THE CHURCH NEEDS a new Pe ecost and there can be no Pentec s st unless there is first an Ascensi n. Such are the dynamics of the p mystery.
Today, in the Church, both e conservatives and the liberals re effectively blocking a new Ho g out of the Holy Spirit because th groups refuse to reverently grie a death and let a certain body of ascend and give us its blessing. do I mean?
The pre-Vatican II Church is, th logically-understood, the pr ascended body of Christ. Th s3 today, for us to receive the H sly Spirit, we must, like the original dis pies, let the Church we once kn give us its blessing and ascend o heaven. And this is not happening. t is being blocked by our failure o understand what has happened the church and to properly grieve t. Let me try to explain this: The Church that many of us gr up in, the Church of the 1950s axd early 1960s which was irrevocab y changed after Vatican II, was, despi e its flaws and imperfections, both a very beautiful and powerful expre sion of the body of Christ. Indeed n was, as history will show, one of the better incarnations of Christian Church, especially as regards is universality and its gathering aroun the eucharist. It had its shortcomin admittedly, but it gave life and me tated grace and helped millions women and men to salvation, most our own parents included. It gay us the faith and taught us many of th very things which we are now usin to criticize it.
Rut it had its time and eventually i was crucified by time, by change, secularisation, and by its own imper fections. Vatican II simply recognis this, it didn't cause it. For its part mostly it named a death and claime a resurrection, a new life.
We are already living that new lif enthusiastically or begrudgingly But we have yet, on both sides, t really receive its Spirit. Why?
Because none of us has reall grieved what we lost. The Catholi cism that so many of us grew up o was, in truth, one of the more power flu l expressions of Christianity eve incarnated. It died and nobod grieved it! Conservatives are not reall grieving. They're angry and in denial.
They haven't accepted that something has died. They're still trying to resuscitate it. Liberals aren't griev ing either. They don't admit that the pre-Vatican U Church is worth griev ing! They're happy that this particu lar incarnation of Catholicism has died since, for them, it was not a very healthy expression of Church in any case. In both cases, there is no Ascension, no reverent letting go of the old in such a way that it can bless the present. The conservatives block that blessing through denial, the liberals through self-hatred.
So this is our situation: we are living in a post-Vatican II Church, but the body of the pre-Vatican II Church remains with us ungrieved, unreverenced, unascended. And the atmosphere within the Church precisely manifests this debilitating situation. Thus, for example; It is no accident that Catholics of my age (ie, those of us who had an experience of the pre-Vatican II Church) are, for the most part, more focussed on our own reactions to Vatican II, for or against, than we are with passing on the faith to the world at large, let alone to our own children. As we do all our infighting, and think it's important, the world and our own children are indifferent to us... and don't really give a damn about Vatican H. We've too much internal baggage right now to have much in the way of genuine focus beyond ourselves. That shows itself too in our hardness towards each other the rages, the anger, the bitter ness, the ideology, the disrespect of others, and the plain lack of charity that emanates from both conservative and liberal circles. What is evident from all of this is that we lack fresh
spirit, we lack the Holy Spirit, on both all sides. There is too little of charity, joy, peace, goodness, longsuffering, fidelity, mildness, faith, and chastity left.
We need a new Pentecost. And that will happen only when all of us, with deep reverence and love, let the old ascend and give us its blessing. But this will happen only when we understand the church of the past for what it was and is, the resurrected body of Christ, calling us to the Mount of the Ascension to impart its blessing. t