Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Council in Question, by Moyra Doorly and Aidan Nichols, OP

Moira Doorly and Aidan Nichols, OP, The Council in Question: A Dialogue with Catholic Traditionalism, 2011 Gracewing, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK

This is a multi-perspective book in which Moyra Doorly, a Catholic journalist voices the concerns of the SSPX about the Second Vatican Council. She brings up such issues as the liturgy, the theology of the Eucharist, ecumenicism and religious liberty. In reply, Fr Aidan Nichols, a Dominican theologian, acknowledges these concerns. He admits some problems in the implementation of the Vatican II reforms, but defends their validity.

As a 'debate book,' I found this a little painful to read at times. Moira Doorly, a layperson attempts to debate a trained theologian. Doorly's knowledge of church history does not seem particularly great and she seems unable to think in any kind of theological depth. Nichols replies to her are very kind and gentle, but it is obvious she is out of her depth in trying to debate these issues with him. The clear impression we get, rightly or wrongly is that the voice of Radical Catholic Traditionalism is the voice of the unlearned and ignorant.

I don't think Doorly is unusual in her theological naivety. The impression I get from Traditionalist blogs is that a lot of Catholic Traditionalists lack much interest in theology. They will talk at length about changes to the liturgical calendar, but they would have an hard time discussing the nature of grace or divine providence in any depth. An interest and enthusiasm for correct liturgy needs to be matched by a delight in theology.

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