Friday, February 3, 2017

Edmund Waldstein on the Egalitarian Interpretation of Active Participation

The principle of active participation, which the Second Vatican Council was so right to insist on, has been nearly everywhere misunderstood and misapplied. This is because in modern democracy participation in the political order is understood in terms of being one of the rulers. We see this understanding of participation taken over so that active participation in the life of the Parish or Diocese is understood as participation in “pastoral councils” and similar tom-foolery. In the Sacred Liturgy active participation is taken to mandate all kinds of laypeople messing around in the sanctuary as lectors, ‘introducers,’ extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, etc. This banal caricature of true active participation and the priesthood of the faithful persists despite all efforts of the Magisterium to correct it. The problem is that when political government ceases to be what it should be the “wonderful resemblance” that it bears to God’s government, of which Pope Leo XIII speaks, is destroyed. But grace builds on nature and men ought to be disposed to the higher by the lower.


Source: Thomas P. Waldstein, "Unity, Order, and Peace: On the Superiority of Traditional Hereditary Monarchy over Modern Liberal Democracy" (bachelor's thesis, Thomas Aquinas College, 2006), 36.


Comment: Hence we see that our political-social context can sometimes unconsciously color our philosophical and theological conceptions. A hierarchical society would preserve a proper sense of active participation; an egalitarian society would corrupt it.

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