Part 3 The Faithful Revolution: Vatican II
The third video in this series was viewed on Nov 19th. The subject was "Human Dignity" and it focused, in part, on the various movements against oppression of the time. A quote by one of the activists struck me as being meaningful:
"If we don't find God in everything we do, we won't find God."
(I would vote for Sheen for president and very seldom miss the "West Wing" TV series.) His statement put me in mind of the passage on Religion in "The Prophet" by Gibran in which he says;
"... Who can spread his hours before him, saying, 'This for God and this for myself; This for ms soul, and this other for my body?' ... "
This truth tells us that we can not devote an hour or so to God each week and be satisfied that we are doing what He expects of us. In addition, we can not say that we have not sinned and feel that we are doing all we can to be accepted by God. That was the mentality of many prior to Vatican II. Unfortunately, this mentality lingers. It is very convenient to hold that conviction.
Jesus tells us we must follow Him. Does this mean that we must belong to a specific organization to do so? I don't think so and never did. That was one of my difficulties with the Catholic Church in my early years. It is one of my problems with some other groups also. "My way, or no way" is not God's way. The Roman Catholic Church always left the door open a crack for non-Catholics by saying that people in ignorance could be saved, however, they did not advertise it too much.
I believe that Jesus actually was saying that we must follow His way. His way was to love, forgive, and care for our neighbors and our neighbors include everyone created by God. We do not even need to know Jesus to do that. But, I believe the Roman Catholic church offers the best path for me to follow towards that way of life. Especially the post Vatican II Church.
The Vatican II council has declared a radical change in church thinking. There is a Declaration on Religious Liberty which states that no one should be coerced in any way to belong to a particular, or any, religious organization. The medieval church believed in a tight link between Church and King. Church property was often owned by the state and priest were on the government payroll. Nobles and kings nominated bishops and the Church tried to exercise control over governments. All was one in Christendom. Even after the Reformation, the populace followed the religion of the nobles of that country. The Church was reluctant to relinquish this kind of control. Vatican made official the trend that has developed in separating church and state. No state has the right to dictate the religious beliefs of its people.
The Council went even further in speaking on the coexistence of various faiths.
"The Decree on Ecumenism asks that the different Christian confessions should consider first of all what they have in common, Christ and the gospel. Non-Catholic Christians should not be accused of the sin of schism. Catholics should also be aware of their deficiencies and their historical responsibilities during the schisms. This was the substance of the declaration by Paul VI and Athenagoras on 7 December 1965"
There is also the following "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions"
"All men form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth; and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness and saving designs extend to all men against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city which is illuminated by the glory of God and in whose splendour all peoples will walk.
Men look to their different religions for an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence. The problems that weigh heavily on the hearts of men are the same today as in the ages past. What' is man? What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is upright behaviour, and what is sinful? Where does suffering originate, and what end does it serve? How can genuine happiness be found? What happens at death? What is judgment? What reward follows death? And finally, what is the ultimate mystery, beyond human explanation, which embraces our entire existence, from which we take our origin and towards which we tend? ... The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions."
There are no exceptions to this statement. Even an atheist can be saved. We must discard the attitude that only my way is the right way. In the Video for this session a Cardinal (I don't know which one) said:
"There will be no peace among countries until there is peace among religions."
Fr. Rich Homa pointed out that in the parable of the seeds (Matthew 13:4-9) is not so much about who hears the word of God, but about the generosity of God. God does not spread His seed only in the fertile soil of my particular church, as a good farmer would, He spreads His seed over the entire world, giving all people the opportunity to benefit from its life giving germ.
Based on this belief, it becomes easier for me to become one with my neighbor, to love, forgive, and care. No matter where he lives or how he worships or if he worships, God loves him. Can I do less?
This is not so much about St. Julie Billiart parish, but about the NEW Catholic Church. It may not seem new to my children and definitely not new to my grandchildren but it is no longer the same church that I grew up in and did not understand during that time. It is new and dedicated to Jesus as a result of the Vatican II council of bishops.
World of Grandpa Don