Thinking (and talking) further about Vatican II: A follow-up conversation with Douglas Bushman

“I take the hermeneutic of continuity as a postulate of faith, rooted in Christ’s promise to be with the Church He founded on the apostles and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that continues to accompany the Church through the apostles’ successors.”

Grand procession of the Council Fathers at St. Peter's Basilica at the opening of the Second Session of Vatican II in October 1962 (Image: Peter Geymayer/Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: Prof. Bushman’s article for CWR, “How to Think about Vatican II” (February 26, 2021), was the catalyst for a significant number of spirited comments. During an exchange, Prof. Bushman suggested that perhaps it would serve the readers of CWR to address at least some of those comments.

CWR: Were you surprised by the number, content, and tone of the comments to your article?

Bushman: I had the opportunity to read through them. The ratio of negative to positive comments seems to be about ten to one. That is not a total surprise. Neither is it surprising that there was nothing new in the complaints about the Council. Many blame Vatican II for the crisis that afflicts the institutional Church in North America (and Western Europe). A good number also claim that the Council contradicted prior, established papal teaching.

Writing about the Council as I did clearly hit a nerve. While I wish that the Church were fully united around the Council, I prefer a spirited exchange of views to indifference.

CWR: You indicated that the origin of the article was an address you gave at the University of Mary. What was your original intention for that address?

Bushman: I have been painfully aware of the attacks on Vatican II, and I assumed that the students at the University of Mary, like students at most Catholic colleges and universities, are either reading and studying the Council, or at least being exposed to the views of their professors, other students, authors and bloggers about the Council. With my time limited to only 45 minutes, I realized that I could not get into any of the particular, controverted teachings of Vatican II, which some claim contradict prior papal teaching. (“Heresy” and “heretical” came up several times in the comments on my article.)

So, rather than to focus on the teachings of Vatican II (fides quae) I decided to focus on the disposition of faith of the faithful (fides qua). My modest hope was that my audience of undergraduates would realize that dissent from Vatican II, or withholding assent to the Council, or labeling it heretical, is a choice between one kind of authority, which is merely human, and another kind of authority, which is divine. For undergraduates 18–22 years old, this most likely entails choosing between their parents and the apostolic Church (Vatican II). Ultimately, this is a choice between a hermeneutic of continuity and a hermeneutic of rupture. I take the hermeneutic of continuity as a postulate of faith, rooted in Christ’s promise to be with the Church He founded on the apostles and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that continues to accompany the Church through the apostles’ successors.

Thus, just as assent to an article of faith is first of all assent to the God who reveals, so adherence to the teaching of Vatican II presupposes a conviction about its authority. St. Thomas Aquinas puts it this way: “Whoever believes assents to someone’s words; so that, in every form of belief, the person to whose words assent is given seems to hold the chief place and to be the end as it were.”

As I understand it, those who accuse the Council of contradicting the established tradition do so precisely because they are committed to the hermeneutic of continuity as a postulate of faith in God and what He has revealed about the apostolic Church. So, the main issue regarding which the Church’s members are being forced to understand more clearly is ecclesiological in nature. It concerns the unicity of the Church and her enduring identity, based on her faith, throughout the ages, and thus it concerns the proper understanding of the hermeneutic of continuity as a postulate of faith. (By the way, the opposing characterizations of the period prior to the Council confirm the fact that on one level or another people are aware that the hermeneutic of continuity is in play.)

Basically, I wanted to appeal to my audience to roll up their sleeves and to do their homework, to check out the opposing positions, to work through the arguments, but to do so with a clear understanding of that fides qua precedes fides quae. In this way, I wanted to remind them about what should be happening at a fine school like the University of Mary. For, the goal of education is to equip maturing men and women with the intellectual and moral habits that make it possible to engage in a critical examination of what heretofore they have held simply, or mainly, because it was passed on to them by their culture. I am as opposed to an uncritical rejection of a received tradition as to an uncritical acceptance of a received tradition, whether that tradition be natural or supernatural. Neither is worthy of the dignity of their faith and personal responsibility for it. Regarding our Catholic faith, at some point everyone needs fully to appropriate the faith in order to say “I believe.” My calculation: the will to investigate is likely to begin only with the realization that there is another way of looking at things, in this case, Vatican II, that reasonable people actually do look at things that way, and that, in the end, one’s relationship of faith with Jesus Christ is at stake. My hope is that the faculty at the University of Mary are willing to work with whatever momentum might have been generated by my talk, and to make time to accompany (as we say these days) those who might have been stirred.

Bottom line: thinking about the teachings of Vatican II needs to happen within the faith, and thus with the docility of faith and with the presupposition or postulate of the hermeneutic of continuity. That was one of my main points. And, I am confident that if students, or anyone wanting to know the truth about Vatican II, reads the documents with the docility of faith and investigates conflicting versions for explaining the texts that present difficulties, they will see that the case for the hermeneutic of continuity outweighs the case for any essential rupture.

CWR: This confidence that you express seems to confront the harsh reality that the divide seems to be widening and that, in reality, more and more people seem persuaded by the “we are in a mess because of Vatican II” perspective.

Bushman: I said I was confident, but I did not say it is easy to win people over to the hermeneutic of continuity. Intellectual conversions are all too rare, and many people are already deeply invested in the position that Vatican II is to blame for the current crisis.

In my experience, the typical attack is based on taking an assertion from a pope prior to the Council, lifting it out of its context, and placing it alongside a passage of Vatican II, in order to show that the latter contradicts the former. This is done without placing either in historical context. This is precisely where I find dialogue so difficult to foster. For, those who vehemently, and rightly, condemn the historicism that characterizes Modernism are distrustful of any attempt to interpret things by taking historical context into account. Isn’t that precisely the historical relativism, which ends up being a relativism of faith, that the Church condemned with Modernism? So, distrust of any hermeneutical procedure that entails historical consciousness virtually excludes the very possibility of dialogue.

But historical and cultural context are simply necessary. For example, if people take as pertaining to the very definition of ecumenism that all parties in dialogue must set aside any claim to being the one, true Church of Christ, if the condition for ecumenical dialogue is to renounce the Catholic Church’s claim to be this one, true Church of Christ, then by definition Catholics cannot be ecumenical, that is, they cannot participate in the ecumenical movement. If, on the other hand, ecumenism is defined as an exchange ordered to better mutual understanding (without giving up anything essential to one’s identity), then Catholics can be involved in the ecumenical movement. If one is to be truly faithful to Christ and His Church, then it is incumbent on the faithful to understand the proper definition of His Church and ecumenism. This is precisely what Vatican II did in its Decree on Ecumenism.

CWR: A consistent theme in the comments on your article is that Vatican II is responsible for the crisis of faith in the Church today, manifested especially in shabby liturgy and heterodox catechesis, but also in an apparently ever-expanding secularism and lost of Catholic identity. What do you have to say in response to that?

Bushman: First, I would say: I see what you see. I have attended Masses (obviously, without anticipating what I am about to relate) in which Christ’s words of institution were said over crumbling ginger bread and in which non-ordained preached during the time reserved for the homily. Only one time do I recall leaving the church during the Anaphora, because the celebrant had so innovated, substituting his own words for those prescribed in the Missal, that I made the judgment that the combination of words invalidated the sacrament. I could tell you stories from eye-witnesses of things that have transpired in major seminaries, but I do not want to place the editor of Catholic World Report in the position of having to censor them because they are X-rated. Do we even need to mention the clergy sexual abuse scandal, including efforts to cover it up?

So, I see what you see regarding the scandals in the Church and the steep and seemingly accelerating capitulation to the secular culture. But, Vatican II sanctioned none of these things. Nor can they be blamed on purported ambiguities in the Council’s texts. They are, pure and simple, acts of infidelity. Regarding what can be considered secondary matters, some may be non-culpable. Deacons and priests entrust their formation to their bishop, and for way too long bishops failed to exercise proper oversight of seminaries and programs of formation for deacons, and for that matter, catechists and lay leadership. Many times I have seen the look of surprise and horror on the faces of those who were mal-formed, at the moment that I enlightened them about what they should have learned. And, the sign of their good will is that they immediately submit to the truth. I wish that were always the case.

And this is related to several comments about the spirit of Vatican II. Great damage was done by theologians and clergy who attempted to justify their infidelity by appealing to “a spirit” of the Council. But any spirit that is disincarnate from the actual texts of Vatican II, and from the doctrine of the Catholic tradition, cannot be taken as its authentic spirit. Of course, this ungrounded appeal to the Council could only cause people who take their faith seriously to view the Council with suspicion.

CWR: One of the positions taken against Vatican II claims that it is a counterfeit council, that the real council of Pope John XXIII is contained in the seventy preparatory schemas that, proponents of this view say, were rejected so that theologians and bishops steeped in Modernism could draft their own documents. Can you shed any light on this?

Bushman: I assume that the foundation for this view is based on the historical record that the period of preparation for the Council produced 70 draft documents, which brought together teachings of the popes of the 100 years or so preceding the Council, from Leo XIII to Pius XII. Yes, some thought that the bishops would come to Rome and certify the schemas as the Church’s faith by their vote, and then return home after just a few weeks. On this view, the 70 schemas are the real council, the council of Pope John XXIII, and the actual sixteen documents of Vatican II are a counterfeit council.

Several things should be considered regarding this claim. First, it is indicative of a lack of knowledge and experience of ecclesial matters to imagine that a Pope would call together bishops from around the world, away from their normal and time-consuming duties, simply to ratify 70 draft documents, the content of which the Pope could promulgate himself. But, of course, he did not.

Second, the hypothesis of a rapid ratification of the prepared schema was simply unrealistic, given the history of the two preceding councils, Vatican I and Trent, characterized by vigorous and protracted debates.

Third, Pope John could have halted the Council at any moment, or given it authoritative direction when it became clear that the preparatory schemas were going to be set aside. But he did not. In fact, the historical evidence points in precisely the opposite direction: Pope John approved of and even aided the effort of the majority of bishops to produce new documents (which, by the way, retained a great deal from the draft schemas). Finally, the draft texts have no authority of their own. They only have the authority of the texts on which they are based and which they incorporate: Scripture, Church Fathers, prior councils, and the papal magisterium. So, there is no ground at all for claiming that these 70 draft schemas are anything more than a compilation by theologians, working under papal mandate to prepare for the Council.

