In this lesson we will begin to examine the causes and effects that prompted Catholics to squeeze the Vitae out of "Humanae Vitae" and the consequences of their actions.
In the last lesson we talked about the golden age of the Church in America, right up to the beginning of the sixties. The Church was flourishing. Then how did the deterioration of the Catholic structure in America happen so quickly and allow the utter rebellion of "non serviam" to be uttered from so many lips? that swelled to a cacaphonous echo in response to "Humanae Vitae"
There are many, many answers to that. Answers, not solutions. The vast majority of American Catholics did not see the masonic, modernistic conspiracy being formulated even in the thirties and forties. Catholicism was a culture unto itself and a bond with the universal Church was solid through the commonality of Latin. Families were weaned on the Faith and taught to trust.
We can see then the effects of the changes on the mindset of many Catholics whose faith was strong and trusting.
We point to the fact that many Catholics had let their guard down. Many bishops and pastors did not take their responsibilities seriously. Rather than truly examining the documents of the Council, they depended on others to capsulize it for them, to get to the bottom line so they could start making changes quickly. A laziness set in, a quest for the 'easier way.' Where a Church, known for it's ultra slow determination before making any kind of changes, all of a sudden began tearing down altars and moving tabernacles overnight. Many of the faithful were awash in a sea of confusion. In the first few years, with various contradictions cropping up in every diocese, trust went south. Who to believe? It definitely left the door wide open for satan to enforce his 'non serviam' creed.
What was the common Catholic parishioner to think when they began dismantling the altar and shelving the Catechism, de-emphasizing along the way devotions such as the Rosary, Litanies, 40 Hours, Benediction and Adoration? It began to cast doubts in their minds. Sadly, many left the Church, frustrated with the changes and lost in this new culture foisted on them. Others resisted and stuck to what they had prior to the Council. But they were in a vast minority for, as we see today, the majority of the population, the majority of Catholics are sheep and will be led anywhere if the persuasion is convincing.
The time immediately following the Council is one of the saddest chapters in the short history of the Church in America because, for the most part, the bishops and pastors did not persuade the faithful to study the changes; they did not explain the motives or rationale for such stark changes. Rather than reaching out to their flocks in explanation and help, many prelates designated, bestowing powers on many who were just waiting for the word to begin deconstructing.
If we can truly place blame then it must be laid at the feet of the bishops who exercised very poor judgment in their delegating. One of the major problems for this is the age-old ivory tower mentality that many who ascend to the office of successor of the Apostles possessed and, sadly, some still do. They build chancery walls around them, making them virtually unreachable as they delegate others to do the "dirty work." Often they did and do wash their hands of responsibility by patronizing parishioners through condonement or mild outrage that might bark a bit, but lacks teeth and bite.
Because of this "kennel" behavior, Catholics began to form cliques. In many parishes you had polarization between the a small group of overbearing liberals trying to ramrod through more than the Council intended and a small group of those who wanted to know why, how, what, when, where and who ordered these changes. But their voice trailed into a silent vapor as support was thrown behind the liberal factions, endorsed by many chanceries who already had their people in place for the coup d'etat, if you will.
And, as is the wont of human nature, they will cave to clever spin, especially when regulations are relaxed and life is made easier at the outset. But, just as one can easily put something on credit immediately, they will eventually have to pay for it and the longer it goes unchecked, the greater the price. In this case the price has been staggering.
Just as one bad apple can spoil the barrell, so also can a few bad priests or bad nuns help corrode convents and seminaries. That is what happened in the 50's and 60's setting up the leftist revolution in the late 60's that closed seminaries, Catholic schools, monasteries as entire orders were corrupted. For those who might doubt this, look at the state of the Sisters of Mercy today compared to the 50's; look at the demise of the Benedictines, the dread dredges the Dominicans have fallen into, the implosion of the proud Jesuits and many other orders who demanded they relax the rules, give unprecedented freedom and license to those who prior to that were contained within proper guidelines.
The pedestal was toppled. With the crumbling pieces, respect was swallowed up in the debris, radicals within the Church and closet homosexuals made their presence known ever more forcefully. Having been in place, waiting for the moat bridge to be dropped just enough so they could slowly scale the walls of decency and rigidity and ease their way into the mainstream of Church life, they themselves were surprised when the bishops lowered the bridge completely and ushered in the Trojan horse. Once inside the chanceries, they were able to ensconce themselves in positions of power and tenure.
Where before the fortress was secure, perceived, if you will, impenetrable, now it was breached and its inhabitants in great jeopardy. Rather than fighting, many meekly succumbed to the intimidation of the modernists. Where before everything was in black and white, where boundaries were set and Catholics knew the limits, after Vatican II, because the bishops' presence in the parishes was so minimal and dissemination so confusing, more and more issues turned gray.
The infiltration was complete. Now everything was gray. And in this bleak tableau the liberals began a cleverly manipulated campaign of verbal engineering. It was the birth of political correctness.
Those who resisted were ostracized and held up for ridicule. This motivated many to abandon their own principles and fall in line with the majority thinking that now had become the lax, permissable mindset of the "reformers." Feelings and perceptions were easily shifted, guards were let down and satan marched right in. Pope Paul VI confirmed this on his death bed. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the cornerstone of the Curia, has said many times the same thing and how the true measures of Vatican II were not properly carried through. He has also expressed grave concern about all the liturgical abuses today and, though it has nothing to do with "Humanae Vitae" or the issue of the Sanctity of Life, per se, it is very much part and parcel of the problem for they are all intertwined with an attitude that has prevailed for over thirty years and longer.
Had "Humanae Vitae" been presented ten years earlier, the faithful would have complied fully and the Church would not have gone through the dark night of the soul, but alas, what's done is done. Because she is the Church, founded by Christ she will grow stronger because of it. But the price has been steep, not only for the Church but also civilization as a whole. Where our great-grandparents, grandparents and even parents said "I will serve" ('serviam') the events of the sixties turned serviam to the same words that caused lucifer to be thrown out of Heaven: 'non serviam' - "I will not serve." This defiance had a definite consequence that has had dire repercussions up to today.
In the next lesson we will examine the family mind-set and American culture ten years before, during and after the Second Vatican Council to discover why there was such an overwhelming rejection to Paul VI's wisdom and warning.
NEXT WEEK: Lesson Eighteen: Taggers of American Graffiti Trigger "Humanae Vitae"
For previous Lessons in this Series, see At One With God