Register Readers Expound on Implementation of Vatican II and Holy ‘Weirdness’

Letters 11.06.22

Letters to the editor offer a variety of opinions.
Letters to the editor offer a variety of opinions. (photo:

Honest Assessment

Relative to “’Backwardist’ to the Future?” (Vatican, Oct. 23 issue):

As a card-carrying “Backwardist,” I read your articles acknowledging the 60-year anniversary of Vatican II with interest to see whether we as traditional Catholics are properly understood.

The articles generally spoke about the Church’s need to look inwards, to assure relevancy, and the means of constantly moving its mission forward, in light of the changes in the world. However, I observed a lack of critical analysis of the main objection to Vatican II — that is, that the documents of Vatican II were not faithfully implemented as written. The influences on this implementation by openly dissenting clergy is well known by now.

Reading these documents, I see in them no mandate to deemphasize certain elements of the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours, or Church teaching, such as the consequences of sin, God’s justice and wrath, hell, modesty and purity. 

How can the Church ignore the consequences of this watering down of the faith?

By every objective measure, the Church has been in a steady decline since Vatican II. One might infer there were well-intentioned objectives to bring more Protestants into the fold.  However, the opposite has happened, and far more Catholics have become Protestant or have left the Christian faith entirely. Our dear Lord teaches us that we can know everything by its fruit.

As Catholics, we know that humility is the greatest of all virtues. Is the Church leadership lacking this virtue in its inability to admit that Vatican II may have been largely a failure?

Until the Church honestly grapples with these questions regarding Vatican II, there can be no hope in closing the divide between the “Backwardists” and the “Forwardists.”

Joseph Burley

Oak Park, Michigan 


Holy ‘Weirdness’

Related to “‘Decadent’ Young People See Beauty in Catholic Tradition — Will Truth and Goodness Follow?” (, Oct. 22):

Thank you for bringing the good news that the younger generation is attracted to the “weirdness” of the Catholic Church.

Honestly, I found the referenced article to be a bit too “holier than thou.” Like the salesman that rejoices when he gets “his (or her) foot in the door,” this is exciting news. 

The author is fearful that the younger sheep don’t “get” the fullness of truth in the Catholic doctrine. That takes a lifetime. And, in the light of the Gospel today, isn’t that a bit like the Pharisee and the tax collector story? All are welcome in the inclusive Catholic Church.  

It is our job to pleasantly surprise the young with true love and to be just what they are searching for. Looking back on the raising of my children, a lot of what I tried to steer them toward was over their heads and therefore completely ineffective. I regret that. The best catechesis is catechumen-led.

Additionally, careful with stumbling on the word “weird.” My son lives in Portland, Oregon, and is enamored of their motto “Keep Portland Weird.” There is a town in Texas with a similar motto. It’s not an insult to them. It’s freedom. Think of it as a rejection of silly narratives and cancel culture. They are intrigued and want something deeper than social media.

Remember, we are all prodigal sons (or his brother), one way or the other. We would do better to think of how to meet the unique needs of the younger generations. They are different than older Christians. That idea can spawn a great meditation.  

If the young like weirdness, give them more of this holy weirdness! That is love.

Joan T. Murtaugh

Palos Hills, Illinois