Many Protestants don't understand or appreciate how transformational Vatican II was for the Catholic Church and the whole global Christian Church in general. Our friend and Catholic theologian Shaun Blanchard co-wrote a book called Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction. In this episode, we chat with Shaun about the size, scope, and impact of Vatican II in the 1960s, and we wonder about when the next changes at the next Vatican Council might be.
In this episode, we tasted a barrel select of Eagle Rare from our friends at Story Hill BKC in Milwaukee, WI.
To skip the tasting, go to 9:21.
You can find the transcript for this episode here.
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NOTE: This transcript was auto-generated by an artificial intelligence and has not been reviewed by a human. Please forgive and disregard any inaccuracies, misattributions, or misspellings.
I'm Randy, the pastor half of the podcast, and my friend Kyle is a philosopher. This podcast hosts conversations at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and spirituality.
We also invite experts to join us, making public space that we've often enjoyed off-air around the proverbial table with a good drink in the back corner of a dark pub.
Thanks for joining us, and welcome to A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar.
So today, we're talking to Shawn Blanchard, longtime listener to the show will remember him from a previous episode back in season two, I think it was something like that one. Sure he was a longtime one. Remember, I don't know how many episodes we've done. At this point. We're coming to the end of our third season crazy. That is, so we talked to Sean our grad school friends. And we talked to him before about basically all the questions we had about Catholics because he's a Catholic theologian. And so this time, Sean and a co author came out with a little book, that's an introduction to Vatican two. And that might sound super dry and boring to a lot of you who aren't Catholics and don't know much about the history of the church. But it's probably as he puts it, the most eventful, I don't know thing to happen in the church since the Protestant Reformation, which is kind of a big deal. And if you care about social issues in general, if you care about the influence that the Catholic Church has on the world with respect to those social issues, you really should care about Vatican two.
Oh, yeah, you should all of us within Christianity should care about Vatican two. And if you're at all interested in what it means to be Catholic, what's the Catholic tradition? What's Catholic theology? I'd highly recommend this book. I think it's a really, really good primer on the history of Catholic theology and what happened in the early 60s in Vatican two and why it's so different. I mean, you you hear me talking glowingly about Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest in New Mexico and Richard Rohr has said, if it wasn't for Vatican two, I wouldn't be a Catholic. So I mean, Vatican two is groundbreaking. In this book, though, I will say it's, it's got its dry moments. And that's not no reflection of Sean's writing. It's just it's it's very, very, it deals with some minutia. But if you can kind of, if you're interested in the Catholic tradition, if you're interested in what Catholics believe in the practice of the Catholic tradition, check out this book, you can even skim through some of the stuff where it gets a little bit into the weeds, but I found it like, I'm glad I read it. Because I have a, I have a far greater understanding of the Catholic tradition, Catholic theology, and the where the church is moving.
Yeah, and even more after this conversation. So Shawn is very helpful in elucidating some of the finer points and giving us more backstory on the history. So really good conversation, always happy to support Shawn.
Yeah. And it makes me wish that Protestants were as thoughtful as Catholics to be honest with you.
I'm sure you would agree. I'm not sure I do.
You're not sure you do know. I
don't know. All right. I've known a lot of very unthoughtful Protestants and Catholics.
I'm not sure if I'm talking about like, within the Yeah, Protestant pastors aren't the most intellectual people in the world in general. Yeah. Although I've
known some who really are but they're almost exclusively mainline or some kind of Luther.
Yeah, I mean, the fact that we don't have a whole bunch of people who are paid to do the work of theology makes a difference is what
no distractions including sex one task
I believe that the scholarship would be different if they were able to make love to their
absolutely read the Eastern theologians. It's different it's happier in some way. They're not as frustrated. Sorry, Sean's really sorry about this man. Anyway, good conversation that you're in for a treat. Yeah, a great so on a passer and philosopher walk into a bar, one of the things we'd like to do is have a tasty beverage often bourbon and that's what it is in this case, and this comes from our friends at story he'll be Casey Randy, what are we drinking?
We're drinking Eagle rare. It's it's all their offerings 10 years Yeah, either as always 10 Okay, so this eagle rare barrel select our friends Mr. Hill because he selected this barrel. You can only find it while you honestly you can't find it anymore. So because he because it's sold out. But here's the deal. It doesn't matter. They're always featuring barrel selects. They're always featuring unique offerings. They're always featuring things that you won't find at discount liquor or all the other places that you go. They're unique stuff. So it's Today is the eagle rare barrel select
man. I gotta tell you we've had we've had a rare on the show we've each added independently a bunch of times. I've never gotten a hit of cherry that I just got off of this. Yes. Like it's like
Hiroshima. Actually, I was trying to figure out how to describe that checks. It's not like the dark like it's not Luxardo cherries. No bright
for me. Yeah, this is.
Could I say strawberry?
It borders on strawberry. Yeah, so we just picked a bunch of strawberries. That's fresh in my mind. That yeah, this is like on top of the sundae kind of cherry. Yeah.
No, I get it, but not as much as you guys. Vanilla. Yep, for sure. Windows barn is that that's an
eagle rare thing. The vanilla?
Yeah, it's always present. I mean, it's a bourbon thing, but it's Yeah, always noticeable here.
Oh, man. Well,
what's on the like, on the more cinnamon side, like but it's not cinnamon. It's like coriander. Or like,
lean towards like nutmeg. Okay. It's very straightforward. Like, it seems like it definitely it can't be barrel strength. It's pretty easy drinking.
See, that's that's Eagle. Eagle. Rare is always super straightforward. Like, can I say it's like it's a little overrated. It's delicious. But Eagle rare has this prestige that I'm not sure it's due.
It's only it's only because it's Buffalo Trace. It's associated with.
I think it's a really quality whiskey at a good price point. And that's why it got really popular. And then you couldn't find it anymore. And then the mystique went up. So it's not fair to Eagle rare. What the what the demand has done to it because it's originally 15 years ago, when I first experienced it, you'll rare. It blew me away because it was a $25 bottle that was way better than old forester or, you know Evan Williams or whatever. Compare it to that. You know what I mean?
Right? It's like a great comedian. Who then becomes like the worst late night host
okay, we're drinking Jimmy Kimmel.
No, definitely sorry.
Oh, I love Seth Meyers. We can have a whole separate. I will say he really hit his stride at about three years actually, after Trump. He hit his stride but at first it was rough.
This is delicious. I do get the cinnamon nutmeg thing I get. It's what Eagle rare brings, which is just consistency and it delivers every time
from it. Yeah, I do. I do think this is better. This store pick is better than typical Eagle rare. I don't get that strong cherry. It's I think it's a little bit deeper than the average Eagle
rare. Yeah. So I'll just say again, if you are in the Milwaukee area, or find yourself in the Milwaukee area, find yourself at story he'll be Casey. They always feature rare fun whiskies, spirits in general. And then if you find yourself as sorry, he'll be Casey, sit down, have some lunch or dinner because it's going to be the best meal you've had in a long long time. I promise you. Cheers. Cheers.
Well, Shawn Blanchard, welcome back to a pastor philosopher walk into a bar. Thanks a lot, guys.
Great to be here.
So you have we're talking to you about a book that you just published, but you publish it with a co host. So why don't you tell us a little bit about who your co hosts? We are co author. co author. So tell us a little bit about him. And what made you guys want to write this together?
