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Memo to Gen Z Catholics: Why Vatican II is still important

Please stop confusing the blogosphere with reality, and please read what Vatican II actually taught.

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

Mr. Adam Lucas, who is “newly married with a baby on the way” (mazel tov!) and “has a Master’s in Theology,” speaks for a depressing number of Gen Z Catholics when he writes on the Crisis website that “the world of the 1960s is gone, and with it any real relevance of Vatican II.” The Council, he concludes, should just be ignored: “After all,  aggiornamento demands it.”

This is so mind-numbingly wrongheaded that one hardly knows where to start in responding to it.

Mr. Lucas’s lament seems to be the result of a number of blogosphere contentions about the Council, ignited by two Ross Douthat op-eds in the New York Times. I hope I won’t be thought excessively self-referential, however, if I note that Mr. Lucas fails to mention my recent book, To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II, which is being read by large numbers of Gen Z seminarians and students.

These men and women seem to find the book helpful in understanding why Vatican II was necessary, what the Council actually taught (wholly unremarked in Mr. Lucas’s article), and how Vatican II was given its authoritative interpretation by two men of the Council, Karol Wojtyła and Joseph Ratzinger, in their Petrine ministries as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Perhaps Mr. Lucas should also have a go — and before that baby arrives, after which he will get very little sleep for a while.

But in case he doesn’t get around to the book, let me briefly outline why Vatican II, far from lacking “any real relevance” today, is utterly relevant to the chief contentions of the moment.

What is the bottom-line issue in the Catholic conflict over “synodality”? The bottom line, whether in Germany or in preparations for the World Synod of Bishops in October 2023, is whether divine revelation is real and has binding authority over time. The most vociferous proponents of “synodality,” like Cardinals Hollerich and McElroy, seem to think not; they imagine that our contemporary experience judges, and corrects, what we have been taught by Scripture and the Great Tradition of the Church.

Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, robustly affirms that God has spoken into history, first to the People of Israel and then definitively in the person of the Incarnate Word. Do we know better than God about what makes for human flourishing and beatitude? The Council says “No.”  Score one for Vatican II.

What is the bottom-line issue in the culture war afflicting western culture across the globe? The bottom of that bottom line is whether human beings are really just bundles of desires, all of which are morally equal and should be acknowledged as legitimate in the name of human rights. By contrast, Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) taught that the truth about our humanity is revealed in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we learn that we are creatures of a much nobler nature and destiny, and that self-giving, not self-assertion, is freedom lived in a truly human way.

Score another one for Vatican II.

Where do we find answers to post-modernity’s quest for authentic human community? Wokery is a world of silos in which race-mania, “gender identity,” and “isms” of all sorts are somehow supposed to foster living in solidarity. Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) teaches that the Church, in which “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) is the template (the “sacrament,” as the Council put it) of authentic human community, the experience of which can lead to building solidarity in society.

Score yet another one for Vatican II.

How does the West rebuild the shattered foundations of its culture? Vatican II, as authentically interpreted by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, teaches that a great awakening to the truths on which our civilization was built will come through a New Evangelization, in which every Catholic (as affirmed by Lumen Gentium and by the Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem) understands himself or herself to have been baptized into a missionary vocation, bringing others to friendship with Jesus Christ.

Game, set, and match to Vatican II.

Dear Gen Z brethren: Please stop confusing the blogosphere with reality, and please read what Vatican II actually taught. You’ll find more “relevance” than you imagine — or that any of us can deploy in a lifetime.

(George Weigel’s column ‘The Catholic Difference’ is syndicated by the Denver Catholic, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Denver.)

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About George Weigel 458 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021), and To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II (Basic Books, 2022).


  1. Do we know better than God about what makes for human flourishing and beatitude? The Council says “No.” Score one for Vatican II.

    Except that this and the “scores” that follow were understood to be true by Catholics previous to Vatican II. That hardly proves the council “necessary.”

    • Not “necessary”…
      This proposal suggests an intriguing thought experiment to which there might not be a single answer. Something like asking what would the world look like historically or today if in A.D. 622 a few travelers from Medina had not offered sanctuary and then a tribal base to an isolated and threatened street preacher in Mecca named Muhammad?

