Friday, May 05, 2006

Book List

Two books on language recommended by Lewis H. Lapham:

Don Watson, Death Sentences : How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language, Gotham, 2005.

Eric Larsen, A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit, Shoemaker & Hoard, 2006.

Recommended by Dom Alcuin Read:

Tracey Rowland, Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II, Routledge, 2003.

From Dom Alcuin Read’s review:

To live in the aftermath of an Ecumenical Council appears never to have been easy. In our own age, we who have grown up in the shadow of Vatican II need to remember this. We probably suffer from having been told “Vatican II changed all that” in respect of all aspects of Church life, and we may well have looked on whilst those who questioned such “changes” were consigned to perdition.

Such is the deference with which we have been taught that we must speak about Vatican II and all its works that I was astonished to read in Aidan Nichols' The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger an account of Ratzinger's substantial criticisms of the Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes. Surely this was the document of the Council par excellence? How could it be subject to such informed criticism?

The answer is that most of the documents of Vatican II contain reformable prudential judgements made in contingent circumstances; they are not dogmatic definitions to which one owes the assent of faith, but rather, largely, they seek to chart pastoral policy for the Church (eg, one can be a Catholic in good faith and believe that the Council was silly to call for the introduction of bidding prayers into the Mass — the decision is simply a matter of judgement, not doctrine). Once this is understood, it is perfectly reasonable for a peritus of the Council, as Joseph Ratzinger was, to engage in a critical evaluation of these judgements and policies.

Today, it is, surely, no less appropriate that critical evaluation should continue, particularly in the light of the almost forty years' experience since, for, even if the policies of the Council were apposite, the pastoral policies appropriate to the Church today may well not be identical to those of forty years ago.

Enter the Australian Cambridge scholar Dr Tracey Rowland. . . .

Review by Father Peter Joseph, STD

Tracey Rowland interviewed:
Benedict XVI, Vatican II and Modernity (Part 1)
Benedict XVI, Vatican II and Modernity (Part 2)

John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family — Melbourne
Associate Professor Tracey Rowland



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