A Piecemeal Vatican III? by Robert Royal

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Vatican I, 1870 (artist unknown)

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 17, 2022

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.

Note: A reminder that the beginning of my eight-week course on St. Augustine’s City of God is only two weeks away. And as today’s column argues, we all need to engage the deeper parts of our Catholic tradition if we’re to have any chance of responding to the many crises we now face. If you want to be better prepared for that challenge, just click the box TCT Courses in the banner above and follow the simple instructions to enroll. – Robert Royal


Our reading today is from the Book of Benedict XVI (A Life: Volume Two), in which he recounts to biographer Peter Seewald what often happened, even during the great decades of  St. John Paul II’s papacy: “Whenever I went to Germany in the 1980s or 1990s. . .I always knew the questions in advance. They were about the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and similar problems, which kept coming back.”

Some things never change. The German synod alone is testimony to that, but the phenomenon now extends far beyond Germany. Benedict’s own greatness shows in his refusal to just accept the situation: “If we let ourselves be caught up in these discussions, then the Church becomes fixed on just a small number of rules or prohibitions. We stand there like moralists with a few old-fashioned views, and the real greatness of the faith does not appear at all.” [Emphasis added.] …