The narrative that drives a wedge between John XXIII and the final texts of Vatican II is unable to account for the real facts. What those who push this narrative omit is that because Pope John believed that the Holy Spirit would guide the bishops’ deliberations, he did not micromanage the Council in advance. In fact, he resisted suggestions that he needed to be more specific about his intentions and vision for the Council, trusting that the Holy Spirit would guide the deliberations of the Church’s pastors. He really believed in the collegiality of bishops—and lived it! Also (conveniently) omitted are a number of events that clearly indicate that Pope John had serious misgivings about the preparatory schemas. These misgivings did not concern their orthodoxy, but rather their failure to present the Church’s faith in a way that corresponded to his understanding of the needs of the time. First, November 20, 1961, Cardinal Frings gave a speech in Genoa, on the historical context of the upcoming council and its implications for the council. This speech was authored by a priest-theologian named Joseph Ratzinger. The challenge that Vatican II had to address is the virtual substitution of various ideologies, like existentialism, secularism, and Marxism, for religion. Two noteworthy passages are:

In the errors of our time, certain values that attract men can be seen, and the Church’s task is to shine a new light on and to give their rightful place to the values that people think they can no longer find in her.

As a council of renewal, its task is not so much to formulate doctrines [which had already been clarified] as to foster the witness of Christian life in the contemporary world in a new and deeper way, in order to show in all truth that Christ is not only the “Christ of yesterday,” but the Christ who “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8).

When Pope John read text of the speech in February, 1962, he invited Cardinal Frings to a private audience to thank him and to convey that Cardinal Frings’ assessment of the situation of the world and of the corresponding tasks of the Council corresponded to his own. (Remarkably, this assessment is strikingly similar to the submission to the Ante-Preparatory Commission by a young auxiliary bishop from Poland, named Karol Wojtyła. Providentially, both Ratzinger and Wojtyła would play major roles in shaping the final texts of Vatican II and in implementing them. I see this as Providence, not a Modernist conspiracy.)

Second, sometime in the winter of 1962, thus seven months prior to the Council, after reviewing the 70 draft texts, Pope John expressed disappointment that they did not consider the real problems of the world at the time. As he would say in his address for the opening of the Council, the need was not for further clarification of doctrine—because for anyone who sincerely wanted to know what the Church teaches the record was clear—but for demonstrating that Christian revelation is the answer to all for which the Church’s contemporaries are searching. In reality, he was looking for a new apologetics, an apologetics of meaning, which answered the question, “Why believe?” instead of the question, “What to believe?” He was convinced that this latter question had been sufficiently clarified. By the way, it is important to realize that in this apologetics of meaning, “Why believe?” presupposes the content or doctrine of faith, the “What to believe?”

In other words, the Pope John envisioned a Council that would set forth the truth of Catholic faith in such a way that people are more likely to perceive it corresponds to their deepest human aspirations and their confrontation with evil and suffering, both within themselves and in the world. Thus, the pastoral, apologetic approach envisioned by Pope John is not antithetical to a doctrinal approach. To be pastoral is to go beyond clarifying what should be believed and how it should be understood in order to demonstrate how believing it will enrich your life. To come to faith is to fulfill the fundamental dynamism of loving oneself, of seeking the definitive meaning of life in the truth.

Third, in March, 1962 Pope John reached out to one of the “modernist villains” of the false narrative that the Council was hijacked, namely Cardinal Suenens. Realizing that 70 draft schemas covering a very diverse number of subjects was simply unmanageable, he asked Cardinal Suenens to review them and to put some order into them. Pope John so valued Cardinal Suenens’ proposal that he asked him to share his proposal with several other cardinals (including Cardinal Montini, the future Paul VI). During the Council’s first session (fall 1962) these cardinals intervened to propose the essentials of this vision for the Council, previously acknowledged by John XXIII.

Fourth, at a pivotal moment during the first session, Pope John intervened to bring the discussion of the schema on divine revelation to a close by remanding it to a joint commission for revision. During a private meeting at that time, he confided to Cardinal Leger that the decision to rework the draft schema on divine revelation corresponded to his own views about it.

Knowledge of these events, combined with Pope John’s emphasis on responding to the grave cultural and religious crisis of the time in his radio message one month before the Council, and his call for a pastoral presentation of the Church’s faith in his address for the opening of the Council, makes it untenable to claim that “his council,” allegedly embodied in the 70 schemas, was hijacked and replaced by a counterfeit council. It is more accurate to say that the historical record shows that, both during the months leading up to the Council and during the first session, he supported and encouraged the desire of the majority of bishops to go in the direction they did. And they persistently, faithfully, and obediently kept referring back to his statements, taking them as guides for the work of the whole council. Pope John played a pivotal role, then, in guiding the council away from the expression of the Church’s faith in the 70 preparatory schemas and toward what would eventually emerge as the 16 documents of Vatican II.

CWR: Do you have any final thoughts?

Bushman: Yes! Many! But for now, let me end by recounting what for me has been a profoundly edifying and recurring experience. I am thinking of times when I have been engaged in dialogue with knowledgeable and devout non-Catholics, particularly those for whom the figures of the Protestant Reformation have shaped their faith. When the issue of the veneration of saints, especially the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, comes up, they often accuse the Catholic Church of robbing God of His due glory by deflecting attention away from Him and placing it on the saints. I try to explain to them that the only realistic way to give God glory is to point out what He has accomplished, and His greatest accomplishment is the justification of sinners. If the heavens proclaim the glory of God, then how much more do the lives of holy men and women, who have been transformed, re-created by His grace? In addition, if we just read the accounts of the saints and read what they have written, it is clear that they are profoundly humble and exalt God above all for His mercy and grace. St. Paul puts it this way: “by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10). In venerating the saints, the Church joins them in praising God for His mercy and grace, and she instructs the faithful about the true meaning of faith and humility.

I relate this because I think that the scandal experienced by my non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ over the veneration of saints is unfortunate and unnecessary because it is based on a faulty understanding of veneration. Vatican II clarified it, not only or even primarily for non-Catholics, but for her own faithful. So, while I think that these brothers and sisters in Christ are misinformed, nevertheless I greatly admire their zeal for God’s glory. If only all Catholics were so zealous for God’s glory! Thus, in the language of Vatican II, I am aware of a profound communion with these non-Catholic brothers and sisters, precisely on this point of zeal for God’s glory (and there are many others). It is not a full and perfect communion, but even in its being partial it is real and profound and edifying.

You perceive how this applies to how I read the comments on my article by my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, who are scandalized by what they think Vatican II taught and directed. They are especially scandalized by the appalling inadequacies in catechesis, liturgy, and Christian life in the years following the Council. I see and have experienced the same things, but I do not see that the Council is the cause. I do not deny that many experiments in catechesis and liturgy claimed “the spirit” of Vatican II as their justification, and it is quite clear that we are witnessing the devastating effects of defective moral theology and moral catechesis. But these happened despite the Council and the guidance of the post-Conciliar magisterium, not because of them. In the early Church, some attempted to justify the rejection of the Old Testament by appealing to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Gospels. The Church condemned that heresy.

So, for full disclosure, for me the love and zeal for the Church of Christ in those with whom I disagree about Vatican II is deeply edifying. I think that I understand their disillusionment, for I have witnessed the same scandals that they have. But, I have also witnessed priests and bishops who have studied and implemented the Council, and the fruits of vocations to consecrated life, the diaconate, and the priesthood, a prayerful and engaged laity, holy families, and powerfully reverential liturgies in the Novus Ordo, and any number of prolife initiatives, as well as others, that strive to restore Christian values in our culture.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


80 Comments

  1. May God bless Prof. Bushman for his clarity and charity in explaining the context, purpose, and meaning of Vatican II. His comments about the veneration of the saints brings into focus the truth expressed in the Divine Praises: “Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.” The holiness of the angels and the saints is a refelection of the holiness of God. Creatures transformed by the grace of God give glory to God. As Catholics we can say: “Soli Deo gloria” and also “Ad majorem Dei gloriam.”

  2. “And this is related to several comments about the spirit of Vatican II. Great damage was done by theologians and clergy who attempted to justify their infidelity by appealing to “a spirit” of the Council. But any spirit that is disincarnate from the actual texts of Vatican II, and from the doctrine of the Catholic tradition, cannot be taken as its authentic spirit.”

    And the point is that nobody protected us from the theologians and clergy who attempted to justify their infidelity by appealing to “a spirit” of the Council. They weren’t called on the carpet, told to knock it off, stripped of their authority. Who stood up and said, “Hold it right there, the Council did *not* say that or anything like it?” Instead, nearly everything they wanted was just given to them. The Mass was rewritten; Latin was replaced with the vernacular; it was poorly translated; churches were maimed, and new ones built according to rules that were claimed to be part of the Council, and weren’t; and on, and on.

    I accept that this is not “the authentic spirit.” And so what? Much good that does us. The inauthentic spirit was allowed to wreak havoc. The flock was turned over to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    • Well said Leslie.And we get called names for speaking out against it.How any “Catholic” can recieve the Eucharist on his or her feet is totally beyond me.

    • Indeed – far from being “stripped of their authority,” the unfaithful dissenters were rewarded, promoted, placed in positions of authority themselves, where they often marginalized or even persecuted those who were faithful to tradition. A glance at the episcopal appointments of both Paul VI and JPII is all it takes to confirm this dismal fact.

    • Leslie, That last paragraph you wrote is exactly what I would like Bushman and others who are like-minded to read and face the facts, the truth.

      I think I may understand Bushman, as I for a long time tried to defend and salvage Vatican ll, I thought it was God’s will. But thanks to the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl, I now know that a hijacked Council made by men bereft of the grace of God cannot be salvaged. It is not from God. I wonder perhaps if the incorrupt body Of St. John XXlll is a sign from God calling on us to reclaim the Great Council of Pope St. John XXlll.

