A Perception of “Vatican Ignorance or Arrogance”

Just recently I spoke to faculty members of a Catholic high school who were complaining about the local bishop’s intrusion into their decisions about theology textbooks. The bishop’s intervention was, in turn, a direct consequence of the more aggressive criticism of high school theology textbooks being made by the USCCB committee on the implementation of the catechism. The concern of the bishops’ committee, in turn, reflects the agenda of a number of Vatican officials. Recent Vatican interventions regarding the liturgical life of the church provide an even more significant example of increased centralization of ecclesiastical authority affecting ‘the daily lives of Catholics.’ Here in the U.S. there is a widespread frustration over the recent crackdown on liturgical practice and a perception of either Vatican ignorance or arrogant disregard concerning the pastoral implications of the new norms and the defective liturgical theology that some of them presuppose. I have no doubt that these instances of intrusion into the life of the local church by “higher authority” are welcomed by some as a necessary corrective to abuse. However, many local church leaders (including not a few bishops) believe that any abuses in the liturgy and purported defects in catechetical materials that do exist are not sufficiently widespread nor sufficiently threatening to “the unity of faith and communion” to have merited such heavy handed interventions. (Source)

Of course, there is just a “perception” from the “Catholic faithful” of the Vatican’s “arrogance” and “ignorance” on liturgical matters.  In other words, Dick didn’t say it, the “Faithful” did.


To Richard Gaillardetz, a professor of Catholic studies at the University of Toledo in Ohio, the three statements this summer are linked to that homily and were “warning shots across the bow” against those who would make the Church look divided or say Vatican II was a repudiation of the past. “The only way to confront the dictatorship of relativism is with a more robust assertion of the uniqueness of the revelation of God in Christ, which continues to be preserved in the Catholic Church,” he said. “I understand that framework, I understand his fears, but I’m not sure his solution is going to work…. I think there is a danger you succumb to kind of a historical romanticism.” As for the Pope’s warning to theologians, Prof. Gaillardetz said: “The moment you talk about a dictatorship you invite this battle cry language, this us-against-them fight for the integrity of the Christian faith … there’s not a lot of room for debate.” (Source)

“Room for debate” = undermining Church teaching like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

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