Who are the Vatican II ‘slow learners’?

Dear Editor, Peter Boucher engages in a bout of labelling a hypothesised group of Catholics as “conservative” in his letter (IC 23/10/14). Indeed he pastorally alerts whoever they might be to the possibility of their becoming “stiff necked”. As I am interested in ministering to such a group, perhaps he would outline their typical characteristics for me. For fear of catching some of the stiff neckedness, I need to become one of the opposite, more virtuous community. I would be grateful for his relevant label in this regard, and of course would welcome advice on the behaviours I should adopt as a member.

He also advocates the principal of gradualism to reach the ideal. Perhaps he might apply it for me in the case of a colleague who regularly controls her husband in a backhanded fashion without recourse to boxing gloves.

What is the ideal in this instance? Is it the ideal husband or her idealised behaviour? How gradual should gradualism be in rendering the husband’s façade less impressionistic? Should it be seven days or 70 times seven days until the ideal is gradually accomplished?

A friend of mine, on reading the letter now considers herself a Vatican II “slow” learner. She has only read, among others (including Roddy Doyle) the works of Blessed Paul VI, of Saint John Paul II, and of Benedict XVI. Whom in this quartet should she blame for the go “slow?” Should she now burn her copy of the Vatican II documents and her copies of the lives of the saints?

She would also welcome Peter’s view on how the secrecy intended for the recent synod would have enabled the Holy Spirit to illumine the proceedings and shower tongues of mercy and compassion on the world.


Yours etc.,

Con Devree,


Co. Limerick.