'He [Rees-Mogg] was a Vatican II man, who unsurprisingly brought The Times out against Humanae Vitae. He was quite prepared to disagree with Cardinal Hume, however, for instance over the publication of The Common Good statement in 1996. In an article in The Times, he warned against anything derived from Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum ...he was an inveterate free marketeer to the end.'
Longley's approach to Church affairs pictures Catholics as divided into pro- and anti-Vatican II football teams. Even so, you'd have thought that he'd noticed who the team captains were. How can opposition to Pope Paul VI be a defining characteristic of a 'Vatican II man'?
|So, Pope John, what do you think of the Pill?|
But did Pope Paul, in a moment of schizophrenia, promulgate a Council document promoting free love and contraception, as well as Humanae Vitae? No. There isn't a syllable in the Council documents which can be taken as supporting opposition to Humanae Vitae, or the immemorial teaching of the Church which it reiterated. It would be very strange if it did, given Pope Paul's involvement in drafting the documents. Not that Pope John would have said anything different. It is amusing to imagine, in fact, how Good Pope John would have reacted to the suggestion that we could all use contraception.
But what's this in the next sentence? Although Lord Rees-Mogg was playing to type, as a 'Vatican II man', in disagreeing with Pope Paul, who actually ran the Council, it is surprising that he should have disagreed with Cardinal Hume. Er, but Cardinal Hume wasn't even at the Council: he was consecrated bishop in 1976, more than a decade after the Council closed.
|Longley's nuanced view of post Vatican II Catholic debate|
Memo to The Tablet: could someone please supply Clifford Longley with a timeline of important events in the Catholic world? Here is your cutout-n-keep guide to those pesky dates. Perhaps he should sellotape it to his computer screen.
1891: Rerum novarum (condemnation of the oppression of workers under capitalism, and of the Socialist attack on private property), Leo XIII.
1910: Notre charge Apostolique (condemnation of Socialism), Pius X.
1930: Casti conubii (condemnation of contraception), Pius XI.
1955: Tina Beattie born.
1958: John XXIII becomes Pope.
1962: Vatican II opens.
1963: Pope John dies, Pope Paul succeeds him.
1964: Clifford Longley gets a job on the Portsmouth Evening News.
1965: Vatican II closes.
1968: Humanae vitae (another condemnation of contraception, including the newly invented Pill), Paul VI.
1970: The Beatles break up.
|The Moon landing, 1969|
1976: Pope Paul appoints Abbot Hume of Ampleforth Archbishop of Westminster, and makes him a Cardinal.
1978: Pope Paul dies, succeeded by Pope John Paul II.
1984: Quattuor abhinc annos (world-wide permission for the Traditional Mass), John Paul II
1988: Ecclesia Dei adflicta (another permission for the Traditional Mass: bishops to be 'generous'), John Paul II.
2004: Catherine Pepinster becomes editor of The Tablet.
2005: John Paul II dies, is succeeded by Benedict XVI
2007: Summorum Pontificum (yet another permission for the Traditional Mass: it was 'never forbidden'), Benedict XVI.
2010: Universae Ecclesiae (permission for the Traditional Mass reiterated yet again), Benedict XVI.
2013: Fr Z eats breakfast.