      In 1870 was it providential that the First Vatican Council was not concluded, but only “suspended…to some more convenient and appropriate time,” or should the council simply have remained on ice? The affirmation of papal infallibility in advance of a half-century of statist ideologies and world wars, but not yet with the “hierarchical communion” of Lumen Gentium, and without Dei Verbum? And, yes, also without the breezy entries in Gaudium et spes or the later and catastrophic violations of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

      Would a different historical trajectory still have led to St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI? Without the Marian and Polish Solidarity, would the Soviet Empire still be around even more so than it is now? Would the societal suicide and gangrene of the West, and the “smoke of Satan,” still have entered the Church through other cracks in the wall? Or, not?

      Yours truly asks all this as a thought experiment, not as an answer. But, yes, things have not gone well.

      • Things have not gone well because we’ve joined the world in doubting truth.

        Weigel commits the same sociological determinism he faults in others. Truth is always absolute because the mind of God, of which truth is the reflection, is absolute. Interpretations of doctrine are not dependent on history or sociology. Does George Weigel think we ended up with a process theologian in the Chair of Peter ranting about “the sin of backwardness” by accident fifty years post VII? The Church does not “grow” in its self-understanding and to pretend that it does invites its deconstruction. It is a path to the human pursuit of gratifying conceits that inevitably seeks to alter truth.

        As a convert who read all the documents and whose sympathies are more with the critics than uncritical supporters of Vatican II, I’ll submit what I have said many times. that the problem is that concessions were made at VII to secular culture and sought to adopt false pseudo-science about the human condition. Not many. In fact, very few. The documents were an almost perfect expression of orthodoxy. But this is the problem. The documents, and those who contrived to create them, had no right to create them to be anything less than perfect, and orthodox. Good enough is not good enough. One very good theologian working alone could have done better. Instead, the authors gave us a few calculated timebombs with the intent for future ambiguous interpretations. Yves Congar, considered a “moderate”, yet an admirer of Luther and one of the authors, said “We must move slowly to alter doctrine. Luther was impatient. We must move slowly to create a Church that is ‘other’”.

        Sociological determinism has no place in an understanding of the nature of truth. Any language that implies, even in the most infinitesimal degree, that truth is altered by experience is false. A mind and soul grows throughout life, but truth is immutable and eternal. We receive truth; we do not create truth. We do not possess truth; truth possesses us. We have no right to pretend the Church, like secular society, “evolves”, especially from the “insights” that are more often foolish, from social “science” as the documents stupidly praised. Original sin will never disappear no matter how many authors of the documents believed it would eventually, and whose thought for believing such nonsense was corrupted accordingly.

    • Vat II was the embrace of an already outdated modernism under the veil of faux-benevolent pastoralism. We look to prior councils for the clear articulation of dogmatic tradition. Vat II and its spawn of earnest, dewy-eyed, late-Liberal “authenticity” is passing into a charming irrelevance — like the bell bottoms and hacky sacks in the back of Mr. Weigel’s closet.

  2. “The Church stands or falls with the liturgy” (Benedict XVI). Can one read “Sacrosanctum Concilium” and score another one for Vatican II?
    Rather than address Gen Z, one might begin with the Pontifical Academy for Life, now that John Paul II’s rejection of proportionalism (Veritatas Splendour, 75ff.) is arguably being challenged by the whole “moral theological project of Pope Francis” (Larry Chapp, contributor to these same pages).

  3. Unfortunately, Wiegel is confusing the real world with what is written in the texts of the Second Vatican Council. In the real world the political event which was The Council brought forth a massive disaster, one which I have to live in. Whenever I go to a New Mass I have to live with the banality and profanity of the experience. I have to deal with heresy from the pulpit. I have to deal with careerism and corruption. I have to deal with the wholesale rejection of the Church’s intellectual tradition and adoption of dubious nouvelle theologie authors and their students. I have to deal with music that insults the good taste of everyone present. I have to deal with dubious statements from most of the current hierarchy, pope Francis very much included. I have to deal with churches so ugly I would rather spend time in a communist building block. And this list is not exhaustive. That is what I have to deal with. Unless I go to communities untouched and spared from the disasters that the Council was. Wiegel lives in a fantasy world. It’s not the rest of us.

    • Some parish architecture does in fact resemble Soviet apartment blocks. Or gymnasiums, school multi-purpose rooms, etc. It’s a shame.

