Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baby of the Eighties

So...I did totally post something last night, but it appears that the internets ate it. Oh well. It wasn't very interesting. It was more academic angst, because I just realized that hey! I've kind of totally already completed the religious studies major! And I'm kind of totally going to graduate school for religious studies. So it kind of totally makes sense to, oh, I don't know, declare the religious studies major. That involves like way more weird classes and summer school and oh, hey, I never applied for financial aid for summer school because I don't take summer school and whatever, I just want a glass of wine.

The real post I was going to put up was about this absolutely amazing book I've been reading, Signs of the Times. I picked it up because it's subtitled "Understanding the Church Since Vatican II" and I'm planning on spending most of next year attempting to understand the Church since Vatican II- it seemed appropriate. It's less of a history than I would have liked, and more of a collection of theological studies by Fr. Richard Gilsdorf , who was actually from Green Bay.

In it, he describes himself as a "Vatican II liberal", which I found really interesting because I was talking with my advisor about how way too often, particularly in the United States, the whole Vatican II thing ends up being broken up into a whole liberal/conservative thing, and that's completely unfounded.

Like Fr. Gilsdorf points out, why do you need to be liberal or conservative? Why can't you be "as liberal as the pope and as conservative as the pope?" Why can't you just love the Church and want her to be the best she can be?

I really think that you can. All to often, the whole "dissenting" thing is just ridiculous. Those who dissent, such as Andrew Greeley (Gilsdorf calls him a heterodox, which makes me laugh. I've read Greeley, and my humble opinion? He's just mad he can't get laid.), don't really understand the theology behind the issue. If they did, they would see that there is always a reason, and it's usually a good reason, too. It's been five hundred years since we've had any "because I said so" theology. The Pope does have the highest position within the church. He is the highest servant of Christ. But precisely because he is the highest servant of Christ, he is the most humble, in Christ's own image.

Obviously, we've had crappy Popes. But I'm talking big picture.

And too often the whole Vatican II issue ends up being turned into a weird political thing. Like those who wanted the Church kept like she was before Vatican II are conservative (or orthodox) and those who like the changes are liberal and want to ordain women.

I was born in the late eighties. I've never heard Mass in Latin. I'm incredibly thankful for Vatican II. I thin it's amazing that a council was called to make the Church better and stronger. I really like Mass in the vernacular. I really like that there are lay ministers. I like that girls are alter servers now. I like Communion in hand (although Gilsdorf, writing in 1974, kind of freaks out about that). I have never been in a traditional confessional- I've always gone to a reconciliation room, and rarely did I use the screen. (Also as '70s-era Gildorf freaks out about- I don't think the advent of the the "reconciliation room" led to any increase in rampant illicit sex. Honestly. I've felt uncomfortable in confession before, but never like that. Really. Grow up.)

But I'm incredibly orthodox. I will tow the party line. I believe that sex is an expression of love within marriage and this is not supposed to keep us from having fun but rather to make marriage as an institution stronger. I think marriage is for life. If I were married, I wouldn't be using artificial birth control. It's not that I don't think about the teachings of the Church, but I generally agree with them.

So anyway, this was long. And it didn't really have a point, except that oversimplification is bad.

Oh, and apparently Milwaukee under Archbishop Cousins was a crazy hotbed of weirdness? Like polka masses and stuff? Would any of my mature readers like to comment on this, because again, I've never seen a chapel veil.


rockford said...

First of all, I am very glad to hear that you did, in fact, post yesterday ( I was very saddened this morning when I went to read your post and found nothingness....)and, secondly, being one of your mature readers, I wish I could comment on your request but my memories of Archbishop Cousins are very much like all of my young memories - i.e. hazy...but I do not remember anything outlandish...I do not think that there was intense discussion at the abode about how he was so out there that he was ruining the church in the archdiocese - all I remember there being talk of is that he had been in Peoria before coming to Milwaukee- not a very political statement...hopefully, your other "mature" readers will be more helpful...

mickey said...

I resent the word "mature" but I did wear a chapel veil as a young one!!!!!!! I have heard of polka masses but never been to one. Have been to many guitar masses....might that help???? I was wondering why there wasn't a post last night.....I watch:):):)

Anonymous said...

Have never been to a polka mass either. I was however made to wear a kleenex on my head if my chapel veil wasn't available. The veils themselves were quite fashionable. White for summer seasons, black for winter. Short ones for everyday that just covered the head, and the mantilla type ones for the more pious occasions.