The problem with asserting that Vatican II was a break from the past implies, for some people, a ruptured Magisterium.
Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, professor of ecclesiology at the Seminary in Ecône, frames the problem in terms of a false dilemma:
“[The] objection to our position, in short, is that the only living magisterium worthy of the name is today’s magisterium, not yesterday’s. Only the magisterium of today can tell what conforms to Tradition and what is contrary to it, for it alone represents the living magisterium, the interpreter of Tradition. And therefore we must choose one of two things: either we reject Vatican II, judging that it is contrary to Tradition, but at the same time contradicting the only possible magisterium, the living magisterium, which is today’s (the magisterium of Benedict XVI), and we are no Catholics but Protestants; or else we decide not to be Protestants and we are obliged to accept Vatican II so as to obey the living magisterium, which is today’s, declaring that the Council is in conformity with Tradition. This is a dilemma, in other words, a problem with no apparent solution beside the two that are indicated: if we try to avoid one of the two horns, we will not avoid the other. But in reality this dilemma is false. For there are such things as false dilemmas….” (read more)
A lot of people will look at this problem and shrug, “What’s the problem?”
The problem, as I see it, as far as the Christian laity are concerned (and some clergy as well), is potentially misunderstanding the direction in which the Church is headed with the New Evangelization. That misunderstanding stems from misunderstanding the nature of the Church both as it exists today in the modern world and with regard to its perennial nature.
A good friend of mine, Deacon Brian Coe, produced this video in which he explains “the hermeneutics of continuity” — that’s Vat. II lingo for Understanding the Church “here and now” as the same Church throughout all time. I think Deacon Coe’s simple explanation does a lot to clarify the continuity of Church’s living Magisterium and Tradition, and it does so without grappling with the horns of Fr Gleize’s false dilemma.
Deacon Coe plans to produce one video a month. If you found his explanation as useful as I did, please tune in to his Youtube channel for periodic updates.
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