      • Also, some Catholic school teachers, alas, do dare aspire to teach ideology at odds with Catholic teaching on morality and spirituality; instead, some aspire and do dare to teach more materialist communitarian-social ideals.

        What was it that Our Lady of Fatima once said?

    • Ivan: You’re badly confusing the reception and implementation of the Council with the event and teaching of the Council itself. You have to read the text (the documents) of the Council as Weigel suggests. By having the evidence of a few obviously faulty implementation of the reforms mandated by the Council like that of the Mass, it is unreasonable to conclude that the whole of the teaching and its implementation is bad. You obviously have not taken a look at and considered the majority of the Catholic world faithfully carrying out the reforms of Vatican II and have been nourished, grown and matured with it. Think of and examine the total number of around 225,000 parishes world wide and compare that with the only around 1,700 parishes that have the Old Mass celebrated side by side with the New Mass – and with Traditiones Custodes, these Old Masses have to eventually move to non-parish venues. It is illogical to cite a few samples as therefore equally true of all.

      • Just one comment, although I could make others. You cite a total number of parishes as against the relatively small number still celebrating a Tridentine or Latin Mass Frankly, given all the hoops through which those desiring the traditional Mass have to jump and the official hostility of Pope Francis, it is amazing that so many have persevered.

        • We have to put it in proper perspective. In the U.S., out of the total about 17,000 parishes, only around 700 parishes have the old pre-Vatican II Mass averaging 130 Catholics in each who love the Tridentine Mass in attendance in any given Sunday, bringing the total to around 91,000. With 70.5 million Catholics in the U.S. and with an average of only 15% of these who regularly participate in the Eucharist every Sunday that is 10.5 million. In broad strokes, that is only 91,000 Old Mass lovers out of the 10.5 million Catholics in the U.S. who offer the Mass each Sunday. The false impression that this group of Catholics is huge is magnified in both the mass and social media platforms of the Old Mass lovers – some are activists who strongly reject and resist Vatican II reforms like the Mass – who are active and loud promoting it without giving this big picture figures. With this bird’s eye view, the numbers of the Old Mass lovers – and some activists — is in fact not “many” as you noted.

          • Deacon Dom,
            How many children do those “Old Mass lovers” have per family on average? How many do other Catholics have? How many NO parishes are losing members compared to TLM offering parishes?
            We can take raw data & make it suggest almost anything. But we need to additionally look at the bigger picture & demographic projections for the future. Birthrates & retention rates really do make a difference in outcomes.

          • To answer mrscracker: these figures are current and can easily be obtained by a quick google or chatbot. These figures of the average mass participants include children. As to the projection you wanted to know: the tiny minority of lovers of the Old Mass tend to be mostly Caucasians and they generally have lower birth rates than the Latinos, Asians, Blacks, others (plus Caucasians) who make up the huge majority who love the Vatican II Mass. In the future, the numbers of those who prefer the pre-Vatican II will be greatly diminished.

          • To be fair, the hierarchy have never allowed a fair competition. Even in the heady days of Summorum Pontificum, too many boomer pastors and bishops thought they knew better than the Pope or their own Archbishop who invited the FSSP in. When they were allowed, it was at bad times in poor makeshift buildings unless guests of a friendly parish where they could eke out any opening in the schedule that the building wasn’t being used.

            The faithful in the 60s and 70s were lied to about what the Council or Pope actually said when they were destroying the altar rails and high altars built with the nickels and dimes of their grandfathers. Unfortunately it’s a very rare parish where Sacrosanctum Concilium 54 is observered: “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass” – (that is, the unchanging parts, the parts that are there every day) – “which pertain to them.”

            or from SC 114: “The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care.” or SC 116: “The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as specially suited to the Roman Liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”

            No conciliar or papal document even the Missal of 1970 mandated versus populum or Communion in the Hand or awful 70s folk tunes replacing the propers or any musical instrument but the organ and plainchant.

      • I’m not confusing anything. The Council doesn’t exist as something only in the documents and the (entirely) faulty implementation is the reason why we should forget about it and move on. It obviously doesn’t produce almost any good fruits and it’s time to let it go. Almost nothing good as come of it and almost nothing good will come of it in the future. The damage it cased was catastrophic. I’m not confusing anything, I’m just living in the aftermath.

