Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cardinal George: Second Vatican Council Did Not Intend to Make Catholics Protestants

From The Catholic New World:
There are many good people whose path to holiness is shaped by religious
individualism and private interpretation of what God has revealed. They are,
however, called Protestants. When an informed and committed group of Catholics,
such as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, comes up with an agenda for
discussion that is, historically, Protestant, an important point is being made.
Catholics assimilated to American culture, which is historically Protestant, are
now living with great tension between how their culture shapes them and what
their Catholic faith tells them to hold.
This is not surprising. Many writers who claim to be Catholic make names for themselves by attacking truths basic to our faith. Without the personal integrity that would bring them to admit they have simply lost the faith that comes to us from the Apostles, they reconstruct it on a purely subjective, individualistic basis and call it renewal. The Second Vatican Council wasn’t called to turn Catholics into
Protestants. It was called to ask God to bring all Christ’s followers into unity
of faith so that the world would believe who Christ is and live with him in his
Body, the Church. The de-programming of Catholics, even in some of our schools
and religious education and liturgical programs, has brought us to a moment
clearly recognized by the bishops in the Synod of 1985 (when the Catechism of
the Catholic Church was proposed as a partial solution to confusion about the
central mysteries of faith) and acknowledged by many others today.
This issue of the Catholic New World is devoted to faith in education and to
celebrating our Catholic schools. They make us proud and grateful. Dr. Nicholas
Wolsonovich and others have placed Catholic identity and the handing on of the
apostolic faith at the core of his reform efforts for our schools. Discussions
about the identity of Catholic colleges and universities continue despite
opposition by some and lethargy by others. The nature of Catholic health care
has been well worked out on paper, but finds practical implementation difficult
for many reasons. We could go on with cases from every Catholic institution,
including parishes and dioceses themselves. The Church is and should be a very
big tent. But the posts are firmly planted in divine revelation and the Church’s
response to God’s self-revelation over two thousand years. It’s a communal
response; the individual and his or her self-expression are never normative.
That’s a hard saying in a culture shaped by Protestantism and the later Age of
Enlightenment.

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