The author is veteran Vatican journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi, who covered the Council for the Ansa news agency and then worked two years (1983-85) as assistant editor of L'Osservatore Romano. Svidercoschi says the Catholic Church is ailing right now, not because Vatican II went too far, but because it was a "revolution, left only half done". His 120-page booklet is only one of a number of recent publications by committed Catholics here in Italy who are voicing alarm over the direction Pope Benedict appears to be taking the Church.The word "revolution" is a telling one. For years the Church has been reassuring us that what happened in the 1960s was a "reform". The word "revolution" has tended to be used by those who resisted the changes, such as the eminent Michael Davis, and has been considered a very controversial term. So it is interesting to read the word being used by someone on the other side.
It really would seem to be only now that we are becoming able to get a bit of distance on the whole Vatican II episode and look at it with something like historical dispassion. Recently I completed a book which had to deal with that period (among others), and I felt that I could not just write another yah-boo account of the period; there have been far too many of these, from Xavier Rynne onwards, with a simplistic division of the parties in the council into 'goodies' and 'baddies', according to one's perspective.
Regular readers of this blog will probably be able to guess my own perspective fairly readily. But I did not want to make yet another Aunt Sally of those who differ from me: that does little to serve the cause of truth, and if my own perspective is to have any value at all it has to rest on truth.
Those of my persuasion are far too liable to caricature the 'liberal' wing in the 1960s as being deliberately malicious destroyers of two thousand years of history, enfants terribles who had managed to seize the wheel and had turned the Barque of Peter onto dangerous rocks, just to see what would happen. The 'liberals' were apt to caricature those of a traditional persuasion as being power-hungry despots with no care for the poor, or the Gospel; deliberate train-wreckers of reform, lacking vision, lacking faith, resisting all change simply on principle.
If we are to understand this period with hope of enlightenment, then we must firmly set aside such caricatures and try to start from the principle that all parties were zealous Christians who truly sought to do God's will.