    • Not many people alive today will have clear memories of the condition of the Catholic Church in the pre-Vatican-II era. Churches were full. Many churches offered five crowded Masses every Sunday. Saturday Confession lines were tediously long (Saturday Confession before Sunday Mass was routine). Parishes were well staffed with pastors and curates. Parishioners and their children followed the Sunday Mass attentively with their Latin/vernacular missals. Seminaries were full. Nuns staffed the Catholic grade schools. Children learned and understood and accepted the timeless truths of the Catholic Faith from their catechisms. All seemed well—better than well. The Church was thriving. It really was. Then came the Second Vatican Council.

      • Raymond: Yours is a classic example of illogical thinking. That because B followed A, A must be the cause of B. This line of thought does not hold water about Vatican II. The perceived decline of Church life after Vatican II is only true in the West (North America, Europe, Australia), while the rest of the world saw the explosive growth and expansion of the Catholic Church after Vatican II. This Western decline is a phenomenon that accelerated in the second half of the 20th century also happened in all the other churches and religions (not only with Catholic Church!) called secularism. It is a phenomenon that includes materialism, scientism, consumerism, among many others which mainly consists in the loss of the sense of the spiritual and supernatural in the values and priorities of individuals, cultures, societies, and institutions. For secularism, you cannot blame Vatican II.

    • Agree. Its hard to distinguish between the VC2 documents itself or the changes motivated after it, causing the complete destruction of the Catholic culture and workshop. I find it utterly amazing that the Catholic hierarchy could get it so so wrong. Its like a designer of a chair who does not know the difference between a Philips and flathead screwdriver to put it together properly.

  4. Not content with advocating neo-con warmongering, Weigel continues to defend the indefensible. Our Lord gave us a metric to discern the value of something: “by their fruits you shall know them”. What are the fruits of Vatican II? Plummeting Mass attendance, plummeting vocations, plummeting belief in the Real Presence, almost total lack of adherence to the Church’s moral teachings, priests and nuns abandoning their vows, Cardinals advocating sodomy. The list could go on and on. By the “fruits” metric, Vatican II was a steaming pile of feces.

    • Misdiagnosing the problems as you show here, is one of the ways by which they end up being made worse; where you omit the right answers by that most basic of errors.

      And so referencing the Lord is void and adding flagrant images is crass.

    • Have you ever even heard that correlations do not prove causality? Although I side with those who believe there were corruptions of intent among those who engineered VII and there were tangible faults in the documents, I still believe the declines in our Church are the result and can ONLY be the result of human sinfulness, NOT an historical event. Anyone who turns his or her back on truth has only his or her self to blame. No one at their final accounting can blame anyone else for their failures.

  5. I wasn’t sure whether to comment on this article because I would be repeating what I have commented previously. But then, Mr. Weigel is repeating things that he has said regarding Vatican II, so I guess I can also.

    All of the things Mr. Weigel states, followed by “Score one for VII, etc. are not new teachings. They may be presented in VII in different words (and many more words) than before, but they were not new. This article indicates that we have a new understanding of our missionary vocation, a new understanding that God has spoken into history, etc. I don’t see it.

    List MEASURABLE statistics showing improvement since VII. Is Mass attendance up? Are Baptisms up? Catholic marriages up? Vocations up?

    I am sure that I am overstating the numbers if I say that only one Mass going Catholic in a hundred has read the documents of VII. They are also never mentioned by parish clergy.

    I accept VII as valid. But not useful, as Lateran V was valid but not useful.

    We need to move on to the present day world of immorality – abortion, transgenderism, same sex “Marriage”, Bishops and Cardinals calling for removing from the catechism the sinfulness of homosexual conduct, etc.

    • Could it be that we blame Vatican II for so much when in reality, the distortions (like the music ministry we have to endure) and the non-acceptance of Humanae Vitae, by priests and laity have much to do with the present state of affairs.

      • Right. But the faulty compromises to secularity within the thought of many at VII reflects a cultural decline that the Church has no right to be a part. We recrucify Our Lord when we let Him down. And this includes our refusals to acknowledge the failures of VII to resist the principalities of modernism in all its forms not just most of its forms.

  6. My sense is that many of us Catholics, whether “pro or con” on Vatican II, tend to the pitfall of viewing “V2” (and I believe the “pro” Mr. Wiegel and some of his “con” critics) as a “super-dogma,” which is the pitfall and problem pointed out by Pope Benedict XVI.

    The Second Vatican Council is like many other Councils…it has some very good, and some not-very-good things in it. And it has interpreters who are very good (like JP2 and Ratzinger/B16 and Aidan Nichols, among others) and not very good at all (like Cardinal Kasper, the outright self/published apostate of the resurrection and power of Jesus, and among others, the Pontiff Francis and his apostate Cardinal-appointees McElroy, Hollerich, Grech, et al).

    The only way to read V2 is in harmony with all other Councils.

    Any other approach, whether pro or con, leads to incoherence.

    That’s the point of Pope Benedict XVI, and its the only was to “faithful and authentic” Catholic way to deal eith V2.

  7. Millennial here. With a 2,000 year history, why is everyone so obsessed with one single council? There have been 21 councils, but they way it is discussed, one would conclude there’s only been one. Vatican II is dangerously close to reaching idol status in my humble opinion.

  8. There he goes again, charging someone with excessive self referentiality, neglecting himself.

    Meanwhile, criticism flows off him like water off a pistol shrimp’s shell.

  9. Let’s go back to 1917, and finally reveal what the entire 3rd Secret was. We have reputable sources that have advised it deals with an Apostasy starting at the top of the church. They have never entirely obeyed the Mother of God. This is more important than VII. The forced council was a plan by men. It had some serious problems. First, John XIII diobeyed Mary and did not reveal what he was ordered to. Then he agreed not condemn Communism. Then he permitted the governing documents to be thrown out and an elderly Cardinal to be mocked and laughed at by the body of churchmen! His microphone was shut off! They laughed! Shame! Then as those who participated have acknowledged, the documents were deliberately written so vaguely so they could be interpreted by progressives or conservatives in their own way. Both claiming either interpretation was correct. Then the council ignored Mary and Paul XVI had to intervene and include her. These are all bad signs. A good Tree produces good fruit. And a bad tree produces bad fruit. We were told years ago that it takes 50 years to figure out a council. Now we are being told it is 100 years. Hence, we have popes, cardinals and bishops disagreeing with each other 60 years out just what the council taught. Talk about dragging a dead horse. I’m no expert, but no organization can continue if it can’t figure out what the mission is. No army can win if the generals and officers don’t know what the plan is. They all believe different things. A blind man could see the council IS the problem.

    • Private revelations are not part of the deposit of the Faith, and we are under no obligation to accept them. I dare say papal teaching and ecumenical councils have more teaching authority than any private revelation.

      • “Dare say it” – it seems you’re not so confident. Shall we disregard the perspective of saints like Padre Pio who held Garabandal to be an actual visitation of Our Lady? Shall we disregard the visitation to Sr. Marie de St. Pierre when she heard that our age would suffer the “revolution of rebellious men” if we do not stop blaspheming God’s name or neglecting to sanctify the Sabbath? There is a lot of presumption on the part of those that adore the produce of the fruit of V2. What I see is the fall out of the “revolution of rebellious men”.

      • Your correct. And the same bishops who say these apparitions, cut us off from the same God who gave over 400 prophecies about Our Lord’s coming. I guess we didn’t need to believe any of those either. God would never do something miraculous like show Himself to us after he was Risen. Those are just apparition’s not requiring belief. Ask St. Thomas. Just visions, no need to believe. St. Margret Mary Alacoque told the bishops they needed to do something because of her visions. They listened to your statement, and it cost them their heads as promised would happen if they disobeyed. St. Joan of Arc had visions. She united France, was betrayed by a bishop, and is now a saint. She could have told God no. I could go on. The problem with the modern church is what you said, the miraculous is no longer believed. A church of men trying to overcome supposed superstitions. I’ll stick with the saints.

