The Ten Thousand Places Podcast

How Did the French Lead Us to Vatican II?

February 20, 2023 OSV Podcasts
The Ten Thousand Places Podcast
How Did the French Lead Us to Vatican II?
Show Notes

This episode has a lot of French words and names in it!  After listening, impress your friends with your newfound mastery of terms like “Ressourcement” and “Nouvelle théologie.”  Accurately invoke names like de Lubac and Garrigou-Lagrange, and people will immediately defer to your pronouncements about the French origins of Vatican II.  #AllMyHistoryIsFromTheGodfatherMovies

Definitions for terms and references in this episode:

6:18 historicism (as a heresy): The heresy that the Bible only has a historical meaning, not a spiritual or theological meaning, and that modern historical methods are the only way to truly understand the meaning of the Scriptures, with the result that many of the Church’s positions on Scripture are flawed or false, or at least not an accurate interpretation of the Scriptures. More formally called “modernism.”

8:34 Lefebvrists:  A common term for members and followers of the Society of Saint Pius X. The term refers to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a Frenchman, who opposed many of the teachings of Vatican II. He was excommunicated in 1988 for ordaining four bishops without approval of the Pope, which is a violation of Church law. The Society of Saint Pius X is known for its exclusive celebration and promotion of the Mass of the Council of Trent. They maintain an irregular status in church law. 

8:48 Code of 1917:  The first code of church law. Prior to this code, the Church's law had not been compiled in one place/text. The code was recollected and reissued by Pope John Paul II in 1983. 

8:54 Syllabus of errors:  A list of philosophical and political heresies published by Pope Pius IX in 1864. The list did not include explanations, but did refer to other magisterial documents. The Syllabus became a symbol for the Church's negative stance toward the modern world. 

12:41 Descartes and the turn to the subject:  In the classical worldview, truth is found in the objectivity of the world (physical and metaphysical, natural and supernatural) - by turning beyond oneself. In the epistemological systems of the Enlightenment and postmodernism, truth is found by turning inward, to subjective experience. For example, in the Cogito ergo sum (as interpreted by many), the first statement is about me, then (may) lead to the totality of existence, rather than the other way around. Basically, placing more explanatory weight of the experience of the subject, rather than the reality of the objective world.

12:55 phenomenology's a very subjective philosophy:  Phenomenology has a number of meanings, applications, and contexts, but as a general mode of inquiry, it seeks to understand the phenomenon of consciousness, and how the various phenomena of subjective experience leads to our understanding of the structure of reality. Thus, in dealing with consciousness and acts of consciousness, it pertains heavily to the subjective experience. However, it is not subjectivist necessarily, as it sees such phenomena as objective in reference (real), and as expressions of the conscious being, i.e. persons.

13:08 JPII's personalism:  There are various ways of being “personalist;” JPII  specifically - with great debt to the phenomenology of Max Scheler and Edith Stein - defines the person (not the abstract concept of personhood, but the person) a the fundamental category of existence. JPII is not the first to say this, it is in the tradition (e.g. Richard of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Scotus), but his makes great use of phenomenology and the experience of the subject, which is not necessarily in the previous traditions. If memory serves, personalism as a term was in part applied to give a name to JPII’s style of thought.

15:24 Ratzinger:  The given last name of the future Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict

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