris Canonici reads :
‘Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith;’
No-one (as far as I know) is suggesting that they have, at least en masse and ‘officially’, done either of those.
However, it continues :
‘schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.’
Now; our friends at CCC basically say ‘we know what Vatican II was about, and if you don’t agree, you’re wrong’. Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (who earlier in life was a peritus at VatII) has clearly and courteously – but nonetheless firmly – disagreed with them on more or less every point, observing that it is their version of Vatican II that is wrong : and since ascending the Throne of S. Peter has seen no reason to change anything that he has said on that topic. They nonetheless obstinately refuse to submit to his teaching on these matters.
Hhmmm . . . that would make them Schismatics, then ?
It looks like it, certainly : in which case, they already HAVE joined a Protestant Church – or, rather, they have in effect created one all of their own : a Church based on their peculiar concept of what Vatican II taught, with no reference to reality; or to what the Council really said - the 'Stand-up Church of Vatican II' perhaps ?
(Standing up in ecclesiastical circles is always a dicey business. Many years ago now a loyal Anglican wrote a book entitled 'What the Church of England Stands For'. A Catholic wag apparently commented 'Because there's only one seat, and the Holy Father's sitting on it !')
Dealing with this sort of situation officially is a messy business, of course, which tends to hurt people in all sorts of ways in all sorts of directions . . . not to mention the fact that ‘due Judicial Process’ invariably takes an extended period of time . . . so anno Domini will probably resolve this whole affair more effectively, as well as more speedily, than the Curia . . .
Meanwhile, the rest of us will simply get on with trying to implement the teachings of Vatican II in the light of the hermeneutic of continuity which has clearly been indicated by the Holy Father (who unlike the members of CCC was there !) as the way in which it should be interpreted.
Ad Multos Annos, Sancte Pater !