Hey, Millennial: It’s time to get a clue about Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council, carried forward by men who had lived through the great catastrophes of the 20th-century, had in view the ongoing relevance of the God of Jesus Christ in a world gone mad.

Bishops at the Second Vatican Council. (Image: Lothar Wolleh/WikiCommons)

A recent Crisis online article—“OK, Boomer: It’s time to move on from Vatican II”—articulates a point of view that has become far too prevalent today among young Catholics who are suffering through a kind of exhaustion over the whole topic of Vatican II. Therefore, it deserves a response from one of the “Boomer” theologians he is criticizing for not understanding, allegedly, why Vatican II is now irrelevant.

The thesis of the essay, authored by Adam Lucas, is a simple one: Vatican II is, for this generation, a complete irrelevance since the pastoral significance of the Council is inextricably linked to the cultural and political situation of the 1960s. And that cultural situation is now irrelevant to young people of today. Lucas claims that those of us who still blather on about the Council are folks stuck in the past, who have not noticed that our concerns are time-bound anachronisms long past their sell-by date. Lucas thus treats the Council itself like a gallon of spoiled milk—at one time it may have been wholesome and healthy, but now it is only fit to be poured down the sink. And so we should stop arguing about whether or not we can still make yogurt or sour cream out of it. Just toss it.

One gets the impression that Lucas thinks theologians like me may still have rotary phones at home and rabbit ears on our television sets. He seems to be saying that Vatican II is as passé as Beta Max machines and eight-track tape players. Therefore, to continue to debate the interpretation of the Council is to lock us into a “prison” of discourse (referring here to Ross Douthat’s recent essays on that topic in The New York Times), which will get us nowhere.

It is best, then, to ignore the Council and to move on to something else.

But what is that something else? Lucas does not specify what the alternative might be, except to float the idea, in a somewhat ambivalent fashion and without any elaboration, that perhaps we should return to the “approach” of the pre-Vatican II Church. But what “approach” is that? Lucas does not say, and other than asserting that we should just ignore the Council, he presents precisely nothing specific and gives us nothing in the way of theological elaboration.

And by “nothing” I really mean nothing. A more contentless essay would be hard to imagine.

Which is related to a further question he does not address in the slightest: If we are now just to ignore the Council, then what exactly is it we are ignoring? And in favor of what? Is there nothing at all of enduring value in the Council? Or is the entire thing just all spoilt milk? Lucas never once raises any theological specifics, or mounts even the slightest theological argument in favor of anything—or against anything in particular. In his accounting, apparently there is no need for hoity-toity theological hair-splitting from egg-headed Boomer nerds; this is your Grandpappy’s Council and that is that. He says something vague about the Latin Mass and how many young people like it. But he never discusses how many young people like it, never cites any study on the topic, and he never mentions that there are many young people today who do not like the old Latin Mass.

There is no demographic or sociological analysis provided beyond his vague polemics about the Council being a nostalgic analgesic for aging “Boomers”. But even this is wrong. I am a Boomer, and I can assure Mr. Lucas that my formative years were spent squarely within the world of post-conciliar Catholicism. Further, I did not experience it as “liberative” since I had no memory of the pre-Vatican II Church. In reality, most of the “Boomers” criticized by Lucas have mostly negative memories of the post-conciliar era, and thus we have even more reasons than he does for rejecting the Council as the cause of our youthful misery.

And yet, for the most part, we do not reject the Council. That should give Lucas pause, but it doesn’t since it is an inconvenient fact that interrupts his simplistic narrative of Boomers devoted to nostalgic anachronisms. In short, the plain facts contradict the entirety of his narrative. Boomers suffered greatly in the post-conciliar Church, and whatever “nostalgia” we may have for that era is limited to mood rings and lava lamps—but not for the Council.

So why do we continue to support it?

Mr. Lucas would do well to pick up a copy of To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II, the excellent book on Vatican II by George Weigel, and to read it carefully. At once erudite and accessible, the book lays out why the Council was necessary, what it actually said in all of its major texts, and how popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, in particular, offer us an authoritative interpretation of the Council.

And I recommend he read the book, not only because it is excellent, but also because, like it or not, Vatican II was a valid ecumenical council, ratified by several popes, and now a permanent piece of furniture in the ecclesial living room. If we are its “prisoners” we are so in the same manner that we are “prisoners” of everything else the magisterium teaches with authority. But Lucas apparently does not like being so “bound” to an ecumenical Council that he is now also obligated to take it seriously. Thank goodness Athanasius did not think that way, or Maximus the Confessor!

The first flawed notion Weigel demolishes is the idea that Council was called in order to make the Church more compatible with the modern world in an “accommodationist” sense. He shows clearly that the concept of aggiornamento developed by Pope John XXIII was a call to an evangelical awareness of the vocabulary and thought of a modern audience, in order to better evangelize that audience—not to cave in to it. But Lucas appears to make the same mistake as do the progressives when he conflates what came after the Council with the Council itself, reading back into Pope John’s call for aggiornamento an illegitimate cultural accommodationism.

In conflating the Council with the cultural revolution that came after, Lucas misses the true significance of the Council and why it is actually more relevant today than it was even in the Sixties. Weigel shows is that the chief theological concerns of the Council were the same as those in the ressourcement camp of theology, which included not only well-established luminaries such as Henri de Lubac, but also some rather unnoticed folks including Joseph Ratzinger and a young bishop named Karol Wojtyla. Weigel shows that their chief concern was to develop a Christian humanism grounded in a Christo-centric theological anthropology, meant to combat the anti-human and degrading anthropologies latent within the various “isms” of the modern world. He shows that their concern was with the nihilism of modernity, its materialistic reductionism, its technocratic scientism, and its corrosive skepticism toward the supernatural orientation of the human person.

It was this secular skepticism toward any spiritual dimension in human existence that generated the Christo-centric approach of Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, and the first half of Gaudium et Spes. The goal was to unpack, theologically and philosophically, the structure of human existence in such depth that we can demonstrate that the Church’s Christological anthropology is far more expansive, explanatory, and joyous than the dour and tragic anthropologies of secular modernity.

As one might imagine, Weigel is especially deft at showing how the pontificate of John Paul took this anthropology and made it his guiding theme, as can be seen in his very first encyclical Redemptor Hominis. As Weigel notes, there had never before been an encyclical on theological anthropology, and therefore its emergence as the first in John Paul’s lengthy pontificate was a key to understanding the Council as well.

The most salient feature of Weigel’s text is also what is most lacking in the Lucas essay: the insistence that the Council was indeed, like all other councils before it, called to address a crisis. It is often said by more traditionalist critics of the Council that its problem is that it is unfocused since it was not called to deal with a specific crisis (or heresy) of any kind, but was “merely” an open ended project of “pastoral theology”. But as Weigel shows, this is not true; in fact, the Council was called in order to combat, not just any crisis, but the greatest crisis the Church has ever faced.

And that is the deep and profound crisis of modern unbelief, which is a form of systemic cultural disbelief that forms and directs, as Charles Taylor would say, the “social imaginary” of our times. A de facto practical atheism undergirds all of our major institutions and molds the plausibility structures that frame our common notions of what counts as the “really real”. It is the air that we breathe; it invades and affects us in ways we cannot even completely understand. This is what Weigel notes as the primary concern of the Council, and he is right to do so. This is what Pope John Paul also railed against in his references to our “culture of death” and in his emphasis on human dignity in all of his travels. This is what Pope Benedict meant by “the eclipse of God” in our time and the “dictatorship of relativism”.

So, if Lucas is correct about Vatican II being irrelevant, then so also are the pontificates of John Paul and Benedict, since their message, as Weigel demonstrates, is the same as the Council’s message.

And by the way, just how “irrelevant” are the concerns of the Sixties? After all, that decade was a mere twenty years after the end of the greatest genocidal catastrophes and war the world had ever seen, and right in the middle of a cold war that threatened nuclear extinction, and contending with a series of regional “hot wars” that were proxy wars between the superpowers, and right on the cusp of a burgeoning awareness of environmental destruction caused by our technology and industry, and right in the middle of the birth of the “national security state” with unparalled domestic surveillance and covert operations to destabilize governments. It was not all about free love, sex, and drugs.

The Second Vatican Council, carried forward by men who had lived through the great catastrophes of the 20th-century, had in view the ongoing relevance of the God of Jesus Christ in a world gone mad. In a world that had forgotten God. The adults of the Sixties had seen war, genocide, totalitarianism, the rise of militant atheism, poverty, homelessness, environmental destruction, and the nuclear annihilation of two cities. But, according to Lucas, those are no longer “our” concerns.

Weigel, like Bishop Robert Barron, insists that Cardinal Newman is the true father of the Council, as he was one of the first modern prelates to understand that the crisis of modernity is a crisis of unbelief. And they both understand, unlike Lucas, that this crisis is not only still with us but has gotten worse. Much worse. If anything, our cultural situation today is simply the Sixties gone digital and on social media steroids. Therefore, now is not the time to chuck the Council into the trash like yesterday’s newspaper.

Sadly, there are those among a younger generation of Catholics (and those like certain liberal prelates in an older generation) who do not understand this, and therefore do not understand the true nature of the crisis we face. Popes John Paul and Benedict did understand the crisis we face and interpreted the Council accordingly. Which is why their pontificates are now also under attack; ironically, there are those who seek to nullify their achievements as “anti-Vatican II”!

The remedy to our current crisis, however, is not to ignore Vatican II, but to double-down on its key Christo-centric message, and to promote and defend the papacies of John Paul and Benedict as the interpretive key to that message. This might seem like an endless and exhausting task. But it is the task that is upon us and it is the moment, as Balthasar would call it, of our Ernstfall crisis of decision.

Sometimes, when you ignore things because you are “tired” of debates about them you are missing why it is that people are debating those things in the first place. And in so doing you are making yourself the irrelevant one.

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About Larry Chapp 37 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".


  1. I fear that Dr Chapp has missed the point. Young American Catholics are not interested in the Second Vatican Council “period” and in the past more generally. And they are CERTAINLY not interested in being lectured about why they should be interested in such things by Boomers (and in particular George Wiegel). The term “tone deaf” springs to mind.

    • Why? Why aren’t young American Catholics interested in the past? How far “in the past” are they uninterested? Uninterested in the American Revolution and what was at stake? Uninterested in the Protestant Reformation and the split in Christian Europe? Is the only time frame of any relevance their own era? Where will such a stunted viewpoint take them?

    • So what you are saying is that YOUR impression of young Catholics is that they are not interested in what the church has to say. Come on now – you are probably merely taking that stance because you like the SSPX or some of the other breakaway sects that take issue with the Council, and blame the Council for everything that has happened in the last 60 years.
      The Council is part of the magisterium of the church. If you cannot admit that, I am afraid you might have left the church.

  2. Reading Chapp’s very lucid thoughts is refreshing (and welcome). If Chapp recommends that Lucas read Weigel’s book on the Council, it points to one very salient fact that I’ve been harping about for years: most Catholics have no bloody idea about the specific teachings of Vatican Council II.

    If anyone doubts my assertion: After Mass on Sunday, just ask any 5 fellow parishioners of diverse demographics to tell you three (3) major teachings of the Council. (Hint: ever see deers eyes in your headlights when driving?)

    • Some HAVE read the documents, but the church hierarchy implemented many things OTHER than what the VCII documents indicated. That is the problem. The horse left the barn, and now we ought consider a return to the barn now empty? For what purpose? To add fuel to Francis’ fire to scorch the earth beneath the barn?

    • With all due respect, whose fault is it if most Catholics can’t name 3 teachings of Vatican II? And did Vatican II come up with any new teachings or did it just re-articulate teachings? If Catholics don’t know their Faith, could it be that the Bishops haven’t done their job catechizing properly or ensuring their dioceses have solid catechesis and formation? The fluff that has passed for catechesis the past 60 years isn’t cutting it.

  3. Once again, thank God for Larry Chapp. One has to wonder about the editors at Crisis who would allow such an article as Lucas wrote to be printed. The frightening thing is that Lucas has mentors who encouraged the direction he’s taken.

    More articles by Chapp and Weigel!

    • Agree—a very insightful and helpful piece, which I have come to expect and welcome from Larry Chapp and George Weigel.

  4. Hmmm, Barron and Weigel in the same article! Which interpretation of vcii is the right one? No one has come to make an articulate and reasoned argument.

  5. Good article. I agree that the “crisis of modernity is a crisis of unbelief.” But…why don’t we believe? I do plan to read Wiegel’s book about Vatican II, so perhaps I’ll find out. But I do wonder…why do so many not believe, especially in a time in history when so many believe in “the supernatural” e.g., ghosts and hauntings (how many shows about hauntings are on television now?!) and are open to various mystical practices and ancient religious practices and religions. It seems that the lack of belief in God is not related to a skepticism about anything we can’t experience with our senses. It seems to be a decision–what causes people to make that decision to not believe in the Christian God?

    • Why don’t we believe, you ask (Mrs. Whitlock)? In short, the Church in the west has been thoroughly “feminized”. So many effeminate clergy (priest, bishops). Preaching is innocuous, flat, and timid. And Cardinals like McElroy want that feminization increased. Men are not drawn to Church. There is so much about the Roman Church that is subtly effeminate, from sanctimonious young priests walking around with perfect “prayer hands”, effected speech, condescending posture, and a lack of missionary zeal–they want to stay inside and read their soft and easy Jacques Phillipe books on how to become effeminate. Our congregations are predominantly female, but that is not the case among the Eastern Orthodox, Jews or Muslims. We’re doing something profoundly wrong. We don’t want to enter into battle, and so the enemy becomes increasingly bold and daring. We need men in the priesthood, and real men as bishops, and a real man, like JP II, as Pope.

  6. We read: “And that is the deep and profound crisis of modern unbelief, which is a form of systemic cultural disbelief that forms and directs, as Charles Taylor would say, the ‘social imaginary’ of our times.”

    And, Benedict XVI reminds us that Christian belief uniquely is “faith” in the person of Jesus Christ. More than a belief in any mere “idea.” Instead, the alarming “fact” in recorded history–the intervening Incarnation who “suffered under Pontius Pilate”—of which he writes:

    “For the Christian, the interplay of faith and reason is most evident in the doctrine that a Trinitarian God is revealed by a definitive encounter with Christ in human history. The doctrine of the Trinity did not arise out of speculation about God, out of an attempt by philosophical thinking to figure out what the fount of all being was like; it developed out of the effort to digest historical experiences…”(Introduction to Christianity).

    So, Chapp is underlining here not only that the historic Vatican II to be profoundly remembered…but also an openness to all of concrete history–rather than the closed downness of “data-driven” academia, sadly including many post-Catholic multiversities now in bed with dementia, intersectionality, and the latest joint of woke smoke.

  7. Well, I’m not sure it’s only millenials who don’t have a clue about Vatican II. It’s only now, with the present pontificate trying to undo the legacy of JPII and BXVI, that this Boomer has gotten some understanding of the damage wrought by the imposter “spirit of VII”.

  8. I normally love your writing, but your response to Mr. Lucas almost proves his point. Any critique of Vatican 2 usually evokes incredulity and pearl clutching shock from a particular generation of the Church. Your article was typical…you just can’t believe that not everyone is enamoured with Vatican 2. You even call him irrelevant for not being a Vatican 2 fanboy.

    I’m a Gen X’er and I’m absolutely sick of hearing about Vatican 2. I’m sick of hearing about “new springtimes” when almost every Catholic institution I encounter is either deeply compromised or about to be shut down. For my entire adult life as a Catholic (I’m in my mid-40’s) I’ve watched liberal and conservative clerics and theologians have unending purse fights about the “real meaning of Vatican 2”. Sure we have good guys like Bishop Barron, but the poor Germans have almost their entire episcopate promoting the most bizarre innovations also in the name of Vatican 2 (with nary a peep from Rome btw). The normal response is not more debate after half a century of debate. The normal response is to move on. Personally, I stop listening after someone says “Vatican 2”. I’m not a Trad btw, I just don’t care anymore. I’d rather read the Bible or the Church Fathers than some groovy Vatican 2 document from the 1960’s. And before you ask, I have read them multiple times and even studied them formally in university.

    I like Weigel, but the Church described in his books and the real world are often very different. Weigel is a Vatican 2 Platonist, where the ideal meaning of the Council is very faintly reflected in the physical world. In other words, his writing is dream-casting. It ignores the total decimation on the ground. Go to your local chrism Mass this year watch the priests of the diocese process up to the altar. Take note of their average age. We are facing a demographic implosion over the next 20 years. There will hardly be any priests or religious left. This too is part of the legacy of Vatican 2. No priests, no sacraments.

    I’m moving on, and I think that’s what a lot of us are doing. Ironically, with its constant debates, contradictions and moral bankruptcy the hierarchy itself has made Vatican 2 irrelevant. I don’t blame younger Catholics for not being interesting continuing the ecclesial fights of their grandparents. The past 60 years have destroyed the Church. We all know the definition of insanity…why should we expect young Catholics to repeat the dysfunction?

    PS: I noticed you hailed JP2 and Benedict and not Francis. Francis is also a product of Vatican 2. In fact, he’s the first truly post-Vatican 2 Pope since his entire priestly formation was after the Council. You’re going to have to take him and his reforms, and the present state of the Church into account if you’re going to be a cheerleader for the awesomeness of Vatican 2.

    • Dittos.
      What does none of these folks talk about the Seven Ecumenical Councils or Nicea or Trent or Vatican I?
      2,000 years of Church History and world events, but to listen to some folks the Church started with Vatican II.

    • I’m among the youngest boomers (just turned 60). I was 15 when JP2 became Pope in 1978 and 50 when Benedict resigned in 2013. So most of my adult life has been lived under these “authentically Vatican 2” pontificates. During that time vocations have continued to collapse, catechism has deteriorated to the point that most Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence, the Church has been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal that revealed deep and broad corruption in the clergy, and the liturgy has continued to deteriorate. Just like now, there was always hand-wringing about the “true meaning” of Vatican 2 being eclipsed by a false “spirit of Vatican 2.” Yet it was under the pontificates of JP2 and Benedict that this “false spirit” metastasized and came to dominate the Church. The true meaning of Vatican 2 never seemed to involve using the authority of the Church to halt the spread of the false meaning of Vatican 2. Indeed, it was JP2 who appointed the likes of Theodore McCarrick and Jorge Bergoglio to the cardinalate.

      We now have a Pope who developed under the papacies of JP2/Benedict, who explicitly promotes the progressive understanding of Vatican 2 and is willing to use his authority to enforce that understanding (see his suppression of the Latin Mass). Would that JP2/Benedict had been similarly willing to use the authority of the Holy See to suppress heterodoxy and “clown Mass” liturgical abuse – to enforce the supposedly “true understanding” of Vatican 2. But they were unwilling to meet that challenge and our current situation is the result.

      If there is one thing I am tired of, it is the decades old hope that a recovery of the “true understanding” of Vatican 2 will somehow fall upon the Church and save us.

      • My age, thoughts and feelings are similar to yours, so it’s not just Millennials who are sick of hearing about Vatican II. It’s pretty clear that many Vatican II cheerleaders, including our current Pope, have no intention of making any meaningful corrections to halt the damage done to our Church. They either lack the willpower or they just don’t care. Except, of course, when it comes to punishing Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass. They have no problem asserting their authority with crushing force on traditional Catholics. Other than that, all they do is talk, talk, talk but continue to allow the Church to go down a very dangerous path.

      • “Yet it was under the pontificates of JP2 and Benedict that this “false spirit” metastasized and came to dominate the Church.”

        Actually, I don’t see it that way. This “false spirit” metastasized and came to dominate the Church under Paul VI. John Paul II and Benedict XVI did make attempts to rein in the madness, mostly with theological rigor. The “metastasizing” was definitely slowed from roughly 1980 to 2010.

      • Your wondrous sentence, about the true meaning of Vatican 2 never seeming to involve using the authority of the Church to halt the spread of the false meaning of Vatican 2, sums up the entire affair and the last sixty years, both. Thank you.

  9. This is probably the very best yet concise explanation/explication of Vatican II that I have read thus far in my effort to understand it better.

    • Dear Friend,

      Take some time this Lent to listen to the podcasts of Michael Davies. He has a 4 part series that is a must for anyone interested in the happenings of “the” counsel and why so many Catholics feel hood-winked over the same. You can get it on Sportify. Just search for “Michael Davies” and the series should pull up. God Bless.

  10. 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 and its Modernist aftermath culminating in the current papacy.

      • Not just contraceptive pills. That was the means, not the motive. What motivated folks to have smaller families. That needs to be addressed.

        • More accurately, not so much the pill itself as the so-called Truce of 1968…

          Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington D.C. disciplined a large number of priests in his archdiocese who publicly disputed Humanae Vitae. When the Vatican declined to support the cardinal, the signal was clear that there would be no obstruction to public dissent on just about anything. A failure in governance, and the rest is history…

          With more such history now back on the front burner of der Synodale Weg. The menu now is to overturn everything in natural law (and therefore, in the Catechism) that would preserve elementary sexual morality. The real “seamless garment” from contraception to “irregular” binary adultery and “inclusive” LGBTQ optionality. And even an upended Church.

          Yes, warnings and clarifications from Pope Francis, Cardinals Ladaria, and Ouillet, and even Kasper, Grech and Hollerich, more or less, but the adolescents aren’t listening.

          History repeats itself, so why not just erase all “backward” looking history?

        • The inflation of the late 60s and 70s probably had a lot to do with it. I remember the days when a NYC police officer could have a wife and 2 kids and support all of them on his one salary. Those days disappeared forever when tax payers refused a tax increase to pay for the Viêt Nam war.

        • I’ll hazard a guess: At the time, the secular world was in high panic mode about “overpopulation,” illustrated by the publication in 1968 of Paul Ehrlich’s spectacularly wrong book, “The Population Bomb.” At the time the author’s credibility was such that he was given an entire hour without commercial breaks on the program of that note demographer Johnny Carson. There were some major – and largely destructive – social trends in the air a the time as well, especially the largely upper middle class feminist movement, which urged women to avoid the “baby trap,” and to seek fulfillment and excitement in careers. Odd that so many women at this time sought to discern the Meaning of Life in work at a time when so many men desperately wanted to work less – see that iconic tome of the 1960’s cultural movements, “The Greening of America,” which hammers at the theme of escaping the drudgery of work. This is a shot in the dark, but it seems partially plausible in view of the chaotic social trends of that era.

    • I take your point about the once crowded churches. However I think the same explanation as to what happened to the crowds may be the same as what happened here in Ireland. Much was habit and custom. When I hear people talk about Catholic Ireland I think they fail to recognise that much practise was down to coercion and family pressure. I do not think it was faith. Faith would never turn so venomous. People did not just cease going to Mass they ceased believing and virtually everytime the RCC gets a mention on media here it is bitter, mocking and frankly hateful. Quality and quantity are two very different things.

      • I would guess that there were actually many devout believers among those American Catholics of the early 1960’s prior to VII. Unfortunately, it was their newly “enlightened” clerical shepherds who led them into the abyss of unbelief.

    • All that you have written is true. But it is also incomplete. At my parish in suburban Chicago, for example, we had eight masses every Sunday, two of which were celebrated in the school hall while other masses were going on across the street in the church. The numbers were very high. But what about depth of faith? I lived through the era. I remember it. I remember a cold, joyless, grim place. I remember intimidating nuns, blase and sometimes grouchy priests who could be curt or even rude in the confessional. I remember the laity as very passive–people who practiced the externals assiduously and punctiliously but who lacked the slightest missionary zeal outside the pew–laymen and women who knew their catechism at a grade school level but had neither a deeper insight into the truths of the faith nor any curiosity to acquire such an insight. I remember people who obeyed the church out of servile fear of offending against their family/cultural tradition or offending the pastor rather than faith that would have motivated any true intellectual assent to what the church taught. And the Latin mass? Priests muttered and mumbled their way through the texts, mangling the Latin so badly that Cicero or Caesar probably couldn’t have understood them. Don’t take my word for it! Listen to an audio recording of Boston’s Cardinal Richard Cushing butchering the Latin of the canon during JFK’s funeral. The late Father Benedict Groeschel, recalling the liturgical reform movement he was part of in the late 1950’s, once said, “we didn’t have mass in Latin. We had mass in gibberish.” In 1958, Germany’s Father Joseph Ratzinger charged that the church had become full of Christians who had become “pagans” (also translated from the German as “heathens.”) Why would he have said such a thing if the era was a glorious golden-oldie age? On the contrary–it was the prevailing torpor and tepidity of the “faithful” which led directly to the resounding crash in numbers only a few short years later. When I hear today of young Catholic mothers who joyfully have large families with their husbands, sometimes practicing Natural Family Planning, as opposed to sullenly resenting the church for telling them they can’t use The Pill–well, sure–I can agree with you that things are way different now than they were way back then. When I hear of priests today reverently and devotedly celebrating the old Latin mass because they want to–sure–things are really different now than back then. When lay people today preach the faith with zeal, even if only in these comboxes–yes sir, there’s your proof that times sure have changed, that the new church ain’t nuthin’ like before the Council. Not everything has gone to hell in a handbasket in the church since 1962, and the old days were very far from glory days. Millions of slackers have since walked away; people whose hearts were never really in it–who weren’t “down for the struggle” as they say. But instead of mourning for them, take a good hard look at many of those who stayed on. You might be impressed.

      • I actually think that Cardinal Cushing was easier to follow in Latin than he was in English – I once heard a recording of him leading a public recitation of the Rosary, although we have to acknowledge the limitations imposed on his voice by various throat surgeries. As for Mass in “gibberish” I agree that this was frequently the case. But if I were compelled to pick one or the other, I’d still take it over the Missa-improv where one is subject to the priest’s talents as your Sunday morning MC with all of his personal asides, one-liners and bad jokes. The strict rubrics did a good job of protecting the congregation from those sacerdotal infelicities. And back in the day that you describe, one also couldn’t hear a great deal of what was said, or focus on the priest himself as Missa cum populo so often compels by definition. In many ways, Mass as it is generally celebrated presently is “priest-centered” to an extent that wasn’t possible prior to VII.

        • Well, if you talk with any of these pre-Conciliar Catholics who have since left the church, what do you hear? What are their memories of the church? They might tell you about old Father McGillicuddy who was usually tipsy by 9 a.m. mass, or the nuns with their metal-edged rulers who told the children about the end of the world when everyone’s sins would be revealed–but that was all just a ploy, you see, to get the kids to behave in class, etc. I guarantee you, though, that these folks will never mention God. They’ll never talk about any of the supernatural aspects of the faith, because all they remember about the church are the experiences they had which left a negative impression. It’s like God and the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings had nothing to do with anything. That seems to be the missing element in the pre-Conciliar Catholic experience, at least for those who have since left (not those who have stayed to this day!)

          • I agree that some did, but others – many others, I’d say – had a much different experience that was suddenly removed and indeed prohibited. In my own parish, there were many regulars who simply wanted to continue with Mass as it had celebrated for their entire lives and for those of their forbears. I’ve never been able to understand why they couldn’t be accommodated in that very reasonable request. As a result, many of them also left. That did not have to be.

          • So you had a pre-VCII tipsy Fr. McGillicuddy! We had one too, only he went by a different name. Sure enough, though, in 1998, he celebrated 9 AM Mass according to the NO Missael, sure enough tipsy.

      • We still have some grouchy priests & intimidating nuns these days. They just dress differently-nuns mostly in lay clothes- & they’re fewer in number.
        I think we each have had differing experiences with the Church in our lifetimes & through our cultures & we draw on those experiences to try to explain how we have arrived at this rather dismal moment in history. But there are many moving parts to the problem. And no simple answers to the solution besides remaining faithful & raising our children in the Faith to the best of our ability. We can’t look to the world & popular culture for answers. That’s a large part of the reason we are where we are today.

      • “l. I remember the laity as very passive–people who practiced the externals assiduously and punctiliously but who lacked the slightest missionary zeal outside the pew–laymen and women who knew their catechism at a grade school level but had neither a deeper insight into the truths of the faith nor any curiosity to acquire such an insight.”

        Maybe. But that was never the case for all of the people, and you can’t seriously think that we’re better off today, when so many don’t even know the Faith at grade school level.

        “I remember people who obeyed the church out of servile fear of offending against their family/cultural tradition or offending the pastor rather than faith that would have motivated any true intellectual assent to what the church taught.”

        Hhow fo you know? Were you privy to everyone’s thoughts?

        I remember hearing or reading of one priest or bishop speaking dismissively of people who attend Mass “only” out of obligation and don’t find joy in it. Well, if someone is doing that, he is recognizing that
        1. There is God.
        2. He is to be worshipped.
        3. He established the Church and it is through the rites of the Church that He is to be worshipped.
        4. The Church has the authority to say how and when public worship is an obligation.

        Which is a pretty darn good foundation.

        • “But that was never the case for all of the people…” What was never the case? That the laity were passive? That is a fact. The saying that the laity’s duty was to “pay, pray and obey” sums things up very nicely and accurately. That’s not only how the church saw the laity, but how the laity saw themselves. I was there. Or that the laity knew their catechisms at basically a grade-school level? That’s also true. I am a witness to that. “…You can’t seriously think that we’re better off today…” Well, now, what makes you think I do? “…When so many don’t even know the Faith at grade school level.” That’s correct. But I never said that we’re in a great golden age now. I merely said that the pre-1962 situation should not be looked back upon as a golden age to which we must return. As for being “privy to everyone’s thoughts,” I am privy to the fruits of those thoughts, as in “by their fruits ye shall know them.” These people left the church as soon as the 1960’s-70’s ushered in an era of questioning authority. One day they woke up and thought to themselves, “why should I keep getting dressed up and sacrificing my Sunday mornings worshipping somebody whom I don’t even believe exists?” As for attending mass out of nothing more than a sense of obligation, which you describe as “a pretty darn good foundation,” I think it’s a lousy foundation because it’s not likely to last an entire lifetime and such a person’s children are highly unlikely to grow up wanting to continue practicing the faith. A lot of the children–a lot–from those large pre-Conciliar families went their separate ways after they became of age. That’s another reason for the collapse of attendance. You must at some level and to some degree love God and his son Jesus and his commandments for them to have any permanence in your soul. If going to mass is only your way of bowing down to an oppressive boss to get him off your back, you’re liable to decide to rebel someday. And that’s just what millions of the “faithful” did after the Council!

          • Larry as I noted in another post in his thread, a very positive trend during the 1950’s was the rate of conversions to the Church of that era, to such an extent that some Protestant leaders expressed concern, even alarm. Yet almost immediately after the Council concluded, conversions dropped catastrophically and have never recovered. Why do you suppose that happened (I’m asking seriously, not rhetorically)?

  11. Dr. Chapp,

    That was a very thoughtful response to Lucas’ article. I agree with your general thesis, that V2 is still relevant today. That said, having spent 7 years in seminary, and now having been a priest for a few years, I’m so tired of talk about V2. It is literally all I was ever taught, and therefore it’s the only council the laity ever talk about, and when they do it’s ignorantly used as a bludgeon to assault young priests. I’ve found as well that when I am able to clarify misconceptions about V2 by citing and explaining the actual docs, “everyday people” are left with more questions than answers, thereby requiring me to cite the Baltimore Catechism, or the canons of Trent (for example).

    As somewhat of an aside, I have found that people tend to really appreciate the straightforward and concrete teaching of pre-V2 councils (myself included). Personally, I left seminary so confused about what the Church is, what a priest is, etc… So when I finally started digging into all the other teaching of the Church prior to V2, it was revivifying.

    For what it’s worth, I’m trying to not get too myopic in my perspective of V2, but man it’s hard sometimes. I quote it when I can, but I always just find more clarity, and perhaps even relevance, in material promulgated pre-V2.

    I always enjoy your stuff. Thank you for what you do.

    • Agreed, but enjoyment rarely accompanies my read of Chapp’s things.

      One commenter here asked that we consider not making VCII an idol. I totally bought that.

      • Anything can become an idol, that is true.

        Including the older Latin liturgy. I’ve seen many people who treat it that way, thinking it will cure all of the Church’s ills if it’s restored and the only Western liturgy available.

        This ignores the fact that the vast majority of those who led the destructive “spirit of Vatican II” charge through the Church were formed in and exclusively worshiped in that liturgy.

        Something doesn’t add up if the liturgy’s the remedy, does it? I think the lady who wrote about the collapse of the Church in Ireland made some great points about the similarity there in recent years, and here back in the 1970s and 80s.

        I remember Fulton Sheen’s tale of two altar boys who dropped the cruet of wine when bringing it up to the altar for the offertory. One was treated kindly and became a great evangelizer on television, Sheen himself. The other was slapped, told to leave, and did, growing up to be the leader of Communist Hungary, Tito. The pre-VCII Church had its problems. I know; I’m old enough to remember some of them.

        But good point: It is wise to avoid idolatry.

    • Fr. C,

      I do not know much about the Council of Trent, which is why I found this new article at The Catholic Thing of interest.

      Tridentine Toleration, by Robert W. Shaffern
      Saturday, March 4, 2023


      Overt dissent from Trent’s decrees, however, was rare. Its doctrinal decrees received a warm welcome from the Catholic world, as did its insistence that Catholic worship remain in Latin, with the priest facing ad orientem. Bishops also endorsed Trent’s decision that they should establish seminaries for the intellectual and moral training of diocesan clergy – even though the foundation of these new schools was expensive and qualified teachers sometimes hard to find, especially in the immediate period after the council.

      Why was Trent so successful, given that so many other councils in the history of the church met with defiance or continued division? One central reason was Trent’s protocols themselves. The council fathers managed to give virtually all interested parties an extensive hearing. More importantly, however, votes on prospective conciliar decrees had to be unanimous. A single dissenting vote sent a decree back into the drafting process, or more likely, prompted the council fathers to veto it entirely.

      So, where the council fathers could not unanimously agree on an issue, they said nothing, and agreed to disagree, with no suggestion of schism or division.

  12. I find it difficult to digest these days that proponents of V2 continue to bifurcate the counsel from its effects seemingly suggesting that the counsel had little, if anything, to do with the resultant devastation caused in its name. “Read the texts”, they insist, and you will find that “there is nothing objectionable in the texts of Vatican II”. In the name of the “Pastoral Counsel” inebriated by the “spirit of Vatican II”, no other outward expression of authentic Catholicity has suffered as much as the Mass of the Ages has suffered. How can it be, that a clear emphasis on “ecumenism” didn’t naturally lead to a gutting of the Catholicity of the Mass in order to “remove all stumbling blocks for our separated brethren”? Removing the communion rail (properly understood to be an altar), setting up a Cramner Table, mass ad populum, mass in the vernacular, communion standing and in the hand, communion under both species (a novelty in the Roman Rite), the use of “extraordinary ministers of communion” (hardly necessary at all), have done more damage to the Catholic
    Church in terms of the numbers of weekly attendees and the quality of their belief than at any time, perhaps, since the Arian Heresy or the protestant reformation. If the counsel had little, if anything to do with the “updates” to the church I just listed, I wonder why in the name of Vatican II any of these changes were made? According to the clear directives of the counsel fathers, Gregorian chant and Latin were both to have pride of place. At the very least, the counsel should have addressed the growing menace of communism – a monumental failure to say the least and a suspicious omission to imply the worst. It is said that ethics is an effervescence of Metaphysics, or more simply, what one believes leads to what one does. If you believe that the barn is on fire, you act to put out the fire. Well, the barn has been on fire since Vatican II. Doubling down on the relative benefits of the counsel at the expense of overlooking its deleterious impact on the church overall would be an exercise in cognitive dissonance, the magnitude of which, makes me weak-kneed.

    • What is this “Mass of the Ages”? You are probably aware of Fr Adrian Fortescue who wrote the first edition of “Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described”, and whose name still appears in the latest edition. His opinion, privately expressed,of the Mass as it was in 1919 deriving from the 1570 Missal was “whatever beauty interest or historic value, or dignity, the Roman rite ever had has been utterly destroyed by the uneducated little cads who run that filthy congregation at Rome;” He knew, and Popes like Pius XII knew, that 1570 was not what the Council of Trent had demanded, which is why VII demanded the same things, homilies on the texts as a normal part of Mass, and general Communion (obviously only of those properly disposed).

      • Allow me to defer to the via negativa to answer your question: the “Mass of the Ages” is certainly NOT the NO Missae of St. Pope Paul VI. That mass is what remains after the architects of V2, i.e. Bugnini et alio, intentionally gutted the Mass of things that might constitute a “stumbling block to our separated brethren”. It’s no small wonder that the 10 year period post V2 was referred to as the “Decade without Mary”. It’s also the Mass that was promised to fill the churches, give us a new spring time and herald a return of the protestants. Even as Pope Paul VI signed off on the new form of the mass he stated it was “banal” and would lead to a mass exodus FROM the church; but, sign off on it he did. It was only a short time later that he lamented that the church was suffering an identity crisis and that the “smoke of Satan, through some unknown crack, had entered the church.” Thankfully, regretfully, the Novus Ordo Missae is passing away with the Woodstock generation that, at one time, gave it the life and vitality it needed to survive to the present moment. Subsequent generations of Catholics have discovered the Latin Mass and the beauty, reverence and transcendence it typifies. These “traditional” Catholics” will will be very hard pressed to attend the NO. After having found the Latin Mass myself so late in life (I’m 57), I can say with absolute confidence I will NEVER attend another NO Mass again. I hope that satisfies your curiosity. Blessed Lent!

        • According to the scan at Google Books, the text by Fr. Fortescue appears on page 205 of The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue, By Aidan Nichols. Author Nichols continues the sentence:

          [121]—a typical exaggeration when in heat, for if it were so, how was it still possible for him to write about the parts of the Mass as celebrated in his own day with such inspirational force? Fortescue’s real target was rubricism, a disproportionate concern with the detail of how rites are orchestrated in matters of movement and gesture.

          [121] Cambridge University Library, MS Add. 9812/D/90, Letter to H. Morison of 24 November, 1919

          • Charles –

            Yes, thank you.

            And I found it also.

            And you are absolutely correct.

            Fortescue hated the rubric-ism of the men he was criticizing, who he encountered when he undertook writing his second book on “Ceremonies” of the Roman Rite, because these men were obsessed with what he considered ugly trivia, while utterly ignorant of the endowment of the transcendent words of prayer, especially The Canon, handed down from the primordial Church.

            Thanks for your response.

            I knew from reading the portions of the letter, that something was missing. The whole letter shows what he was directing his criticism at.

      • Anthony H:

        I found the letter you refer to, and having read the while letter, it seems that his letter is expressing disgust with the Italians he names in the then-Congregation for Divine Worship (or whatever it was called in his day) for their indulgence in what I will call here “rococco ceremony” and costuming, eclipsing what remained of the dignity and beauty of the Roman Rite, which he describes in his 1912 book “The Mass, A Study of the Roman Liturgy” (1912) as having been chopped up and re-arranged over the centuries, by clerics from Italy, whom he regarded as “uneducated” and by implication, ignorant and even contemptuous of the liturgical treasure that they were “plastering” with the veneer of their turn-of-the-century decorative impulses.

        But my sense of what he means in his letter comes from reading his 1912 “”Study,” which shows his reverence for The Roman Rite of the Mass, while acknowledging its disfigurement over the ages.

        As to his repulsion for “uneducated Italians” that language being his own in the letter you cite, it sounds exactly like the description by Fr. Louis Bouyer of “His Excellency” Bugnini, whom he called “a man as bereft of culture ss he was of basic honesty.”

        I’m not assuming that you agree with my assessment, but having read Fortescue’s 1912 work, and knowing his respect for ancient languages in general, and ancient liturgical languages in particular, that’s the sense I believe is faithful to the voice of Fr. Fortescue.

        I could also be wrong. But having given Fr. Fortescue the respect of reading his 1912 book, that’s my sense of the man.

        • You are welcome, and thanks for reminding us of Fr. Louis Bouyer’s assessment of Msgr. Bugnini, who is apparently the mastermind of the Grand Theft Liturgy of the 1960s.

    • “At the very least, the counsel [sic] should have addressed the growing menace of communism – a monumental failure to say the least and a suspicious omission to imply the worst.”

      Well, the Council did address “Systematic Atheism” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 21) and “The Church’s Attitude Toward Atheism” (n. 21), including a footnote reference (Abbott version, fn. 47) to the incorporated (?) encyclical letter of Pius XI, “Divini Redemptoris” (March 19, 1937), and other relevant and more recent encyclicals by Pius XII (1958), John XXIII (1961), and Paul VI (1964).

      Yes, a bit oblique to not name the Soviet Union, but reported as a concession to Moscow to enable the patriarchs of Iron Curtain Orthodox Churches to attend the Council as observers–probably more than a “monumental failure […and a] suspicious omission.”

    • “Doubling down on the relative benefits of the counsel at the expense of overlooking its deleterious impact on the church overall would be an exercise in cognitive dissonance”


      And yet, Vatican II’s teaching on Protestantism had a lot to do with my journey into the Church.

      God draws straight with crooked lines.

  13. Comments are interesting. I agree with Deacon Peitler. To the average Catholic (including those in the pews), VII means Mass in English (in our case), the priest facing the people, Communion in the hand and better relations with Protestants. Oh, and priests and nuns leaving their posts in droves, for nebulous reasons. I read the current pontificate as an attempt to resuscitate the “new springtime” of the “spirit of VII”.

    • Which is more than a bit ironic, since VII’s document on the liturgy – Sacro – sanctum Concilium – says nothing at all about Mass facing the congregation, communion in the hand, moving tabernacles away from the altar, the complete elimination of Latin, etc. Absolutely nothing.

  14. I have enjoyed Larry Chapp’s articles in the past, and I look forward to more in the future. But I have to wonder. Fifty years from now will we still be saying, “Well, Vatican II just hasn’t been implemented yet.”

    Mr. Chapp mentions Pope John Paul’s encyclical “Redemptor Hominis” as a key to understanding the Council. I have commented previously that not more than one out of a hundred Mass going Catholics would know any more about Vatican II than it changed the Mass. I will go further now and say not more than one in a thousand would have any idea of the content of “Redemptor Hominis”, and that includes clergy.

    Some years ago, I wanted to get into a diocesan program that involved an interview with a nun. She asked me if I accepted Vatican II. I responded that I accepted all the Church’s Councils. She replied that would not do. After going around and around I finally gave in and said that I accepted Vatican II. I regret that to this day.

    I have asked in previous comments if anyone could list the MEASURABLE benefits in the Church since Vatican II – increased Mass attendance, increase in vocations, increased belief in the real presence, increased Catholic marriages, etc., etc.

    I accept that Vatican II was valid, as were the previous twenty. The question is, was it useful.
    Will we still be hearing Fifty years from now that we just haven’t realized the fruits yet?

    This whole discussion is really one that involves higher clergy and academics. Even for parish clergy the only real issue is that they are now saying the Mass in English and facing the people.

    It was mentioned in this article, or one referenced, that homilies prior to Vatican II concentrated on moral issues. Would that be such a bad thing to concentrate on today? Those homilies are not just few and far between, but pretty much nonexistent (although now that I think of it, there are Bishops and Cardinals discussing morality in terms of how to eliminate some of it in the Catechism).

  15. Pope Saint John XXIII’s opening address at the Second Vatican Council stated his intended goal:

    “The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy.”

    Has that happened?

  16. I dunno Larry I tend to agree with the young people. I used to try to teach from the documents, but found it very difficult to get anywhere due to all the sniping I would get from both the right and the left. After 60 years of endless dogfights about the meaning and “spirit” of VII, what do we have? A Church in disarray and a society without a moral compass. It’s not VII’s fault, it’s the fault of those who hijacked the council, but it’s too late to go back and fix what went wrong. We need to return to fundamentals in our teaching, preaching and liturgies. And by fundamentals, I mean the fundamentals of faith that fundamentally shape our worldview and will fundamentally transform the world. Sorry, Larry, I almost always agree with you and I get what you’re saying about the permanent validity of Ecumenical Councils, but how often do you revisit the documents of the Council of Constance, for example? They are there as deep background for what we do, but we don’t endlessly parse them. And endlessly parsing the documents of Vatican II is pre-occupying our best minds and preventing us from doing what we need to do, which is to evangelize, teach, and sanctify. BTW, I hold no brief for the Latin Mass whatsoever. I do, however, have a marked preference for reverence and validity. Thanks for reading!

  17. I’m reminded of the suggested retort to millennials or boomers who are quick to denigrate boomers: “Shut up, you do not know what you’re talking about, this discussion is for grown ups only.” Chapp does this retort here very well.

  18. I agree with Chapp here: “A de facto practical atheism undergirds all of our major institutions and molds the plausibility structures that frame our common notions of what counts as the “really real”. It is the air that we breathe; it invades and affects us in ways we cannot even completely understand.”

    If the Church and VCII aimed to counter practical atheism (ad other deadly modern ‘isms’) in *ALL* our major institutions, we surely cannot deny that VCII could not and did not inhibit some of the highest hierarchical Church members, invincibly ignorant or fully cognizant, from happily inhaling the fumes. Some members of the Church today proudly display evidence of infection. Other members cannot conceal the despicably ugly infestation among many of their own.

    Which leads to one possible conclusion congruent with another remark in Pope Saint John XXIII’s opening address. God’s purposes are inscrutable, enigmatic. Is it conceivable that God allows the current Passion of His Church because His plan requires it? Just as He allowed Jesus to die in order to resurrect, so He may permit some of His Church near enough hell’s gates so it may learn from (temporary) chastisement.

    Is the Church capable of learning from her experience?

    Pope Saint John XXIII: “…the hand of God,…is ever directing men’s efforts, whether they realize it or not, towards the fulfillment of the inscrutable designs of His providence, wisely arranging everything, EVEN ADVERSE HUMAN FORTUNE, [Emphasis added.] for the Church’s good.

    Is the Church (the human element therein) willing and able to learn?

  19. I don’t like arguments that are framed as generational warfare, because this falls into the psychological trap of the new-pagan-propaganda, which has relied enormously on subordinating the wholesome bonds of families and communities, which are essential to the purpose of tradition.

    Thus, I find Mr. Lucas’ essay at fault. To a lesser extent, but in the same sense, I think Larry Chapp’s essay here falls into this trap by responding with the same divisive generational jargon.

    My sense is that the Second Vatican Council, or V2 for short, should be regarded as one among other Councils, and certainly nothing more than that.

    Pope Benedict warned against the tendency to treat V2 as a “super-dogma.”

    And my sense is that, when essays etc simply slip into calling the Second Vatican Council, “the Council,” the implication seeps in that writers, whether unintentionally or not, are treating V2 as a “super-dogma.”

    And my sense is that this is the itch that Ross Douthat was scratching, and is, more to the point, the problem Pope Benedict XVI was warning about.

    I love the “ressourcement” ideas a animating some of the very good things in V2 documents. And I wholeheartedly agree with V2 on its statements about religious freedom (as I am against having any Sharia of any kind, whether it is the prevailing “Queer Sharia” of the polluted West, the homicidal Islamic Sharia of radical Islam, or “Catholic Sharia” seemingly desired by some who imagine a “Catholic-State”).

    V2, as given by it’s rather curious “interpretation” by Paul VI, is not something I discern to be 100% “reliable,” and “as given,” I take it “with a grain of salt.”

    And I think it is very reasonable and advisable for me to take V2 and its authors and episcopal “interpreters,” including Pope Paul VI, “with a grain of salt,” given the explicitly shifting/shifty language employed by its some of its authors and interpreters.”

    As a case in point, we can consider the “Constitution on the Liturgy” we know as “Sacrosanctum Consilium” (SC) together with its “interpretation” by Pope Paul VI. And in this case we can all read the texts, and ask ourselves whether the same Pontiff Paul VI who issued SC in 1965, was telling “the truth, and the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, when he issued SC, in light of “his own explicit interpretation” of SC issued a mere 4 years later, in November 1969.

    Now we have all heard (and some have read for themselves), over and over and over again, that SC’s explicit purposes include:

    A. “to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself.” (SC, III. 21)

    B. “That sound tradition may be retained, and…. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.” (SC, III. 23)

    C. “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” [and] “steps should be taken do that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (SC, III. 36.1; and SC, III. 54)

    D. “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even that that of any other art…. The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care…. 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.” (SC, III. 112; III. 114 and III. 116)

    Now, having read and taking seriously what is asserted in SC, we are free to inquire as to whether “the authors” and “interpreters” (i.e., the Bishops and Pope Paul VI), immediately subsequent to their 1965 issuance of SC, in facr behaved in a manner consistent with what they collectively asserted in SC, above.

    And the patently obvious answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    No indeed, not from the get go. In November 1969, just 4 scant years after issuing SC (1965), in the general audience of Pope Paul VI entitled “Changes in The Mass for Greater Apostolate,” the same Pope immediately announced that he was not abiding by SC, but rejecting it. I will quote his words, and readers can find them at the link below.


    In this address, Pope Paul VI explicitly states that he (on the advice of his new-mass-committee-chairman “His Excellency Bugnini”) has decided to throw out C and D: “It is here that the greatest newness is going yo be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass… [and] We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.”

    Candor really requires that, if we can observe the same man promising to preserve what he says are two very important things in 1965, and then a scant 4 years later hesr the same man throw them out the window, then we can admit he really didn’t mean what he said in 1965, it was just “dining room talk” for the pew-sitters, who are called “dear children.”

    And to continue on the theme of candor, we can also admit that one can conclude that Pope Paul and his “Bishops interpreting SC” did not really mean what they wrote in 1965, because we know for a fact that the new Eucharistic Prayers confected to replace the Roman Canon were not derived organically from any existing form, but were “fabricated” by Msgr. Bugnini et al, and their work was repeatedly rejected by the Bishops gathered to observe the rehearsals of the various iterations of “the new order of the Mass,” and that “great care was not taken,” in fact, it was a sloppy affair that culminated in a hastily ordered re-write of the concoctions at a coffee table in a cafe outside the Vatican, with hours to go before a papal deadline, and that this is documented by Fr. Louis Bouyer, who reluctantly accepted the horrible task.

    Do so much for V2 and its “interpretation” and its papal and episcopal interpreters, at least with regards to its wreck-ovation of the liturgy.

    Which brings us back to Ross Douthat’s point, that we are now indeed stuck with something that even V2 says it didn’t want: something that I would say is explicitly “the Paul VI interpretation of V2.”

    • You always make so much sense, and you explain that sense so very well.

      Totally agree about VCII being one among many.

      Totally agree about generational warfare—it seems like malice in the guise of Christo-central theological humanism. I don’t blame the millennial because he is a child in terms of years while boomers have had many years to go around the block and back.

      The NO’s saving grace is the presence of Our Lord. Too bad He is there treated so disrespectfully. Scripture never had a hootenanny at the foot of the Cross.

      Bugnini? He didn’t deserve Iran while Antarctica screamed for the likes of him. Paul VI? I don’t know how anyone can claim he is a saint except for a papal program like Frank’s.

    • Good points about your C) and D), but note that SC is dated Dec 4 1963 so it was six years. Also I think it fair to say the both Paul VI and Bugnini were in favour of more use of Latin than many diocesan bishops, Shehan in Baltimore banned any use of Latin in 1967.

      • Thanks Mr. Hawkins, including the calendar date on SC.

        And I appreciate your other comment above citing Fr. Fortescue, as I have his (1912?) book on the Roman Liturgy on my nightstand for a second read-through.

        Clearly, from reading Fr. F, who obviously reveres tradition, our liturgy has suffered a lot of damage by “the central committee” in Rome.

        It’s all about what I conclude (per Laszlo Dobszay) is the Roman arrogation of juridical authority, which has increasingly opted to subordinate and now cancel its own tradition, its own DNA, its very identity.

        Hence, in the Memoirs of Fr. Louis Bouyer, he notes that the “new Mass” is the handiwork of Msgr. Bugnini, who Bouyer, after experiencing Bugnini directly as a participant in the “Mass-reform-committee,” and recounting the lies and manipulations by Bugnini, called him “a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty.”

        My conclusion is that the 1970 “Pauline” production did not merely continue the sorry Roman habit, but took it down a new and self-destructive path.

    • Good analysis of the post-VII liturgical reform, which bears little resemblance to SC. One small correction: SC was promulgated in December, 1963 and the first reforms to follow on its authority took effect in Advent, 1964.

      • Yes, I recall the first use of English in Advent 1964. It was the first case of buying expensive new prayer books, which would be repeated in 1970 and 1977 and 2012…and,no doubt, in 2040 and 2070 if anything survives of the Church. A few years ago in our choir loft cupboard I found a fat envelope full of copies of “The first Mass in English”. They dated from around 1964 and looked as if they had never even been distributed once to the congregation.

  20. VII did indeed open the Church’s windows to the world – and the cultural winds of the world then rushed in and the Church embraced them uncritically. If, as Larry Chapp writes, the purpose of the Council was to engage the problem of growing unbelief, the practical result of the reforms enacted was to create many more unbelievers. Like everyone else, I can’t know what “might have happened” had the Council never been convened. But it’s beyond a stretch to believe, as Chapp and Weigel seem to argue, that the reforms imposed on the Council’s authority were in no way responsible for the destructive chaos that began even before the Council had concluded. If there are elements of the Council’s documents that might be of use in addressing our present crisis, then by all means let’s stick with them. But VII simply can’t continue as the Church’s North Star as Chapp and Weigel insist that it must.

  21. Didn’t someone already “interpret” Vatican II for us? Isn’t the Church now as it is, and doesn’t it live as it lives now, because someone foisted an interpretation of it on the Church? It’s on the tip of my tongue… rhymes with “All the Mix”… or something like that…. strange that neither Chapp nor Weigel mentions him, though…


    • WOW. To keep track or tally of all the boxing rings into which Mr. Weigel’s words have slid him, we’d run out the supply chain. I’d say you leveled one powerful KO. Thank you. ( Mr. Chapp lost a little by his commendation.)

    • Mr. DiPippo:

      That essay of yours is spot on. We are dealing with a “Paul VI fiat” covered by the veneer of authenticity and authority in the SC, which to my mind is itself laced with ambiguities and loopholes.

      In the specific topic of the communication of George Weigel, I have found it decreasing in credibility. He has a “narration” that requires what I call “pretending reality is not happening.”

      Fir example, on V2, we are all expected to pretend that Paul VI didn’t even exist, and that all of the horrific damage done to the Catholic faith is just a failure to follow V2.

      Mr. Weigel’s reliance on “auto-pilot-narration” was on full display when the so-called “McCarrick Report” was published, and he published his “JP2-defensive” essay entitled “Systemic Errors But No Smoking Gun.”

      In that pathetic essay, Mr. Weigel insisted that the reason why McCarrick was made Archbishop of Washington is because “the system” failed JP2, despite the gigantic elephant in the room (which he managed to ignore despite writing it into his own narration!), that the “regular process” for selecting Archbishops, which was done by the Congregation for Bishops, recommended against McCarrick, on the basis of negative recommendations from smong others Cardinal O’Connor, so JP2 ignored the regular process (the actual system), and set up his own “special process, and took control from the proper authority, the Congregation for Bishops, and gave control over the special process to the Secretariat of State, and (surprise!) JP2’s special process approved McCarrick.

      And George Weigel insisted from the above narration: “the system failed,” but not JP2.

      It’s just pathetic JP2 papalotry.

      I love JP2, but he personally owns some very, very big mistakes, and being seduced by McCarrick is one if them (not to mention Maciel).

      So, I do not recommend relying on George Weigel’s reasoning, as it requires “pretending reality isn’t happening.”

      • Yes, made more difficult by Weigel’s tendency to dismiss criticism with the back of his hand. As for JPII, McCarrick wasn’t his only disaster. He also appointed the likes of Mahoney, Bernardin, May Pilarczyk, Trautman, Martini, Kasper, Daneels and a certain Argentine named Jorge Bergoglio who had previously been an obscure high school chemistry teacher. Quite a roster, although it seems to leave JPII’s admirers in a an even higher state of ecstatic admiration.

        • Cannot disagree (except I don’t think you can count Trautman, who was not a Cardinal, and thus JP2 had no hand in that).

          But no matter, as the rest of the roster are, I am sorry to have to agree, “false shepherds.”

          • True, Trautman wasn’t a Cardinal, but he was in fact appointed a bishop by JPII. I’d also add Bernard Cardinal Law to that dubious honor roll.

  22. Where is the beef? I remember, two years ago, after a series of informal classes in our church on the main part of the V2 documents included in Bp Barron’s first book, we were all bedazzled by the word salad and found little to take away. Some asked, “what, exactly, is that V2 has accomplished?” The teacher proudly roared back, “To Christify the world!” Is that something unheard of in church history? Preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth? It is a good and vital matter to bring about, but a church council? Had all those learned men who came through the trials of wars and famines not heard of this? This is not worth the dignity of a response.
    Or, perhaps, it was to alert the Church to develop a Christian humanism to combat the deadly -isms of the secular world. Was that something puzzling the minds of the Church? No one in the collective minds of the secular world had thought or written persuasively about this? Perhaps someone in the whole assemblage of Bishops might have thought of the torrent of communism sweeping the world? IF they took it seriously, yes.
    Regarding the 1950s-1960s as the greatest crisis the Church has faced: Ever hear of the Arian crisis in the early Church? Doesn’t that utterly dwarf what Chapp is saying? How about the 11th century schism between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church? How about the worldly corruption of the Church in the 9th and 10th centuries? How about the enormous sexuality scandals in the last couple of decades? Ever speculate on what effects they had on evangelization? Or even retaining members? How about the loss of belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Was the popularly quaoted sentence in V2 about it being “the source and summit of the faith” enough? Given all this, I honestly can’t think Chapp was being literal about the “greatest crisis” – maybe it was a meta-phrase from those so-sophisticated French philosophes? If so, it makes interpreting everything else in the article moot.
    Finally, “we need to double down on V2’s Christo-centric message. Again, all are in favor of Christo-centrism, and have been for a very long time.
    If what Chapp wrote are the highlights of why V2 has eternal reverence I think all neutral readers would say, “I would not recommend you debating anyone at all without thinking through your arguments.”

  23. As a coda, I note the oft repeated theme that V2 is to be understood as “V2 authentically interpreted by JP2 and B16.”

    This is oft repeated by, among others, George Weigel.

    Frankly, this “framing” of V2 seems to be a theory in search of “an alternate reality.”

    For it seems to me, that the unambiguous intentions of the architects of V2 are explicitly voiced by Pope Paul VI, who we are now expected to believe is somehow a saint.

    Made a saint by decree of the Pontiff Francis, who with the same pen has decreed that the apostate Cardinal Hollerich and the apostate Cardinal McElroy will pave the road ahead for the sanctification of sodomy.

    In consideration of the above, one can understand why people of any generation might conclude that most members of the Church hierarchy, perhaps mirroring the baptized “Cat-lick” population at large, simply don’t take the faith seriously.

    Which makes the arguments about V2 seem rather odd, even to the point of using the phrase once used by George Weigel about the “liturgy wars,” which he called (some 10-12 years ago, in the print edition of First Things) “rather tiresome.”

  24. The evil one wants us to be perplexed. Jesus Christ never wants us to be confounded, but to have peace because we have answers. The earthy church is headed by men of the world. It is no surprise then the follower of Christ feels put upon. We need to seek answers from the one who created us and gives us wise eternal counsel.

    The Church is to address our spiritual needs and too many of those in authority do not know God’s word or worse do not believe it! Others have mentioned a return to the basics, yet we can’t know the basics if we don’t search for them.

    1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

    John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

    John 8:31-3 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

    Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

    A good pastor will proclaim Holy Scripture in church. He knows God has the answers to our questions.

    Pray for faithful priests and bishops. Let us be learners too, that we are a blessing to them, others and ourselves!

    • Yea verily, but whom dost thou mean: “too many of those in authority do not know God’s word or worse do not believe it!” ?

      Consider the possibility that the New Testament is more of a witness giving testimony, and that the Christ-established Church is the judge as to what the testimony actually means. Not the other way around…but rather, the written word already part of the original Tradition. Even the Scripture does not set itself up as the judge, rather it gives testimony to Christ who commissioned the apostles (and the apostolic succession), some 1,500 years before Luther set up sola Scriptura and individual “faith” as the arbiter, thereby inviting a veritable blizzard of selective quotes on every conceivable question—often offset by other quotes.

      Instead, this from “the One [the Word] who created us and gives us wise eternal counsel”:
      “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:19-20).

      But, we can all agree that latecomer Protestantism was not the first time, nor the last, that self-inflated individuals went off the narrow path. Even the “via media” (the middle way claimed by Anglicans, between Catholics and Protestants) was correctly seen to be simply on the same side as the 4th-century Arians and the 5th-century Donatists and other early split-offs. Leading to the conversion in 1845 of the Anglican John Henry Cardinal Newman. A good read, his “Apologia pro vita Sua” about his own conversion, comparable to St. Augustine’s “Confessions.”

      • Dear Peter:

        Of importance is whether you and I believe Holy Scripture! Have we developed an “allergy” to the Bible, tending to disregard it?

        The Catechism espouses the supremacy of the Bible. Scripture affirms itself! Some prefer a play on words, asserting their own interpretation of godly matters is the recognized source for truth. The inverse argument is made in the Bible. The word of God came first and has not been supplanted, despite the feeble efforts of those who would like to set God straight on matters!

        1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

        Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

        Romans 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

        Daniel 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

        Psalm 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

        One wonders what would be a creditable antithesis to God’s word?

        Yours in Christ,


        • Brother Brian,
          Your deflector shields are highly competitive with the Starship Enterprise…the Clingons can be kept at bay!

          My point, yet again and again, is that “the [scriptural?] word of God” did NOT come first. First came the Word, from all eternity, as in the then written John’s Gospel, Chapter 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…”

          This Gospel, surprise! surprise! was written by the human hands of St. John, one of the first apostles. It’s almost as if the Apostolic Church existed before the words were written into Scripture! By her members! And, not only “catalogued” in the 4th century. And, almost as if the Church is commissioned (by a thoughtful Someone!) to guard and preserve its own writings about His self-disclosure, aided by the indwelling Holy Spirit who (according to the witness of St. Luke) paid a very special visit at Pentecost.

          Another of the apostles, and writer of another of the four gospels, was St. Matthew. A disciple, Mark (writer of another gospel!) accompanied both St. Paul (in his Letters, the earliest writer!) and St. Peter. Back to Luke (a converted gentile) who gives us another gospel account and who authored the Acts of the Apostles! It’s almost as if the Acts are a record of the already-existing, early Church, committed to writing for our benefit. Yours and mine. Or, maybe Scripture just wrote itself, and the Church membership sprang up later like mushrooms…

          For those sectarians who want a divinely “dictated” (rather than “inspired”) and sola Scriptura book, very sectarian Islam makes such a claim for the Qur’an–which is regarded as eternal, even “uncreated,” and of the very essence of God. The “word made book,” supplants (I like your word selection) “the Word made flesh.”

          Forgive me if I sound impatient; I value you and your comments, and am simply trying not to be dismissed, yet again and again.

          • Dear Peter:

            The important matter is that you are not “dismissed” by God. He values you and has good plans for you!

            As we strive to honour Him and understand the direction we should go, dialogue adds to our comprehension. If we love God and allow Him to arbitrate matters of faith we grow in fellowship and reason. If the sum of an argument is matching wits, I will tend to lose the tiff. However, God never loses in a crossfire. Pride causes mankind to hold to a view even when mistaken.

            Sometimes we talk over one another’s head. We must remember that the other man is created in God’s image too. The desire to have ones point accepted can cause friction. Yet, God gives us the tools to understand and respect if we will place God as adjudicator!

            Sola Scripture! There is controversy surrounding the idea. It has been asked where do we find the premise in the Bible? on the other hand, where do we find the nod to church tradition for the conclusion of the matter?

            Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

            2 Chronicles 20:6 And said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.

            Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

            Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

            Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

            Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

            Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

            In the next post, I will attempt to address some other points that you raise.

            God bless you,


          • Dear Peter:

            Once again you attempt to draw some correlation between the Koran and the Bible. Perhaps you want to see if I am on my toes! To say there is a relationship between chalk and cheese makes no sense. To say the Koran and Bible are of the same authorship would be equally absurd.

            2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

            2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

            1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

            Roughly one third of the Koran is a paraphrase of the Bible. Yet the Koran makes gross errors leading to confusion. Islam says peace and does war. Not really war within a set place and timeframe, but constant, unremitting war against those adherents of Islam, together with the rest of the world!

            It would be helpful to get into specifics rather than broad generalizations. We can do that if anyone is interested.

