The theology of Pizza! Erm I mean the Church…

Thinking of good things to say to people, to build the Kingdom of God, is a great gift.

People that truly have it are pretty rare and sought after, they will always build up their fellow Catholics around them and as such one often finds them at the center of wholesome Catholic activities and devotions.

The spirit of disruption and negativity I guess is the opposite. Yet at the moment I’m finding it quite difficult to be positive about the shape of the Church in Europe today.

I’m beginning to think that it is actually an accumulation of little things that we have let slide, rather than any one thing which is causing the malaise. I have always thought it better to receive the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue, but now I am beginning to think that the fall of that practice from widespread use is having a dire cumulative ill effect on the faith of Catholics, an ill effect, that when mixed with other relatively minor things is combining to form a very bad malaise indeed.

But in an attempt to be edifying again I shall point you to the Vatican 2 documents. which are exceptional. They endeavored to tell the difficult truths without which the whole truth is diminished, the truth that is hard to express, indeed as we have seen the truth that Vatican 2 espoused is truth that can be misinterpreted, even if really only by people who willfully do so.

People more used to the very distinct doctrines of say, the council of Trent, ie the SSPX found Vatican 2 impossible to accept. They say it ushered in modernism.

On the contrary I think it is often theological balances which make Catholicism great. Theologically speaking Catholicism is more frequently a religion of and/with, rather than either/or.

It is inclusive, everything that is not banned is allowed, of course having said that often things which aren’t explicitly banned aren’t recommended practice either and it is recommended practice we should be aiming for surely?.

Theological tensions are commonplace and good, whereas Hegelian logic of Thesis, Anti-thesis, Synthesis, is not Catholic (it is modernist). To put it bluntly Catholicism does not mix the truth with an untruth in a misguided attempt to create a more acceptable truth, but it does often hold two theological beliefs that at first glance could be seen as in conflict but it is the space between those two positions, where both can be held as true, in which Catholicism lives.

An example I’d give is PIZZA, my staple diet. If something has a pizza base, tomato and cheese, I call it a pizza, you can have different types of base, or different cheese to tomato ratios, and virtually any topping under the sun and it is a still a pizza but if it only has two of the three I don’t call it a pizza (I know there are people with differing views on that, but I think they are mad, lets call them protestants :-D)

The Catholic Church is religion with all the toppings, some people like different toppings, some people like margarita pizza which is fine, just so long as they don’t tell people who like a particular topping that they are no longer Catholic. The Church teaches that all the toppings that are Catholic can go on the Pizza of the Church and only it has the authority to say whether something is Catholic or not.

In the Catholic Church we should have a belief in the community aspect of the mass, and the sacrificial aspect of the mass, if we have only one then we do lose an important part of our understanding of the mass.

Sticking grimly to the metaphor, If we lose the tomato of the sacrificial aspect of the mass, transubstantiation, in favour of the cheese of a mass where emphasis is only placed on the universal community of the Church, then whilst the latter is not a bad thing in itself if it is held to the exclusion of the other we would no longer be Catholic.

If we lose the tomato of our sense of being united to the Catholics around the world through the Eucharist and focus only on other admittedly very important aspects of the mass, then we can become dangerously schismatic.

Talking of schismatic, I think the SSPX weren’t originally schismatic, theologically speaking at least, how can you be schismatic and believe everything the Catholic Church taught prior to Vatican 2? Vatican 2 did not define any new dogma, (nor abolish any old teaching as far as I can remember) so surely to disagree with it is not heretical, just perhaps misguided.

But the disobedience of Lefebvre took his congregation outside the protection of mother Church, and now go ask an average SSPX mass goer about their theological opinions and be prepared to hear some very strange things indeed, even stranger than the average strange views from parish pews and that takes some doing.

A real tragedy because if they had stayed within the Church and fought to preserve the liturgy for all Catholics rather than just themselves, If they had been within the Church to oppose misguided ecumenism and the liberal agenda at Bishops conferences then the Church would have been better for it.

So my suggestion, is go and read the documents of Vatican 2, they are surprisingly readable, perhaps parts of them are skippable but there are big chunks of goodness in each document. Statements that are ambiguous when not accompanied by a proper understanding of the faith held by the Church are always given sources that put them in context with previous Catholic teaching. (if someone can point me to one that isn’t then I’ll stand corrected)

To say the documents were ambiguous is a half truth, because they showed people how they should be interpreted correctly.

The idea is widely gaining ground that the Church is still yet to implement Vatican 2 effectively, still trying to kill off the deliberate misinterpretation that often goes with the tired cliché of a phrase “the spirit of vatican 2”.

Vatican 2 itself however is a great resource and before people blame it for all the ills of the Church they should read its documents in a spirit of humility and open mindedness, they will find it is very orthodox and not modernist in the least.

I’m off to surprise surprise cook a pizza.

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