      • Mr.Bushby,
        The Lepanto Institute describes Fatima, in truth, as both a private and a public prophecy. Tens of thousands witnessed and attested to the miracle of the sun which accompanied Our Lady’s visions and words to the three children. Moreover, the Magisterium has approved (if not fully obeyed) the revelation. The ‘deposit of faith’ does not cease at formal scripture and formal authoritative papal teachings. Check out the reasoning:

  10. Mr. Weigel, I have read the documents of Vatican II. I have also read what the Church taught before Vatican II. That is why I have come to the conclusion that Vatican II is irrelevant. Pope Benedict really gave the game away with the hermeneutic of continuity versus the hermeneutic of rupture. If Vatican II is so incredibly ambiguous that people can and do reasonably interpret the documents of Vatican II both in continuity with and in rupture to how the Church has always taught, then Vatican II is an unnecessary waste of time. All of those “score one for Vatican II” teachings were taught more clearly and succinctly by previous popes and councils that had the temerity to not engage in logorrhea. A syllabus of those previous teachings would have been more edifying than wading through the textual length of “War and Peace” for statements that are contradicted in their implementation.

    As for the implementation, it’s clear that no one really cared what Vatican II had to say. I’m all for preserving the implementation of Vatican II in the Church as well as Latin and Chant were preserved in the Novus Ordo.
    The implementation of Vatican II does know better than God about what makes for human flourishing and beatitude. This is why Pope Paul VI changed practically everything about the practice of the faith on the basis of social science, academic hallucinations, and input from Protestants. Pope Paul VI knew better than 1800 years of Church practice which just might have been guided by the Holy Spirit.
    The implementation of Vatican II teaches that “human beings are really just bundles of desires, all of which are morally equal and should be acknowledged as legitimate in the name of human rights”. Pope Paul VI let women be lectors, alcolytes, Eucharistic ministers following the road to priesthood (as Trent infallibly teaches) that was previously reserved to men. Women’s desires are women’s rights in the world as well as in the Church.
    How does the West rebuild the shattered foundations of its culture? By doing the Old Evangelization that was given to us by Christ. It’s not new. The same thing was jealously guarded in its purity so that it may be handed on for generations to come. But Vatican II changed all that. There’s no such thing as Catholic Culture as the very things that were a part of Catholic daily life were branded as superstitious and suppressed. I was given no Catholic Culture and am compelled to try to recover some sense of Catholic daily living precisely because the hierarchy, in implementing Vatican II, decided that the past was bad until Pope Paul VI started to backpedal at the end of his reign. So, spare me the platitudinous paens to Vatican II. The implementation of Vatican II under Pope Paul VI made Vatican II irrelevant.

    • VATICAN II crystalizes the inspiration to give an abundant witness to the Word of God in Christian charity. You can not say it is irrelevant since it captures the “positive” work that is in the Christian mission and enjoins the stability or obedience of faith, into action. On the one side it is its own genius and on the other it models what it foreshadows. The OT is an instructive source for appreciating VATICAN II, in the sense that they work the same way.

      The Old Testament is filled with inspiration and example of virtue for living amidst and within the multi-cultural setting. They are found among the stories with Abraham, Tobit, Ruth, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles – among others. Even in the Wisdom books and the minor prophets. They contain themes and relate events that portray what would help serve Christian conduct in mixed situations, with goods bonds of social integrity. It’s the outflow of serving God first.

      On the topic of the OT, I have in mind that the book One Thousand and One Nights, is originally Jewish. My idea is that, like the writings of the Greeks and others, these tales came into the possession of the Arab tribes; and in this case, after the onset of Islam, this one got edited to suit Islam with Islamic insertions. It would not have been difficult to edit the book to make it more Muslim because, in the first place, it came from the neo-Babylonian culture.

      Specifically, I am saying that the stories in the book are Queen Esther’s. This forms part of the account of how she captivated the King, with superlative narrative compositions and poetic license, orally recounted ex tempore in the Persian tongue; drawing the King’s attention to the plight of his subjects and the high themes of common life. This would explain why no-one can trace how the book actually came into being and why an actual original can’t be identified.

  11. The comments of George Weigel occlude the fact that as much as he might want to harness the ‘definitive’ interpretation of Vatican II to a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ exemplified by St John Paul II and Pope Benedict, the ambiguities of the framing of the Council’s texts – which have been so easily appropriated by the ‘Spirit of the Council’ Modernists – mean that a ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ has now been very easily tied to the Magisterium of Pope Francis.

