[percy-l] Vatican II--changes in form or substance?
BMclaughlin at nazarene.org
Mon Feb 16 10:55:34 EST 2004
It is my understanding is that Vatican II resulted in a number of
theological changes, not just changes in practices. According to a
central tent of Catholic thought, however, "theological change" must
always be understood as a development within the Church's doctrine, not
as a new departure from it. The operative principle for theological
change can be understood as change that is "creative but faithful."
There is no doubt-the great overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics in
the U.S. and in the world are not anti-Vatican II but quite supportive.
On the other hand, among conservative priests, there is a belief that it
went too far. When you push them to what "too far" means, though, it
often gets back to the notion that too much influence was given to the
I'm not sure if Percy would share this belief of laity influence or not.
From: percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Mike Frentz
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 10:36 PM
To: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: Re: [percy-l] Retaining My Amateur Status
Also speaking as an amateur I'd like to make the following comment: I
don't know of any changes in *theology*, per se, resulting from V2,
only in the practice. V2 has a very bad name in some circles, very
good in others -- but both often for the wrong reasons -- primarily due
to an overabundance of zeal in carrying out unjustified mandates
corresponding to misinterpretations of the spirit and letter of the
Council. It was wrongly perceived as a license to do things that were
never intended by the magisterium and we've still much cleanup to do as
a result (especially among the misguided and woefully catechized
apparatchik hangers-oners at the diocesan levels who continue to do
more harm than good wrt effective catechesis, in my personal
I believe that V2 was very good, timely, and *needed* in bringing the
practice of the Church into the 20th century (e.g. the active role of
the laity, especially given a high percentage of college-educated
congregration compared with all previous generations), but that V2's
continuing wide misinterpretation continues to cause problems. EWTN is
fixing some of this slowly (but surely among those that bother to watch
One thing I've seen of late (and it was predicted to me by a priest
four or five years ago at the Eucharistic Congress in Washington..) is
that the new priests coming out of the seminary are *excellent* (4 for
4, by my personal experience since that prediction). These priests are
anachronistically "traditional" (in the warped view of V2
misinterpreters, I would guess), but are actually quite true to the
*true* spirit of V2 IMHO -- i.e. they are "post-V2 priests", but
well-catechized and quite effective in their apostolate. Not at all
allergic to (nor addicted to..) to Latin. We're seeing turnarounds in
vocations in our parish already due to this properly nurtured and
As for Percy, you've got me on specifics -- I've never seen any
indication in any of the things of his that I've read (for better or
worse, only his nonfiction I'm ashamed to admit) that would indicate
that he had heartburn with the essence of V2. At the essence level,
it's hard to object if your beliefs are orthodox. V2 was beautiful.
But separating the essence from the artifacts in this area is very
problematic (your mileage may vary..).
P.S. Karey, I saw your note. I hope things are going well. I'll try
to regroup my thoughts and respond tomorrow.
On Feb 15, 2004, at 7:24 AM, marcus at loyno.edu wrote:
> That's a good question! You at least deserve to reclassify
> yourself into semi-pro status!
> I want to think about it for a couple of days before
> venturing any thought out answers. Also, I'd like to hear
> some responses from others with other information. But I do
> not recall WP ever being scornful about any V2 changes.
> Also, I'm not sure what a "true" V2 Catholic is, anymore
> than I am sure what a "true" pre-V2 Catholic was.
> Percy might have said he was a "bad Catholic" before V2 and
> remained a "bad Catholic" afterwards, meaning both
> ironically, of course, as a sidestep into a peculiar act of
> personal humility, and then, if it happened to be a Friday,
> head over to a restaurant on the Lake in Mandeville for a
> Jack Daniel's followed by some salad, good bread, and a
> plate of Trout Almondine.
> But this is all speculation.
> Marcus Smith
> ----- Original Message Follows -----
> From: chaslow53 at aol.com
> To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [percy-l] Retaining My Amateur Status
> Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 22:51:07 EST
>> Unlike many of you on this list, I neither knew Walker
>> Percy nor am able to study his work for extended periods
>> in an academic setting. I am what Kieran Quinlan
>> characterized in The Last Catholic Novelist as a
>> nettlesome amateur, or what the Victorians more kindly
>> called a "general reader."
>> Here is my observation, which leads to a question: WP
>> obviously was an advocate of a pre-Vatican II theology,
>> both in terms of the articles of belief themselves and in
>> the way that those articles were taught and held. He
>> makes that clear in essay after essay directly, and in
>> the novels indirectly. His views on dissenting clergy,
>> liberation theology, etc., expressed in the decades after
>> the Vatican Council, could just as easily have been
>> regarded as common before the Council.
>> The question, then, is this: is there any indication of
>> what he thought of some of the day-to-day changes made
>> following the Council? Was he sorry to see the Latin
>> Mass go? Did he rush to trade fish for hamburgers on
>> Friday? Did he abandon the Rosary or any other of those
>> devotional elements that were widespread at the time of
>> his conversion but which are now much rarer?
>> Father Samway, in his biography, makes the very specific
>> assertion that WP was a true Vatican II Catholic. I just
>> haven't seen much evidence of it, and I thought that
>> maybe others on the list could offer insight.
>> Thanks. I would be grateful for any insight forwarded to
>> the list or any private responses. Apologies to any on
>> the list who are not particularly interested in this type
>> of question.
>> Chuck Lowry
>> Brooklyn, New York
>> An archive of all list discussion is available at
>> Visit the Walker Percy Project at
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
An archive of all list discussion is available at
Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
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