The British Group “Stand Up For Vatican II” today officially launches its new website. As a general council, the decisions of the Council were and remain binding on the whole Church, yet the power cabal within the Curia, aided and abetted by the last two pontiffs, have been steadily and deliberately eroding the important progress that was made by the Council.
Vatican II reminded us that we are all, laity, clergy and bishops alike, equally part of the church, even as we have different roles within it. One of the tasks of the laity, written into canon law, is to speak up and tell our pastors when we think they are doing wrong. We therefore have a clear obligation to speak if we believe, as I and many others most certainly do, that the modern church, by reasserting central control and power, is acting in contravention of the clear decisions of the supreme decision taking authority of the church, the general council of Vatican II. As one expression of this obligation, the current British initiative is to be warmly welcomed, as are other similar actions in other parts of the world.
Please visit the website, vote in their poll, sign the petition, and write testimonials. If you are in the UK, join them at the public launch in London on January 26th. If not, pass this message on to UK based friends and colleagues.
This is from the “FAQ” page of the website:
Q. Why do we need to stand up for Vatican II now?
A. Because, over the forty five years since the Council met a great deal has changed in the Catholic Church. The liturgy, which is the centre of the faith for most Catholics has been radically changed, much for the better but recently there has been a resurgence of pre-Conciliar thinking which would have the Church return to older models of worship and, because the revised Liturgy has not been used to its full potential and allowed to further change and develop, many find it routine and lacking in inspiration. Many of the decrees emanating from the Vatican in recent times seek to put a brake on the developments that have happened since the Council.
Ecumenical relationships developed enormously between the Catholic Church and the other churches during and after the Council but again, much of this has been slowed down by pedestrian Roman attitudes so that at this time ecumenical relations seem to be at a standstill.
The intense discussion of so many theologians during the Council meant that from being a Church in which everyone felt obliged to toe the party line, we had become a Church where being open about both Catholic teaching and behaviour had become the norm and there could be no return to the way the Catholic church had been. It was changed for ever.
It is because of this that many Catholics want to reassert the insights of the Second Vatican Council and to oppose the direction in which the Catholic Church seems once again to be moving. In fact Stand up for Vatican II was started to persuade the Church to commit more fully to the teaching of the Council.
The Council opened up new ways of thinking about the Church. Not an organisation with the hierarchy at its head but the community of the ”People of God’ from among whom certain people were called to serve it. The people of the Church saw themselves as those who have the right to be involved in its decisions, in its organisation and in its discipline. They expect that those who are called to serve them will take into account their insights and their experience rather than dictating from on high. They feel that their Church is truly theirs and, as such, they want their children to inherit a Church which is open, welcoming and alert to the needs of the present time and for this to happen they have to make their voices heard.
Those Roman Catholics who lived through the Second Vatican Council know that it was, for them, a time of inspiration and hope for the future. They want to share that with today’s Roman Catholics who may not have had that experience but who, nevertheless, are unhappy with the way their Church is and, in many cases, have become disaffected because they see no little for the future. The further understanding of the insights of the Second Vatican Council and the continued renewal of the Catholic Church in the direction taken by the Council, they believe, is the way forward and, they believe, is a movement begun by the Holy Spirit and which must not be allowed to be stifled.