Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Cover of 2-Towers

The release of Requiem Press' first original title, "TWO TOWERS - the de-Christianization of America and a Plan for Renewal", is rapidly approaching.

I have been asked several times about the cover. The "TWO TOWERS" of both the title and the cover illustration refer to the 'tower' of Faith and the 'tower' of Morals.

Mr. Meehan, (the author), desribes the construction of each of the towers - which the artist, (Sherri Trial of Carlisle, PA), translated into the cover illustration. (Unfortunately you will have to go to the Requiem Press website to see the cover as I haven't figured out how to load it up here.)

The tower on the right represents Faith - or the deposit of Faith. As John Meehan describes in the Preface:


"Scripturally grounded in our "Father in the Faith" — Abraham of the Old Testament — the tower of Faith is cemented firmly in an ancient heritage and a long-standing tradition. Moses, the Law, and the prophets are its girders. The apostles, the Gospels, and papal succession are its framework. Church councils, ex cathedra declarations, and the lives of saintly men and women are its exterior covering. The Eucharistic Sacrifice, seven sacraments, and Liturgy of the Hours are its interior activity. Comprised of sacred scripture, apostolic tradition, and a living magisterium, this tower is called by the Roman Catholic Church the 'Deposit of Faith.'"

As you can see from the cover illustration, the tower on the right depicts symbols of: the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Abraham, ex cathedra declarations, the sacraments, and others therein - representing the construction of the Tower of Faith.

Similarily with the tower of Morals - John Meehan describes:


"The architectural plan of the tower of morals is found in the order of Creation. Due to the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, the construction of this tower required "hands-on" experience and supernatural intervention. Thus, the erection of the tower of morals proceeded ever so slowly during a near 3,000-year course of Western history. Cost overruns, as it were, came from a long record of unjust laws imposed by a variety of oppressive political regimes and a lack of cultural consensus regarding right ethical behavior. To complete construction of this tower, a common codification of Church and secular law was necessary if the tower of morals was to settle into a recognizable hall of legal justice. The Judeo-Christian system of organizing and directing public and private life by way of Divine Law and the natural law is the foundation supporting the edifice. The administration of just laws is its framework. Human statutes are its exterior covering. Equal protection under law is its interior activity."

The tower depicted on the left (of the cover) shows: Eve (and therefore Original Sin); the last six commandments which are the foundation of our justice system and the human law represented by the 'balance'. The stormy background represents the slow and 'stormy' process described by Mr. Meehan to construct this 'tower' of morals.

Even if I weren't the publisher (and dependent on the sales to eat supper next month), I would highly recommend this book. Let's put it this way. Back in the Fall of 2004, it was not my intent to publish original works for some time (years) as they do take more effort (and capital) than reprints generally do. But upon receiving and reading this manuscript last Fall, I became finally convinced that Vatican II was inspired by the Holy Spirit - and that the documents of Vatican II must be implemented (note that I am claiming that for a large part they have not been implemented as yet.) for the New Springtime to come - this includes the role of the laity and the renewal of the Liturgy discussed in the Vatican II documents.

I know some of my readers may disagree with my beliefs on Vatican II and will disagree with the conclusions of Two Towers. However, it should be given fair hearing. Perhaps 'traditionalists' will either understand better what caused the upheaval in the Church in the last 40 years or at least understand better the viewpoint of those who don't think Vatican II was the problem (and even believe it may be the solution.)

I have been on both sides of the this anguish. Sometimes Mrs. Curley and I feel we can find no compatriots in the Church - because our friends on one side are traditionalists who close their minds to anything that doesn't support the 1962 Missal; and on the other side we have those who say they embrace Vatican II - but in reality embrace a smoke screen of what has been sold as Vatican II but in reality is abusive experimentation, Modernist theories, lack of reverence, sliding morals, etc. But to our consolation, we do stand with our Holy Father Benedict XVI, recalling his words during his first homily as Pope:


"I too, as I start in the service that is proper to the Successor of Peter, wish to affirm with force my decided will to pursue the commitment to enact Vatican Council II, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the millennia-old tradition of the Church. Precisely this year is the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of this conciliar assembly (December 8, 1965). With the passing of time, the conciliar documents have not lost their timeliness; their teachings have shown themselves to be especially pertinent to the new exigencies of the Church and the present globalized society. " (italics added).

From the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Jim, I understand your perspective here. Soemtimes, out of sheer respect and enthusiasm for Benedict XVI, I lean toward the same perspective myself.

I am also comforted by the fact that to "enact Vatican Council II ... in faithful continuity with the millenia-old tradition of the Church" essentially means very little.

If we remain in faithful continuity with the "millenia-old tradition of the Church", the bulk of Vatican-II is irrelevent and safely ignored.

Anyway, I'm content to let the Holy Father and the rest of you wrestle with reconciling the Second Vatican Council and Catholic Tradition - God bless your efforts! - so long as Tradition wins in the end. And it will.

Jim said...

"I am also comforted by the fact that to "enact Vatican Council II ... in faithful continuity with the millenia-old tradition of the Church" essentially means very little."

