The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Christ at the center of the Council

Why has the great promise of Vatican II been frustrated so often?

Undated photo of St. Peter's Basilica during Second Vatican Council. (Lothar Wolleh/Wikipedia)

Conversations with Father Robert Imbelli have been a great blessing in recent years. I have rarely met a more even-tempered and gracious man: a true churchman who, in retirement after years of teaching theology at Boston College, tries diligently to keep the often-fratricidal subtribes of American Catholicism in some sort of conversation (if only through his e-mail account!). We’ve visited in Rome during several Synods and I remember with pleasure the tour he gave me of the Capranica, his Roman alma mater, where his fellow alumni include Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII.

I’ve had occasion before to mention Father Imbelli’s fine book, Rekindling the Christic Imagination: Theological Meditations for the New Evangelization. In that small gem, Imbelli made two points I’ve tried to make, doubtless less elegantly, in Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church and The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission. Where evangelization flourishes in the Church today, it’s because Jesus Christ – crucified and risen, the unique savior of the world – is at the center of the Church’s proclamation, worship, and service. And where evangelization lags or is moribund, it’s because of a deficit in Christ-centeredness.

In “No Decapitated Body,” a bracing essay published In the current issue of Nova et Vetera, Father Imbelli develops his argument for a more radically Christ-centered Church, sheds light on a host of current Catholic controversies and concerns, and does so with an authorial calm that nonetheless conveys his passion for Christ and the Gospel.

Why has the great promise of Vatican II been frustrated so often? In a word, according to Father Imbelli, because of apostasy: a drastic dissolution of the Christ-centeredness that theology sought to recover in the first half of the 20th century and that the Council affirmed. The greatest of Vatican II’s documents, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, begins, Imbelli reminds us, with the ringing affirmation, “Christ is the light of the nations.” And the entire Council, he suggests, must be interpreted through the prism of that confession of faith – “In many ways, the Council’s achievement could be read as a prolonged meditation upon the meaning and implications of Saint’s Paul’s confession – ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay that that which has been laid: Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3:11).”

This seems to me exactly right. It squares with John XXIII’s intention for Vatican II. And it’s empirically confirmed by looking around the world Church today. Where the Council is interpreted in that Christ-centered way, evangelization thrives and the Church lives. By contrast, where Christ is not believed to be the unique way to God, the unique truth about God and us, and the uniquely life-giving savior, there is ecclesial desiccation. A rinsed out Christ substitutes for the Son of God who “came to cast fire upon the earth” (Luke 12:49); the Church falls into the culturally seductive trap of being a non-governmental organization in the business of good works; evangelization withers; local Churches die. This is most painfully obvious in Germany and other German-speaking lands, but it’s true across the full spectrum of Catholic life.

Father Imbelli explores how this forgetting of Christ shows up in various ways: in liturgy that does not begin from the premise that “the prime agent of the celebration [is] the Head of the Body,” on whom every sacramental act is totally dependent; in a dissecting room approach to the Bible and to preaching that does not convey the living presence of the one who is “the Word” (John 1:1) in the divinely-inspired Word of God; in attempts to set “doctrine” against “pastoral practice.” Certain voices in the Church incorrectly blame all of this on Vatican II. Yet it was the Council that taught that Jesus Christ is the one who acts in Baptism, the Eucharist, and the other sacraments, and it was the Council that insisted on the reality of God’s self-revelation in Scripture. As for the juxtaposition of the “doctrinal” and the “pastoral,” or “truth and mercy,” well, as Father Imbelli reminds us, the Synod of 1985 taught that “it is not licit to separate the pastoral character [of Vatican II] from the doctrinal vigor of the documents.”

Father Imbelli’s Nova et Vetera essay is a call to hope: that the Council’s Christ-centeredness will be recovered and made the engine of evangelization. That hope is well-founded, because that’s what’s happening where the Church lives.


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About George Weigel 297 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent book is The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), published by Ignatius Press.

