Whatever happened to Vatican II?
Well you might ask.
The bad news: it was strangled at birth. The good news: the body was spirited away to the cryo-chamber, to be thawed out at an appropriate time.
Margaret McCurtain, OP, (Sr. Benvenuta to you) thinks now might be about the right time to turn up the heat.
She was giving a talk in St. Mary's, Haddington Road, last night (8/3/12) in which she revisited the great hopes held out for Pope John XXIII's Vatican Council.
She recalled that the potential for progress and change contained in Council documents was subverted in a war of attrition by the Vatican. A good example was the encyclical Humanae Vitae, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1968, which put an end, once and for all, to the more progressive possibilities contained in the Council documents.
The years that followed saw a clamping down on anything approaching free theological speculation and the suppression of any theologians who even hinted at questioning the party line. These were grim years for those who saw the church as "ecclesia reformanda" as Bishop Martin recently called it.
And in more recent times, the Vatican continued to firmly place the protection of the institution over the interests of its flock, culminating in the "Vatican hanging the bishops out to dry" over the child abuse scandal.
Today's message from on high is that everyone must toe the party line. But all is not lost. The issues that confronted the Vatican Council will not go away, and hopefully, the cryo-chamber will be thawed out soon.
I think Margaret was, strictly speaking, forbidden from discussing the ordination of women, which is probably why, in a spirit of true obedience, she didn't advance a single argument against the idea.
She hoped the forthcoming International Eucharistic Congress, in Dublin in June, would be taken as an opportunity for developing the faith. Surprisingly, she is not scheduled to speak at the Congress.
There was a brief Q&A interlude at the end of the session, during which we were treated to Rory Connor's standard litany on the silence of the liberals in not criticising those who spread lies about John Charles McQuaid and pedophilia. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to involve Margaret in his crusade.
St. Mary's by night
St. Mary's are to be commended on this series of talks which has now been running since 2006. Talks have been first class and attendance in general has been high. Needless to say, last night's session was packed.
I have posted on a previous talk in the series by John McDaid, SJ, on reconciling the theologies of Jews and Christians.
For those who are interested in such matters I can report that there was no mention during the evening of Fr. Vincent Twomey.
NOTE: I originally posted the above post in March 2012, but when it became clear that the CDF were into an orgy of silencing those they saw as deviating from the party line, I took down the post. I did not in any way wish to contribute to the possible silencing of this worthy lady. I did that off my own bat, without consulting her, and just informed her after it was done.
I am now reposting it, again without consulting her, in the hope that, with the coming of Pope Francis, there will be an end to new silencings and, should the CDF attempt to take a pot, this will be disregarded by the superiors of the religious orders, following Pope Francis's advice to the American nuns.
I understand that Sr. Benvenuta's health has seriously deteriorated since March 2012 and I wish her all the best in this regard.