Yeah, sure. So Steven bola that is a young? Well, young is everyone. Now young is just like under 50. For me, you know, my young colleagues are under 50. But he actually is He's surprisingly young for how much he's published. I think he's in his late 30s. But Stephen Bolaven is his name, teaches at St. Mary's University in South London. And he is a very good friend of mine. We both did our part of our post grad, he did all of his post grad at Oxford, started teaching theology. And then he ended up doing a degree in sociology. And he's really started focusing on kind of contemporary questions of this affiliation. So why do people leave? Why did they go from ticking something on the Census Muslim, Christian whatever, to ticking nothing? And that is a question that has brought him firmly into you know, secularization, modernity questions like that. So he was really interested in approaching Vatican two from a kind of contemporary history, sociological perspective. I'm very interested in sort of the roots of Vatican to the history, some of the theological disputes that are still ongoing today. So we wanted a text that could be understood by you know, undergrad, seminarians, kind of anyone who's interested in learning about modern Catholicism, Second Vatican Council, and we felt like, well, there really isn't a text we could give undergrads and say, Hey, you have you know, you have a couple days to read. This, there's some great longer texts, there's massive five volume studies. But we sort of wrote the thing that we wish had been available, that in the past, we had kind of pieced together through short of various online articles, a couple of journal articles, things like that. And we just kind of filled the gap that we kind of saw. And that was really exciting and fun. And my wife was jokes that she never thought I'd write a book that had very short introduction in the title. But I made it, I managed through through a severe editorial pin to be concise. So I'm very proud of myself.
And man, I gotta say, you know, it looks like a pamphlet. But you put as many words in that book as possible. Yeah. filled it up with a lot of things. So just to locate our listeners, most of our listeners probably aren't Catholic, and don't understand the the consequential nature of Vatican two. So can you just before we start getting into the weeds about Vatican two, can you just tell us what is Vatican two? What is the Vatican Council? And how consequential? Has Vatican two been for the Catholic Church?
Yeah, definitely. So I don't think it's an exaggeration to say Vatican two is the most important event in the life of the Catholic church since the Protestant Reformation. You could maybe argue the French Revolution is up there, but I think it's at the very least one of the three most important events of the last five 600 years in the life of the Catholic Church. So an ecumenical council is a general or Universal Council. So the Catholic understanding is that there's been 21 of these councils throughout history. So about one every 100 years, the the meeting and the apostolic deliberation in Acts, chapter 15, with Peter and James and discussions of kind of Gentile inclusion and the law and things like that that scene is a sort of prototype for an ecumenical council. But the first kind of post biblical Ecumenical Council is the Council of Nicaea. So if you go to, you know, a lot of the confessional Protestant churches, you would recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday, virtually all Protestants would acknowledge the Nicene Creed as at the very least, a good general guide for the basics of the Christian faith. So that creed was kind of hammered out at the first two Ecumenical Councils, and from the Catholic perspective that those councils have kind of kept going at roughly one a century all the way down to the present. So they're for Catholics, it's the the bishops who are all in communion with the Pope, the bishop of Rome. They don't necessarily meet in Rome. But in the previous two Ecumenical Councils, Vatican one and Vatican two, they've met literally in the Pope's backyard, right behind papal residence in St. Peter's Basilica, and that's where they've they've held this, this event. So Ecumenical Councils are important for all Christians, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic, but they're slightly different understandings of kind of what counts as an ecumenical council. How does their authority sort of work? And how is it received, but that's, that's the basics of its most recent Ecumenical Council publishes 16 texts, it's much, much, much longer in length, literally in word count than any other Ecumenical Council. And they really are exploring all kinds of issues. They're not convened to solve one particular problem. Many of the Ecumenical Councils in the early church, there was a particular question or problem, the doctrine of areas versus the doctrine of Athanasius, and the Council of Nicaea, etc, this was kind of, we have a lot of problems, and we have to talk about a lot of things. And they published really kind of a small, a small library of texts that are still studied and used today by Catholics to kind of try to understand the place of the church in the modern world.
Your bit in the book about the scope of the in the logistics of getting together accounts of Vatican Council, in the 20th century is astounding. Somebody called it the world's largest meeting in history. And it looks like getting 2500 people together in the same room for three years straight for a couple of you know, for about a month, every year. And agreeing and talking and dialoguing and all this stuff. It's the the logistics of it blow me away.
Yeah, that anecdote that I liked the most is that there were there were a couple of journals. So Stephen Bolaven is great about this because he you know, he has a sociological perspective. He reads a lot of the journals of the participants, but a lot of them said it wouldn't have been possible without the espresso bars and the back to espresso bars in the back. And they're kind of joking. I mean, they're meaning you know, you're hearing these many of these speeches are delivered in Latin. It's even with the acoustics of St. Peter's, it can be very difficult to understand, especially to understand the nuances, but they're also making a clo and you need a break. You know, you need to you in the middle of the day, you're lagging you have to go back. A lot of these are older men 60s 70s, even in their 80s But the other thing that's not a joke is that it was this. The division that Pope John the 23rd had was all of these people are mixing. They're exchanging their ideas and their kind of conception of the Catholic Church is is vastly expanding. And I think that's so that happens with meals it happens with over a glass of wine are over and espresso. So it really was a kind of it was a truly deliberative meeting. It wasn't just a kind of rubber stamping of pre prepared texts. And I think this is what Pope Francis, just to jump briefly to today. He's trying to carry out this vision now, of Catholics having a more universal sense of the church and of kind of truly deliberating with one another. synodality is the term he was used as walking together. Yeah,
there's got to be a joke about how many bishops sleeping bishops does it take to make up a Vatican Council or something like that? I can't imagine how many snoring bishops there were. Yeah. Couldn't understand. Couldn't hear. Yeah.
But on the logistics of it, it's almost the sort of thing that requires. I don't know a construct as vast and as old as the Catholic Church to pull off. I don't think anyone else could have done it. Yeah. Like, there's no Protestant denomination that could have done it, everybody would have run out of steam. Not for three years. The Trump heights would give long before that. But like I just ran would
have had a great, it would have been a great opening address. It would have
actually, just coincidentally, just read a novel called The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, and if you've ever heard of this, but the premise is, they discover life in another constellation. And the Jesuits are the only ones able and the ones who do it first able to mount a mission to go visit it because everybody else is arguing about it. And they, because they have the infrastructure. Yeah.
I think I think I know this from jazz with friends. And I think I know the ending was somewhat the same book tragic
and dark. But delightful, right up until that point. And clearly, she understood the Jesuits. So let's talk a bit about the meat of Vatican two. So what were the core debates? And are some of them the major ones, and what were their outcome? And how much did they really shift the trajectory of the church?