43 Comments

  1. Immediately after the council, Joseph Ratzinger was shocked to discover so many of his colleagues now openly expressing their hatred for Christ, the church, and all things Christian. These were the very men he had just been in council with, men who were outwardly and publicly professing Christ, but who were crawling with corruption inside. Shook him to his core. Words are one thing, George; reality is something else. Not only is Jesus Christ no longer at the center of this church — he has been banished to the far periphery, and replaced by Man. And this is true regardless of what various official documents state verbally.

    • Interesting. I have never heard this strange story you tell. Can you tell us where you heard this strange story of Ratzinger, and all the people at Vatican II expressing a hatred for Christ? My guess is that you cannot.

      • Rejection of Christ is in fact hatred of Christ. Jesus has been dethroned from His own Church. I have read stories of the real Vatican ll. The Modernists voted out the Council of St. Pope John XXlll, his 9 schemata for the Council they claimed were too “Rigid”. Those who trashed the Council of St. Pope John XXlll then on to create their own Council. This is enough to void the Council.

      • sampton909, Hatred of Christ is in rejecting what Christ teaches. One does not necessarily have to say “I hate Christ”. Christ promised, “If you reject me I will reject you”. So, there was a lot of hatred against Christ at the Council. The story I read about Ratzinger and the Council is the one Pope Benedict XVl speaks of himself. He was at all the sessions of the Council as a Periti for his Bishop. Pope Benedict speaks that after the Council ended he took a whole different approach to the Church. He even released a picture of himself in secular garb, coat and tie. He says he took a wrong direction (Modernism). He started to practice this way until he realized something was wrong. He returned to faithfulness to the Church. I speculate that the wrong turn he speaks of is that he began to practice the Modernism from Vatican ll. He realized the error and went on to defend the Church, to the point of becoming the Vicar of Christ. I think this is what G. Poulin is referring to. He is asked for links, I for one don’t jot down every link of everything I read and remember. So, rather google what Pope Benedict related during this stage of his life. He said it as Pope in order to confirm the brethren. I believe he said this to give us the message, go and and avoid the errors of the Council of Cardinal Bea.

    • G. Poplin –

      Do you have a place you can point readers to about the statement you attribute to Joseph Ratzinger (after the Council…so many of his colleagues “openly expressing their hatred for Christ and His Church.”)

      While I believe that many corrupted “Christians” have come to hate Christ and the Church, your comment is a gargantuan statement, and deserves nothing less than a clear citation, or a correction and retraction.

      Please clarify…OK?!

    • G. Poulin-

      Your wards attributing this evidence of “Christ hatred” by Council colleagues demands clear citation or retraction and withdrawal.

      Please clarify !!!

    • What Ratzinger actually said is not as Poulin inaccurately proposes, but rather this…the real story in THREE points:

      FIRST, Ratzinger identifies the turning point as NOT being the Council, but as coming AFTER the Council, and after he had identified to some of his Council/journal colleagues, two prerequisites for their writings: (1) “our group must not lapse into any kind of sectarianism or arrogance, as if we were the new, true Church, an alternative magisterium with a monopoly on the truth of Christianity;” and (2)discussion has to be conducted without any individualistic flights forward, in confrontation with the reality of Vatican II with the true letter and the true spirit of the Council, not with an imaginary Vatican III.”

      SECOND, the turning point, he reports precisely, was “set in around 1973–when someone began to assert that the texts of Vatican II were no longer the point of reference of Catholic theology.”

      THIRD, in the above, Ratzinger was explaining to interviewer Vittorio Messori why he was no longer part of “Concilium” (the new theological periodical which at first numbered as a member, in 1964). He and others (von Balthasar, de Lubac, Congar) established, instead, the alternative journal,”Communio.”

      Asked directly why he left the “Concilium” group, he said “It is not I who have changed, but others…[who left him]” (quotations from “The Ratzinger Report”, 1985, pp. 18-19).

