On the heels of their deaths, both left legacies that would forever haunt generations to come. JFK left the policies of Roosevelt, which he cleaned up, in the incapable hands of Lyndon Baines Johnson who plummetted the United States into the most bitter and hated war in American history - a war without a cause which divided the country not seen since the Civil War. The respect that had been attributed to authority of every kind began to erode quickly. Police forces were mocked by rebelling students; soldiers who had been cheered and loved during World War II and the Korean War, were now hated and despised - looked on as the enemy; politicians from the mayor to president were scorned and ridiculed by the people and the media. And in the Church, where once Catholics accepted everything the Magisterium imparted, this cancer of rebellion began to take its toll. Young liberals within the Church began calling for change and they looked to the Second Vatican Council, convened by Pope John before his death, as the answer. They even rallied sympathizing cardinals and non-Catholic experts to their side, encouraging a more "ecumenical" approach to the Council for one specific purpose: If they left everything to the Magisterium of the Church, they reasoned nothing would be changed drastically; but if they were able to enlist non-Catholics in the process along with such radicals as Hans Kung and that ilk, they might be able to not only persuade the old guard towards change but also effect a new regime within the Church by shaming the Church into not being more ecumenical, more "with-it" in these modern times we live. Every radical organization came out of the woodwork demanding to be part of this "Ecumenical" Council. It was a PR nightmare for many in the Vatican curia who had never faced this kind of pressure before. Sadly, some caved, forgetting that these Councils are not dictated by the whims of the public, but rather the needs of the Church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in determining and fulfilling God's Will.
For three years this Council continued, on and off, and when it convened on December 8, 1965 - the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, many did not realize that almost everything had remained in tact. Some things had been changed to accommodate the faithful regarding culture, streamlining and clarification. Fortunately, most of the bishops, cardinals and priests taking part had relied on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the traditions of Holy Mother Church. Unfortunately, there were still too many radical prelates, clerics and liberal lay leaders who railed that the Church did not go far enough and damn the Council, they'd do it their own way. But to openly rebel would have been suicide on their part. The faithful would rise up as one and point to "obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium" and they'd be drummed out of the Church, losing any effectiveness they would have had. No, a different tactic had to be taken. That scheme was to infiltrate the media and chosen liberal Church lay leaders at the diocesan and parish levels, planting the idea that whatever they mandated did not come from them but from the Council Fathers at Vatican II. By the time the truth came out, it would be too late. Oh, how right they were! They started slowly, realizing too much on the plate would make fervent Catholics suspicious. The culture of Catholics is to be obedient and so they played on that aspect, claiming "the Church has changed this so now you must do it this way, or believe this." Catholics everywhere trusted these pastors and lay leaders were being honest and if they said it, then it had to have come from the Pope himself. We know that sounds ridiculous, but that's basically how Catholics felt three decades ago. Trust was the watchword, and it was violated to the enth degree by those who were plotting their own agendas. Look back on the way changes in the Church evolved and if we knew then what we know today, would we have allowed these things to happen in and to our precious Church? No way! This gives cause to also better understand victims of pedophilia back in those days. Unsuspecting altar boys - back when boys were the only ones who served at Mass - most often strived to serve as ideal Catholic young men, spurred on by their parents and priests. As confusing as the teen years are mentally and physically, they're even more pandemonious pscyhologically and this is what pedophile priests and liberal agenda manipulators played on: the psyches. Laying the guilt trip on Catholics, especially the young ones if they didn't comply with the "personal" wishes of someone who could effect their lives. Things that were not right were now suddenly okay? Mores and ritual changed too fast and disallusionment set in. Is it any wonder so many - including priests and nuns - left the Church shortly after Vatican II? Sadly good religious also left. Confusion reigned and their roles became foreign to what they had been called to do in their vocations. Young abused boys, growing into men, lived with the guilt in a state of quandary, despair and loss of self-respect, afraid to reveal the traumatic to anyone for fear of rejection, ridicule and scorn. As more and more truths became evident as to the crimes committed against these youths and the scandal accompanying it, more and more the pedastal Catholic clerics had been placed on during the first part of the twentieth century began to crumble. The collapse of Camelot was complete.
How the pedastal crumbled and how liberal theologians, Hollywood, and the media influenced the masses while radicals worked behind the scenes at the parish level in the 70's will be the topic next week as we expose the false prophets in the American Church in this on-going megaseries.
To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.