Vatican II met at a time of optimistic euphoria, and of moral and spiritual devastation. Newman would insist that those who lived through the Council are less likely to understand its meaning and significance than posterity.
For those of you who know and enjoy Newman’s writings or those who want to this is a great article to wet your appetite. It outlines how Newman’s writings set the stage for many of the Vatican II documents based on his insights of Vatican I. In addition, you will find yourself wondering about a Vatican III as well as what form of monastic life today’s Church will need to understand and live out the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Given today’s corrosive culture many are seriously discussing a Benedict option and “monastic” style of daily life. We see signs of this in the currently popular Exodus 90 program. Newman might suggest that we learn from and build upon the monasticism of the past with a style that addresses today’s needs. Inspeaking of the charism of the Oratorians (the charism Newman chose) who follow St. Philip Neri, Newman says Philip
“…learned from Benedict what to be, and from Dominic what to do, so let me consider that from Ignatius he learned how he was to do it.”
Newman would argue that today there is a charism to be understood that’s in continuity with the great monastics of the past but extends them thus more fully revealing God’s revelation. These charisms experienced through the life of today’s Church “are not given simply for the benefit of the recipient, but are intended for the whole Church. They therefore are the Holy Spirit’s answer to the particular needs of the Church at the time.” Do you see or feel a pull to a new “monasticism?” What do you think are its unique charism for reaching our world for Christ?