Ah, this is where we disagree - because if this is true ('it means very little') then why bother? My contention is that there was and is an ongoing need to enact the reforms of Vatican II. Yes, all reforms in the Church must be in 'faithful continuity with the millenia-old tradition of the Church'. Some of the reforms called for may be subtle, but this doesn't mean they are not important or life-changing. Some of the reforms are simply a change in emphasis - but this can have long-reaching effects.

My contention is that the role and recognition of the role of the laity in the church needed reform - (this does NOT mean I advocate extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, female altar servers, etc. etc.). Catechesis needed reform - essential elements of the deposit of Faith were not being taught to the faithful prior to VII. Is it also possible that the Liturgy of the Mass (1962 Missal) needed reform? (I know many who would vehemently deny this - but there is a case to be made that renewal was needed in this area. Pius XII had already recognized this.)

Most of the actions taken to enact these VII reforms were undertaken by people corrupted before VII (hence the need for reform) - and thus the reforms called for by the council were never enacted in most places or for the most part. There are pockets of true renewal and in general, things are getting better as the more ardent Modernists in the Church die off or retire. Yet much, much has yet to be done.

"If we remain in faithful continuity with the "millenia-old tradition of the Church", the bulk of Vatican-II is irrelevent and safely ignored."

This would deny the contention of both Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II! Before ascending the throne of Peter, Cardinal Ratzinger has made clear on may occasions that it is his belief that enactment of VII is a necessary step to realize the 'new springtime'. If it is largely irrelevant, how can this be the case?

Of course you and I both know (whether we agree or disagree) that this topic can not be exhausted in a comment box.

I think most don't understand what VII called for - 1) because the blunderous changes enacted bias the reader against the true meanings of the VII documents; 2) For us younger members of the faithful, we don't remember the world and the Church pre-Vatican II - we only see the diasterous aftermath of the 50's and 60's. Thus it is hard for us not to focus blame on VII instead reading the documents in light of Tradition.

In fact, mostly Vatican II calls the Church to recall Tradition - because maybe there were elements of Tradition which were being forgotten!

Jeff - I could start a new blog just on these topics - yet I must work sometimes also. My answer to everyone is for them to read 'Two Towers' (I know it is self-serving - but in this case it happens to be true).

I just cannot fathom the Holy Spirit guiding the Cardinals - against seemingly great odds - to pick in succession the two greatest proponents of authentic renewal according to the mind of Vatican II as Supreme Pontiff if the Holy Spirit did not want VII enacted.

Jeff, thanks for the comment - and we shall see. In the meantime we can try to become saints!

Oremus pro invicem!

Jeff said...

"Ah, this is where we disagree - because if this is true ('it means very little') then why bother?"

Why bother indeed!

"My contention is that the role and recognition of the role of the laity in the church needed reform - (this does NOT mean I advocate extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, female altar servers, etc. etc.)."

If you don't advocate these things, then what does reforming the role of laity mean exactly?

"Catechesis needed reform - essential elements of the deposit of Faith were not being taught to the faithful prior to VII."

Hmmm, I haven't heard about those. What are they?

"Is it also possible that the Liturgy of the Mass (1962 Missal) needed reform? (I know many who would vehemently deny this - but there is a case to be made that renewal was needed in this area. Pius XII had already recognized this.)"

I don't know. Perhaps improvements could be made, just as they always have been made - incrementally, organically, and without innovations. But that's not my department, and I would submit that it is not the department of any layman or committee of liturgists.

The great mistake of Sacrosanctum Concilium is that it presents the liturgy as a pastoral tool focused on human preferences rather than the divine worship man owes to his Creator. That attitude needs to be reversed, not merely reigned in or moderated.

"Most of the actions taken to enact these VII reforms were undertaken by people corrupted before VII (hence the need for reform) - and thus the reforms called for by the council were never enacted in most places or for the most part."

But Jim, surely you can see the flaw in this reasoning. The men who went home and implemented the reforms are (forgive the caps) THE VERY SAME MEN WHO DRAFTED AND RATIFIED THE COUNCIL ITSELF. They are the fathers of the Council! If these bishops, who initiated and ratified the reforms of the Council, and who then went home to implement the same reforms, didn't understand what Vatican II really intended, no one else does either!

"This would deny the contention of both Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II!"

Yes, I'm sorry to say it would.

"Before ascending the throne of Peter, Cardinal Ratzinger has made clear on may occasions that it is his belief that enactment of VII is a necessary step to realize the 'new springtime'. If it is largely irrelevant, how can this be the case?"

Obviously, I think the Holy Father is mistaken, based on 40 years of aggressive "implementation" that has turned the Church into a devastated vineyard. However, I do hope that I am mistaken and that you and the Pope are right. I'm happy to wait here patiently while y'all try to make sense of Vatican-II in a way that is consistent with 2000 years of Catholic tradition. In the meantime, thanks be to God for Ecclesia Dei!

"My answer to everyone is for them to read 'Two Towers' (I know it is self-serving - but in this case it happens to be true)."

You'll receive my order shortly!

"I just cannot fathom the Holy Spirit guiding the Cardinals - against seemingly great odds - to pick in succession the two greatest proponents of authentic renewal according to the mind of Vatican II as Supreme Pontiff if the Holy Spirit did not want VII enacted."