So God, so going into the council, so Pope John the 23rd, is elected Pope in 1958. He's just kind of Jolly grandfatherly figure, everyone thinks that he's sort of going to be a stopgap Pope. And he shocks the world by calling an ecumenical council, less than a year after he's elected in January of 1959. He calls it on the Feast of the conversion of St. Paul, which was of ecumenical significance. So he soon becomes apparent. And he gives a sort of beautiful explanation of this. And in the speech, opening the council that of humanism is one of one of the goals of the council. So a humanism meaning the working towards a corporate visible reunification of all Christians. So it's going beyond trying to get along better or even cooperation on, you know, social or political matters and towards kind of a ecclesial reunification. So that is a add extra, if you will, it's a facing outward goal of Vatican to
how ambitious and remarkable that goal is, especially at that point, when you had tons of antagonism between Catholics and Protestants thinking that each other are heretics and apostates thinking that they have to I mean, there's just no dialogue at this point, right between Protestants and Catholics and Orthodox
in a nutshell, yes, I mean, there was a so that the Ecumenical Movement is really begun by Protestants and World Council of Churches and it's it's taking off around the time of the First World War. And Catholics start getting interested in the pope at the time, or about 10 years later, in 1928. Pope Pius the 11th releases a very, very negative judgment and says Catholics cannot participate in this really in any way at all. His successor, Pope Pius the 12th, was a little bit more open to it. So there were some very limited circumstances where Catholics, I think, the Archbishop of Chicago participated in an ecumenical event and there were some more liberal Catholics in Germany and Belgium that were starting to do things but in general you're right this was a this was a shocking for this to be an initiative of the Pope was shocking that it's not you know, some intellectual in a inter religious faculty in Germany, it's the Pope of Rome calling for because the the thing with the humanism is you are you're implying that the other person has something to say. So that's what's so radical about his during the first Vatican Council in 1869 1870. Protestants were invited to the council, but it was in a very sort of patronizing way, it was like the you know that you might realize Holy Mother Church, you know is your home and you might repent of your schism in there. That was like almost literally what they said. So no Protestants took the invitation, funnily enough. But with John, the 20 thirds invitation was received very, very warmly. So there were Eastern Orthodox and Protestant observers at the council. So that's the first thing, there's a there's an ecumenical openness from the Pope, not necessarily from all of his lieutenants in Rome, some people were very, very worried about this. There's also a kind of add extra focus an outward facing focus of how can the church evangelize the modern world. And there was a sense of the world is a much bigger place than it used to be. There's, there's so much contact with non Christian cultures with non Christian religions. And then there's also a sense that in the former kind of Christian Heartlands, places like France, you had entire cities and regions where the vast majority of people were not attending Mass, and many of them were very anti clerical. And they felt that the church was not on the side of the poor was hopelessly backward or was sort of a relic for rosary and praying grandma's in the country, or whatever their conception was of the church. So that you had like these two French priests wrote a wrote a book in the 1940s. And the title was, is France, a missionary country? Because there's all this talk of oh, if missions to Africa missions to Southeast Asia, but they were saying, Well, do we need to actually have mission to France. And I think Pope John took this very seriously as well. So there's a kind of mission to the non Christian world, and a sincere dialogue with the non Christian world. And then there's also a desire to dialogue with Protestants and Orthodox Christians, internally, he says things that are, you know, you would expect the Pope to say, the renewal of the entire Christian people, the strengthening of faith, deepening of the bonds of brotherhood, that kind of thing. So an internal renewal and then that kind of external mission and dialogue is really the goal. So the goal is everything. Right? That's that's the that's both the beauty of Vatican two and the the the problem or challenge of Vatican two.
Interesting. That's one core, would you say that's the through line of the whole thing? Or did they have other things going on as well, that they that prompted them to actually undertake the massive infrastructural challenge? Because it seems like it couldn't have just been the Protestants that triggered this ecumenical thing. And they decided, oh, let's all get together and talk about that. There had to be more long standing stuff.
Yes, definitely. Yeah. So there's, I'll just list some things that they kind of concretely take up and there's there's a backstory on all of these. So there's the form of the liturgy. So principally, liturgy is just a word Catholic us Catholics use for corporate or communal worship. So principally, that means mass that means the Catholic the Sunday service, or a daily service really for, for Catholics. The use of the vernacular, was an issue that the Catholic Church had considered at the time of the Reformation at the Council of Trent. And in most cases, they had decided against that there were calls for it throughout in the intervening centuries, and they were usually unheated or squashed. And then there was kind of growing momentum leading up to Vatican two to implement the vernacular, in mass, the participation of the laity so the fact that the mass is a sacrifice. I know that's a strange word for Protestants to hear, but it is an unbloody sacrifice. That is the priest united with the people. It isn't simply the priest doing something on behalf of the rest of the church who are kind of spectators. This was actually a term one of the bishops use that the people had become mute spectators and they should be active participants in worship. Along these same lines, the promotion of Bible reading, which had been very stop start, there were there was some positive momentum for this before the council, but there were also people who had very kind of patronizing attitudes towards the lady reading the Bible, that reinvigoration of evangelization which we talked about, there's a promotion of what Catholics called the lay vocation. So this is kind of the the role and the, the kind of dignity of the lay life. So the fact that it isn't just priests and nuns who are called to serve God in special ways, or it's called to holiness. So this comes under the umbrella of what Vatican two called the universal call to holiness or kind of empowerment of every vocation that God might call one, two married single priest, whatever it might be. There's also a desire, which I think we'll probably talk more about later to balance Vatican one. So the previous Ecumenical Council in 1870 had really really emphasized the authority of the pope in ways that many Catholics were concerned about it thought that the Pope had become too detached from his proper context, which is as the head of the call Archbishop's as the Bishop of Rome, not as a kind of Monarch floating above the church, so that was a big concern. And that came under the rubric of collegiality. So the church should be ruled in a collegial manner. The bishops reflecting the the apostolic college, the College of the apostles, in a religious dialogue became an important issue, especially with the Jewish people. So we have to remember the context here, the Vatican two opens in 1962. That's only 17 years after the end of the Second World War, Auschwitz, the dropping of the atomic bombs. So all of these moral problems and political problems are really, really fresh. In the, in the minds of the council fathers, as Stephen and I were preparing to write this book, were sitting in a pub in England. And he said to me, this was 2019. And he said to me, can you believe that we are further removed in history from 911 than they were from the dropping of the atomic bombs on the feet of Nazi Germany, and that really kind of drove it home to me because I felt like 911 was yesterday. I remember the class I was in. I remember the conversations I was having. It shaped the kind of, you know, political outlook of the country I was living in. So that proximity, that cultural context, this is JFK Cuban Missile Crisis. This is the stuff going on when they're talking about hate, it's
gonna happen during
right. But like KPK was assassinated during the Vatican two,
exactly right. Yeah. They announced it on the council floor. Yeah, the Archbishop of St. Louis comes up and, and announces the death of Kennedy, in in Latin to the to the council fathers. So this political context. So when they're talking about atheism, there are some times some of the council fathers are probably envisioning as a young Parisian college students that they're trying to, you know, talk to or or, or evangelize. And some of them are thinking about the Soviet Union, or some of them are thinking about political polarization in Latin America between, you know, between socialists and nationalists, or fascists, and so all of these, which to us might feel very removed or very academic, or very immediate to many of the council fathers. And then finally, just a sort of general comment, they're harvesting at Vatican two and good Ecumenical Councils do this as they're trying to harvest the good fruit of recent theology. So they're harvesting in this sense the racehorse Mont movement, which is this, this drive to go back to the sources of Scripture and the church fathers. So this could be an anything from biblical studies to pondering the nature of tradition, ideas, like doctrinal development, a more expansive view of ecclesiology what is the nature of the church it isn't just the Pope's and the Pope and the bishops, but it's, it's all of the baptized. So they're, they're trying to harvest all this kind of positive intellectual and theological energy that Catholics have, there was a real revival, beginning intellectual revival among Catholics beginning in the 1920s. So they're trying to sort of promote this in a more kind of systematic or orderly fashion. So that that's all that I mean, there's many other things, but those are some some headings of what they're what they're talking about.
