I was in a unique situation tonight as I went to the Bible study at my Church. There were just a few people there as this was an informal meet and guage the intrest type meeting. It should be noted that I’m in my 20’s and everyone else there was at least in their late 40’s Anyway, we went over the Gospel reading from Mass this morning and talked about it’s application to today. Conversations, as they often do, moved from topic to topic and we got onto current Church practices/policies/politics…then the Deacon that was leading it that was there said this: (which I think he got from a letter that Cardinal Mahoney wrote, which said something to the same effect)
“The ‘vocations crisis’ after Vatican II should actually be seen as a gift from God and the Holy Spirit working in the Bishops because it has placed the laity in their proper roles. Can you imagine how bored you’d be if we had 3 or more priests at this parish–they’d be expected to do everything and you wouldn’t get to be in charge of anything.”
Then one of the other members interjected—as the Deacon was going on about Clerical Dress and said…
“Now, I’m not knocking Vatican II–I think it was a wonderful thing with all that change–I love change–but I kinda like the priests dressing in the collar and the sisters in some kind of habit…why did Vatican II have to change that?”
Then I stepped up and said:
"Actually I too appreciate priets wearing clericals and nuns and brothers in the holy habit. I think that’s a wonderful witness to the outside world. Also, I think if you really read into Vatican II you’ll see that it never called for the total abandonment of the habit–quite the contrary…now I guess we’ll just have to see what our Holy Father means with his “Reform of the Reform.”
I was subsequently grilled over an open fire for being “Pre-Vatican II” and the Deacon told me that I needed to realize that more and more orders are coming out of the habit…he said that, in fact, “over 97 percent of the orders have come out of the habit” and the the others were simply “holding onto tradition that prevents them from ministering to people effectivly.” He noted that it was troubeling that I, as a young man, had such rigid views.
Now…my question is…what do I do in a situation like this? I intend on going back to the meetings to stand up for my point of view and for the other people there who seem to agree with me but remain quiet for fear of being yelled at. Would it be disrespectful to the Deacon to bring a copy of some of the Vatican II council documents with me and quote some things from them whenever these topics come up…or when we start talking about the Bible’s meaning–“in light of Vatican II”? I actually was kinda laughing inside because I thought that he’d really flip out if he figured out that there are many orders that still wear the habit and use…dare I say…Latin in their Liturgy. I don’t know, I’m just looking for some guidance to make clear in this group what the Church teaches while remaining respectful. Thanks for your help.