Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« Crunching numbers and contemplating the culture of death | Main | Walter Hoye, a true hero »

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Dan Deeny

Several summers ago I read Fr. O'Malley's fine book The First Jesuits. I recommend it.
Now, however, it looks like Fr. O'Malley has lost his way. He should know better. Let us pray for him.


Assuming Vatican II has a spirit (apart from whats recorded in the texts) how can the spirit of Vatican II simply be a matter of style? Thats like saying: the spirit of St Paul is rhetoric or the spirit of the synoptic gospels is the parable. Given also that the Bible has mutiple literary forms, one would then be saying that the spirit of the Bible is a multiplicity of literay forms. But, surely the Spirit of the Bible is God or more particularly Christ, which transcends the literary styles.

C Atkins

Vatican II was the highest possible authoritative source of dogma for the Church, validated by Popes speaking ex cathedra for decades now. Aren't moronic ideologues like yourself somewhat frightened by the fact that your own infallible sources are the basis of your discontent and upset? Mini-minds like yourselves should get lives.


'The Spirit of the Bible is God'?

Inside out. Better: God the Spirit is the author of the Bible. Now we are using the language not of O'Malley but the Church. Councils can and do err instyle and emphases. All we are assured is that there explicit teachings are not in error. And idea that does not jive with "The Spirit of the Council' doublespeak.

Dave Mueller

I thought that Obama was already coronated Pope of the American Catholic Church at Notre Dame a few weeks ago?


What Tony said.

"Such gifts are consonant with the rhetorical tradition that produced the spirit of Vatican II." That sentence couldn't be more self-parodying if it were written for the Onion. I thought Vatican II was motivated by pastoral concerns, not rhetorical ones.

The deeply ironic thing is, Rev. O'Malley is actually profoundly correct -- if "the spirit of Vatican II" is interpreted in EXACTLY the sense that that term has been used, with scare quotes, to embody the agenda driving Rev. O'Malley's comments.

Carl: Run out of water, indeed. This is the spirit of aridity in rhetorical form.


I recently reviewed O'Malley's book for a graduate course in ecclesiology. In his book What Happened at Vatican II?, O'Malley claims to do away with the unhelpful political terminology of "liberal" and "conservative" movements--which is a good move on his part--but he replaces it with "majority" and "minority," which, while perhaps verifiable, still wind up suggesting that Christian doctrine is based on polls (I would prefer "orthodox" and "heterodox"). At any rate, he still winds up writing about "good progessives" and "bad conservatives," who, of course, maintain the center. Actually, he writes that Vatican II was set up to "fail": "The council was held in the center, named for the center, operated to a large extent with the equipment of the center, and was destined to be interpreted and implemented by the center (311)." What would be funny if not true is O'Malley's near-mockery of "the center" in his pointing out of Rome's "loss of authority," citing specifically Humanae Vitae (311). But he doesn't bother with the follow through: if Rome has lost authority, it is because of constant public dissent; and what's more, it's not just the Bishop of Rome who gets ignored--there's been a general weakening of authority. If bishops and priests supposedly in union with Rome can ignore Church teaching, why can't the lay faithful ignore their bishops and priests as well?

At any rate, I'm not surprised that Fr. O'Malley is an Obama-Catholic. He seems to appreciate fine rhetoric followed up by totally ignoring what the document(s) actually state.


The fact that this was approved for publication in America does tend to shed some light on where Fr. Martin (editor for America) was from when he made his seemingly pro-Obama comments a few weeks ago.


I find it interesting that a man whose first sentence demonstrates his massive ignorance about the topic at hand would at the same time have the arrogance to call the rest of us "mini-minds" as his parting insult.

I don't find it surprising, mind you. Massive ignorance combined with massive arrogance is one of modernity's defining qualities. I just find it interesting to see such a blatant example of that fact.

Jeremey LeBlanc

Sadly, all of this is off the pale right now! I find this somewhat latent adolescent love fest the Jesuits and a few at Notre Dame are having with Obama rather astounding.

It hard enough to deal with Doug Kmiec, but, to have a group of Jesuits start acting like a groopee outfit, well, it's hard to take as a Catholic.

You can't manipulate the teachings of the Church just because you have fallen in love with the "man-man".

Vatican II was Vatican II . . .it is what it is and we are now trying to remake it through Obama . .gracious God, where is my nitro tablet?


Carl... you are very correct about the "water" at Georgetown U.'s Theology Dept. Please note that Peter Phan is also another faculty at this department.

John F. Kippley

At the heart of the problem with the liberals is their dissent from Humanae Vitae. For an analysis of this teaching and a critique of the so-called Majority Report of the papal birth control commission, see another book published by Ignatius -- "Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality" (2005) by the undersigned.
--John F. Kippley


If O'Malley's heart palpitations are due simply to rhetorical ability, perhaps he should spend some time listening to one of the greatest Catholic preachers of our time, Fr. John Corapi. And he preaches consistently from the documents of Vatican II.

