The Church, the Council and the Unconscious:

How Hidden Forces Shaped the Catholic Church

by James Arraj



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Copyright 2006 James Arraj. 




The Church. Forty years after the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church remains diminished, disoriented, and deeply divided.

The Council. The council was the catalyst, but not the cause of this change.

The Unconscious. Historical and theological explanations have been given for this transformation, but they are not complete. Our task is to look behind and beneath them in search of the hidden forces that have shaped the church.

A brief look at extraordinary phenomena will alert us to the type of forces that are at work, but our task is much more difficult, for it is to glimpse how similar unconscious forces influence religious life, the new movements, the church’s teaching on birth control, the papacy and many other aspects of contemporary Catholic life.

This journey will entail looking at the institutional church with a critical eye, but to read these criticisms as a denial of faith would be to misunderstand them. What is at stake is the purification of genuine faith from the counterfeits it has become intermingled with.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Devils and the Depths of the Unconscious 7
Diabolical Possession 7
Heavenly Apparitions 10
Speaking in Tongues 12
Imposter Popes 13

Chapter 2: The Rise and Fall of Thomism 15
The Genesis of Aeterni Patris 15
Modernism 16
La Nouvelle Théologie 19
Vatican II 21

Chapter 3: Vatican II 23
The Golden Age 23
The Council 24

Chapter 4: The Great Exodus 28
The Will of the Superior is the Will of God 28
The Reaction 30
The Exodus 31

Chapter 5: Experimental Christian Communities 33
Report of Spontaneous Groups in the United States, 1971   33
A Typology of Experiments 33
Interpretative Tools and Analysis 35
Postscript 39

Chapter 6: New Movements, Old Wine Skins 40
Sword of the Spirit Communities 40
Regina Laudis 41
Focolare 41
The Neocatechumenal Way 42
The Legionaires of Christ 43
Opus Dei 44

Chapter 7: The Apotheosis of the Pope 48
Purple Papal Praise 48
The Pope and the Melkites 49
"I am the Church!" 50
Papal Power and the People of God 51

Chapter 8: Humanae Vitae 53
The Papal Birth Control Commission 53
The Reaction 56
Infallible? 57

Chapter 9: The Counterreaction 60
The Enigma of the Peasant 60
Henri de Lubac 64
Joseph Ratzinger 65

Chapter 10: The Restoration 69
The Story of Humanae vitae continued 69

The Offensive of 1988 70
The Ordination of Women 73
The Mystical Intuitions of John Paul II 75
Joseph Ratzinger: From Counterreaction to Restoration 78

Chapter 11: The Dynamics of Dissent 81
The Roll Call 81
Tissa Balasuriya: A Case Study 82
The State of Our Theological Conversations 84
The Education of the Laity 86
The Reaction 87
Theological Orientations 89

Chapter 12: Sheep, Shepherds and Systems of Perfection 92

Sheep 92
Shepherds 94
Conflicting Ecclesiologies 95
Young "Orthodox" Catholics 97
Systems of Perfection 99

Chapter 13: Faith and Its Counterfeits 103
The Psychological-Critical Method 103
The Mechanisms of Belief 105
Towards an Adult Catholicism 106

Personal Postscripts 108

Notes 112

Bibliography 121

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