A Protestant take on Vatican II, continued

I ought to add that I picked up the book from which I am quoting at my local Goodwill store. Occasionally I find very interesting things there.

To pick up where I left off yesterday, professor Cullmann remarks:

One text especially, and one which is not sufficiently appreciated by those who are not Catholics, deserves special attention – the schema on priestly training. I believe it is one of the best and most important. Here the study of scripture has moved entirely into the foreground. This text is concerned more than any other with bringing the Council’s influence to bear on the future. If the future training of priests follows these principles, the orientation of Catholic thought in terms of scripture and salvation history is assured. The real work of aggiornamento will then be carried on through a deepened reflection on the substance of Christian belief. Here we can say without reservation that our expectations have been surpassed.

[one very long, boring paragraph omitted]

You will hardly be surprised that the schema on ecumenism, in its quality as an ecumenical statement, far surpasses our boldest expectations. At the beginning of the Council we hardly hoped that, in an official statement of the Council, non-Catholic Churches as such would be recognized to such a degree; and that their individual characteristics would be evaluated positively as charisms. And entirely new conception of ecumenism has been presented here; and along with it an entirely new Catholic conception of the Church: the Roman Church is no longer viewed as the one Church which is to absorb all others. (emphasis mine) …In this connection I would like now to point out a passage in section 11 of the schema on ecumenism. this passage, considered in all its consequences, offers the most far-reaching hope for the future; it seems to me to be the Council statement which offers the most promise for the furthering of renewal and facilitating of dialogue. Yet, strangely enough, very little as been said about it. Here we read that ‘in Catholic teaching there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their truths of the Catholic relationship to the foundation of Christian faith.’ This hierarchy makes possible a rearrangement of the very substance of Catholic teaching….

Argh. I can’t quote any more; it’s nauseating. It was a valid Council, to be sure, some pretty invalid things came of it (which, Deo gratias, are now beginning to be corrected by our good and holy Papa Ben).

Interestingly, several years ago I discovered that a relative of mine was in attendance at the Council….my great-uncle George, of happy memory, who was at the time a bishop in the Moravian Church. My mother remembers him spending a lot of time “away” during the times the Council was in session, but she tells me that he was pretty close-mouthed about where he was and what he was doing. I was born in 1963, so I can’t be expected to remember anything at all about that time in history, can I?

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