Elliot Milco at The Paraphasic has a second really good post today: a personal reflection by the author on the question “Why Stay Catholic?” The impetus for the mediation being a question by an Orthodox acquaintance of the blogger’s, “I would be curious to know, given the Synod and the current pontificate, what keeps more faithful Catholics from becoming Eastern Orthodox.” Rod Dreher has implicitly asked the same question in the context of Michael B. Dougherty’s overheated piece in The Week. (Which we will not link to.) We encourage you to read the piece in full at The Paraphasic. It concludes on a hopeful—maybe even inspirational—note, and it is well worth your time.
As for us, we cannot help—as we said in a previous post—but think of Cardinal Ottaviani in all of this. It is no secret, though perhaps not as widely known as it ought to be, that he was humiliated time and time again on the floor of the Council. He was shouted down on the floor of the Council while discussing the schema that became Sacrosanctum Concilium (thus hanging ten thousand felt banners in ten thousand churches in the round) and “in Aula fit plausus” when his microphone was eventually cut off. (Acta Synodalia I.2.20.) Likewise, Norman Cardinal Gilroy, archbishop of Sydney, presiding over the Council, went out of his way to undercut Ottaviani’s legal argument regarding the multiple “alternative” schemata offered as replacements to his De Fontibus Revelationis. (Id. at I.3.132; cf. 1917 CIC 222 § 2.)
And the constant battle took its toll. Ottaviani’s introduction to his schema De Ecclesia, delivered on December 1, 1962, at the very end of the first session of the Council, is worth reading in full:
Exhibiturus vestro examini schema constitutionis de Ecclesia, illud vobis commendo utpote praeparatum diligentissima cura a fere 70 membris commissionis praeparatoriae, deinde examinatum a commissione centrali et, subiectis igitur propositionibus factis a membris commissionis centralis, a commissione emendationum fuit etiam perpensum. Hinc, post hoc iter, Summus Pontifex iussit ut illud exhiberetur vobis examinandum.
Cura eorum qui praeparaverunt schema fuit, ut quam maxime pastorale esset, biblicum et etiam accessibile captui etiam multitudinum, non scholasticum sed potius forma quadam actualiter ab omnibus comprehendenda. Dico haec quia exspecto audire solitas litanias Patrum Conciliarium: non est oecumenicum, est scholasticum, non est pastorale, est negativum et alia huiusmodi.
Immo vobis aliquam confidentiam debeo facere. Puto me et relatores incassum esse locuturos quia iam res praeiudicata est. Illi enim qui solent dicere: tolle! tolle! substitue illud!, illi iam sunt parati hoc proelium facere. Vobis revelationem quamdam facio: antequam schema istud distribueretur, audite! audite!, antequam distribueretur, iam conficiebatur schema substituendum. Igitur ante praevisa merita iam iudicatum est!
Non restat inde, ut taceam, quia docet Sacra Scriptura: ubi non est auditus noli effundere sermonem.
(Acta Synodalia I.4.121 [emphasis supplied].) We see more than a little sadness and even some bitterness in this. As Ottaviani saw it, the questions before the Council were prejudged by an organized clique intent on going through the motions until they got the results they wanted. And Ottaviani had to know that the modernists at the Council were angling at the dismantling of the Church’s doctrine and practice. Ecumenism and pastoral tone were little more than buzzwords intended to obfuscate and conceal this goal. (Sound familiar yet?) Yet, Ottaviani persevered. His episcopal motto was Semper Idem. Always the same. Funny how that works.
As for us, we may be perplexed, concerned, or even disturbed at the developments in Rome. (Though we are not, it seems, as perplexed, concerned, or disturbed as others.) But if Ottaviani endured and stayed not only faithful but also loyal in the face of all that, what else can we do?