    What might have looked like ‘game, set and match’ to (Weigel’s version of) the Council has actually become ‘Final Set Tie-Breaker’ under Pope Francis. And it looks – with the various measures of this Pontificate – that the Modernist version of the Council which the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ tried to row-back from – has now received a quasi-definitive Magisterial and Pontifical approval. This makes the Council even more problematic than it was before. George Weigel knows this, of course, but is still (naively) hoping that the Francis pontificate will prove to be an abberation and that things will return to a JPII/BXVI ‘normal’ under the next pontificate.
    They will not.

    The ultimate fruit of Vatican II – which, to be fair to him, Pope Francis hasn’t denied at all – is a pontificate like his. Indeed he said it very clearly since 2013: That his pontificate will see the full implementation of the Council, that he might be the one who ‘splits’ the Church, that the whole traditional understanding of the Petrine Office has to undergo fundamental change – in accordance with the intention of the Council.

    George Weigel doesn’t acknowledge any of this.
    And yet it’s precisely the fact that Vatican II can lead to a pontificate like Pope Francis’s which is what dooms it to be seen, in years to come, as a failed Council.

    There are three Endgames to this Modernist Crisis, which Vatican II has been an accelerant of:
    1. Our Lord returns. But before he does, the generalised and ever-increasing apostasy paves the way for the events foretold in Scripture and anticipated in private revelation. Vatican II is seen as a tipping point in that process of apostasy.
    2. The liberal Modernists ‘win’ and the Catholics are basically excommunicated as schismatics and go underground/to the margins. The liberal Modernists will claim Vatican II as theirs. The ‘schismatic’ Catholics won’t shed a tear for leaving it behind.
    3. The liberal Modernists don’t win and a subsequent pontificate restores (much of) Tradition in the face of Modernist wailing and gnashing of teeth: Vatican II becomes subsumed into the greater Magisterium and will no longer be held as normative.

    In all three of those optics, Vatican II and authentic Catholicism don’t really stay aligned in the way that George Weigel presents here – as if, let it be noted – the pontificate of Pope Francis hasn’t happened at all. Well, it has. And, root and branch, it is bound to Vatican II. Henceforth, the Council and this Pontificate are inseparable and the reputation of both lie together.

  12. I know Weigel gets no love from the CWR comment section, but I think he’s still fighting the last war. It is not the legacy Vatican II that is at stake in the Church today, but rather that of JP II and Benedict. If nothing else, the Francis Papacy proves that you can bury Caesar and praise him at the same time.

  13. Suppose I have the instructions perfectly written for the assembly of a car; but, in the implementation of that well thought out design those whose purpose it was to follow the instructions elected to forego them? Perhaps, afterward, they decided to assemble the car anyway. Off they go assembling away, putting pieces together that they think might fit. Steering wheel in the back seat anyone? A truck hood for a roof? Foot pedals on the wrong side of the car and in the back seat passenger side? Sure. The instructions for a successful build are only as important as those that put together the final product. In that regard, “the” PASTORAL counsel of V2 was an outright DISASTER. Does anyone, other than Weigel, think the church is better off? Is it a good thing that only 30% (if that) of those that attend the hodge-podge Missae of Paul VI and the Protestants actually believe in the REAL PRESENCE? Does anyone actually think the “updates” to accommodate modern man has led to a fuller, richer, Catholic life? One would have to be deaf, dumb and blind NOT to see V2 as a disaster. I’d hate to be a rotting tooth in the jaw of George Weigel or maybe a metastatic cancer that has taken root. “Ah, it’s not that bad”, “Everything’s fine”, the “cups half full” . . . yada, yada, yaddda. Mr. Lucas is correct. This is NOT the TLM of the 1950’s. Those people, for reasons unknown, did not find the value of the Mass something to be respected, handed-on, preserved. For my part, my kids will know the value of the TLM, MY TLM, the current offering of the holy TLM today . . . tomorrow and beyond.

  14. The problem with appealing for the authority of Vatican II is this: because our Church since Vatican II, and in the name of Vatican II, has explicitly ceased to discipline and condemn apostate Bishops and Cardinals, and has instead promoted publicly known apostate and heresy-teaching priests to become Bishops…and then Cardinals, such as Walter “the resurrection-apostate” Kasper, and now McElroy and Hollerich our newly-spawned “psycho-sexually-sodomizing-apostate-Cardinals,” the vast majority of Catholic Church theologians and Church leaders have proven to the young that they are not serious, and are not to be taken seriously, and so the Church is in the deepest imaginable dark hole, dug deep-down and wide as the sea, of its own 50+ years of self-satisfied digging.