The Holy Spirit may have permitted Vatican-II as a chastisement. But again, I hope I am wrong.

"In the meantime we can try to become saints!"

No argument there!

God keep you.

alicia said...

my copy is on order. I am looking forward to reading it, but first I have to let John (my husband) read it.
You see, he and Mr. Meehan were team on a cursillo weekend last month, and now my dh wants to see if Mr. Meehan writes as well as he speaks, (which is apparantly pretty well).

Jim said...

Jeff - very good points - but yes I think I have some answers. I'll try the easy ones first.

Catechesis- While pre-V2 catechesis was very good at teaching morality and some doctrine, (In General) it was very weak on Scripture and weak in developing spiritually mature Catholic adults.

The Laity - because clericalism was so strong and because the catechesis was weak in the areas above, the laity followed like sheep when Modernists came out of the closet. And to keep the laity under the thumb, these false reformers attempted to clericalize the laity by simply giving them ministry positions formerly performed by clergy. While V2 did make allowances for the laity to have some ministry functions, when needed, the thrust was to restore the ideal that the Church did not have to run and micromanage every apostolate - that the laity were called to Holiness and that they (not just the clergy) had the calling to sanctify the world. Lay Apostolates and lay canon lawyers, etc. did exist before as they do now. (Did these idea exist before V2 - certainly, especially in the first 300 years of Christendom, but clericalism has grown stronger and stronger and by the time V2 occurred clericalism controled and micromanaged many lay initiatives.)

The Liturgy- I agree a renewal of the Mass should be organic, more gradual, and have its roots in Tradition. And as you, I am not a liturgical expert, so I will not go so deep that I get myself lost. And I believe the renewal of the 1962 Missal discussed in V2 documents is certainly not what we have today. Also I don't think that the 1962 Missal is the long-term future of the Church. (I thank God too for Ecclesia Dei). My personal belief is that Gregorian Chant will regain primacy in the Liturgy, but the vernacular will be part of the renewal - not all, Latin will return for many of the prayers which do not change daily.

Now the hard part, you wrote:
"
But Jim, surely you can see the flaw in this reasoning. The men who went home and implemented the reforms are (forgive the caps) THE VERY SAME MEN WHO DRAFTED AND RATIFIED THE COUNCIL ITSELF. They are the fathers of the Council! If these bishops, who initiated and ratified the reforms of the Council, and who then went home to implement the same reforms, didn't understand what Vatican II really intended, no one else does either!
"

No doubt this is a tough one. I can fluff it off by saying, the Holy Spirit works in ways man cannot fathom. (Although this is probably the best and truest answer, I will try to give a more accountable attempt.)

On one hand we want to see results of our work immediately. God lives outside time and sometimes His time and His ways are not ours. Who would have thought the Cardinals - being who we know them to be - would have elected Cardinal Ratzinger - it seems to be purely the work of the Holy Spirit.

Recall, much of V2 (even the agenda for the council) was influenced a great deal by the Bishop of Kracow. No doubt there were many with agendas (some Modernist) at V2. Some may have seen early on how they could take advantage of V2 to their own evil ends. Yet maybe the Holy Spirit inspired some things that weren't understood by many at the time. (While I am not equating V2 with inspired Holy Scripture, doesn't this occur with Scripture? We gain new insights into what was written and which was not totally understood by the writer? Did Isais understand the virgin birth he fortold?)

Surely I am speculating, because I don't have the hard answer. I spout possibilities.

Yet in reading JPII writings both before and after V2, you get the impression that he saw a great challenge to the Church on the horizon that would come from within, i.e. the clergy. Clericalism was (and continues to be) part of the challenge. Restore the dignity of the vocation of the laity, restore their common priesthood. The laity needed to be equipped more than ever, for the battle ahead. This is the sense you get from JPII writings.

This also explains why JPII focussed on preaching directly to the faithful - yes he tried much with his bishops - but it was a hopeless cause maybe because they either were for most part corrupted or had been educated by the corrupted. (I think some of the newer bishops now are better, but some are still inexplicable.) He knew that the renewal must come from the laity - personal holiness, awareness of vocation, eventually the renewal of the Church, a new Springtime of Evangelization.

"Two Towers" will help some people understand the history of and root causes of the upheaval. It is not Gospel, but it is the view of a Faithful Catholic who has studied the V2 documents and acted upon them to the benefit of many. If you buy into Mr. Meehan's causes, then the solutions proposed start to make sense - even if some questions remain unanswered.

I believe - after much search - that it hits pretty close to the mark. Yet I also understand it is what it is and nothing more.

God be with you also, Jeff.

Jim

Jim said...

Alicia - Thanks for ordering the book. I have never heard Mr. Meehan speak myself, or at least not for 25-30 years so I can't speak to that.

I will say for you, Jeff and anyone else who reads 'Two Towers' - that I can't guarantee that all life's questions will be answered (or at least those concerning V2). I can say that much can learned from it, and it could be a starting point for discussion. Some will read it and not agree. For me the book fit the last pieces of the puzzle together.

God bless you.

Jim

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