  2. “…it was the Council that insisted on the reality of God’s self-revelation in Scripture.” This needed clarity can turn on only a few words—-sometimes inserted by “intervention” rather than left implicit and subject to later amnesia or worse…

    “The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away, and WE NOW AWAIT NO FURTHER NEW PUBLIC REVELATION [versus “pluralism” of religions?] before the glorious manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf 1 Tim 6:14, Tit. 2:13) [….] Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through His whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself [!]: through His words AND DEEDS [versus an overzealous historical-critical method?]…death and glorious resurrection….” And again, “… manifesting Himself [!]: through his WORDS AND DEEDS [versus severing the dogmatic from the pastoral?], His signs and wonders, but especially through his death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth” (Dei Verbum, n.4, CAPS added).

  3. The lack of interest in Jesus Christ does not date from Vatican II. This quote is from a book published in 1962, “To date, the biggest hole in our educational system is the failure to convey to young students a meaningful, vital awareness of Christ. This conclusion is the result of years of experience, during which Catholic high school and college students and adults in all part of the country were examined as to their impressions and knowledge of Christ and as to the part He played in their lives. The general response was not good.
    “Their ideas were vague, general, unreal, sentimental, impersonal, academic. To many Christ was a myth, to others merely a historical figure; to others divine all right, but quite remote and not an influence in their everyday life. But a religion without Christ is a corpse; an education that does not convey ideas of Christ that are vital, real, precise, and compelling is a farce. If people are ready to worship a hero and follow a leader, then it is a mistake to obscure the person of Christ behind a welter of abstractions. If they are going to be raised to a higher stature, it will not be by moral coercion or intellectual persuasion, not even by the high ideal of becoming perfect, a saint.
    “Such an ideal is too abstract; and most people need something concrete, dynamic, highly personal to shape their thinking and influence their behavior. They need the infinitely attractive personality of Christ… (“The Art of Being Human,” by Fr. William McNamara, O.C.D., The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1962)

    • Going along with this, will someone please explain in precise and clear terms what a personal relationship with Christ is or feels like? I have faith in Christ and in the Catholic Church, I affirm the truth of Catholic doctrine and morality, I live my life dedicated to serving the Church and upholding Christ’s teaching and the Church’s witness. But I have never, not once, sensed Christ present to me. I literally have no idea what people mean when they talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus or know that Jesus is present to them or hear God communicating to them. At adoration, I feel nothing. After Communion I feel nothing. I believe in Christ, but it’s very practically just an abstraction to which I’m devoted and committed instead of a personally felt presence in my life.

      • Kyle, feeling His presence can happen, but that isn’t necessary. What is important is knowing and willing. You write that you believe in Christ and that you are devoted and committed to Him. I will ask you a question: would you willingly do something, even a very small thing, that would go against your commitment to Him? If you say No, then you have a personal relationship with Him. He is the criterion of your actions. You say your belief in Christ is very practically just an abstraction. Again, is there any other abstraction to which you are as devoted and as committed as you are to Christ? Read St. Therese’s description of her trial of faith. She not only felt nothing but all that she did feel was that her belief in heaven was an illusion. Still, she steadfastly chose to act in accordance with her belief in God. It is choices that define a relationship .I hope this helps. I believe you have far, far more of a relationship with God, and a living relationship with Him, than you think. Of course, if you are willing to act against your belief in Him, then I take that back. Again, it’s your choices that define a personal relationship.

      • God bless you, Kyle!

        There have been times in my life when I felt like praying to God was like talking to a fence post for all the good it seemed to do.

        The most profound spiritual experiences of my life have all been connected with the Eugharist, either shortly after receiving Him or during an adoration hour. Such experiences do happen. ;o)

        Your spiritual dryness is likely preparation for an encounter with Him. Let me recommend a book you might take along to your Holy Hour. It is He and I by Gabrielle Bossis. Don’t get an abridged version.

        God bless you!

      • What “it” is or feels like? We’re in good company. St. Mother Theresa confided near the end of her life that she had felt very little for forty years. Mother Theresa! And so, for our own possible meditation, there’s this little surprise from (I think) St. Irenaeus: “Allow the Lord to take delight in you…”

      • Dear Kyle, I would point you to the following: 1. Father Dave Pivonka (President of Franciscan University at Steubenville’s video series, “The Wild Goose is Loose” available for viewing on YouTube. ( on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit).
        2. For more detailed theological development on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I would point you to Renewal Ministry (Ralph Martin, Peter Herbeck, Sr Anne Shields, etc) . (renewalministries.net). Their video series “As by a New Pentecost “ which can be accessed freely on YouTube since the pandemic.
        3. Fr. Mathesius’ Encounter Ministries (encounterministries.us)has a Catholic documentary “Fearless “ on YouTube. Also another documentary which requires payment called “Revive “. (It is available on their website.)
        4. Damian Stayne & Cor et Lumen Christi community in UK have excellent videos on YouTube.
        5. Neal Lozano’s heartofthefather.com is an excellent resource for spiritual growth.
        May you come to “know “ (experience for yourself through the Holy Spirit) “the

  4. There will be no New Evangelization until the idolatry inherent in rendering unto Caesar authority over innocent human life that belongs only to God is brought to an end. The state simply has no authority whatsoever to “legalize” the murder of innocent humanity.

    To the extent that the Church isn’t agitating against “legal” murder with the intensity with which Christian Abolitionists agitated against slavery it is signalling to Caesar its basic approval of his usurpation of God’s authority. This is certainly the case when the Eucharist is given to politicians known by all to be advocates of “legal” baby murder.

    The Church’s calm complacency in the midst of the brutal murder of thousands of babies every day in America turns its teachings into empty words. It sounds like the CNN reporter talking about the peaceful protest taking place with a conflagration behind him.

    An idolatrous Church cannot launch the New Evangelization. A Church engaged in massive, nonviolent civil disobedience along the lines of that practiced by Lech Walesa’s JPII-approved Solidarity Union, or engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience along the lines of that practiced in the Early Church when it refused to render unto Caesar worship that belonged only to God, would reignite the consuming fire that Christianity is supposed to be.

    No stomach for that, U.S. bishops? How about proclaiming loudly and clearly the simple truth that it has become mortally sinful to vote for Democrat party candidates since their party platform is lethally hostile to the teachings of Christianity? Can you at least do that?

  5. Is CWR “all in”, with this Weigel piece and the 2 Farrow pieces, on a smash-mouth agenda against those who believe that it is past time to come to a reckoning with the origins of the spiritual, intellectual and moral ruin that has occurred in the Church during the last 60 years?

    I hope not. I used to look to CWR and Ignatius for light. Now I see weekly snarky pieces by George huffing and puffing about his latest books and reminding us about how many times he talked with JP2.

    “New Evangelization” has become a slogan for neo-con Catholics who don’t want to admit/take on the real crisis in the Church.

    • Robert,

      In what way has IP or CWR changed course in recent years? What I see, more and more, are all the old traddie attacks on VII (and, increasingly, on JPII and Benedict), but often from people who apparently are unaware of the arguments and discussions of the past 60 years–but who seem to think they know better than anyone else. And now Abp. Vigano is talking more and more like a man on the verge of schism, certainly not in a way that engenders confidence or support.

      CWR and IP have published a great deal in recent years about the various crises in the Church. They just don’t think it’s wise or right to throw out the Council with the bath water.

      • Honestly, Carl, I think this comment serves you poorly. I have always admired the breath and devotion of your perspective but this is unworthy of you. It will not do.
        “Traddie” — really? And God forbid John Paul and Benedict [who I deeply venerate and admire] be subjected to critique? I don’t agree and neither would they at this point in history. Archbishop Viganò articulates some bitter realities but they cannot be ignored — they have been for far too long. He as well as any Catholic who lived through the carnage of the conciliar and the immediate post-conciliar era knows well the truths he presents. While many ignored them at the time [Archbishop Viganò included, and he admits it] they can no longer be ignored. The fruits of the hijacked council have borne their fruit and we can no longer avoid the rude reality. Were John Paul alive today, if Benedict were better positioned today, they would not have much to disagree with Carlo Maria Viganò.
        Any good teaching stemming from the council was already available in the perennial Magisterium and could have been provided greater emphasis by a surgically scrupulous application of pontifical teaching with the appropriate episcopal cooperation.
        The council was deliberately hijacked by unfaithful individuals with the cooperation of the nefarious and the naives. It can no longer be denied. The situation cannot be corrected without admitting what is before our eyes.

      • God bless you, Mr. Olson!

        Vigano has indeed become a disappointment.

        Those who reject the validity of Vatican II aren’t even Catholic in so far as Catholics believe Christ keeps His promises, including His promise that the Holy Spirit would remain with the Church forever and guide it into all truth. The Spirit didn’t abandon the Church at Vatican II.

        Thanks for your always thoughtful remarks and commentary.

        • Okay. Well, it’s true. The stuff being presented by Marshall, Vigano, et al, has been around for decades, touted by the usual sources. To be fair, that doesn’t mean they are wrong or right, correct or erroneous. My point is that so much of what is going on it retreaded, recycled, been-there-and-done-that stuff. And yet so many online are presenting it as breaking, unique, never-been-told-before sort of stuff. Strange.

          • “…so many on line are presenting it as breaking, unique, never-been-told-before…”
            It is a matter of perception. You must dive a bit deeper. In my experience the sources are not presenting it as anything new, it could however be received as such due to a different confessional and/or historical experience.
            Articulating this reality is not easy, but those of us who lived through the council, watched the aftermath of it as it was transpiring daily, saw the collapse of a vibrant [but not flawless] Roman Catholicism but were catechized in obedience to the bishop, absolutely to the pope, and positively to an ecumenical council, went with the flow despite the undeniable sacrilege transpiring [the stripping of parish churches, flippancy regarding what was always held sacred, the poor comportment of clergy and religious], erroneous theological positions and the concrete multifaceted undeniable decomposition before our eyes. But we were given to believe it was “a work of the Spirit” and it was in progress and such is never neat. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet you know. Finally after fifteen years in 1978 there was John Paul who was the quintessential “spoonful of sugar” who made the medicine go down. He was a holy and extraordinary man. He could miraculously reconcile contraries and by the shear force of his personality, let alone his persuasive intellect, always made things right.
            For God sake, the man brought down Russia!!!
            [Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev were pawns in comparison to John Paul. If you did not live through the era when Godless Communism was a daily threat you have no idea what the fall of the Soviet Union meant.]
            But always in the back of the mind of the conscientious was “Why isn’t he bringing the definitive ecclesial corrective to bear?” Well, of course, it was his blind commitment to maintaining unity. Sometimes even the noblest ideals are, at least for the moment, provided unmerited value. Life is after all by necessity a balancing act.
            The brilliant, holy, rightly loved Polish pope passed into eternity a saint, Benedict the Teutonic intellect followed. Now things will be brought into line. He will iron it out. He has the clear-sighted brilliance to rectify the mess on our hands, but it was too late and he fled, and he was replaced by a man who often behaves as one spiritually and intellectually disorientated, who boldly encourages disharmony, who mistakes the overworked brutalized palette for the work of art, who boldly not only “makes a mess” but regards it theological method and proper ecclesial engagement and who encourages it, who demonstrates no loyalty to God’s Revelation, to Jesus Christ, the perennial Magisterium or the faithful [China the perfect example among a host of others]. His loyalty, his assent is to his ideological perspective alone. The rest be damned – throw them a carrot of piety once and awhile and get on with the program – post-conciliar Bergoglianism.
            It is not that the critique of the mid-century conciliar program is new, it is the unmitigated arrogance of the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter which is new and in turn makes the critique absolutely pertinent to this moment. The sixty year old solid critique held by far mostly quietly, secretively, can no longer be muzzled by deference to the notion of pre-conciliar ecclesial obedience. During the Bergoglian captivity the only enduring Roman Catholic belief or value which is held sacrosanct is obedience to the local ordinary and the Bishop of Rome. Such does not hold when with but a few exceptions none of them are obedient to simple moral principles, human decency, common sense but above all to the inestimable pearl beyond price provided us by the Grace of Jesus Christ – the perennial Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
            We are ALL obedient to the perennial Magisterium or those of us who are not are as dust in the wind. Could that breeze be their ever so alluded to “the wind of the Spirit”?

          • And yet there is something unmistakably new, refreshing and crystal clear about the way in which Vigano makes his case.

          • This is a reply to James’ long comment above.

            Thank you for such wise words. You have effectively captured the meaning of the flow of ecclesial developments ranging over the last 60 years. It is refreshing and heartening to see that someone has both the insight and courage to speak the truth.

            By the way, I have often reflected on why John Paul II did not bring “the definitive ecclesial corrective to bear?”, as you say. It is difficult, I admit, to make a correct assessment of this aspect of his pontificate, because it is so difficult for us to truly step into his shoes and appreciate everything that was going on at the time, let alone to penetrate the inner sanctum of his heart, understanding and intentions.

            The fundamental problem with Vatican II is that it serves both orthodoxy and modernism at one and the same time.

            Perhaps JP2 surmised that it would be more efficient, secure and effective to “run” with the sound portions of Vatican II (to the neglect of the equivocations, errors, and theological time bombs in the Council documents) rather than to re-write the entire Council, given that already so much confusion and division abounded among the faithful, that there were so many modernists even on the grassroots level ready to run with the ambiguities and errors being propagated from above, that there was a real and present ‘infiltration’ of the enemy in the upper echelons of the Church, and so many other aggravating factors.

            I don’t know. But one thing seems sure and true: John Paul II’s remarkable witness to Christ, his tireless evangelical and missionary activities, his incredibly deep prayer life, his brilliant mind, his ability to inspire the love of truth in others, has already mitigated the degree of suffering which we endure today in the face of the apostates who have seized key positions in the Church.

  6. I applaud Catholic World Report and thank Carl Olson and all at CWR for faithfulness in this prolonged crisis over the last 18 years.

    You help make sanity and faithfulness possible.

  7. “Father Imbelli explores how this forgetting of Christ shows up in various ways…”
    Forgetting?
    There was no “forgetting.” There was a deliberate jettisoning of Jesus Christ by strategic actors in the theological academy and the episcopate. It is an open secret and quite obvious to anyone who has been a part of that entity to any degree. Our unwillingness, our inability, to seize and grasp that pernicious reality is what prevents us from diagnosing the current conundrum and correcting the course. It is bitter and painful, but it must be done.

    • 100% agree.

      We have outright apostasizing frauds as Cardinals and Bishops and University Presidents and faculty chairs.

      Do readers know that Cardinal Kasper had, as a priest in 1974, published a book that explicitly denied the miracle accounts of Jesus, and his bodily resurrection?

      Yet after this public act of apostasy, which is a martial act of heresy, he was made a Bishop by Pope Paul VI, and later a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

      Does Mr. Weigel care enough about the Church to speak against these appalling facts?

      Why on earth should young people take the Church seriously, when our leading hierarchs DO NOT?

      Does any serious man or woman pretend that the Pontiff Francis isn’t represented by the repulsive fraud Cardinal Marx of Germany, his chief collaborator of his Council of Cardinals?

      Is the Catholic Church not now reduced to a carnival for wealthy Church professionals, both clerical and laymen?

      “Forgetting Jesus?”

      These frauds have erased the heroic God-Man Jesus, and like Kasper, re-written Jesus as an androgynous flower-child of their impoverished day dreams.

      • You articulate brutal realities. The “Kaspers” are legion, they are everywhere, and they greet us with a wink and a nod. They have gotten away with spiritual homicide all in the effort to achieve some sort of credence with secularism. We can no longer deny what is before our eyes and indeed has been there for over sixty years. If they believe in anything it is not Roman Catholicism. Their assent appears to be to Marx, Darwin and Freud. Some admittedly confect a Christ who harmonizes with this secular-materialist fraudulence but is is a chimera at best. Galatians 1:8 and II Corinthians 11:4 jump off the page.
        We have been in a state of pathological self-deceit for decades — even the best of us. It is a rude reality but we need swallow it and get on with authentic adult Catholic Christianity.

        • Agree with you in that.

          I would encourage you that Carl Olson and CWR are part of the faithful here.

          (At the same time, I share your disapproval of Mr. Weigel, who seems aloof and detached and refuses to engage against the stark reality.)

  8. “There is abroad [in the Church] a quite intentional apostasy.”

    This is the explicit (though long reluctant) conclusion that Fr. Imbelli is staring in his paper, after “55 years” of observing the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.

    Who could possibly disagree with that?

    Consider the breadth of the apostasy: the Cardinal Newman Society can only recommend a mere 10% of the 200-or-so “formerly Catholic universities.

    Consider the depth of the apostasy: A – Cardinals appointed by the Pontiff Francis openly run “gay-promoting-Masses” in Newark and Chicago, in leadership of the gay mafia. B – Dioceses like LA and Atlanta openly promote LGBT apostasy.
    C – formerly “Catholic” Fordham U has an openly practicing sodomite, Professor Hornbeck, who is also a non-Catholic, and in a fake “marriage” to his male sex partner, as Chairman of the Theology Department.

    And the crowning apostasy: the open idolatry of the Pontiff Francis in Rome in October 2019.

    “Broadly” speaking: something like 75-90% of the so-called “Catholic” Church is just a vast forest of what Jesus called “dry wood” (on His way to Calvary).

  9. Vat II. Christ centered or Demonic centered? Admittedly there were instances when it seemed some, whose predilections toward the faith I have affinity, were hyperbolic regarding Archbishop Viganò, who are either opposed to him or in favor, whose mistakes and courage [the Archbishop’s] I was aware and addressed in Dr Farrow’s two articles on Vat II. Today I read the Archbishop’s Sep 1 letter quoted by Catholic Family News. Archbishop Viganò in response to accusations of schism identifies the true Church with those who denounce Vat II, who literally believe it to be a diabolic enterprise that must be rejected. The remainder [of us] are the actual schismatics. He urges the true faithful, who follow his lead, remain obediently, in the Church. Then he dramatically adds, priests are nevertheless obliged [he ambiguously refers to the woke] to reject the Novus Ordo and offer Mass in accord with the ‘Catholic Rite’, his current reference to the Tridentine Rite implying the Novus Ordo is quasi heretical. Archbishop Viganò affirms Archbishop Lefebvre and his disobedience to the Roman Pontiff. “His Grace refers to the punishments inflicted upon the Archbishop and his Society [the alleged claim of his excommunication, for example] not as acts of justice but rather those of ‘persecution’. He appears to condone the consecration of bishops without a written papal mandate in 1988 when he observes that these consecrations made it possible for the Society ‘to protect herself from the furious attack of the Innovators’. After taking note that clerics and laity alike are beginning to see the Conciliar nightmare for what it is, he looks forward to a necessary ‘awakening’ that is ‘almost a resurrection’ After taking note that clerics and laity alike are beginning to see the Conciliar nightmare for what it is, he looks forward to a necessary ‘awakening’ that is ‘almost a resurrection’. The Lord ‘offers us, in these painful situations, the possibility of being His allies in fighting this holy battle under His banner’” (CFN Sep 1). “According to Father Imbelli, because of apostasy: a drastic dissolution of the Christ-centeredness that theology sought to recover in the first half of the 20th century and that the Council affirmed” (Weigel). If there was Apostasy then there is Apostasy now evident in a New Paradigm and revision of the Gospel of Christ. As if that were insufficient to challenge the faithful, there’s combined a Don Quixote like Schism incited by one who began and should be resistant, and opposed to the Apostates. Rather like Quixote the Archbishop perceives dragons everywhere and in everything related to Vat II.

  10. Carl:

    CWR and IP do great and irreplaceable service to the Church, universal but especially in the English-speaking world. I have been, and expect to continue to be, one of your staunchest followers.

    But I do think the question about the Council that Vigano has raised is both timely and deserving of serious deliberation — not dismissal and ridicule. Weigel, Weinandy and Farrow all seem to want to insist that the “continuity” advocated and practiced by JP2/B16 is normative. But what happens when a Pope comes along who is a “rupturist”? It causes everyone to re-examine the question of whether V2 was an event in continuity or rupture with the Tradition.

  11. Paul’s awakening, the samaritan woman at the well, simon becoming Peter, the centurion soldier and Christ says no greater faith have I seen in all of israel than this man. Everything looks different with Christ even as and after we sin.

  12. Yet again, George promoting a flawed apologia of the theologically indefensible {particularly its erroneous interpretation of “religious liberty”} Second Vatican Council.

  13. St. Pope Pius X in condemning Modernism as a heresy explained what a Modernist is. He said that chiefly they are they who want to just make changes. I add that V2 and its aftermath is a perfect example of the Modernist heresy. There was nothing wrong with the Church prior to V2. The problem St. John XXlll saw clearly, as also did Ven. Pius Xll was the great loss of Faith on the part of Catholics. Many Council Fathers were already with a great loss of Faith. They had no love for Our Lord Jesus Christ, just look at their fruits, it confirms their hatred for Christ. St. Pope John XXlll saw the loss of Faith. He called for a Pastoral Council. He had the most trusted Prelates help him draw up the 9 Schemata that was to be his Council. Five of the Schemata have been translated into English, they are on the internet. Those documents is what Traditional Catholicism is all about. Cardinal Bea got enough votes to trash the 9 Schemata that was the Council itself. If St. John XXlll called for a Council and had 9 Schemata prepared for the Council, giving his undivided approval? How could those Council Fathers get away with trashing the real Council and making their own Vatican ll. The Council of St. John XXlll sadly does not exist. The real Council cannot be held today. Today’s Prelates would only complete what the apostates did at the the false Council of Cardinal Bea and the likes of him. What the world needed and now needs even more is the Council of St. John XXlll. Read the 5 Schemata that have been translated into English and you will see a whole different Council. It would have been a Super Council equal to Trent.

    • “There was nothing wrong with the Church prior to V2. … Many Council Fathers were already with a great loss of Faith.”

      Which makes no sense. If there was nothing wrong prior to Vatican II, why did the conciliar fathers, as you state, have little or no faith? How were they so poorly formed? Or even antagonistic to the Church? Etc?

      One of the big problems with the “everything was great prior to VII” argument is that it cannot explain why the perfect Church would produce (so goes the claim) such a rotten and flawed Council. And the claim that it was a matter of infiltration by Communists, modernists, and Freemasons only pushes the question back to: “If the Church was so perfect, why was she so susceptible to so much infiltration, falsehood, and error?”

      • When I stated there was nothing wrong with the Church prior to the Council, I was talking about the Church as an institution. Her laws, her rituals, its government etc…etc…etc.. It was the members of the Church that were not good. Many good Catholics of course but the majority no longer believed. Ven. Pope Pius Xll stated in the early 1940’s, “The Church has officially condemned Modernism but sadly it is still widespread today”. This was 20 years before the Council that he said this. Imagine how much worse it got. That Modernism was widespread in the 40’s can you imagine 20 years later. You don’t have to imagine it, just look at what happened during and after the Council. The very Council Fathers themselves went on a rampage trying destroy the Church, and they succeeded in the hearts of millions upon millions of poor souls.

  14. In appreciation and support for James (Sept. 4) and L.G. Seligman’s response (both far above), perhaps St. John Paul II did have a strategy:
    (1) Having wisely recruited Cardinal Ratzinger to head the most essential Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), keep him forever in Rome, disregarding his multiple requests to escape the web of post-Council betrayals by returning to the quiet scholarly life of writing books;
    (2) Then reclaim Vatican II from the termites through a 20-year course correction: the 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops (preceding by the Ratzinger Report and followed by the synod-requested and stabilizing Catechism [1992/94/97] —elevated as a “fruit of the Council”),
    (3) Bypass almost entirely (for which he is faulted) the malignant and dug-in infestation wearing many purple and red hats, by going on a personal and dramatically upstaging evangelization mission spanning 105 countries around the globe, and
    (4) Instead of the communists/Masons/etc. within the Church, take down the Soviet Union itself—cut the head off the snake.

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