Yeah, in thinking about the significance of Vatican two, as I was reading through your book, and all the things that it corrected, primarily going back to the scriptures, going back to the Church Fathers, which inherently to me means and I think you just said it, less significance and power to the Pope into the bishops and that being the end all be all, it just kind of tells me Vatican to kind of save the Catholic Church in many ways in my eyes, it from a Protestant sighs who really treasured the scriptures really treasured the church fathers to say, we're gonna have to go back to them now is stunning to me from the Catholic Church who gave us the church fathers, but who got so fixated on the papacy and all of the clericalism. But anyways, thank God for Vatican two, I just want to say, so some of the major change you just mentioned came, came out of Vatican two was to the liturgical life of the church. Again, praise God for it. But I went to I had a friend tragically died late last year and went, went to his funeral. And it was in a Catholic church, and they did a Latin, I don't know if it was a Latin rite or Latin Mass. Everything was in Latin besides the sermon, and I never sat through that. And it was kind of like being in a museum. It felt kinda like watching a piece of art, you know, that I don't quite understand what this artist meant. But it's kind of fascinating and beautiful, in the same right but I did not feel worshipful, like I have maybe felt nominally worshipful, or reverence, but I had no freaking clue what they were saying. So it was like a completely lost on me, and I just found it as a really weird exercise. And so you've you've then think about Vatican two and how this really Really hotly debated contested idea of, let's actually speak the mess in the language of the church in the nation that we are in. And it was hotly debated right. There were some people who thought this is just way too much change. It's crazy. And then you even have the bishop, Archbishop of Boston, who was who said something on the floor of, you know, the council. And they're like, Hey, what did you say? And he's like, How should I know I said it in Latin. Literally, the arch.
That's, that's probably my favorite quote, great quote,
literally, the guys who are delivering the Latin, don't understand what they're saying. And at some points, you know, and that's a crude way of saying it. But to me, there couldn't be anything more silly than debating whether or not we should actually have a worship service, which is a mass in a language that the people can understand. It blows me away. That is, as recently as the early 1960s. People were debating whether they should or shouldn't happen outside of Mel Gibson in all that. So tell me like, is this just Protestant eyes saying This is nuts? This is bonkers, that in the 20th century, they're debating this, or is this truly bonkers?
I was wondering when, and then if Mel Gibson will get brought up? Well, first of all, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. And that's probably strangely even extra confusing in that context, where you probably would want to know what words are being spoken in this in this tragic situation? Um, gosh, I have a lot of thoughts about that. There were people of course, that were always calling for this. And your your rhetoric of silliness, would be shared by actually some of the English figures that I study, in the late 18th century, were making similar comments that were was not appreciated by their bishop, of course. And, you know, they were in a Protestant context. And I think that was part of what was shaping them? I do think so I would, I would sort of balance it here. So on one hand, I would I agree, I think that the changes should have been made centuries prior. But I wouldn't say it was silly, because I think I mean, I do think there was something that was lost. When these changes were made, I think what was gained was much greater. And I'm very thankful for these changes. I think it was the work of the Holy Spirit. I think it should have happened centuries prior. But I do think there were things that were lost, for example, we, you know, the Protestant critique of will the house, how absurd is this, you have the Archbishop of one of the largest diocese in the United States, and he's shaking, he's giving a speech, which presumably, was prepared by someone else, right. So presumably, he wrote it in English, and then someone translated it for him. And then he spoke it in Latin, and then, you know, didn't didn't remember or he's making a jab at his own poor grasp of Latin. But on the other hand, Jews praying in Hebrew isn't silly, you know, Muslims, praying in Arabic isn't silly. So the idea of there been a sacred language, I think, there there is a context for that I don't think it ever should have become the, the primary language of worship. But I do think like, I love when I go to a mass and, and we sing the glory and Latin, or we say the Creed and Latin, but I don't want the entire mass. And like, I mean, I understand it most mostly because I just know all the vocabulary. And I know kind of the context. And they also have your scholar, you know, printed missiles, but my wife really, really doesn't like it and feels really alienated by it, if too much of the masses in Latin. So for me, I would never, I've never want us to go to go back to that. I think that this is a great example of Vatican two managing to overcome a kind of deeply embedded anti Protestantism. And one of these English theologians that I that I'm studying right now in the late 18th century, named Joseph bearings, and he wrote a book, a very, very popular kind of introduction to Catholicism. And in it, he basically says, this, the reason we do this is because we, we would rather pray in an unknown tongue than pray in the language of John Calvin, or Queen Elizabeth or Martin Luther. And he's been provocative, and he's been somewhat flippant, and he doesn't support it. He wants He wants there to be a change to have the maths in English for English Catholics. But I think he he, in a very flippant way typical of him in his writing. He is putting his finger on a really important problem, which is the Protestant Reformation, just so deeply polarized Christian Europe, and I think that us a badge of Catholic identity. It became more important than ever, that our service and I think the tagline here is we're older. So what you're doing is new and new is probably wrong and probably bad. And what we're doing is to ancient. And I think that that is part of the kind of that was part of the apologetic strategy of the Catholic Church. And there was such a concern that unity might be lost. And I will say it is beautiful. I mean, I don't understand spoken French at all. And I was in France, and I stumbled into a latin mass. And I probably would not have wanted to know many of the social and political beliefs of my fellow worshipers in some of these Latin Mass communities. But it was very reassuring to me that I could actually follow everything. So these are all these things need to be balanced on balance? I agree with you. I think it was a long overdue reform. But I do think some of the some of the inclinations to keep fit, were coming from reasonable places. Sure.
Let's talk a little bit about the comparison with Vatican one, which you mentioned when you were going through your list of all the topics, which I really appreciate. So how does it compare to Vatican one, just reading the book and not knowing really anything about it? It almost seemed in some ways to me like, Well, that was bad. Let's do have some Was it A? Was it a reform? I know you use that word a lot in the book? Was it a reaction? Was it a repeal? Yeah, some of our work.
And I'll throw in there the Council of Trent, too, because it seems like the Council of Trent in particular was a reaction to the Protestant Reformation. And it seems like Vatican two is undoing a lot of those. And
it just in general, is it okay for Ecumenical Councils to directly disagree with the previous ones? Or is there some sense of the Holy Spirit is guiding all of this? So they should all be consistent? So Okay,
those are, those are great questions. And people have written books just on those questions. Just on 1/3, of what you said, has been a book in and of itself. So I'll try to I'll try to be somewhat brief. So there is a powerful preoccupation with asserting continuity with Trent and with Vatican two. And I think that in many ways that is genuine, but in some ways you there is evidence of, you know, they doth protest too much. Because they'll they'll sort of, say, in complete continuity with our predecessors, and then they'll say something that's not in complete continuity with their predecessors. And some of this is just kind of internal Catholic family speech that you kind of get used to, as far as do they all need to agree, I think the tenuous understanding would be and that, you know, because I think a more conservative theologian would assert a much stricter view of continuity. And there would have been progressive theologians at Vatican two who would have been at least privately extremely negative about much of Vatican one and trends and wanting to do at least de facto undo some of it. The I think a tenuous middle position would be on a kind of clear, dogmatic ruling, there has to be a continuity of some kind, at least. So when, when the first Vatican Council decrees they only now the first Vatican Council only releases two documents. So you already have a huge difference here, Vatican two releases 16, Vatican one releases to one of the Vatican one documents is on the role of the papacy, and it asserts that the Pope has supreme jurisdiction in the church and under certain circumstances can teach infallibly. Vatican two is never going to contradict that dogmatic ruling. And, in fact, the document on the church lumen Gentium, Vatican TOS document on the church reiterates that, but it also says the entire people of God are infallible when they are in unison, holding the truth. The census, Fidel in the sense of the faithful, it also says, the entire college of Bishops can teach infallibly when they are united. So essentially, it will take something that is unbalanced and try to supplement it with other things in order to kind of blunt the negative potential of that. On the other hand, there are things that I think can simply and have simply been left behind. So there's a there's clearly an attitude towards Protestants a harshness towards Protestants, the desire for state power to suppress Protestant worship and Protestant propaganda that is, is contradicted by the Second Vatican Council. So I think there are there are lower level teachings and disciplinary regulations that are contradicted I don't think I mean, certainly the the fathers of Vatican two would say we are not in any dogmatic contradiction with previous councils. So this would get into all kinds of intricate Catholic parsing of what level was this taught and what level is the new teaching and that sort of thing? But to answer your question about what our word I would use, I think there's repeal on some matters, although they would never call it that. I think the best word to use is is is reform. I don't think Vatican one is not really a reforming Council. It releases one document on have a faith and reason problem and it releases one on the role of the papacy. And I think what Vatican two does is it's trying to reach back sort of behind the Council of Trent, and re sort of reassert Catholic doctrine with bypassing this kind of anti Protestant polemic and bypassing this context of Europe being riven by, you know, civil and religious strife. So, and I think it's very successful at doing that, although some Protestants, the Protestants that you and I grew up around, Kyle would say, don't trust Rome, you know, Rome will say one thing, you know, it'll, it'll take away with one hand, what it will give with the other, and Rome ultimately, is just as pagan and, you know, anti anti Christian as it ever was, and they'll sort of say, look, it hasn't repealed this teaching or repealed that teaching. And I think that's mostly based on a misunderstanding with sort of how Catholic development of doctrine actually works.
