The Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz Prayer Club

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada

Here's an article and interview from late last year with Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada.

Q. Your Excellencies, Pope Benedict XVI's pre-Christmas Roman Curia address had a theme of the competing claims, and subsequent struggle, for the true Second Vatican Council. Do you have any comments?

Bishop Corrada: The Holy Father has been following this theme, and he picked it up from Pope John Paul II, but has emphasized it more. I think that Pope Benedict XVI has a very deep insight because of his philosophical and theological formation that the authentic teachings of the Church have to be followed, and that the Church has to come back to certain disciplines that some bishops and many of the faithful and priests have gotten away from.

And that discipline is the discipline of the sacraments, the discipline of the liturgy, and even the discipline of the Latin language. I think that is what he is making reference to, and I think it is wonderful that he is making that emphasis.

I think, of course, that John Paul II [intended that as well]. But this is something that will take a long time. I think this is the battle for the legitimate and genuine Second Vatican Council teachings to be known by bishops and priests and to put it into action. There have been some tendencies that have vitiated the Second Vatican Council with some of the thinking of bishops and theologians.

And it is more than that. It is secularism as an ideology. The Catholic Church sees the secular world as the place of the kingdom. But when secularism as an ideology comes and turns the world into a place where there is no transcendental relationship to God, where there is no respect for the dignity of the human person, with abortion and the whole culture of death, that is where I think this Holy Father is asking us to go back to the culture of life. And the evangelization of the Church needs to be directed in that internal reform if we are going to be effective in the world against the ideology of secularism.

Bishop Bruskewitz: The majority of the Second Vatican Council fathers and the Popes never saw the council as discontinuous and as a rupture with the past. The emphasis was always in accord with the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council — the unbroken continuity of Catholic Tradition, both in doctrine and in many other areas. There are those who understood, and still understand, the Second Vatican Council as some sort of revolutionary destruction of the past — a sort of French Revolution — that we are destroying everything in the past and starting new all over again, with a whole new [liturgical] calendar and everything.

It is not at all what the Second Vatican Council [fathers] understood themselves as doing.

What happened, however, is there was a para-council of periti, of experts, who all dominated through the whole matrix of media representation of what was going on at the council. Because of that, there were horrible distortions in the popular imagination, including the clerical imagination, including the priests. Even they saw this as a complete rupture. Emotionally and psychologically, people who intellectually might understand that the Mass is the same if you offer it in English or in Latin, [nonetheless] thought, "We have a whole new world here, and this doesn't really mean what it said."

We had this whole rising expectation, this para-council that gave this impression to the world that there was this big revolution. So, when this revolution hit some blank walls like "no women priests" and "no married priests," I think what happened was that then these expectations were frustrated. Then, people got all upset and more in a dissenting and rebellious mood.

When the history of the council is explained, it will be clear that Pope John XXIII never thought he was going make a tabula rasa by throwing away everything in the past and starting all anew, that this wasn't his idea at all. In fact, Pope John XXIII was super-traditional in many of the things he said and did.

Q. Like Veterum Sapientia [On the Promotion and Study of Latin, promulgated by Pope John XXIII February 22, 1962]?

Bishop Bruskewitz: Veterum Sapientia means "the wisdom of the ancients."

I don't think John XXIII intended the destruction of everything. That was not his intention at all. Things maybe ran away from him. He was very sick and died, of course, when the council began.

However, there was, and continues to be, a very serious misreading of what was going on. I think when he beatified John XXIII, along with Pius IX, John Paul II had a grasp of that. He was at the council. He understood that this was not what the council said, nor what the intention was.

There are horror stories. For instance, Gregory Baum and some of these left-wing people who left the Church and dissented, they were going around [Rome] on motorcycles with Latin speeches in their saddlebags trying to find bishops who would say them.

And then some bishop would read them [publicly], they were in Latin, so he probably didn't even know what they said, and then they would blast them all over the newspapers: Things like 'The council says no more Purgatory,' among others. There was that sort of outrage that was going on. And in the area of the media, the left-wing liberal dissenting branch took over and prevailed.

Q. Do you think part of the Holy Father's message might encompass a clarifying of what makes up true ecumenism?

Bishop Corrada: The question is well placed. Many bishops and in many parts of the Church in the United States, we have allowed the Church to have "unity" that comes from political tendencies or other religious traditions' tendencies — even Protestantism. [We have allowed that] to direct the dialogue, instead of that dialogue that comes out of the true ecumenism that only the Church can present. True ecumenism is built by the Church itself. It is what the Church does. That is ecumenism.

It does not come from the directions from which so many other groups go on. You will find so many political parties trying to call ecumenical prayer groups and things like that. I think that is totally wrong. I think we need to re-center into true ecumenism, which is what the Church does, and not what other people do. We try to attract them to the fullness of truth. We try not to push them further away from the truth that they might still have either by natural revelation or by religious tradition. We try to bring them closer. I think that is what the Council was trying to emphasize.

We try not to push them further away, but we should try to bring them closer, or at least for them to stay where they are, so that unity and growth can happen so that truth can work itself. But we know this is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is not this activism that you have seen in some people, and which has been unfortunate.

Ecumenism is what the Church does by bringing the truth to people through the aid of the Holy Spirit — the mission — so that those who are closer to the Truth come closer and that those farther away are not moving farther by our example or by our way of presenting the Truth.

But the Truth is only one, and it is in the Catholic Church. We have to accept that.

Q. Both the Pope and you mentioned the effect the media had on its representation of the council as a revolution. Does the secular media even understand the Church? Do you believe the misrepresentation of the Church is intentional? Or is it out of naivete and ignorance of the Church?

Bishop Bruskewitz: It is ignorance. They are looking for sensationalism. And sometimes the reporters aren't responsible [for what happens]. It is oftentimes the editors. They like to see conflict and this is what sells their product. Of course, sex and religion are explosive issues, and the more you can put that on the pages, the better it is.