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Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand on the backfiring of “aggiornamento” December 13, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, reading, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society.

Aggiornamento, or “opening up,” was a catch phrase used by Pope John XXIII before Vatican II that caught on like wildfire.  It has been used to justify almost every theological, liturgical, and disciplinary abuse imaginable.  The concept was linked with the boundless optimism of the early 60s in human progress, a mentality that had thoroughly infiltrated the Church and even the highest leadership.  Many in the Church thought 20th century man was somehow a new man, a veritable Nieztchean ubermensch, unbounded from the low concerns of his neo-neanderthal predecessors of a few decades before.  Thus, advanced, “come of age” 20th century man didn’t need any of those stuffy old rules of Dogma and morality that had served as the bulwarks of the Faith for nearly two millennia.

While aggiornamento, it is thought, was only intended to colloquial representation of a rather mild updating of the Church, the word quickly came to mean in the minds of millions that the Church should absorb all the worldly wisdom it could and modify her unchanging, unchangeable beliefs to fit the new times.  This was not what Pope John XXIII, at least, quite had in mind, but by that time, what a Pope said or intended was irrelevant.  The mass media – and their progressive allies in the Church – had their mantra, and they intended to use it to advance their long checked dreams of an entirely new Church.

Writing in 1973, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand examined this notion of aggiornamento, and the impact it was having on the Church.  This again from The Devastated Vineyard:

Pope John XXIII said that the Church must leave her mark on every epoch and every land – and not vice versa. But  what do we see each day? Aggiornamento is interpreted to mean that the Church must be reformed in order to do justice to the great progress of our times, and to speak the right language to “modern man,” who has “come of age.” Again and again, in sermons, pastoral letters, and lectures of “Catholic” theologians, we hear mention of progress. How enthusiastic was the response of even the highest levels of the Church to the technological progress making the flight to the moon possible, and how weak by comparison is the indignant disavowal of dehumanization. [I will say, Pope Paul VI was positively rhapsodic about the landing on the Moon and what it meant for mankind.  God bless him, he was prone to bouts of what almost appear to be mania, followed by depressive spells.]  What is being done against the scandal of sex education in the schools?  In many countries, the bishops themselves have introduced this criminal mutilation of children’s souls into the Catholic schools.  [And this was written 40 years ago. I wonder what Dr. von Hildebrand would think of today’s “safe environment” Virtus training, which many parents are extremely concerned about?  Sex education in Catholic schools is often leading the general trends in its explicitness] Where is collectivism clearly condemned?  [Or, one might say, leftism overall, as it was so condemned during the period 1780-1950]  Can one find a syllabus such as that of the great Pius IX, in which present-day depersonalization in all areas, and the penetration of collectivism are unmasked and systematically opposed?  [Sad to say, the revolution in the Church is tightly associated with political leftism. I maintain that the heresy of modernism/neo-modernism is nothing but a poor attempt to meld political leftism with Catholic belief, with the leftism always dominant]

No, what we are seeing is not the struggle against the Prince of this world who is present in so-called “progress;” not the attempt to imprint the Church’s image on the age. we are witnessing the very opposite: the poison of our epoch is slowly seeping into the Church Herself, and many have failed to recognize the apocalyptic decline of our time.

———–End Quote———-

Prior to the part excerpted above, Dr. von Hildebrand had extensively shown how so-called modern man, far from being some advanced new creation, is actually more depraved and fallen than any of his predecessors. Modern man is willing to murder babies in their millions for the sake of convenience. He is willing to engage in monstrous “scientific” acts like artificial insemination.  He touts materialism and constant distraction, while millions feel utterly empty inside, to the extent that suicide rates are shockingly high.  Modern man, in his materialist decadence, even comes to see himself as just another thing, to be discarded when not useful or inconvenient.

Dr. von Hildebrand speculated that, if trends of the 60s and early 70s continued, euthanasia might one day be legal!  Well, it is!  And has been for some time in “advanced,” meaning “advanced in decay and de-Christianization” countries like Holland formerly Catholic Belgium.  Euthanasia is engaged in constantly in the US, but not legally, and under cover.  Speak with someone who has had an elderly (or not so elderly), moderately infirm loved one in the hospital, and it’s almost certain you’ll hear horror stories of how they had to fight to keep the hospital staff from killing the sick loved one.  That is how deep the rot has penetrated into our society, that even those who take on professions ostensibly dedicated to always caring for others, are so jaded and hard-hearted they think of nothing of routinely killing their fellow man.

This is not the culture you want to be opening up to.


1. MMC - December 13, 2013

Quite right. Man is dumber than ketchup. The only difference between the men of today and yesterday is a few gadgets and modern man’s stupidity and arrogance. Modern man is a fool…and an evil fool at that. Our time will be mocked for all eternity unless we fight back against the sloth, narcissism, pride, lust, and idiocy of our age. God bless~

2. Martina Katholik - December 13, 2013

The devastation of Church and Society has been planned decades ago.

3. TG - December 13, 2013

Dr. von Hildebrand would not be liked by the church of Nice today. I like his wife. She’s not on EWTN much but she is getting up in years. God bless her.

4. Terry - December 14, 2013

Another example, just ask most 35 + aged pregnant women of their experiences the first time the go in to see the doctor, the encouragement for an abortion was diabolical.

5. Branch - December 16, 2013

What do you think of personalism as a philosophy on the whole? I’ve read some of your writing on NFP and I’ve observed that some of the pitfalls you noted are precisely those that some “personalists” would challenge as not being pitfalls at all.

tantamergo - December 16, 2013

I’m not a fan. I know von Hildebrand was into it, but his was of a different kind. There was a pre-conciliar personalism and and post-conciliar one. But I have to admit, beyond his books pointing out the crisis in the Faith, I haven’t read enough of von Hildebrand.

But personalism in general is just another enlightenment-derived philosophy which is problematic, in many respects, from a traditional Catholic viewpoint. Pope JPII was big into it, though, and he’s going to be a Saint, so maybe I’m all wet.

Branch - December 17, 2013

But what are we to do when personalism, such as with JPII, comes to inform some of Church teaching, and thus becomes part of Tradition? It seems to me either our understanding of the traditional Catholic viewpoint needs to be more refined, so as to accept the merits of personalism, our we must conclude that personalism is more of an intrusion that is leading us ever closer to apostasy.

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