  3. “No worries! I am going to clear up everything by calling for Vatican III.” – Pope St. Francis the Super-Great

  4. “Pope John envisioned a Council that would set forth the truth of Catholic faith in such a way that people are more likely to perceive it corresponds to their deepest human aspirations and their confrontation with evil and suffering, both within themselves and in the world.”

    Precisely, it sounds benevolent but the inability to not see anything problematic about such a proposition as it stands is at the heart of the problem. And the unwillingness to stop referring to the abuses that took place in “the spirit of Vatican II” means there could not have been anything deficient in the substance of what transpired in Vatican II is another problem.
    Strawman arguments avoid the real question. Sober critics of Vatican II do not take an all or nothing approach implicit in the phrase hermeneutic of rupture. Most acknowledge that almost all the content of the documents are orthodox. It’s what is missing that is the problem, especially when the Council purported to speak to a world, Catholic and non-Catholic, wounded by a tragic century.
    What is the source of human suffering that Pope John wanted addressed? The problem of evil is less problematic when we contemplate the reality of sin, and the reality of sin is less problematic when we acknowledge the reality of original sin and the imperfectability of the human condition, the permanent imperfectability of the human condition, short of Our Lord’s return.
    Human beings are sinners. All human beings. All sinners are prone to deluding themselves about their sinfulness and prefer to tell themselves their sins are not sins and that they are not sinners. This is why sinners create collectivized denial systems and gravitate to ideological belief systems that enable them to effectively deny their sins and explain evil in the world in terms of other people or other countries or other civilizations or other periods of history. This is why tyrannies and wars happen.
    Inform us exactly where the focal point of the Church’s understanding of man’s fallen condition was truthfully elaborated, clearly, for all the world to contemplate in the documents of Vatican II, the same optimistic documents that implied an evolutionary spirit of man akin to the idiocies of Teilhard de Chardin where a future secular utopia might be possible. Inform us of where the documents anticipated an ecclesial culture, 55 years later that would give rise to the indisputable facts of virtually non-existent confession lines or that a majority of those who call themselves Catholic support or remain indifferent to the crushing of the skulls of unborn babies.

  5. The Bishops have the three fold duty to Teach, to Rule or Govern, and to Sanctify. Who could argue that they have been very weak since Vatican II on the first two. There were about 2500 bishops involved in producing the documents of Vatican II. It was their job to go home to their dioceses and implement them. If that was not done, then most of the blame is on them, and not those who pushed the “spirit of Vatican II.”
    It is not a matter of if it was a valid council. I accept that it was valid. Lateran V was valid. But, several months after it concluded we had Luther. These councils were valid, but not effective. In 1960, 75% of catholics attended Weekly mass. Pre-Covid it was about 20%. Who knows what it will be post-Covid.
    Over 50 years since the conclusion of the council we still frequently have these articles telling us how good the council was. Over 50 years later, the typical catholic in the pew only knows that what the council produced was the new mass, when the fact is that the mass we have now is not what the council prescribed, but what a Vatican committee produced in 1969-1970.
    I am not sure what the answer is. But I don’t think that article after article telling us that if we truly look at the actual documents, that things will turn around, is going to effect much change.

  6. Let’s look at the facts, and I mean the truth. St. Pope John XXlll on January 25, 1959 called for the “second Holy Vatican Synod” (Vatican ll). The second Holy Vatican Synod officially began on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1959. There were over 850 Scholars and 100’s of Theologians. All the Bishops of the world were kept informed. They were given the opportunity to respond, suggest, correct etc.. Most of the Bishops by their own free did not participate. From the second Holy Vatican Synod 70 decrees were created. The reformed Missal was issued, usually called the 1962 Missal. St. Joseph was added to the Roman Canon and the 3rd Confiteor eliminated, this is the Missal that was used by Archbishop Marcel Lebevre and still used by the SSPX St. John XXlll sign an Apostolic Constituion on Latin, not only for the Mass but requiring all the ordained to read, write and speak fluent Latin. It was signed on the Altar of St. Peter by St. John XXlll. He chose October 11, 1962 for all the Bishops of the world to gather in Rome for them to sign the 70 Decres of the second Holy Vatican Synod (Vatican ll). He with great joy said, “Its a done deal. Now we can fearlessly move forward. He was talking about the 70 Decrees. The decrees were the promise of a New Springtime in the Church. The 70 Decrees was, “The opening of the windows of the Church to let the fresh air in”. The Fathers of the Council knew why they were there. They had already studied the 70 Decrees, and were there to sign them, and it would be the end of the Council. Great was the joy of His Holiness. He gave his opening address. Afterward, the now never before known plot of the Modernist heretics to overthrow the Council of John XXlll and create their own Council, NOW BEGAN. A Bishop asked for the microphone, was denied but he took it anyway. The second Holy Vatican Synod of Saint Pope John XXlll was voted out. Some have written that His Holiness was happy about his council being abolished, Yeah Right! He had plans for them.

    • I said St. Pope John XXlll had a plan for those who overthrew his Council. A certain aged Cardinal was interviewed on television. I watched it, this English Cardinal had this to say,

      “After the end of the first session of the Council. Pope John XXlll called his closest Cardinal collaborators together. I know because I was one of them. He called on us to think of a way to gracefully end the Council as he saw trouble ahead”

      So much for St. Pope John XXlll being very happy that they overthrew the real Council that he called for and completed, his plan was to end the Council altogether. Why it wasn’t done I imagine because having cancer he was already getting very sick. It is said that his last words were, “End the Council! End the Council”. St. Padre Pio the Stigmatic also pleaded for a quick end to the Council, it is recorded that St. Padre Pio despised the whole Council of the Modernists. I know people who had such a great love for God and His Church, they suffered immensely because of all the changes. As a boy after Mass outside I would hear the men of the Church talking about the changes they detested, I remember hearing often, “If it ain’t broke why fix it?”. My wife tells me of others she knew who were left traumatized by Vatican ll. What were they thinking of at the Council? It was a Council without God. “By their fruits, you shall know them”. The fruits of the hijacked Council are not hidden, one sees them everywhere, all the time. A Council made by unscrupulous heartless men. They perhaps thought that like them no one else loved Christ and His Church.

      • I was thinking more that if you are opening the windows of the church to let in the air of the world, then you must think there’s something wrong with the Church that the world ought to fix.

        • This is Big! For years Traditionalists claimed the Council was hijacked. Now Pope Benedict XVl in his Biography gives the details that there was another Council with 70 Decrees, a Council Missal, and maybe more. A lot of labor was put into it. Labor by over 850 Scholars and 100’s of Theologians with all the Bishops of the world included. The Council Began on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1959. That Council was that of Pope John XXlll, it held the promise of a “new Springtime in the Church”. “The windows of the Church were opened to let the fresh air in”. The Council was to begin and end with the signatures of the Bishops of the world starting Oct 11, 1962, which was 3 years in the making. The Modernists plotted up to the day before the finalization of the Council of St. Pope John. The Modernists had a struggle until they got the actual Council voted out.

          We were programmed never to speak out against the hijacked Council of the Modernists. We were ordered to obey! obey! obey! The Modernists used their Council to wreak destruction to the Church and to the faith of millions. The Traditionalists dared to speak against this counterfeit Council. They were severely punished for it. Thanks to God we had Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who didn’t fall for the counterfeit Council. Perhaps because he was one of the Architects of the Council of Pope John Xlll. Traditionalists have long despised Pope John, blaming him for the counterfeit Council. Theirs has been a grave error and it was the Modernist heretics who led us to believe that the counterfeit Council was all the work of St. Pope John XXlll. None of its works can be attributed to St. Pope John XXlll. He had nothing to do with the counterfeit Council nor its Counterfeit Church which is not the Church Christ founded. What will we do? Will we reclaim our Church? Will we reject the hijacked Council? Will we reclaim the real great Vatican Council of the Pope and all who worked to give us the great Council that was denied to us?

  7. I left two replies and it seems they were rejected. This issue is of the greatest importance to me. We must be able to speak the truth of what has transpired. The Church has been wrecked by the heresy of Modernism, officially condemned by St. Pius X. Modernism has wreaked havoc for more than a century and a half. Can we be deaf to such a serious problem? And allow the evil one to continue possessing Jesus Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church? Vatican ll has serious problems that the world must know. It cannot be hidden. We must speak for the greater glory and honor of God. For the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church. Please don’t stop the mission Christ has given us.

    • “And allow the evil one to continue possessing Jesus Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?”

      Sigh. I have no doubts about the sincerity of your magisterial aspirations. But far from being convincing, they are deeply troubling.

      • Carl E. Olson, Troubling they are. It’s what gave rise to Archbishop Marcel Lefebre, he was a man who truly loved the Church. Lefebvre was a man who was greatly honored and respected before Vatican ll. He lost all honor and respect for his defense of Holy Mother the Church.

        St. John Paul the Great wrote in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the Church was on its way to its greatest trial. I think it’s here.

        Pope Benedict XVl before his resignation had this to say, “Many are saying that it seems as if Christ has abandoned His Church. And rightly so, for it does seem that way.”

        St. Pius X, it is recorded had a vision of what seemed like a swarm of insects hovering over St. Peter’s Basilica. These insects penetrated the Basilica. He was then given to understand, those insects were of diabolical nature.

        Bishops are now calling for an Excorsismo Magnus of the holy office of the CDF and of St. Peters Basilica. St. Peters because Francis introduced pagan worship into the very house of God, opening the doors to satan. The list of diabolical actions and practices in the Church goes on.

        Do we have the fullness of Faith? Do we have Christ as our God and Redeemer? Not completely as satan through men has infiltrated Christ Church. satan took possession of men at Vatican ll and he hasn’t let go. Reviving the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll will bring the hope for liberation and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church. We men in the Church are causing Jesus to undergo His passion all over again. And I mean in a realistic manner. We men are the problem and we have been since the hijacked Council. Step to the side unfaithful Bishops, this is a job for the laity!!!