I had a good friend in college who was like a Trinity Catholic who told me all that stuff, too. So I wasn't just hearing it from the press. Yeah.
No, that's true. That's true. Yeah, you could find someone you can find people who will. I mean, as I'm sure we'll get to the Catholic tradition is so diverse. That I mean, you could find anyone to say and yeah,
so this is a good segue. I put this later in the outline, but I'm gonna pull it up now. So at many points in your book, I was reminded of the runs, we used to go. Sean and I used to be running buddies. And you used asked me things like, Do you philosophers have any, like, texts that you all kind of, are expected to know well, and gather around and I would kind of giggle and pat you on the head and be like, no, no, really, we don't really do that. That's, that's a Catholic thing. But I had this thought several times, not even not even Kant. I mean, there's not surprisingly, not even. So I had this thought several times where in your book, though, is that? Anyone who thinks and tell me if this is too strong, but anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church is somehow more uniform, or more univocal than Protestantism, or maybe then some other religion is either equivocating on what those words mean, or they're just not paying close enough attention? Because it seems to me in this book included, that the differences between the bishops gathered there were deep and common and sharp, in many cases, probably going close to the foundations of Catholicism. That certainly still seems to be true today. And as far as I can tell, it goes all the way back, it's always been true. And that makes total sense to me as someone who researches disagreement, because, as I understand it, smart people, when encountering complicated topics, always disagree. They always disagree about the foundations. Catholic bishops are smart people. And God is a complicated topic. And so there's always going to be like, deep and in some cases, irreconcilable disagreement. So am I understanding that accurately? Or do you not think the disagreement runs that deep? Well, I'm
I'm intrigued by this question. So can you clarify a little bit more about what, what issues or debates stood out to you on this question? Or was it just all Yeah,
I mean, the ecumenical ambiance, I'd have to go back and like, look real carefully to pick out the ones that seemed the deepest, but the ecumenical one would be big. I know that there's debate about whether or not women should be in the priesthood, which seems to go pretty deep to what you think about human nature. There's the LGBTQ issue, same kind of thing goes right to the core of it. Yeah, there. There may not be like vocal disagreement about in what sense Jesus was God anymore. But there was, you know, yeah, until those things were settled, there have always been disagreements, that that go to defining our ecclesiology, defining what we are together and what we're about. And they only get settled by these councils, and only settled to an extent, right, there are always detractors. And given your social and historical context, you're either willing to go so far, or you're not, the costs of going farther today are a lot lower than they used to be. So there's more people willing to say, a lot of different things. But I don't see when I look at when I read books like yours, I don't see a pronounced difference between what you guys are doing and what the Protestants do to be frank. I just see, I just see it wrapped up in different language and different trappings a difference? Yeah,
yeah, there's a Catholic apologetical line, that there is certainty in Catholicism, and there isn't in Eastern Orthodoxy, because ultimately, it's whatever patriarch says, but they don't all agree and they excommunicate each other and all that. So they can't really resolve their problems, even though they have this, this very deep, you know, liturgical tradition and all this. And Protestantism is just utter and complete mayhem, and there's 53,000 denominations and all this stuff. And I always push back against this because I think there's actually a lot more agreement on the fundamentals amongst Protestants than Catholics give them credit for even though there is is I think still a huge amount of of diversity within Protestantism. I think some of it's probably healthy, and some of it isn't. I see where you're coming from. And I always caution, because I've been involved with teaching the class for converts to Catholicism, it's called RCA, the rite of Christian initiation for adults. And I always caution then, if you think you're finding a place where there is no more theological disagreement, you're you're not. So please don't whatever you're being sold on the internet or by your sponsor, is probably totally well meaning and the person telling you might believe this is true. But if you're fleeing from the Methodist church, because they're splitting or this Baptist Church broke into two and the chaos was was so upsetting and unnerving, and you're trying to find stability, I do think there is a kind of stability within the Catholic Church, that's very, very beautiful, but it's not a stability where there's a lack of disagreement. So I feel that I can disagree with other Catholics in, in most cases, not in every case, but in most cases, in a kind of healthy way within certain parameters. And I would say that's healthy diversity. But there is a drive in the Catholic Church to either acquit I think equivocate is what you said, right, there's a drive to say, Oh, well, there's only you know, there's sort of true Catholics and then there's dissenting Catholics and no, true Catholic can disagree. I think I gave you guys this.
What's especially the Scottish ones, right?
Yeah, of course. Yeah. I think I gave you guys this anecdote. Last time we talked. But so I remember having a conversation and a place that I worked with a really, really devout Catholic clergyman who was wonderful. And he and he was saying to me, Catholics disagree, but if they're both properly catechized, they can't disagree about theology. They can only disagree about you know, how politics or social matters or something, but they can't disagree about theology. And I'm thinking like, if he knew about Ecumenical Councils are catechisms or so for example, you gave the issue of women priests, right. So two of the primary editors of the Catholic Catechism, the most recent catechism, which was published in 1992, are Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict, the 16th, who clearly did not believe that women could be ordained priests thought it was an unchangeable, definitive teaching. And a man named Christoph shun born who was the Archbishop of Vienna and a Cardinal. And SUNBORN says recently in a in an interview, they're asking him about women priests, and he says, Well, I don't think that's that can't ultimately be resolved until it's debated at an ecumenical council. So clearly, he at the very least, is open to the possibility that the church could change course on this. So you have disagreement among two men who are who are very close friends who were formed in very similar theological environments, and who co edited the Catechism together. So that's the reality of the Catholic Church, that there is disagreement about substantive matters. I do think where I would comfort the convert or the Catholic who feels adrift is that I do think there's great uniformity in important matters of practice, you know, the Eucharist, the sacraments, the mass. And I think there's a kind of dogmatic this was a little shaky in the 60s and 70s. But I think now, the disagreements between the more liberal and the more conservative Catholics are usually not about the divinity of Christ or the trinity or anything like that. And I think that that's a good thing and a healthy thing to have a kind of general assumption of Nicene Christianity. But I do think it's a myth, as you correctly point out that there's some kind of total uniformity which sociologically is crazy, right? And it's 1.3 billion people. And you know, you what the what are the the joke they have about Protestants is for Protestants in a room, there's five opinions. I mean, there's some circumstances where that's probably true of Catholics. I don't think it's true of Catholics talking about the Eucharist. But it could certainly be true about Catholics talking about what do we think about Islam or, or certainly any any political matter? Yeah. I will stop there. I could talk about that forever. I think it's a fascinating question.
