January 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 1

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    Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

    Today Pat puts Y2K behind and opens a new moniker - Y2V - Why Vatican II? - in refuting the claims the liberal dissidents are heralding for their new hero Pope John XXIII who will be beatified next September 3rd along with fellow Pontiff Pope Pius IX. The modernists think John was a liberal who wanted to make changes to change the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth for John was a caring man with a great respect for the traditions and teachings of the Church as illustrated in his writings and actions. There were those who used this loveable Pope to foster their own agendas, but they were not Cardinal Roncalli's agenda. He only wanted to open the door and let in some fresh air in, allow the Holy Spirit to move about during a time when the world was losing its innocence. It was the liberals who allowed satan in. That is the gist of Pat's column today, Y2V? For past columns by Pat Ludwa, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives   If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at

    Now that Y2K has come and gone, we're still faced with YV2. (Why Vatican II?) This came about from reading that the Church hopes to beatify Pope John XXIII on September 3, 2000. Saints have a habit of being remade. New Age Catholics (a contradiction in terms) see St. Francis of Assisi as one of them. Joan of Arc as a lesbian and cross dressing patron saint (I'm not making this up!!!) Mary Magdalene as an Apostle and priestess. The list can go one forever. Well, those wacky guys at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) have already settled on 'Blessed' Pope John XXIII as their patron saint. Tom Fox, publisher of the NCR, said that Pope John 'fit the bill' as their patron saint. Question is, would he really?

    One has to question why Pope John XXIII called for Vatican II? Many critics of Vatican II say that there was no need for it. The Church had no pressing doctrinal questions, no heresies to concider, no need for a Couoncil.

    According to the NCR, Call to Action, etc, it was to save the Church from the "prophets of gloom" in the Vatican and ring in a new era of democracy in the Church. That the 'people of God' would 'open the windows and let the wind of the Holy Spirit blow throughout the Church.' Or as Fox put it, "(Pope John XXIII) was open and wanted a Church engaged with the modern world. He saw the Holy Spirit active in the world. It was to be 'our' task to find 'Her' by understanding the signs of the times." The problem is, the first person who would have a hard time with Fox's interpretation of Pope John is Pope John himself.

    Consider the times when he came to the 'Chair of Peter'. Technology was just beginning to explode in a manner never seen before in the history of mankind. Science was becoming the new god. The 'theory' of evolution was being held up as fact and that God had no hand in it whatsoever. Mankind was no longer a unique creature of God, but simply a clever, and dangerous animal. With this mind set, we harnessed the power of the atom, to destroy, heal, provide electricity, etc. We were entering into space, where the notion of the skies raining nuclear missiles was a very real possibility.

    Europe was still rebuilding from a terrible war, with the Soviet Union poised to 'liberate' Western Europe. In short, the world was close to self annihilation. This is the world Pope John XXIII saw as he came to the papacy. "Today the Church is witnessing a crisis under way within society. While humanity is on the edge of a new era, tasks of immense gravity await the Church..." (John XXIII; in his message convoking Vatican II) The Church wasn't in crisis, humanity was. He saw the world being swallowed by a "grave spiritual poverty." What the world needed, was the Church. To teach it the love of God, to give it His light, to give it hope.

    "It is a question of bringing the modern world into contact with the vivifying energies of the Gospel, a world which exalts itself with its conquests in the technical and scientific fields, but which "...some of have wished to reorganize excluding God." (Ibid) Many in the Curia saw the world going to hell in a hand basket. He didn't share this pessimism, but saw the Catholic Church, "vibrant with vitality" (as it was when he was Pope)to bring the message of hope to a world despairing in the 'spirit of the times.' Drawing on her rich traditions, he saw the Church as a bulwark against pessimism, against 'the signs of the times,' and that the Council's greatest concern would be that "the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously." It may be that, after reading the Third Secret of Fatima, he hoped the Council would be a catalyst to change the world's course toward self destruction, and redirect it toward God. Instead, the 'prophets of gloom' have used him and his Council to try to remake the Church into the world's image.

    One cannot look to only one part, or document, of Vatican II. Like the Scriptures, one has to see it as a whole. And not just by itself, but with the other Councils and teachings of the Church. Vatican II never revoked the Council of Trent in regards to the Mass or the Eucharist. Nor did it, or could it, revoke the teachings of the Church against artificial birth control, which is even found as early as the Didache, the teachings of the Apostles. It could not, and did not, revoke centuries of Church teaching, papal authority, or Magisterial teachings. In short, Vatican II was NOT what Fox, the NCR, Call To Action, nor any other 'progressive' Catholic group, say it was. They refer to only one document of Vatican II, "Gaudium et Spes" (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) [and a badly distorted reference at that] and reject other documents of the Council which need to be included. "Lumen Gentium" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) and "Dei Verbum" (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation). Without these two, "Gaudium et Spes" means nothing. It shows what the Church believes, how it worships, how it's organized and why, and how THAT Church can be a leaven for the world. Drawing the world away from the 'prophets of gloom' in the culture of death with their notion of relativism, and self centeredness.

    Yes, Pope John XXIII should be considered for sainthood. He was the right man in the right place at the right time. He saw the need for the Church stand firm in her faith and traditions and be a voice for the objective truth of God, in a world hurtling toward self destruction by rejecting God and replacing Him with man.

    Pope John XXIII, and the Second Vatican Council, echoed the words of our Lady of Fatima. "Return to God, or worse things will occur." And they have.

    Rather than patting Fox and his friends on the back, Pope John XXIII may well cry out, "What have you done to me and my Council?"

    As we enter into the new millennium, let's rededicate ourselves to God through His Church. To be a light unto the world, a voice of reason in a world gone mad. A world where the question is often not whether we should do something, but how. His true hopes and prayers are just as important now as then. We can now clone animals, how long before people are cloned? With genetics, we are fast approaching what Hitler and others sought, the genetic engineering of a 'super' human. Rather than going WITH the world, let's follow Pope John's vision for the Church and be a voice to the world that WE are not God, or gods.

Pax Christi, Pat


January 3, 2000
volume 10, no. 1

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