      • Carl E. Olson, Thank you for not doubting my sincerity. The criticisms that come from me are based on what I somewhat already knew. That is, that the Council was hijacked. When Pope Benedict XVl revealed the whole truth of men throwing out the Council of a Pope and making up their own Council. Proclaiming it, From the Pope’s own words, whose Council they threw out, the “open windows of the Church to let the fresh air in” “A new springtime in the Church”, taking the words of the Pope and applying it to their own Council. It makes them thieves and usurpers. The matter is not small unless one wishes to make it a small matter. We had a Council that was mercilessly shoved down our throats and forced upon us. When we wanted just a little of our Church they showed us no pity. Many times they showed us disgust, hatred and even took revenge on us. I knew a man (God rest his soul) who told the parish priest about his disappointment with the changes, The priest took some kind of a classroom stick and beat this man on the back until the stick broke. He didn’t return until almost 20 years later, because the new parish priest granted him permission to quietly use the Missal of 1962. He was very grateful because he had permission for life to use the old Missal. I myself as a known Traditionalist in my parish was despised. They made jokes about me and that included from the parish priest. All of it, for the greater Glory and Honor of God. Carl E. Olson, I’m sure you know that these problems against the people were not isolated but were rampant around the globe.

        • “That is, that the Council was hijacked.”

          How is this different from saying–as many Protestants (as well as Mormons, etc)–that the early Church and “true Christianity” were “highjacked”, and that the real and authentic teachings of the early Christians were skewed, corrupted, or even abandoned?

          It’s one thing to argue that certain conciliar documents have weaknesses or ambiguities, or that the implementation was a mess (or worse). But the hermeneutic of discontinuity that you continually posit here is really the other side of the Progressive/Modernist coin.

          • Carl E. Olson, Have you read the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl? We, Traditionalists, have long used the term “The Council was hijacked”. Pope Benedict XVl spells out how it was done. He tells us without ambiguity, how St. Pope John XXlll carried out the Council and its planned final end starting Oct 11, 1962. I don’t argue in any type of ratification or defense of Vatican ll. I am in union with Archbishop Vigano who for good reason calls for Vatican ll to be declared illegitimate.

            Carl E. Olson, Do you deny what Pope Benedict XVl says of the voting out of the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll???

          • Carl E. Olson, Please give a reply to my question:

            Do you deny what Pope Benedict XVl says of the voting out of the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll?

            And do you deny that a whole new different Council was created?

          • I’ve found this view of the Council’s unintended consequences accurate – from Msgr. George Kelly’s 1979 book, “the Battle for the American Church.” Permit me to quote him at length:

            “….in view of the unsettling effect of the Council on the internal affairs of the Church, it is evident that the dysfunctional aspects of the Council were related in part to the planned objectives. It may suffice at this point to suggest briefly what may nave been sources of unanticipated difficulty:

            1. The objectives were too numerous and frequently conflicting – for example, the growth in Catholic faith as against new definitions that would appeal to non-Catholics.

            2. Attempting more than one Council could possibly accomplish – for example, consolidating agencies, while enlarging the scope of Church activity.

            3. Seeking to dismantle ancient structures before adequate substitutes were developed. Liturgical changes are the clearest examples of this.

            4. Reaching out to non-Catholics without making provision for solidifying the ongoing commitment of faithful Catholics. While debates were going on in Rome, children were being taught (and through them, parents) that missing Sunday Mass was no longer a mortal sin.

            5. Adopting broad conciliar policies without evaluation of their possible dysfunctional aspects. Two suggestions of Pope John in his opening statement to the Council were to haunt not only the bishops’ deliberations between 1962 and 1965, but also the subsequent pontificate of Paul VI. These were:

            A. Changes in doctrinal formulas are desirable if Catholic doctrine could thereby be made attractive to unbelievers.

            B. Condemnations of error are not to be contemplated.

            These principles enunciated by Pope John were later used to justify serious doctrinal dissent within the Church and to insulate dissenters against its chief doctrinal authorities.”

            Not that Msgr. Kelly does not claim that the Council documents contained outright heresy or deliberate breaks with Church doctrine, but he does persuasively argue that there were more than a few careless or mischievous ambiguities with which the dissenters and rebels ran very, very far. One of the many supreme ironies following the Council, with its declared intention to “reach out” to non-Catholics and unbelievers, is the fact that conversions, which had been coming to the Church at flood tide during the 1950’s, immediately dropped off sharply, and have never since approached the level at which they stood prior to the Council.

            We can all agree, I hope that something went drastically, terribly wrong, even while the Council was still meeting. The question for us now is: What do we do about the mess that we’re in? What are the Church’s needs in the present day? For my part, I can’t see where continuing to argue over the true meaning of VII and its documents is of any use. Whatever the Council intended, we’re very far removed from that happy outcome. What do we do about it now?

          • Carl E. Olson, According to the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl, explains in detail how the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll was voted out. Can you go into detail on this important subject?

          • Carl E. Olsen, This will be the last time I ask, after this if you don’t answer then I will take it you do not wish to answer and I will respect that.
            We Traditionalists always held that the Council was hijacked. Pope Benedict XVl clearly explains that this in fact did happen. Would you give us your opinion on what Pope Benedict XVl says about the Council of St. Pope John XXlll being voted out?

  8. Bushman’s argument for the hermeneutic of continuity is largely undermined by Vatican II itself. One cannot plausibly make the case that the Church, in Vatican II, followed that course in regards to ecumenism. The historical data, Church teachings and scholarly works throughout the centuries largely debunk that course of thinking. In fact, if anything, the historical and dogmatic evidence suggests a hermeneutic of resistance and combat. Likewise, except for the bare skeleton of Christian worship, Vatican II’s take on the liturgy is nothing less than a rupture from tradition. The very nature and names of its documents, i.e., constitutions and declarations, are novelties never seen in the Church. The essential problem with the Council is that it bit off way more than it could thoughtfully and effectively chew and maintain a Catholic continuity. It ended up with a compilation of scriptural proof texts, post WW2 historical analyses and questionable ecclesiological, social and political theories. The chaos of the Council became the chaos of the Church.

    • John Pfannenstiel, The “second Holy Vatican Synod” of St. Pope John XXlll was a completed Council. The Bishops were called to Rome for Oct 11, 1962, not to begin a Council but to ratify the 70 Decrees of the Council. The Bishops were not there to sign blindly as they had already been sent the Documents, and they had a chance to give their inputs, corrections Etc… The beginning of the Council was actually the end and it was to last 2 weeks, 3 weeks tops. All the Bishops of the world were called to sign the 70 Decrees. Had St. John XXlll issued the decrees Motu Proprio we would not have had such a mess. Pope Johns Council was perfect in every way. But Modernist heretics plotted the takeover (If you know Modernists this is the way they work) They voted out the Council of St. Pope John XXlll. It is said that the first Council session document of the heretics was signed by all the Bishops, except one, Namely, the Bishop of Rome who was Pope John XXlll. St. Pope John XXlll had already issued the revised Missal for the second Holy Vatican Synod. It is called the 1962 Missal. In the restoration of the Tridentine Mass, St. John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVl brought back the 1962 Missal exclusively, of the second Holy Vatican Synod. At the Vatican ll of the heretics they did not take into consideration, the binding Papal Bulla of St. Pius V called “Quo Primum”. Quo Primum is so binding it contains the threat of eternity in hell. The heretical Vatican ll must be scrapped and the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John must be promulgated. It will usher in a new springtime for the Church, it will be the open windows of the Church to let the fresh air in.

      • Rant elsewhere, Andrew. At least politely reply to the subject, instead of cutting and pasting thoughts that have nothing to do with the comment under which you clicked the “reply” icon. Get it? Reply means reply.

        • John Pfannenstiel, What you said was not the whole problem. I meant to compliment your post, compliment by what you left out, being the most important part of this problem. In explaining what happened at the Vatican ll one has to start at the beginning of the problem. If one does not start at the beginning but rather starts halfway through the story then what use is it to rant and rave about a troubled Council when it’s only half the story being cited. Let’s be open and clear by giving the whole picture. This is a reply to your ranting about what a reply should be.

    • John Pfannenstiel, I take your comment as a great informative comment. I was glad to see the points you made, they are sound and lucid. I wish you would write more of the same. Sorry to have added to your comment but what I added was in fact the beginning of the problem. I didn’t mean in any way to interfere with the great post you wrote. Like I said I was glad that you wrote that factual comment.

  9. When reality contradicts your ideology, you have two choices:
    1 ) Ignore reality and double down on the ideology. Or,
    2). Re-examine your ideology.
    Too many Catholics opt for the former.

    • G. Poulin, The problem in the Church today is “ideology”. The second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll holds the promise of putting ideology to an end. With its clear teaching on the Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ.

  10. Vatican II, Pagan Pope Francis, the German Clergy in general and Vatican dealings with Communist China are today the main problems of the Catholic Church, so I always welcome the opportunity to make light especially into those who are not acquainted with these important matters. The main doctrinal Errors promulgated by the Second Vatican Council and previously condemned by the Catholic Church are: Religious Indifferentism, False Ecumenism, and Religious Liberty. The Greatest sins in Vatican II documents are the use of the Holy Trinity to promote Errors and Heresies. The Catholic Church was used and abused by Masonic influenced top clergyman, by Marxist influenced top clergymen, by Protestant influenced top clergymen. We can say that without the pernicious influence of German Modernist top clergymen and their German Schools of Theology, Vatican II would have not existed. Since Bismark’s Kulturkampf German Schools of Theology became powerful, dangerous, mixed with Protestants: the Secularist approach became more evident year after year. Usually all bishops studied in these German Theology Universities. Pagan Pope Francis tried, but couldn’t finish his studies there: intellectually he is poor, esoecially in Humanities. But some heretical things he learned there and he brags about them. Vatican II main goal was to obliterate Vatican I and the Council of Trent. John XXIII in his adress at the Solemn Opening of The Second Vatican Council explained how he would do it. John XXIII and Paul VI are guilty of these Errors and Heresies because they were popes and approved the infected documents to be submitted at the Council. Or they were blackmailed. Discussion and vote of the documents was controlled by the infiltrated “ ideologues “ I referred above. The language across the main documents reminds us of Masonic concepts written in the US Declaration of Independence and in the US Constitution, in the Declarations and Constitutions of the French Revolution and in the UN Charter. Other concepts are more linked to the Marxist idea of Counter-Culture. Vatican II was in 1962 the avant-garde of the Marxist Counter-Culture Movement of the 1960’s: this is easy to see in several famous Vatican II documents. Some other concepts are Protestant. The average Catholic can not fully understand Vatican II documents: only those experienced with political, philosophical and theological concepts can manage to read and understand all: Theological knowledge isn’t enough to understand it; Philosophical knowledge also isn’t enough, neither Political knowledge is enough to grasp all the contents. The combination of two of these fields of knowledge isn’t enough, but a good education in these three fields can do it. Intelligent Catholics with common sense are maybe able to understand it. I can not consider Vatican II valid: Bad Faith persisted from the Announcement of the Council till the end of it; and Errors and Heresies are many. I invite all to read many different studies about it. And compare. Read especially the Vatican documents of last 300 years and compare with the documents of Vatican II. Pay attention to Pope Pious IX Syllabus of Errors from 1864 and how Vatican II simply destroyed it promoting Religious Indifferentism, False Ecumenism, and Religious Liberty. The implosion of the Catholic Church happened during and after Vatican II. Not before. Until today. Pagan Pope Francis is very happy promoting Vatican II using the same technique I mentioned before: using sometimes the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And saying that the Holy Spirit is with him. Catholics believe him because he is dressed in white and seats in the Chair of Peter. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were very naive, intellectually naive, and matter of fact powerless to stop the Modernist Stream and its New Theology. They tried, but couldn’t swimm against it. Their biggest mistakes were the nomination of Marxist and Modernist influenced bishops and cardinals. Vatican II to me means disaster, collapse, decadence, but Pagan Pope Francis manages to make it look like a circus. He’s good at it. However, he is not the Holy Father, he only dresses like one and that ain’t enough.

    • Many comments here with many details, but let us not forget that A plus B makes C: Vatican II destroyed the Catholic Church and this pagan pope we have today is implementing it like there’s no tomorrow. Let us stick to the facts: the Catholic Church today is in despair. This pagan pope even said these last days that he is willing to risk heresy. I am an objective person, my eyes see what I have before me, and I thank God everyday for this gift. Catholics don’t know anymore what is needed to be a Catholic. Catholics don’t pay attention to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and they do what they please. I never saw this pagan pope tell Catholics to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Seminarians, students of Theology, Theology professors don’t pay attention to it. The Catholic Church is in a state of Anarchy. This pagan pope isn’t willing to stop the German Clergy from its Protestant tensions. This pagan pope deals with Communist Chinese like they were choirboys. All this pagan pope does is in the spirit of Vatican II, nobody can say he is inventing. The problem is the low Catholic education of Catholics, the weak faith, the arrogant Pharisee atitude this pagan pope proclaims against Traditional Catholics. Vatican II was the bulldozer that buried the Catholic Church alive. Read Vatican documents since the Council of Trent. Or read especially Vatican documents of last 300 years. Vatican II erased everything. The biggest error is the idea that the Catholic Church must adapt to the times. Vatican II is about this issue. Already in the Lateran Council in 1512 this issue was being discussed. There was already big pressure then for the aggiornamento. Before the Council of Trent ! 500 years of big pressure gave us Vatican II. What is sad is that this updating of the Catholic Church goes against the Word of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus says in Matthew 17:17, this is a perverted generation. The same evil (with its servants) that killed Our Lord Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, is burying his Word today. I understand many get lost while reading Vatican II documents: try to organize better your reading; give more of your free time to these important matters. A Holy Easter to all.

      • Your last two comments were excellent. If you will please allow me to have one disagreement. St. Pope John XXlll was in no way to blame.

        Pope Pius Xl called for a Second Vatican Council, all was well underway. Pope Pius Xl was informed that the Modernists were delighted about the Council and were already making their plans or rather their plots. Pius Xl ended the whole Council.

        Ven. Pope Pius Xll also attempted to continue the unfinished Vatican l. After much preparation, he suddenly announced it was an inopportune time for a Council. My guess is, The Modernists!

        Pope John XXlll then called for the Second Vatican Council which was named, “The second Holy Vatican Synod’. He said he wanted it in line with the tradition of Nicaea, Trent, and Vatican l. All went perfect until Oct 11 1962 when the Modernists began their plot to overthrow the Council of Pope John XXlll. These Modernists succeeded and they went on to make their own Council. A Council not blessed by God, there was trouble at the Council itself, it was a war zone. Traditionalists VS Modernists. Then we get 60 years of total chaos. Know them by their fruits. It is now perfectly evident that the Council of the Modernists wreaked destruction on the Church. Of which! Cardinals and Bishops have the Courage to speak out. Archbishop Vigano did, as for the ousting of the actual Council of St. Pope John Vigano asks, “By what authority, by what right did they do this” and he called for, “The Second Vatican Council to be declared illegitimate”. Archbishop Vigano knows the 70 Decrees of the second Holy Vatican Synod and he wants it back for the good of all souls. Viva Christo Rey !!!

        We have an invalid Council! Something must be done to bring back the Council of St. Pope John XXlll.

  11. I have always considered myself to be firmly in the “Communio” camp with respect to the interpretation of Vatican II. St. JPII was the pope of my youth and my spiritual hero. Pope Benedict XVI was my theological and intellectual guiding light. I fully bought into the “hermeneutic of continuity” and attributed the deep and manifest problems in the Church to an improper implementation of the Council by rebellious modernists / progressives as opposed to resulting from some fatal flaw with the Council itself. I attributed these problems to the “Spirit of Vatican II,” “hermeneutic of rupture,” “Concilium” approach. I did not give much thought to traditionalism – especially that of the “rad-trad” or SSPX variety.

    However, my faith in the “hermeneutic of continuity” has been deeply shaken by Pope Benedict’s resignation and the advent of the Francis papacy. I worry that Benedict’s resignation represented the full and final failure of that narrative, of which he was the greatest and most forceful proponent. In my view, Francis’ papacy seems to provide new fodder almost daily to confirm that fear. I find myself at wits end most of the time trying to deal with the cognitive dissonance generated routinely by Pope Francis and his allies over the past 8 years.

    I believe most of the new “mad-trads” who are flirting with schism by rejecting Vatican II are former mainstream “conservative”Catholics (in the JPII, Benedict, Robert Barron, George Weigel vein) who see the “hermeneutic of continuity” narrative as having failed, or at least as being in the process of failing. They see it as is a narrative that no longer has credibility as a living reality. They feel pushed in the direction of a traditionalism that deeply questions Vatican II – if not outright rejects it – because they feel the Church has taken a dramatic and radical turn over the past 8 years. It won’t do to simply repeat “Francis is in continuity with his predecessors” again and again while we see what appears to be contradictory evidence before our very eyes. So I believe what is really needed are convincing arguments that the hermeneutic of continuity is not a dead letter, that it is still valid and is still the only correct narrative, and that it is destined to win out in the end. Burt this requires truth-telling about the situation we are in now, about the dramatic failures in interpretation and implementation of the Council over the past 50+ years.

    Vatican II “defenders” need to find ways to help those who find themselves being pulled into the schismatic orbit of the “mad-trads” deal with the cognitive dissonance generated by the Francis papacy, or I fear their pleas (or condemnations) will mostly fall on deaf ears. It won’t do to simply keep insisting “If only we read the documents properly, everything will be okay.” People have been saying that for 50 years, and things are definitely not “okay.”

    If the “hermeneutic of continuity” is dead or dying, then it is no longer a viable choice, and the only two remaining choices both fall under the “hermeneutic of rupture.”

    • Don Juan, I’m one of those rad-trads you speak about. The hermeneutic of Continuity is what we are battling for in a healthy positive way. I tried to hold to the Vatican ll Council. But when the Biography of Pope Benedict was released, I saw clearly the Modernist heretics hijacked the Council of St. John XXlll and created their own. God was not with them, it was a man-made Council. In places, they quote what is already the truth but perhaps only to give it some credence. Their ideas during and after the Council show it was not of God. Jesus didn’t create His Church only to destroy it and throw it into confusion. Such machination comes from heretics through the inspiration of the evil one. Traditionalists have given up all in this world to become the Soldiers of Christ called for through the Sacrament of Confirmation. We will defend Christ without compromise.

  12. These comments are deeply, deeply troubling to me.

    As I wrote after Mr. Bushman’s first article, I believe that the documents of Vatican II saved my faith.

    Yet I decry the abuses of the Church and the faithful committed in the name of the ridiculous “spirit of Vatican II” as much as any rad-trad out there.

    Permit me to ask one question.

    Indubitably, the Church has suffered greatly in the years since 1965. And all of you commenters blame Vatican II.

    But look at all the other institutions that surround us — educational institutions, the family, journalism, Congress, the military, and so on. Is Vatican II responsible for the all of these simultaneous upheavals, all of these disruptions and declines?

    Or is it possible that as society — civilization — has begun to disintegrate — for whatever reason — the Church, which exists in society, has been destabilized by the same destructive forces? *In spite* of Vatican II?

    I would hold that what happened to the Church wasn’t the fault of Vatican II, but rather that the 1960’s happened to the Church.

    And I very much appreciate Mr. Bushman’s efforts to try to get people to look again — closely — at Vatican II and to stop taking people’s word for what it taught.

    Remember that Luther objected to abuses that he took to be ecclesial, when they were basically the failings of individuals.

    And he ended up rending the seamless garment of the Church.

    I very much fear that this debate runs the risk of repeating Luther’s error.

    • “And all of you commenters blame Vatican II. ”

      I have not blamed Vatican II.

      I have blamed the people who used Vatican II as an excuse to do things to the Church that have weakened Her and injured the faithful. And I have blamed the people who should have protected the faithful from those who used Vatican II as an excuse, but didn’t protect them.

      Yes, the 1960’s were a disaster all around. But that doesn’t excuse the people who lied, or those who failed in their duty to protect.

      “And I very much appreciate Mr. Bushman’s efforts to try to get people to look again — closely — at Vatican II and to stop taking people’s word for what it taught.”

