Pope says restorationist Catholics “gagging” Church reforms

restorationist Catholics "gagging" reforms

Pope Francis told a gathering of Jesuit editors that restorationist Catholics, particularly in the United States, are “gagging” the Church’s modernising reforms.

Nevertheless, he insisted that there was no turning back.

Francis said the refusal to accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council is the major problem facing the Church today.

“In the European Church I see more renewal in the spontaneous things that are emerging: movements, groups, new bishops who remember that there is a Council behind them,” said Francis.

He added that those seeking to roll back Vatican II’s reforms have gained a strong foothold in the United States.

“The current problem of the Church is precisely the non-acceptance of the Council,” the 85-year-old Roman Pontiff said.

“Restorationism has come to gag the Council. The number of groups of ‘restorers’ – for example, in the United States, there are many – is significant.” He added that he knew some priests for whom the 16th century Council of Trent was more memorable than the 20th century Vatican II.

Vatican II offered a blueprint for contemporary Catholicism by seeking to better connect the Church with the essentials of Christianity and update the methods whereby it would carry out its mission.

Among the reforms of Vatican II, which took place from 1962 to 1965, was the approval of the translation of the liturgy from Latin into vernacular languages. This was an effort to make the Mass more accessible and involve greater participation of the laity.

Restorationists argue that the changes led to a loss of mystery and a sense of transcendence in Catholic worship.

They have become some of Francis’ fiercest critics, accusing him of heresy for his opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, outreach to gay Catholics and other reforms.

Francis has taken an increasingly hard line against them, including re-imposing restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass. He has taken specific action in dioceses and religious orders where restorationist Catholics have been gagging reforms.

Francis commented to the editors, “It is also true that it takes a century for a council to take root. We still have forty years to make it take root, then!”




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