Shawn, can you give a brief explanation of it? I don't know these words in Latin, are argued and amento and reinforcement in the relevance to Vatican two. Just briefly tell us what those two words mean, and the directions that they take us in?
Yeah, sure. So the first word as Jordan amento actually is an Italian word. It was a favorite of Pope John the 23rd. So like giorno is de Bon giorno. And so it literally just means updating or bringing up to today. So John the 23rd would often talk about one of his his famous lines is throwing open the door of the church, the lead in fresh air. So this soil is ornamental is a type of reform that is reacting to a new question or problem, recognizing that there's a need for the church to to update or to re present its language or change in some other way to meet a contemporary problem. So this has a progressive dynamic in a very, in a very literal sense, racehorse Mont is a is a French word. That means going back to the sources, it was coined in the early 20th century by a wonderful French poet. So principally, we spoke about this earlier. Principally, this means going back to the Bible, also the church fathers the liturgy, it could even mean reading a theologian like Thomas Aquinas, without the aid of centuries of subsequent commentary, just going back to the fresh sources. So this is a sort of conservative dynamic in a very literal sense in the sense that it's looking to the past to meet a present problem. So the combination of these two really gets to the heart of what they're doing at Vatican two.
Yeah, that's beautiful, complimentary. I was surprised and encouraged when I read about assuring amento. And in particular, the notion of the development of doctrine. I know, many Protestants who had protested vehemently about such a notion of that doctrine can be developed over time and in culture and all that stuff. It would never have thought the Catholic Church would be capable of proposing and then moving in the direction of development of doctrine, which just means it's evolving, it's changing. It's growing. It's the you know, so tell us about what this development of doctrine means and what it doesn't mean.
Yeah, okay, great question. And development of doctrine is something that Catholics had been talking about for over a century, but they had never really, it had never really been brought into an official teaching document of the church. There were various theories going around. Probably the most important theory was from Cardinal John Henry Newman, who was born in 1801, was an Anglican, very, very popular Anglican theologian, he converted to Catholicism in 1845. And he's when he converts, he's tackling this problem. And he writes this beautiful book called essay on the development of Christian doctrine, and he has various organic analogies that you know that you'd expect to see the seed and the oak tree and this kind of thing, a riverbed. And he makes this sort of stunning statement where he says it might be otherwise in the world above, but here below meaning on the earth, to live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often. So John Henry Newman, in the 19th century has seen the truth of Catholicism in a expansive development. And there are various ways that he thinks developments of doctrine are healthy and good. And there are various tests for something being a corruption or a problem. So the priests that the authors of Vatican the Vatican to document de variablen called the Word of God are inserting this concept of doctrinal development in it as a way to kind of explain the growth and development of Christian doctrine and they're, they're heavily reliant on Newman, they never cite Newman, because it's very uncouth to cite someone after Thomas Aquinas, because you have to show that all your sources are venerable ancient sainted people. Now you can cite Pope's you can cite, you can cite the pope who died in 1958. But you can't cite the 19th century, you know, Oxford professor, but so John Henry Newman's notion of a kind of organic development is is sort of embedded in the in the Vatican two text. The thorny question is, can the church correct or rather, in what sense and under what circumstances can the church correct, a prior misstep? That is not very clearly spelled out in Vatican two, even though I think they do it in the.in. The document on religious liberty, I think they very clearly correct a prior mistake. And in the document on a humanism there's the line on you know, that line simper Ray for manda that became a kind of Protestant slogan the church always reforming or always ought to be reforming. So they won't use simple Ray for Manda, but they use Perinton reference nazioni a continual reformation. So the church is called to continual reformation. And they clearly make allusions to, at the very least, sins against other Christians in the document on humanism. So they're kind of dancing around this issue of to what extent can the can the church admit a prior mistake has been made and correct that mistake that's related to the question of development? But the question Newman was tackling was more of a sense of how does a seed idea become an oak tree idea.
I think both of those phrases from Protestants and Catholics need to be front and center the idea of ever reforming in the church. So as a quick follow up, do you think this development of doctrine, idea could lead to a few of the things that seem to be incredibly needed in the Catholic Church, such as a woman in the priesthood, or priests being able to marry among others?
So the question, the question of priests being able to marry is very easy to answer. It's considered a discipline or a practice. That could be changed. The inertia, well, inertia gives away my opinion on but the the reluctance to change this is partly theological and partly just about tradition and practicality and in culture and things like that. But certainly married men could be ordained to the priesthood. They are ordained to the priesthood in other non Roman Catholic churches. So the Coptic Catholics who are in full communion with with Roman Catholics, so the Roman Catholic, right, that which I'm a member of, is a kind of liturgical family tree. What based on the Latin language originally, but there are other rights that are fully Catholic, Ukrainian, right, Ruth Indian, right, the Melkite in the Middle East, and all of these other rights were much smaller numerically. But all these other rights have married priests. So the Roman Rite is very, very reluctant, because of a long, long tradition. But yes, that that could be changed. And there's slowly but surely, I think momentum to to make that change. Regarding women priests, the party line was always especially after John Paul, the second in 1994, released an apostolic letter, the church has no authority to ordain women, and this is to be definitively held by all the faithful. So the party line was no, this is not a live issue now. 20 years, 30 years later, it clearly is still being debated. And as I said earlier, Cardinal chadbourn, one of the CO editors of the Catechism says, ultimately, this must be resolved by an ecumenical council. So what I would say to that is simply that those who want these kinds of reforms in the Catholic Church, usually it takes a very, very long time. And the way in which a reform occurs is by finding something in the previous tradition that is then expanded. So in the case of religious liberty, they don't say in the document, look at all the terrible things that we did, imposing Catholicism on Jews or persecuting Protestants. We repented that that was wrong. What they say is, our developing awareness of human dignity leads us to conclude that the human person should be free from religious coercion. So the the kind of development that chadbourn clearly thinks is at least possible. And I really don't know what he thinks about the question as such, but that he thinks is possible would be something along the lines of our growing understanding of what it means for humans to be image bearers of God or what the baptismal priesthood means or something like that. That would be the path would be something about nugget of the theological tradition being expanded, rather than saying, we're really sexist and patriarchal, you know, we shouldn't do this anymore, that sensing that the Catholic Bernado not going to happen. I tell my more progressive friends, those kinds of the way the development works, is this
going to be that? Yeah, but yeah, I'll leave that aside. I'm sensing that the Catholic version of changing your mind is to go back to an opinion you held a longer time ago.