    As Pope John XXIII declared in launching the Second Vatican Council, in words pretty much like these: “the Church declares itself against condemning errors, that’s old hat.” What he didn’t mention is the second side of that two-sided coin: “the Church now instead undermines snd turns away from the authority of its scriptures and traditions, and esteems and promotes those theologians and priests and Bishops and Cardinals who do the dirty work.”

    So now we have, brought to you by the “non-judgmental-Church-for-promoting-apostates,” and led by the “Pontiff-of-unintentional-idolatry” and his “German-synod-for-apostasy,” the 2023-24 “Synod-for-the-worldwide-dirty-schism,” where the faithful will be pushed aside, and the apostate establishment will “shepherd themselves.”

    This is the legacy of “the-Church-of-the-spirit-of-Vatican II.” A church that rejects the Catholic Church that went before it.

  15. Thank you for reminding me why I don’t read Crisis anymore. And that’s why CWR must be very careful not to go down the Crisis path. Articles from Weigel, Larry Chapp, and people of that calibre will help in this regard. But some articles get in that really make me wonder about CWR. GEN Z really need to study history from the pre Vatican II period. The more that happens, the more they will see what an extraordinary event Vatican II really was.

  16. No matter what the documents of Vatican II gave us, the mere fact of the Council itself was used to misrepresent their content. Most of the faithful are pretty busy just trying to survive, so the day was won by those who wished to “liberalize” the Church. We all see the results. I am 79 years old and have a quite clear memory of the pre-Vatican II Church. It was essentially unified and sure of its dogmas. Its adherents could go to Mass anywhere in the world and feel at home. I had 12 years of Catholic schooling, all courses or grades taught by religious. I do not blame Vatican II itself for the disasterous decline of the Church, but it provided a vehicle, however falsely it was portrayed, for those within to promote that decline.

  17. I’m sure God would want us to read His scriptures before anything else. It’s the best way to double check that what man comes up with agrees with or confirms what God says is absolute truth. Sometimes what man comes up with contradicts what God says. In that case, man must change, God is always right.

    • But students of scripture understand that the biblical text not only must be interpreted, but it can be interpreted in a number of possible ways. It’s not black and white.

  18. I have great respect for Mr. Weigel, but his argument here is unconvincing. Each of the points for which he claims V-II was “necessary” were true before the council or could have been emphasized without a council. And, the essay ignores the reality “on the ground.” Fact is, many (including now the leadership at the very top of the Church) have interpreted and implemented the Council in a way that is pretty much the exact opposite of what Mr. Weigel says. He says that St. JPII and BXVI gave the council its definitive interpretation. To quote Hemingway’s Lady Brett Ashley in the final line of The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” As is clear to anyone with eyes that their interpretation has been swept away in the time since BXVI’s regrettable abdication.

  19. Congrats, George , well done!! It takes time for the dust to settle and the truth to set in. Every council was addressed to the questions and problems of it’s time but also projects foreward into the a snowball rolling down a hill gathering up mass as it goes along. The gathered snow compacts into the ball and adds its weight and becomes part of the ever enlarging ball.

  20. Just a PS to Deacon Dom’s comments above: one family who sits in front of me at the TLM has 15 children.

    You have to consider fertility rates and retention rates to make demographic projections. The Reform and Hasidic Jews are an example of that. One group is shrinking and assimilating into near nothingness, the other growing exponentially.

    I attend both the NO and TLM. I don’t understand the problem. It’s all good, it’s all Catholic. That goes for Eastern Rite parishes also.

  21. I am generally sympathetic to George Weigel’ views but I have to ask: if Vatican II did such a great job of affirming truths about the human person–like the Christocentric reality of man made in God’s image and likeness–then how is it THAT memo has apparently not reached Cardinal Hollerich, Cardinal McElroy, or the plenum of the Deutschbischofskonferenz?

    • How did it not reach the pro-abortion Cardinal Martini who was almost elected pope and was never denounced for his pro-abortion view. He even got a building named after him at the Vatican after he died.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Memo to Gen Z Catholics: Why Vatican II Is still important | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers
  2. Memo to Gen Z Catholics: Why Vatican II Is still important | Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph (FSJ) , Asumbi Sisters Kenya

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