Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Rhine flows into the Tiber; a history of Vatican II by Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D.

From a website

”Unbiased, definitive, popularly written history of Vatican II. Tells it like it really happened. Filled with facts. Totally absorbing. Shows the efforts of the "Rhine Fathers" to take control of the Council. Crucial to understand what is shaping the Church today. TAN Books. This is an unparalleled eyewitness account of just what transpired at the Second Vatican Council. The author's integrity and objectivity won him exclusive interviews with a great number of the Cardinal and Bishops, whatever their allegiance within the Council. The title neatly sums up the fact that Vatican II, and the documents of Vatican II, were shaped largely by the liberal ideas of the Fathers from the Rhine lands.

In The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, the strategies of the liberals in promoting their ideas come through on every page. Father Wiltgen's journalistic masterpiece shows clearly the two main theological forces that were at work in the church before the Council, during the Council, and after the Council, and which remain very much at work in the Church today. Here are the actions and actual words of the famous personalities of the Council, including Cardinals Ottaviani, Frings, and Suenens; Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre; Fathers Karl Rahner, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Kung-and of course, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. This book is essential for anyone who would understand the new orientations which came to the fore with Vatican Council II-including the famous "Spirit of Vatican II"-orientations which have led to momentous destruction and unprecedented changes in the entire Roman Catholic Church. Important reading!”

From another website

In The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, author, historian, journalist and eye-witness to the events, Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen, presents to the modern reader a history of that council that is at once factual, authoritative, fair, objective, impartial, thorough, and completely interesting. As amazing-and at times even incredible-as are some of the facts that he brings to light, his most important contribution for us today is the fact that he focuses on the role played by that coalition of liberal bishops from the countries bordering the Rhine River in assuming command of the direction which the Council took-and thereby, which is crucial, of the direction taken by the commissions set up in the aftermath of the Council. These commissions "implemented" Vatican II and were responsible for interpreting the recommendations of the Council in their practical and pastoral applications.

Written by a professional historian who daily published a news service, in six different languages, of the proceedings of the Council (through his Council News Service, which went out to over 3,000 subscribers in 108 countries), The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber gradually emerged from the welter of literature about Vatican II as the authoritative, popular history of that Council.

As the author explains in his preface, he had access to "all official correspondence, documents and working papers received by the Council Fathers from the Council's Secretariat," as well as to "all correspondence and documentation sent by the Rhine group to its members, as well as additional documentation from other groups," etc. In addition to this, Father Wiltgen also interviewed two Council Fathers each day during the 281 days that the Council was in session. From all this in-depth exposure to the official proceedings and behind-the-scenes aspirations and maneuverings, he was in a providential position to gather the facts he has so capably recorded in this masterful and absorbing account of Vatican Council II.

The Church stands eternally in his debt for writing this book, and whoever would understand the issues and forces that are still shaping the history and direction of the Catholic Church in our day simply must read The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Catherine Booth

I've been enjoying "Martin Luther had a wife," and "Harriet Beecher Stowe had a husband," a two in one special by William J. Petersen, Tyndale House Publishers, 1983 (Christian Herald Family Bookshelf edition). Petersen, former editor of Eternity Magazine, is an excellent writer, and each marriage is presented in an entertaining and interesting style. The fifth selection in the first book is about William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army.

Catherine Booth, who wrote many of her busy husband's sermons, was criticized by a male preacher for speaking from the pulpit. (1858) She responded with a 32 page rebuttal.

History of the Booths here.

I see from browsing Google that Petersen also wrote a 2-fer on C.S. Lewis and his wife and Catherine Marshall and her husband plus one on Johann Sebastian Bach and his wife, which includes John and Polly Newton, Johann Sebastian and Magdalena Bach, George and Mary Muller, Hannah Whitall and Robert Pearsall Smith, and Francis and Edith Schaeffer. Petersen's stories are a wonderful way to learn history and to build faith, because all these people had numerous challenges.