So most people think of Joseph Ratzinger Pope Benedict the 16th is this kind of, you know, very, very conservative, his nickname was God's Rottweiler. But he because he's elected Pope in 2005 and releases this beautiful teaching letter, it was an address to the College of Cardinals Christmas of 2005. And he's talking about the religious liberty development and he recognizes there are people who say that this is discontinuous with Catholic tradition, it clearly is, he admits it is clearly discontinuous with some teachings of the Pope's and the in the in the 19th century, reacting to the French Revolution, etc. And he says, but it is continuous with a deeper tradition with the tradition of Jesus and the Church have them any Interestingly he says the Church of the martyrs of all time. So he's pointing to there is a kind of thread of Catholic witness against violence against coercion, and honoring the kind of the dignity of the human person to not be coerced in matters of conscience. So So Ratzinger had a a grammar or a hermeneutic of thinking about reform and chain that was not nearly as wooden I think as people As people often perceive him to be, so yes, Kyle, I completely agree, it's you, you say as we have always taught. So when the Pope in 1888, Pope Leo the 13th, releases a letter about he meant he clearly condemned slavery under any circumstances. But he sort of says, as my predecessors always did, which, of course, is not true. I mean, they always said, you can't go somewhere and kidnap people and make them slaves. But they didn't say prisoners of war cannot be enslaved, or you must release all of your slaves. So you sort of take certain elements of the Christian tradition, the same way that a Protestant abolitionist would have done. And you and you and you make this the kind of overarching thread of interpreting the gospel or what have you,
towards the end of your book, you talk about some of these, the way the Catholic Church reformed the way it kind of phases out towards the world. And many of those were just like, let's clear up some misconceptions. Let's make sure people don't think we worship the Virgin Mary, or let's make sure we people don't think the Pope is God, or let's make sure people don't think we don't read scriptures or don't care about scriptures. The ironic thing is that those things seem to be a microcosm of the stereotypes. I heard about the Catholic church growing up in the 80s and 90s, which was, again, the Catholic Church worships America, you know, or the Catholic Church thinks that the Pope is divine, or the Catholic Church doesn't care about the scriptures. That was, you know, Vatican two happened in the early to mid 60s. This is when I grew up in the 80s and 90s. And we were still having these, you know, stereotypes about Catholics. Why do you think it's taking so long for those old stereotypes to die?
Well, I think there's two major reasons. One is I think the Protestant prejudice against Catholicism is is obviously just as deep chronologically speaking, as as the Catholic prejudice against Protestants. I think that because of the kind of central authority of the Catholic Church, or the central leadership structures, at least, there's a the the kind of the word gets out after Vatican two, like, we don't talk about Protestants that way anymore. You know, and this was really rammed into people in seminary, this is not how we speak and you still get bigoted Catholics, for sure. I mean, I think there's a specific hatred of Martin Luther as an individual that has not totally been dislodged, I'll still meet Catholics who say things like, you know, Luther was possessed and stuff like that. So there's still is, it's still there to some extent, but I Protestantism doesn't have a corresponding structure to say, like Billy Graham can say, Hey, John Paul TOS great, I met with them and he loves Jesus, but only some people will agree with them. Other Protestant pastors might say, Oh, well, Billy Graham is sold out to you know, the beast from Revelation or something, or who knows. So there isn't a corresponding central structure, I would also say these reforms take a really long time. So I think, you know, my wife is 38 years old, she has no conception or memory of a time when reading the Bible wasn't encouraged, it wasn't seen as a good thing. Or you weren't given that you weren't told, Hey, we have this, you know, reading plan, and we're going to meet on Wednesday nights for coffee and we're going to read this and read that or, as you pray your Rosary, you know, read all the mysteries about Jesus and Mary's life and pray these kinds of Biblically focused prayers. Whereas I think older Catholics do remember that. So I teach Deacon candidates or I used to teach Deacon candidates here in Baton Rouge. So these are men, mostly born in the 50s and 60s 70s, in some cases, and they remember, like one of them, old, New Orleans, Catholic family, and I was talking about Bible reading and the importance of Bible reading. And he goes, Well, you hear the Bible at Mass, you know, so most of his memories of vernacular Master, you hear and understand everything. But at home, you family, religious devotion was always the rosary. You didn't read the Bible, the Bible was something that was read to you by the person who understood it. So you know, there, I think that that something like the scriptures, I think that has taken time, but as proof that it's a that it's a successful reform, I think is the fact that like, if you go down to and I think I said this in a article, trying to introduce the book, or maybe I said it in the book, I don't remember if you go down to the campus ministry at LSU. Right now, the most traditional most pious students who love the Rosary and and have all the traditional devotions are also involved in Bible studies, and they're often the ones pushing the Bible studies. So this old kind of tension between the more traditionalist Catholics who have this old school devotion and piety and then the kind of progressive liberal Catholics are pushing vernacular Bible, that kind of distinction is is completely gone. Catholics, devout Catholics, Catholics, who are passionate about their faith are into reading scripture now. So I think that's hopefully in 50 years. That stereotype is just completely dissipated, but it could it could take time as far as the Pope and Mary I mean, for one thing Now that, you know, Marian devotion, there's a clear effort by Vatican to, to put Mary into an ecclesial context, as in Mary is a member of the church. She's the kind of archetypal disciple, and also into a kind of Christocentric context. Everything about Mary That is beautiful and good and true, is her relation to Christ, and she is the mother of Christ who mediates Christ to the world in a very literal way. That being said, there are still Catholics who have Marian devotions that completely freak out Protestants. And frankly, John Paul, the second was one of them. So you have a pope for 27 years, who speaks about Mary and uses kind of Marian imagery and iconography that is very polish and very traditional and kind of very difficult for Catholics to wrap their head around. My father is a very, very devout, reformed Protestant, and he really never could never wrap his head around John Paul the Second, but he really likes Benedict and Francis who seem extremely different, but it's because of the way that they speak about Jesus, they have this kind of clear Christo centrism, that communicates, I think, more easily to a certain type of Protestant. Then Then John Paul, the second, that's probably going to be an ebb and flow issue. The you know, because because, with the Scriptures, that's something where Catholics said, Oh, this, we weren't emphasizing this, and we need to, but with Mary, that's just, I think a question of the beliefs are different, except maybe with a very traditional Anglican or something. So how do we navigate this difference?
Yeah. My next question, I'm going to make a Patreon. Extra question. We'd like to do that occasionally for our supporters, so that they get their own little tidbits that the rest of the listeners don't get to hear. So that question is going to be is the Catholic Church a democracy? So if you're a Patreon supporter, listen to the answer if you're not consider subscribing.
So this will be my last question, John, you say in the book that France is the true first Vatican two Pope that you just said, you know, John Paul, the second was very much part of the old guard. Ratzinger was part of that Vatican two, but we really had a lot of that background of pre Vatican two in him. And you say, I think you said Francis wasn't even a priest by the time Vatican two was happening, right. So that's right. At the same time, there have been Catholic groups who have wanted to assassinate Francis and, you know, hate his guts and want to overthrow the Catholic monarchy. What tradition Do you think the next pope will be from? Will it? Will we grow from Benedict, to Francis to the next person who builds on that momentum? Or will could we see a going back and more conservative kind of Pope?
That's a great question. So I would I would just say, I've never heard of anyone wanting to assassinate him. I have heard of people very unsubtly praying for his painless and quick demise. Yes. Brian for the next conclave is sort of the is the Catholic equivalent of kind of praying, praying, praying for the next king. So let me explain what I meant by that. So I wrote Francis is the first truly post conciliar Pope. And I do think that he has some distance from Vatican two that gives him a kind of advantage, although being close and participating in the event, I think also gave John Paul and Bennett a certain, you know, advantages of leadership and interpretation. So I don't mean to imply Benedict and John Paul two are anti Vatican two. But they were very close to the debates and the debates to them were very personal and neuralgic Benedict, the 16th Ratzinger, as you say, he wrote part parts of these documents. So to kind of speak Kyle's language, it's sort of like when he's in these arguments, he feels like Dumbledore, you know, rebuking rebuking Lucius Malfoy, you know, saying, if you recall, Lucius, I wrote many of the
statues that is really good.
