Since I was under ten at the time and had no connection to the Catholic Church the Second Vatican Council was a total non-entity for me. Still in retrospect I have wondered about the disconnect between what the Council actually taught and how it was perceived by Catholics and the world-at-large. Information about the Council was almost entirely filtered through the media. Even for Catholic who were watching closely there was a lot of misinformation to wade through and as the actual documents were published there were relatively few who read them. So partly it is easy to comprehend how the “Spirit of Vatican II” developed in an atmosphere of cultural upset and expectation of change.
I think I have a better understanding now how this dynamic worked. The reason I say this is I believe there is a “Spirit of Pope Francis” dynamic working right now. Once again change seems to be expected and that dogma and doctrine is up for grabs. The media amplifies anything interpreted to be in this direction; a grasping at straws and straw-men. It has been quite ludicrous when it comes to dogmatic teachings related to abortion, homosexual acts, women’s ordination are going to result in a total rewrite of the Catechism. Areas concerning discipline and not dogmas spin out of control on something totally unsubstantial. For example Archbishop Pietro Parolin’s answer regarding clerical celibacy that was anything but a signaling of future change. More recently all the talk about women Cardinal’s being appointed.
The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said yesterday:
“Being a cardinal is one of the roles in the church for which, in theory, one does not have to be ordained as a priest,” Lombardi said. “But to move from that point to suggesting the pope will name female cardinals for the consistory is not even remotely realistic.”
So of course the media reports “Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi fuels rumours on female cardinals”
More evidence of the “Sprit of Pope Francis” at work. You don’t need actual statements or documents just and expectation of change. The media, non-Catholics, and some Catholics not exactly friendly to the Church see Pope Francis as a “breath of fresh air.” So since they like him many assume that he can’t possibly be a “dogmatic” Pope and someone that actually believes all that the Church authoritatively teaches. The Pope’s repeated claims that he is a “son of the Church” is rather lost on them. He’s a humble guy with an obvious love for the poor so of course that means he is a political liberal. Some of the imprecision in the Pope’s language also contributes to agenda interpretations regarding what he has said. Some missteps such as the interview with Eugenio Scalfari that was not recorded and published based on Scalfari’s memory. There are reports that the Pope “regretted” the publication of the interview in “L’Osservatore Romano” and “complained of it to the director, Gian Maria Vian, in Assisi on Oct. 4.”
So there are many things that lead to the “Spirit of Pope Francis” and once again obvious contradictions don’t matter. Pope Francis can preach repeatedly about the reality of the devil and at the same time is expected to eject everything that went before. So just like the “Spirit of Vatican II” the “Spirit of Pope Francis” is full of contradictions between what is actually written and what is expected. The question is how is this to be overcome? Just the fact that the Pope won’t be changing these teachings will not be enough for those Bullwinkle Catholics who keep thinking “This time, for sure!”