I suspect, however, that left socio-political ideology is far more important to the likes of O'Malley and the "spirit of Vatican II" has always been about conforming the Church to that ideology. The gushing over Obama is simply a glimmer of hope in those entrenched die-hards that their efforts have not been in vain, yet the reality is that other than the high-profile vocal proponents of that ideology, the rank and file of that movement have either had a conversion of heart, have left the Church, or have fallen silent.
This is a snapshot in time of the sheep and goats phenomenon, that works itself out when the shepherd refuses to relinquish the fold to the wolves. God bless them, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
In a sense, although the lesson is painful for many, the coming of Obama, the messiah of the left, has been a great eye-opener to many, politically and religiously speaking, and we can thank him for homing in on the Catholics of the country. He has, whether deliberately or not, made himself a catalyst for Catholics in America, and we can see how the O'Malleys stand on the issues. But the good thing is that the fence-sitters are being shaken by the earthquakes around them and find they must commit.
How this will all play out in the future is an interesting question, but I think that prophetically speaking, Cardinal Ratzinger understood this many years ago, and could see a shaking out coming to the Church.
You are right, Carl, about young people. They can recognize authenticity, they can spot a knock-off from the real thing. JPII was wise in recognizing that also, and in going directly to the young through the World Youth Day events. And guess what, the crowds are as big or bigger for BXVI. For those who measure success by popularity, that should give them pause.

Dale Price

I love the smell of caesaropapism in the morning.

David Charkowsky

I haven't been Catholic for long, but long enough to learn of the existence of a movement that collectively reads Vatican II not literally, but as a sort of code. I'm happy, in a way, to have stumbled upon someone (O'Malley) who is willing and able to articulate the filter he applies to the text in order to arrive at his interpretation of the "spirit of Vatican II". But, it's also kind of dark and scary at the same time because the relationship he presumes between the words on the page and their "spirit" very gnostic. :(


the Jesuits are in love with prestige and themselves more than the Church or Jesus. Everyone knows this now.


Thank God for Priests like O'Malley who are courageous enough to promote openess to the Spirit in whomever she inspires. It was the Spirit who inspired Vatican II as a necessary reform in attitude in the Church. The same Spirit inspires Obama, who though non-Catholic, has the humility to LISTEN to differing opinions and make practical moves toward dialogue and consensus that makes progress toward social justice possible.


Walker Percy (in Love in the Ruins) foretold the day when liberal Catholics would create a sectarian "American Catholic Church". It seems that Father O'Malley and the myriad of Obama Catholics have decided that a secularized political operator(currently President of the United States) would be their Moses, leading them out from the benighted hordes that make up the true and living Roman Catholic Church.


David Charkowsky's comments so
true..."the Jesuits are in love
with prestige and themselves more than the Church or Jesus" -
This was obvious to my 14 year old son 38 years ago when he
attended Cranwell Prep (SJs)As
a result of the hypocrisy he
experienced there he never again
could speak about the Jesuits.
Truth penetrated darkness and he saw it for what it was...kneeling before the world.


Obama in Cairo:
"As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed."
It was Christians—Nestorians, Jacobite, Orthodox, and others—who preserved and translated the cultural inheritance of the ancient world—the science, philosophy, and medicine—and who transmitted it to centers like Baghdad and Damascus. Much of what we call Arab scholarship was in reality Syriac, Persian, and Coptic, and it was not necessarily Muslim. Syriac-speaking Christian scholars brought the works of Aristotle to the Muslim world: Timothy himself [being Timothy I (727-823) patriarch of the Church of the East. ] translated Aristotle’s Topics from Syriac into Arabic, at the behest of the caliph. Syriac Christians even make the first reference to the efficient Indian numbering system that we know today as “Arabic,” and long before this technique gained currency among Muslim thinkers…Such were the Christian roots of the Arabic golden age. (see “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia — And How It Died” (Professor Philip Jenkins)
... but that's Obama's minor mistake.
The islamic world has a long history of persecuting Christians, eradicating whole peoples (see the massacres of Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians, and other ancient Christian communities during the 19th and 20th centuries), bringing the numbers of Christians down in Africa and Asia between between 1200 and 1500, from 21 million to 3.4 million; read what Mohammed himself did! ( see al-Bukhari et altera)
Nowadays? Try to bring your bible into Saudi-Arabia, try to build a church anywhere in the Islamic world. Try living anywhere there as a Christian. (or as simply as a Non-Muslim. Can you really embrace the 'value system' shaped by Islam?
If Obama's speech mirrors the spirit von VAT.II:
Was Vaticanum II really about painting the face of history and the facts of our days?
Please, love the moslems, but NOT Islam!

noah Jensen

Idol worship among pagans can be expected given that we were made to worship God and are by nature worshipers. Sadly, idol worship is an attribute of Christians as well, being fallen men. I find Obama worship perplexing among Christians. Obama represents all of the evils of modernism: Moral relativism and compromise of moral absolutes for pragmatic, selfish gains. One can listen to another view point but still take a stand against it. To portray an issue such as abortion or homosexuality as a matter of differing opinions is moral weakness and certainly antithetical to the spirit of Christianity.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad