Blithe Spirit

Much of “Gaudium et Spes,” the 1965 Vatican II document about the church in the modern world, painted too rosy a view of fallen human nature, said future pope Joseph Ratzinger, who had been a council “peritus,” or expert. It was also “too French,” said Ratzinger, meaning it had too much of the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin’s human-divine partnership in creation and salvation, once rejected, later endorsed, including by Ratzinger as Benedict XVI.

The document, “joy and hope” in its Englished title, was “far too optimistic,” said the Jesuit Karl Rahner, another peritus, adding that some Lutheran pessimism would have helped. Indeed, the Lutheran theologian Karl Barth found it “overly optimistic” and “out of tune with the New Testament understanding of the world,” says Robert Royal, not cited by Barron, in the Claremont Review of Books.

Rev. Robert Barron, St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein) seminary rector and host-creator of

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