      Yes. Perhaps we can find for him a time machine so that he can go back and deal with the problem as it happened.

      We’re told that laymen should have read the Council documents and then they would see how wonderful the Council was. Tell me, how successful were those who did read the documents and argued against the “spirit of Vatican II” changes by pointing out that they were not in the documents? Did those pushing the “spirit of Vatican II” say, “Oh, goodness, my mistake!” and stop? Did those in authority take notice of the complaints and say, “You are quite right, we must stop this misinterpretation.”

    • Brineyman, What Bushman says about Vatican ll, is not there. I wish it were but is most definitely not. From what I have read of the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll, is best the description Bushman gives. What Bushman says is not at all a description of the Vatican ll we got, it sounds more like a description of the second Holy Vatican Synod.

    • Thank you for providing an illustration of why an uncritical defense of Vatican II and a reduction of those with misgivings to caricatures does so much damage. You clearly have no interest in discovering what critics have to say, yet you act a bit Orwellian by seeing fit to draw a parallel to Luther with no sense of irony given how many of the critics are able to form cogent arguments on the Protestant thought that seeped into some of the documents. Try to be fairminded and expose yourself to what critics are saying before dismissing the anguish that thoughtful Catholics have expressed in whole shelves of books that not only do not blame Vatican II alone but blame the entire collective monumental effects of the human propensity for vanity and pride before, during, and after the Council that God warns His creation about, through His prophets, throughout the history of His creation.

      • Edward J. Baker, To compare us with Luther? Traditionalist Roman Catholics and Luther are two totally different opposites. Traditionalists are completely at peace with the Traditionalist Church which is the true Church founded by Christ. We have the great treasure of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Christ said, “Do not fear those who can kill your body but cannot touch your soul. Rather fear He who can cast both your body and soul into hell”

        Because of the fear of hell, we must defend the Church. We will no longer allow seeing Her abused by heretics. The Church is a mess and we know where the mess comes from. The Modernist heresy condemned officially by St. Pius X. There is a book on the Catechism on Modernism. I recommend it to you. Read it and you will see that it is a perfect description of what’s happening in the Church today. And what is happening in the Church today has already been condemned by the Church.

    • Brineyman, Archbishop Vigano blames Vatican ll for the upheaval of the ’60s. The Fathers of Vatican ll Opened up the “do whatever you want” mentality. Francis is continuing the spirit of Vatican ll, note that he has condemned following “rules, laws, Dogmas,” etc… One does not have to read the Vatican ll documents today, one needs only to listen to Pope Francis, and there you have the whole Council.

  13. Angelo, in Bushman’s first article you say : ” There are passages in the Council texts that are heretical, I’ll point out just one. The Documents say, ‘Catholics and Muslims worship the same God’. ”

    You should identify which paragraph in which of the Documents has that. In NOSTRA AETATE 3 what you see is the theme of esteem for what is upright in other religions, getting developed from within GAUDIUM ET SPES. And this way is not new in the Church but exists before VATICAN II on different levels and points of contact. Another theme is the Council is love. One Muslim is going to be more open to a discussion than another and how much of that kind of apostolate a Christian can handle without losing faith or offending truth has to be a gift.

    I have read quite a bit in the VATICAN II Documents and still whatever I hear about the Council, I check back with the Documents.

    • Elias Galy, “identify which paragraph”, I have never cataloged what paragraph, what link, what article, what book, whether the person who said it was standing or sitting. I quote from what I remember reading. I will speak of one huge error from Sacro Sanctum. The Council Fathers were puffed up with pride and asked for the renewal of the Liturgy. That was not necessary. St. Pope John XXlll in the second Holy Vatican Synod had already addressed that and he issued the 1962 Missale Romanum. In the Mass itself he added St. Joseph to the Roman Canon. Also, he ended the 3rd Confiteor which since Pius V was rarely used. Note: The Council was announced on January 25, 1959, and commenced on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1959. The Bishops of the world were kept informed of all developments and they were given the opportunity to respond. Most Bishops gave no response. During the second Holy Vatican Synod, we got 70 Decrees, the 1962 Missal, the Apostolic Constitution on Latin, and whatever else we don’t know yet. The Council was hijacked, the Council of St. Pope John XXlll voted out. As Archbishop Vigano asks, “By what authority, by what right did they do this?”. It can only be said that it was the work of satan. We must reclaim the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll.

  14. Dear Angelo I don’t mean to be brusque only concise in regard to the space and the slow patience of our fellow commenters. I only ask you to put all reaction aside for 3 days. The Council Documents are 16: 2 dogmatic, 2 constitution, 9 decree and 3 declarative. There are not 70. We have to read them in a unity. Let’s call this the “1st piety”. Hijackers were thwarted by God. It was impossible for them to get advantage on the ailing John XXIII. Providence provided for it this way and Satan was defeated all over again, not only in the 1st piety but by the amazing tenacity of Paul VI. So a second channel to understand the Council in its finished form is through the saintliness of Paul VI himself. We can call this the “2nd piety”. Wojtyła lived the 2nd piety heroically. It is a cross. Many of the bishops were stiff-necked and didn’t even want a mention of the the Virgin; but using his authority Paul VI put her in the dogmatics and declared her Mother of the Church. Infallible. It shows us that Satan’s defeat we mentioned was by her and her love for the Popes and for us. 150 years ago a Pope you must love declared St. Joseph patron of the universal church. All major patrons are in the canon. New rites are being abused just as the traditional rite(s) had been abused in their own time: it is necessary to ameliorate the problems and unfortunately, some bishops who offend the liturgy are still very wiry and own-way like bad women. People in the traditional rite should help iron out the wrong behaviours and expressions in the new rite. Here at work they call me Galy but you feel free to call me Elias if you wish. I put my full name out of respect for the platform and you. May I share this devotion!

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/prayers/devotions/to-st-joseph

    • Elias, Devotion to Saint Joseph is at the heart of my spiritual life. I believe it is he who guides me to do as he and that’s to defend Holy Mother the Church. When I refer to the “second Holy Vatican Synod” it is the entire Council of St. Pope John XXlll. It did in fact produce 70 Decrees. The Bishops of the world were called to Rome for October 11, 1962, for the signing of all the decrees of the Council. It was expected to last 2 or 3 weeks. The Council with all its Decrees was to be finalized with the signatures of the Bishops of the world. 5 of these Decrees have been translated into English and can be found on the Internet. The Modernists did in fact hijack the Council by using the opportunity for the signing of the 70 Decrees, to vote the whole Council out and making their own Council. This can be found in the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl. The Council of St. Pope John XXlll holds the promise of the New Springtime in the Church, it is in fact the opening of the windows of the Church to let the fresh air in.

    • Elias, You ask that I put all my reactions to the side for 3 days. Your suggestion is well taken. You could never know how important this subject is to me. I am a wounded Soldier on the battlefield. The changes from Vatican ll and battling against them for more than 40 years have left me a broken man. Such a battle can take its toll on anyone. But I have Jesus the Divine physician and Our Lady as my nurse. Perhaps I should take some time off. Pray to St. Joseph for me. I am trusting you.

      • Angelo the three days have passed and you haven’t made any progress. You are a wounded soldier who wants to have the badges to make a boast all the time, “Look at my open wounds.” What do you think?

        • Elias Galy, I took your 3 days seriously, I took one day off. But my conscience was not at peace. I love Holy Mother the Church, how can one take 3 days off when the Church is what is at stake. We are living in the days of the great Apostacy as foretold by scripture. As for badges I have none. Unless one counts my love for Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. And my love for our Most Holy Mother Queen of Heaven and Earth. This is what is most important in my life since I was 15 years old and now age 61. I will not relent in my defense of the Truth of God, to my dying breath. I pray God wills this.

          • I just wanted to make sure you were still there. And you know I didn’t mean “take a holiday”. May our prayers go like the incense around our Lord.

  15. Pope Francis is implementing Vatican ll to the letter. What he’s been doing is all that Vatican ll called for. Someone in the previous Post pointed this out and showed how Francis is doing it. for example that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, Francis gave us the Abhu Dhabi declaration. It’s all according to Vatican ll.

    The body of St. Pope John XXlll is completely incorrupt. God keeps the bodies of some Saints incorrupt for a purpose. After the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl was released in German, Francis gifted the Body of St. Pope John XXlll to the Pope’s hometown. I wonder if the Body of our Saint in St. Peters Basilica was not haunting and knawing at the consciences of the heralds of Vatican ll. Now Pope Benedict XVl has revealed how the second Holy Vatican Synod was overthrown by Modernist heretics. Then they make their own Council. A Council that’s brought so much ruin cannot be called a Council of God. Only the blind can’t see all the destruction in the aftermath of the Vatican ll that should not have ever happened. Give us back the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll and scrap that which is not of his Council.

  16. The overheated and sweeping statements of some of the critics of the Second Vatican Council do not help to advance the discussion. I forced my untrained eyes to plow through the documents some years ago. Being bored is what I remember most about the experience. It seemed like most of it is more or less a reiteration of Church teaching through the centuries. The sections covering the importance of the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the saints looked pretty unimpeachable to me. The language at times is sloppy, vague, and overly flowery. The most problematic declaration has to be the one in Lumen Gentium asserting the Muslims worship “the one merciful god.” One does not need to be a theologian to doubt the accuracy of such a claim. On the whole, I find the praise bestowed on the Council by its proponents to be wildly excessive. Conversely, while some strong criticisms are warranted, certain Traditionalist interpretations come across as too severe.

    • Tony W., The over sweeping statements from us Traditionalists should be understandable. After all, we have a shipwrecked Church that needs to be fixed. The Church founded by Jesus Christ is not a small matter, it is the salvation or the damnation of souls.

    • The passage you refer to is LUMEN GENTIUM 16. This is in Chapter II discussing “The People of God”, where the purpose is given at the opening, LUMEN GENTIUM 9. Paul VI does not say Islam, he says Moslems. (I will use the spelling in VATICAN II.) This is the way to approach it because one Moslem may have the sagacity of a Magi whereas another for the time being is utterly focused engendering a caliphate; or, his real intent perhaps is progressing Wahabism. The contacts being made by Pope Francis may well qualify as sound apostolates; however, I can’t say I know what it is the particular Moslems stand for and represent. The fellow in Egypt may be part of an ageing, less influential community, but the Holy Father still sees that he should reach out to them. After Iraq he calls Sistani one of the “wise”. I think the Holy Father is also exploring international peace “using faith instead of traditional diplomacy”. Is it quite an apostolate? On the other hand, in the trip to Iraq a wrong banner was being unfurled, “Abrahamic religions equal in faith” -not true and also not VATICAN II. But, the Holy Father says he “is willing to take risks for the sake of fraternity”. VATICAN II does not confine/constrict us to exactly what it says. So, for example, Moslems also believe in God Almighty yet they utterly deny that God could and would become man. There are many points in Islam where Moslems get stuck when you put it to them. And then may find it captivating after all; or repulsive.

      • Elias Galy, That there is no salvation outside the Church is Dogmatic teaching. Of course, those not actual members of the Church have the possibility of salvation. Without Baptism, they will not behold the Beatific Vision. This said the Church possesses the fullness of Truth. To take risks with the truth is clearly playing merry-go-round with satan. It’s toying with fire. It is a heresy to do so and a very dangerous game. Did Vatican ll teach that one religion is as good as another, it sure strongly suggested it. But St. John Paul the Great fixed that error with the publication of “Dominus Iesus”.

    • Tony W, Your description of what’s happening in the Church today is very accurate. As for us Traditionalists, we may use harsh language but it is necessary. We make it clear to the Modernists, in the same manner, the Church dealt with, when it speaks of the one true God whom we must have a dreadful fear of. He saves and He condemns to hell. There is no room for sugar-coated language. Such language we find disgusting. Christ said, “Say no when you mean no. Say yes when you mean yes” In other words, we must be frank and to the point.

  17. One must ask why we have this evil “spirit of vatican II” (which many blame for the mess we are in) if the the council is of God.

  18. 1. St John XXIII on his death bed called for the Council to be terminated.
    2. The current Pope is from South America so we can’t expect too much.
    3. Vat II was a monumental, catastrophic disaster bringing to mind Christ’s warning “By their fruits you will know them”.
    4. Words such as those abstractions created by theologians are the greatest weapon used to establish false credentials, confuse critics and gather together a following.
    5. Welcome to the surprisingly rapid fall and decline of Judeo- Christian Civilisation sadly being orchestrated by the Law and the radical feminist movement.

  19. “You’re no different from Martin Luther” is a smear, not an argument, and I wish Catholics would stop debasing themselves with it. It assumes that the Church can never teach error, and that anyone who says it has erred must necessarily be in the wrong. This is thinking like some third-rate cultist. Grow up, Catholics.

    • “It assumes that the Church can never teach error”

      Of course She can’t. Does that mean that She always teaches truth in the best way possible? No, of course not. But She is protected by the Holy Spirit from erring in matters of faith and morals.

  20. I wish to take this opportunity to thank CWR Staff for continuing discussion on this matter. Finally people are able to put expression to personal frustrations concerning particular developments in the Catholic Church, whereas in the past it was like pounding on the castle doors trying to gain access — even battering rams were, for the most part ignored. From my point of view I cannot see that progress and understanding will be achieved without providing respectful forums for exchange of ideas.

  21. On March 13 the prophet Angelo offered his hand of support to Archbishop Vigano, AND even claiming that Emeritus Pope Benedict as a supporting actor for the Angelo “discovery”:

    “I am in union with Archbishop Vigano who for good reason calls for Vatican ll to be declared illegitimate […] Carl E. Olson, Do you deny what Pope Benedict XVl says of the voting out of the second Holy Vatican Synod of St. Pope John XXlll???” Oh, puleeeze! To which, I (PB), lo this functionally literate member of the non-illuminati, respond once again as I did on FEB. 28 and MARCH 8 (in part):

    (FEB. 28):
    “In 2016 Peter Seewald published an interview with Emeritus Pope Benedict, entitled “Last Testament” (Bloomsbury Publishing). In it, Benedict covers the same ground you find so new in the new biography by the same journalist.
    “Benedict explains (in part, pp. 119-142) his desire at the Council “to clarify the proper relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, so that this relationship could really be understood and justified. That was then picked up” (p. 132). For this clarification, he was known as a “liberal”, but other “liberals” were intent more on actually severing the Church in history from the Magisterium (Hans Kung is mentioned as among those with this agenda and, therefore, as working directly with the media… ‘He was certainly able to shape the opinions of bishops along the way, but he did not take part in working on the texts,’ Benedict, p.136).

    “As for the controverted speech at the beginning of the Council (the speech by Cardinal Frings on Nov. 19, 1961; actually, written by his theological advisor Ratzinger, and the follow-up, so-called “coup meeting” of October 15, 1962, a term which Benedict rejects), ‘Cardinal Frings later had intense pangs of conscience. But he always had an awareness that what we actually said and put forward was right, and also had to happen. We handled things correctly, even if we certainly did not correctly assess the political consequences and the actual repercussions. One thought too much of theological matters then, and did not reflect on how these things would come across’ (Benedict, p. 142).

    “Angelo, among your avid readers are those of us who are simply more inclined to accept BENEDICT XVI’s OWN PORTRAYAL OF HIS VIEWS (e.g., the above) over your terminal fixation and branding of the [entire] Council as ‘counterfeit’, based on only the early days of the real and whole Council.

    (MARCH 8):
    “As in Seewald’s earlier “Testament” (2016), Benedict distinguishes between the “real” council and the (same) “virtual” council marketed by Kung et al for media consumption. Benedict’s goal was/is to clarify the relationship between Scripture/Tradition and the Magisterium, while the goal of the revolutionaries was/is to view Scripture/ Tradition/Magisterium through the slippery ‘signs of times.’

    “But, with Benedict, what is the transcendent Truth as compared to our lesser ‘knowledge’ of the Truth? Of the initial and watershed schema on Revelation, Ratzinger explained: “But the language we have here does not go to the depth. It operates on the level of our human knowledge. But on the level of being [!], there is only one single source, which is revelation itself, the Word of God. And it is very regrettable that there is nothing, almost nothing, said about it in this schema” (2020, p. 402).

    “What followed was a vulnerable (and later exploited) council, but not a “counterfeit” council as proclaimed in Andrew’s comments. Tragically, the Council efforts to defend the very same Christ as does Andrew Angelo is selectively misconstrued as a repudiation of that (yes, imperfect) Council itself. How to be St. Augustine’s resident aliens, but also St. Thomas Aquinas’ “pilgrims” by our very nature [!], without genuflecting to historicism?
    “The lasting contribution from Andrew Angelo, I submit, is the welcome prod for the inquisitive reader to study ALL of Seewald’s very thorough “Benedict XVI: A Life–Vol. I” (2020). Where Benedict concludes: [with this segue to Vol. II) ‘To make clear what we really want and what we don’t want. THAT is the task I have undertaken since 1965.’

    “Volume II (2021)—following the real Council (1962-5) AND up to the present—is eagerly awaited.” In short, is Benedict’s bio (as cited above, and including the forthcoming Vol. II) to be read less as a footnote to the Angelo “discovery” than as a first-person, informed and non-confrontational response to parts of the Vigano letters? Just a question…

    • Peter D. Beaulieu, Sounds like you finally lost your patience. So What!! I will keep defending Holy Mother the Church. When I get a Modernist angry like this, I consider it a prize. Thank you!

      • Haven’t lost my patience. Nor am I angry. Nor a “modernist.”

        Instead, and simply as a general rule, I propose that to shoot the messenger (and to brand the supplied and accurate documentation from Benedict’s writings as “modernist”!) is simply uninformed, and can even border on slander–as a possible sin against the Eighth Commandment. The Commandments…how’s THIS for adhering to Tradition! No wonder your/our Holy Mother the Church weeps. Any trivial preoccupation with a counterfeit “prize.”

        “Tradition-ALISM is the dead faith of the living; TRADITION is the living faith of the dead.” If you’re ever in town we might still tip a brew together…a most worthy and living tradition. Peace.

        • Peter D. Beaulieu, “Tradition-ALISM…” I always thought that whoever coined that phrase was a fierce anti-Traditionalist or rather a deranged man who hated God. Has a nice tone to it but is kinda ridiculous and makes no sense.

        • Peter D. Beaulieu, I did not ever slander Pope Benedict XVl and I never called his Biography “Modernist”. What I said was that his Holiness says he was a liberal at the Council and he was going on the path of Modernism. Then he realizes that it was WRONG and he turned back to the Truth. That was what Pope Benedict XVl himself said. Pope Benedict, I consider him a Traditionalist though he says he is not. I wonder who is the slanderer?

          • What is a “liberal”? Prior to the Council Ratzinger had collaborated with the likes of Kung, and Rahner who “pursued a speculative and philosophical theology, all very complicated. As a former student of Marin Heidegger, Rahner’s bent was towards German idealism, towards Hegel and Fichte. But Ratzinger went for historical thinking and the writings of the fathers […] It became increasingly clear to Ratzinger, as he said, theologically they were on different planets” [!] (Seewald, 2020, p. 413). [Recall from above that Ratzinger/Frings critiqued the early schema on Revelation only on its inadequate manner of presentation, rather than on its content].

            After the Council, when asked why he (Ratzinger) joined (with de Lubac and von Balthasar) in launching the creative (and orthodox) journal Communio (the Church as a sacramental communion, as what it IS) in contrast with the liberal journal Concilium (the Church as essentially only a council, as only what it DOES), Ratzinger explained “I did not leave them; they left me.” Did NOT flip-flop (as from stereotyped liberal to stereotyped traditionalist).

            So, as for what it can mean to be a “liberal,” the informed interpretation (evident in an open-minded/unfixated reading of Seewald) is that Ratzinger did not flip-flop, that is, that he did not backtrack—-as you propose—-from “liberal” “WRONG” to “traditionalist” TRUTH, but instead clarified genuine and false complications along the way. A consistent son of the Church we both defend (the “hermeneutics of continuity”), always in step with his historical and theological inspiration, St. Augustine: “We can say things differently, but we can’t say different things.”

          • Peter D Beaulieu, You seemed confused about the different meanings of a Liberal and a Traditionalist. I once asked a priest, “What is a Liberal?” He explained that a Liberal is a freethinker, whatever he thinks is by the fact the truth. Regardless of whether it be Church Dogmatic teaching. He doesn’t care one way or the other, whatever pops into his head is the truth. (The Modernist heresy put into action.)

            A Traditionalist is a man who BELIEVES in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. With its perennial unchangeable Dogmatic teachings. A Traditionalist does not reject the teachings of Christ through His Holy Roman Catholic Church. Vatican two is no obstacle to our Faith. Vatican ll was a group of Liberal Modernists who argued whatever popped into their heads at the moment. It was a mess of mass proportions.

  22. Dear Prof. Bushman and Mr Olson,

    I am truly and deeply grateful for the two features in CWR on Vatican II and the enlightenment you have provided towards something crucial for the Church, especially in this moment – namely the fostering of a vigorous and an evidence-based understanding of Vatican II. It will do the world of good for Catholics and Christians – left, right and all shades in between – who are committed to understanding and engaging on matters of the faith and Church as we face the daunting task of being salt to an increasingly vulnerable and morally fragile earth and to evangelisation from fragmented within.

    It may well be that those positive about Council in the comments sections of your features were outnumbered. But those 10% of the comments provided a far better illumination on what the Council or Pope Benedict or Paul VI or others actually taught, wrote or said in relation to it, e.g. Peter Beaulieu, Elias Galy and Brineyman (what a beautiful reflection on your reading of LG by the way). The reader who lay blame on the bishops for not transmitting what the Council taught, struck the strongest chord for me.

    Permit me to suggest that a further stage of this important dialogue lies in insights into the developments that led into Vatican II and followed on from it – so that we get to appreciate ‘material continuity’ – in continuity. A great exposition of this is Fr Thomas Guarino’ book on Vatican II, where he explains the strategic re-orientation of Pope John XXII, from dialectic to analogical reasoning in relation to the Church and the world, and the ways of understanding and applying material continuity for Vatican II doctrinal developments using the theories of fifth century monk Vincent Lerins. In it we find for instance, a great (but not straightforward) explanation of the notion of ‘subsists’, used to describe the Catholic Church’s relationship to the Church of Christ, showing why it is stronger than – ‘is’. It would be interesting to see how Vatican II teachings on ecumenism were further reflected and developed through Ratzinger’s Dominus Jesus and Pope John Paul II’s Ut Unum encyclical. Did these introduce compromises and concessions to relax the Council’s teachings the Catholic Church providing the fullness of truth through its sacraments etc ? No at all. And yet, frther scope for improvement to correct some of the teachings in Dominus Jesus came from Fr Thomas Weinandy (but I cannot find the article which I think was in CWR).

    By the way, a useful historical perspective on the salvation of those outside the Church was written by the late and great Cardinal Avery Dulles:
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/02/001-who-can-be-saved-8

    No reader mentioned Dignitatus Humanae, regarded as leading to greatest rupture through Vatican II, despite Pope Benedict XVI’s assurances that the DH was in fact restoring its earlier thinking on religious freedom in the state. A new book by Christian history scholar, Robert Louis Wilkin, provides rich insights into the origins of religious freedom . The introduction chapter of the book starts with a gem, which seems straight out of DH:

    “It is only just and a privilege inherent in human nature that every person should be able to worship according to his own convictions; the religious convictions of one neither harms nor helps another. It is not part of religion to coerce religious practice, for it is by choice not coercion that we should be led to religion.”

    It isn’t from Vatican II. It’s a quote of Tertullian in the 3rd century. And that’s just one of many insights that lace Wilkins’ book.

    In terms of corrections and further developments of DH, here are some useful essays by
    Prof Douglas Farrow
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/08/29/dethroning-christ-the-error-at-the-root-of-the-vigano-controversy-part-one/
    Thomas Pink https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/08/conscience-and-coercion
    Avery Dulles
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/12/religious-freedom-innovation-and-development

    Just some stimulus for viewing Vatican II teachings in a wider perspective.

    Finally, I could not leave this post without recommending Ulrich Lehner’s book on medieval period developments that had ramifications for Vatican II:
    ttps://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Enlightenment-Forgotten-History-Movement/dp/0190232919

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever …
    Thank you to CWR for your continuing efforts of reminding us of that.

  23. Blessed be God. And thank you so much, you who are affirming the Council and you who are returning a kindness upon me.

    And may I be taken up in the goodness and sacredness of Jesus Christ and His Body. I thank God the future does not pivot only on ourselves, least of all on me! For love of this I would still share some further examples.

    Indeed many witnesses to the truth of the Council arose and are flourishing today, thinking of EWTN, some pro-life movements, the Sisters of Calcutta, Opus Dei -to name the obvious.

    What a privilege JPII had, to give them his blessing. How much encouragement they had given him that remains for our sake today. I scarcely begin to weigh it.

    One thing they have in common is fidelity to their special charisma and if you take the time to read the Council documents you will see how this matter is repeated for everyone in all the members of the Church, that they maintain their particular integrity IN ALL EVENTS. The paragraphs involved are too numerous to list.

    GAUDIUM ET SPES is not “pastoralism”. By the pastoral way Paul VI meant fidelity to the heart of our being Christian that adheres to truth and brings it to life, which includes a true guidance and mediation of moral life and the cross, building up the Body. Faith does not “outgrow” morality and mercy does not make morality and faith irrelevant or by-words.

    But reflect on it some more, it respects the dignity of the individual and his calling; and the dignity of the whole Body. One aspect is the priesthood.

    If you READ PRESBYTeRORUM ORDINIS, here, you will get the sense of what I am saying:

    6 – first 3 sub-paragraphs
    16 – 4th sub-paragraph
    14 – last 2 sub-paragraphs
    15 – first and last sub-paragraphs
    12 – first 2 sub-paragraphs
    13 – 3rd and 4th sub-paragraphs.

    The celibate life is meant to bear these fruits in the communion with the See of Peter. In the evangelical mission the priest will let his obedience be tested as he prays for the advance of the Kingdom and in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

    In OPTATAM TOTIUS 19 Paul VI says that “pastoral concern should thoroughly penetrate the entire training of seminarians”. Nothing in VATICAN II says that a “pastoralism should take on a dominance” into a “dogmatic posture”.

    Or similarly, in the same document at 13, seminarians must command their own language so that the transposing from Latin and back again is true and authentic. What is wrong in the language gets tagged for what it is not some kind of canonization.

    With a little peace and self-control in faithfulness, we see the work as it lies before us still to be done and the fathers who have been our lights behind and above us. How wonderful is the Name of God.

  24. Response to Andrew Angelo’s reply of April 12, 2021:

    There is no confusion. The more precise issue you have imposed is—in your own words—whether the Second Vatican Council actually exists as a council or, instead, was a “counterfeit.” To this point I again go to the actual texts of the “real” council and not the “virtual” council debunked by emeritus pope Benedict XVI.
    Within the texts, the approach of the divided bishops was, perhaps unfortunately, not to delete the ambiguous implications, but to offset them by nuanced but incisive “interventions” (including nineteen from Pope Paul VI), also inserted. A few examples, below. As for the at-best ambivalent verbiage evident in other texts (and, yes, later exploited by the termites), none were advanced as definitive teachings. A close call, but Vatican II stands as the 21st ecumenical council in the history of the Church and not as a “counterfeit”—yes, as you agree, “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”
    Lumen Gentium:

    The clarifying three-page Prefatory/Explanatory Note provided by Pope Paul VI and the International Theological Commission and added to Chapter Three (n. 22) on “collegiality” (clearly affirming a “hierarchical communion” of the pope in union with the bishops who share in infallibility when they teach infallibly, THAT IS “[t]ogether with its head, the Roman Pontiff, and NEVER without this head…”)

    Ecumenism (in context):

    (n. 4) Replace “Recognizing…the presence of the gifts of the Spirit in the lives of others” with “…recognizing the VIRTUOUS WORKS in the lives of others.”
    (n. 14) “not a few of these [ecclesial communities] have apostolic origins” with “not a few of these GLORY IN HAVING BEEN FOUNDED BY the Apostles themselves.”
    (n. 16) “…the Sacred Council… declares that the Churches of the East have the right and the duty to govern themselves according to their discipline” with “they have THE FACULTY to govern themselves according to their discipline.”
    (n. 21) “…moved by the Holy Spirit they find God in the same Holy Scripture” with “CALLING UPON the Holy Spirit, they SEEK GOD in the same Holy Scripture.”

    Dei Verbum:

    This document was modified to re-assert the value of Tradition as well as Scripture: “the result is that the Church draws its certainty on all things revealed NOT FROM SCRIPTURE ALONE, (n. 9). It also asserts the historical nature of the Gospels: WHOSE HISTORICAL NATURE IT [the Council] AFFIRMS WITHOUT HESITATION (n. 19).

    (Source: selected from “Dossier: ‘The Council’s Helmsman,’ 30 Days, VII, 1992, pp. 50-60.)

    This reader is not an authority on these matters, but has taken an interest and studied and kept notes over the years.

  25. We need to keep building the positive Catholic appreciations of the Council and sharing good ways of expressing it. This is very commendable. The clear intention of the Fathers was orientation into apostolate; and maybe today too many still remain affected by a “sedentary mentality” too adjusted with culture, the past, “mollities”, what-have-you. (I am not “calling out” anyone here, just noting.) Another thing to bring with this, I would suggest, is a sober understanding of our own places. For example, I am a layman, it must bear a relation in what I have to contribute as well as in how it reflects on others who are either lay or consecrated. I would want and hope that my interventions speak with the Church, or may I say from the Church -and not merely on my own behalf. It would instruct our readings in the documents; how we learn from the Council’s authentic teachers and witnesses; and what we will impart on those who come later. I must say, from what I see in these columns, it is all very promising indeed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*