I think, I think Ratzinger part of Ratzinger problem in these debates is it was so personal to him. And he said, it was no I knew what we meant I was there I wrote it. And I think that that made him at times a kind of explosive combatant in the debates between postbag and to Catholics. But anyway, with Francis, so Francis sees he has no he doesn't debate that akin to, he just sort of asserts this is the path that Vatican to set the church on whether it's about liturgy or about ecclesiology and that is polarizing to the people who disagree, but I think his point is, we've been arguing about this for 60 years, it's time to implement it. Clearly Vatican two called for these these things in liturgy is chiefly for him in liturgy and in ecclesiology. And he's moving forward with this. That's that's his perspective. As far as the next Pope goes, I think that the practicalities of it is Francis has now appointed, I think, on the third of June, the last Cardinal will turn ad that that game essentially gives Francis a kind of two thirds majority, as far as the Cardinals, the voting Cardinals he has appointed. So once you turn 80, you can't vote anymore. And then they always tried to make sure roughly 120 cardinals are a voting age, Francis has now appointed 80 or 81 of them. So in all likelihood, the next pope will not be radically different from Francis, there could be a and I've heard rumblings of this from people that would know better than me, there could be a real sea change in style. And personality, because Francis is a big personality. And he's he's cultivated a lot of friendships, and he's made a lot of enemies. So So sometimes there are forces in Rome that like her don't like a pope, not necessarily because of ideology as such, but because of leadership styles and various personal alliances and things like that. So the style of the next pope could be quite different. But I don't think the theological substance, the basic theological orientation will be will be very different. And it could very well be a pope from the global south. So I think we've just had our first non european Pope. Since the ninth century, I think there was a North African, there were several North Africans elected, but I mean, this was this was over 1000 years ago. So we had the first non Italian Pope in John Paul the second since the Reformation. And then now we have our first non european Pope, so won't at all surprised me if Cardinal tag Leigh from Manila in the Philippines is elected one of the leading African Cardinals or one of the leading South American Cardinals. Yeah, probably roughly in the mold of Francis, but maybe, you know, nuances could be could be quite different.
Good. That's comforting.
It is. And I was my last question was, because you discuss in the book, the European leadership of the church and how it was shifting during and since Vatican two. And so I was gonna ask where you thought the College of Bishops might be heading with respect to diversity and who the next Pope might be. But I was also going to ask you this really absurd question that you can't possibly know the answer to, which is, when is Vatican three? And what are going to be its main themes? And will that will that be one of them? You think? Or will it be, I guess, under the direction of a pope from Africa or something?
Well, I prepared for this question. Because I've always had a hunch that I will be alive, but too old to participate in any meaningful way, even if it's just getting an air b&b in Rome. So I can be like a part of the gossip or something. So I do think there will be a Vatican three, I think it will happen in this century. I hope I'll be alive, maybe 26, year 2070, or something like that. And here's a list of themes that I think will come up. So role of women, the role of women and the laity, which is a constant has been a constant debate, at least since Vatican two, inter religious dialogue will still be an issue but I think less so with Judaism, which was the which was the huge post world war two question of course, in the in the wake of the Holocaust and, and the establishment of the State of Israel. I think Islam will be the chief, I don't mean issue in a negative sense, but dialogue partner that Chief context of humanism, but less so with Lutherans and Anglicans, a lot of the humanism of Vatican two is these kind of deeply intellectual, European, you know, the so called magisterial reformation tradition, I think it'll be less of that. And more Pentecostals who are spreading all over the world. You know, Pope Francis is major ecumenical dialogue partner in Argentina was Pentecostal Protestants. And I think that's probably trends suggest that will continue. And then groups like the Coptic Orthodox, there's been a massively positive dialogue with the Coptic Orthodox, who are very close in tradition to the Coptic Catholics but are not in communion with the Pope. I think evangelization but I think specifically with the nones, the that's in in Oh NES that those who tick non on the Census. They might they might be atheists, but they might be spiritual but not religious. They might be. I was just visiting St. Peter's and I heard a young man was talking to I don't know his father, his uncle, and I couldn't tell what his father said. But his reply was credo and do my non credo in case I believe in God, but I don't believe in that. Church is a huge amount of people like that so evangelizing the nuns who are everywhere from spiritual but not religious to atheist. Stuff like climate change, poverty, human trafficking issues that are very, very immediate in the in the Global South. Because huge amount of the Catholic population is in the Global South, and that's only going to continue to grow sex abuse and clerical culture. I think if we had Vatican two right now, the the sex abuse crisis would be would be front and center. Hopefully it shouldn't be. I think there'd be people who would maybe try to kill that discussion, but there'd be many people wanting to raise it. And then finally, a kind of more theological issue is there's been a lot of interesting Catholic work in eschatology recently. And I think that comes from the kind of biblical renewal of of the 20th century is a lot of the debate, of course with Catholicism because you can't ever repudiate the past teaching is hopefully universalism, so nobody's a Universalist, but there are hopefully Universalists and Joseph Ratzinger may have been one of those people. It's not totally clear to me from his writing, but that isn't the impression people would get from God's Rottweiler, but he certainly was entertaining these ideas of universal salvation. So I think that would be some of the issues that documents would would try to would try to focus on the age old question of the authority of the Pope versus the authority of the local bishop that that will continue. It's been going on for over 1000 years. That's my that's my Vatican three agenda.
That's why do you have to bring up universalism Shun. Now I want to spend another half hour talking about that. We won't maybe another time because I'm sure this will happen if you don't
know this, but we just had two episodes about that. Oh, did you? Oh, well, I
I am not the most qualified Catholic by any stretch to talk about that. But I There are many Catholics who really in the origin and Maximus the Confessor and Hans urs von Baltazar. So there's all kinds of discussions going on in the in the Catholic community right now, on that question, but I'm just a interested observer of those of those conversations.
Well, Sean, thanks so much for joining us again, and talking about this book. Again, the book is Vatican two, a very short introduction. Check it out. It's good. And thank your co author and tell him we're sorry, couldn't make it.
I will. Well, thank you guys so much. I appreciate it. It was great time. Thanks, Shawn.
Always love talking to you.
Awesome. Talk to you soon. Bye, bye.
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you're not a cable guy. I like
him. I like him. I shouldn't have thrown him under the bus
like that. Like everybody.
It's who's the worst late night who's the most boring? Late night probably fell in although he's like the most Yeah, this was found us found you're right. It would have been James Corden, but he just quits.
The bottom of the stack.
Yeah, Corden is terrible. I don't he's not terrible. He's not a good late night host. He's very good at his little niche things like carpool karaoke. I'll watch
every time Yeah, it's a good example. Right? He's good at one thing did not transfer. Yet. Where's Kobe. I think the smartest he's, yeah, he's the brains of the
ladies. He's he's the smartest in the way that like, it raises them and then all of a sudden it starts coming down for me. Whereas Fallon, he's the silliest and most obnoxious, but was some of his bits. Like he doesn't take himself too seriously, like Colbert does.
I loved Fallon. When he took over I thought it was the best choice that could have made I was super excited about it until stroke is worn off. And then Trump changed everything.
Because he didn't go on the attack like everybody else did.
It's because he did the opposite of that he was actively dishonest for a while. I think he's he's changed that sense. But he stopped being funny, because the world was suddenly serious and he couldn't cope with it. There's a kind of comedy that can cope with the seriousness and Colbert excels at it. I I think Seth Meyers excels at it Jimmy doesn't have it in him okay he's funny he's a funny guy
but now I think you're actually onto something yeah that's interesting so he's
the true ego right