            Your other points are worthy of discussion and I hope another reader will use God’s word to dissect your premise and add to the conversation.

            Your time is appreciated, I feel honoured that you respond.

            God bless you,


          • Not a correlation between the Qur’an and the Bible; but rather a correlation between sola Scriptural Christians and sola Scriptural Muslims. On a “specific” comparison and contrast between Islam and Christianity (and Secularism), let me recommend a book featured a few years back on CWR in an author interview: https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/04/29/the-mosque-the-manger-and-modernity/

            Yours truly agrees with nearly all of what the author has to say.

          • Dear Peter:

            Thank you for the link. You bring insight and pose questions that need addressing.

            It was good to reread your curriculum vitae, yes you bring a worthwhile platter to the table of knowledge.
            Carl O asked good questions, an enlightening dialogue.

            Yours truly responded to your point on sola scripture, as yet, it has not appeared. Hopefully the Moderator will approve the counteroffensive! 🙂

            Would you be willing to elaborate on your book? Perhaps you could outline a point at time and we could discuss its merits. This could be a turning point for Muslims, for alas, they follow a manmade religion that offers little to no hope for salvation.

            We may be able to engage aMuslim in conversation and to assist him! Truth is the domaine of God and it has been my experience that some Muslims rejoice to hear the truth.

            Thank you for your patience and your willingness to grapple with difficult subjects.



          • …”counteroffensive,” evasion of points made, patronizing flattery, and then a deflecting change of subject? Given this predictable pattern, yours truly must respectfully decline…

  25. I don’t believe the Council is wholly irrelevant. But Larry Chapp is a self-described universalist while George Weigel thinks it is a good thing that the Papal States were conquered by infidels (and also that Japan was nuked, but I digress). Neither of these rather rupture-y positions would have stood a chance in the preconciliar Church, so the mere invocation of these two author’s names to defend the Council (especially Weigel who is the textbook example of the kind of boomerism we aren’t buying anymore) sort of bolsters the opposing position.

    I don’t think we need to debate the value of the Council as much as we need to stop treating it as the most important reference point for anything. I’m tired of many of the teachings and traditions of the Church (even as recent as the magisteria of Leo XIII and Pius XI) being memory-holed because only encyclicals after the Council after considered relevant anymore.

    The reference to Newman and the Fathers is interesting too. One example I often give as to the transformation in Catholic religious culture is that there is far more in common between a sermon by Newman and a sermon by one of the Fathers, almost two millenia ago, than there is between a sermon by Newman and most of the best preaching you hear from good, orthodox priests today. I think the relentless “focus on the positive” of the Council and its aftermath is responsible for that. I’m sure it’s true that Newman influenced the Council in important ways, but if we were to judge just by the content of sermons today (again, even by many priests of blameless orthodoxy) vs. his time, we would almost conclude that we were in a different Christian “denomination”.

    • Let me actually clarify one thing to avoid giving a false impression about Chapp’s views – Chapp qualifies that he is a “hopeful universalist”, but he also says he finds David Bentley Hart’s arguments for hard universalism unanswerable. As with von Balthasar, many soft universalists often make the same exact arguments as hard universalists but then choose not to follow them to their logical conclusions, in order to stay within the legal bounds of orthodoxy.

      • Actually, Balthasar does not make the same arguments as the hard universalists. Which is why the universalists dislike him. Balthasar argues that we simply cannot know how many, or if any, will be damned. And therefore he argues that we can hope that all shall be saved. Especially since it is the expressed will of God that all shall be saved. Therefore, Balthasar is not simply trying to stay within the boundaries of orthodoxy by not following his own premises through to the end. Because his own premises are not the same as the universalists.

        And with regard to my statements concerning Hart: I was simply making an factual statement. I find that I cannot refute Hart’s arguments theologically. I have found them to be irrefutable in that empirical sense. I have read many attempts to refute him, but was unconvinced. That does not mean I am now a Hartian universalist. I abide by all Church doctrines in that regard. But I am still awaiting the cogent refutation of Hart’s arguments.

          • Our Lady of Fatima’s apparition is private revelation, and adds nothing to, subtracts nothing from, nor alters the Deposit of Faith in any way. It’s not binding on Catholics to accept it (even an approved apparition is not binding to be accepted). Trying to use it to prove a theological point does not work, as it has no authority. Our Lord Jesus Christ invested His authority in His Church and her Magisterium, and apparitions are not part of that.

          • Actually it is proving the points and lends them its force. The two canonized are part of the Church’s life too, who suffered for the sake of …. Fatima.

            You wouldn’t be accepting it from me; it’s just what happened, what God gave. All I have to do is pass on the information. But if I had something to add it would indeed be another matter.

        • Wonder if a follow-up discussion of Concilium vs. Communio readings of Vatican II would be of help in understanding the implementation of the Council’s decrees/ intentions?

        • Dear Dr Chapp:

          Thank you for your work at CWR, it is a blessing.

          Of vital importance to the unrepentant is the fact that God will judge the wicked. The Lake of Burning Sulphur is real and would be a ghastly end to ones eternal soul! We have a duty to tell it like it is. To try and mitigate matters does nothing to encourage the sinner to repentance, nor to save him from such peril. This of course you well understand.

          Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

          Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

          Jude 1:7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

          Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

          Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

          God makes it very simple. There are two choices and God wants us to choose life through belief in Jesus Christ and repentance that gives us a reborn spirit.

          May God continue to bestow insight and discernment on you,

          Brian Young

        • Larry: I read a lengthy excerpt from Balthasar’s Short Discourse on Hell, where he so confidently mocks the traditional non-universalist interpretations of certain Scriptural passages, that it seems he thinks we *must* interpret them in a universalist way for it not to be eisegesis. The passage is quoted about halfway through this article: https://wherepeteris.com/universalism-and-hell/

          Reading that passage it is hard to think HUvB was anything but a hard universalist at heart. He thinks that anything less than universal salvation “frustrates” God’s benevolent will.

  26. After reading these comments, I find I’m with Deacon Sommer above. We need to return to fundamentals in our teaching, preaching and liturgies.
    There’s work to be done and we need to get on it.

  27. “The remedy to our current crisis, however, is not to ignore Vatican II, but to double-down on its key Christo-centric message,”

    This isn’t going to prevent or roll back an abuse of authority like CT and the subsequent rescript. The primary problem is not proclaiming the kerygma but the institutional adoption of pagan notion of power, and Dr. Chapp is aware of this.

  28. Pope Saint John XXIII’s opening address at the Second Vatican Council stated his intended goal:

    “The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy.”

    Has that happened?

    When all is said and all is done

    Get to know Jesus
    He’s the only one
    The one who’s character
    Really shone
    Who’s truth will never be undone v
    Who’s mercy who’s justice
    who’s understanding won
    A way of life that most people shun
    While so called believers from poverty and holiness run
    While the sins of priests upon children so young
    Outweigh the truth of Gods only Son
    In cathedrals and homes of every kingdom bar one

    The kingdom of heaven the only way to follow
    Unless we are it
    There will be no place, no tomorrow

    For all the souls who seek truth
    As pure as snow
    There will be no place for them and us to call home
    and like Israel we all will continue to roam
    Upon a desolate and barren land
    Because the people of God have become so bland
    so bland and tasteless
    Lacking is salt
    They might get spat out
    and it will be their fault

    The failure to surrender
    The failure to love
    Because they really didn’t take much notice of Jesus
    the only Son sent from the Father of Love.

    c hallam

  29. When all is said and all is done

    Get to know Jesus
    He’s the only one
    The one who’s character
    Really shone
    Who’s truth will never be outdone
    Who’s mercy who’s justice
    who’s understanding won
    A way of life that most people shun
    While so called believers from poverty and holiness run
    And the sins of priests upon children so young
    Outweigh the truth of Gods only Son
    In cathedrals and homes of every kingdom bar one

    The kingdom of heaven the only way to follow
    Unless we are it
    There will be no tomorrow

    For all the souls who seek truth
    As pure as snow
    There will be no place for them and us to call home
    and like Israel we will continue to roam
    upon a desolate and barren land
    because the people of God have become so bland
    so bland and tasteless
    Lacking in salt
    They might get spat out
    Because it will be their fault

    The failure to surrender
    The failure to love
    Because they really didn’t take much notice of Jesus
    the only Son sent from the Father of Love
    so go now take notice of the grand decree
    And grow into a large and leafy salvation tree

    c hallam

  30. I am tired of it for an entirely different reason.

    Most all the folk squabbling over the assorted issues have never concretely/no-doubt experienced God, nor are they capable of showing others how to experience God. BOTH sides are the blind leading the blind.

    They are like the boys in the movie Stand By Me arguing over which super-hero, Batman or Superman could beat the other, and when one boy says Superman, another remarks that that is dumb because Suoerman is not real.

    People who have experienced God do not squabble over doctrine, practice, or commandments, because they SEE and KNOW the necessity.

    Otherwise it is only ethnic cultural memory which has NOT been able to sustain the religion in the past, nor will it be able to do so in the future. THAT is the problem.

    • “People who have experienced God do not squabble over doctrine, practice, or commandments, because they SEE and KNOW the necessity.”

      The list of people who have experience God and have argued/debated doctrine, practice, and commandments is quite long. It begins with Jesus Christ. I recommend reading the Gospels and Epistles, as well as the Acts of the Apostles.

      • I kind of understand Bob’s point. So much of the squabbling in the Church (on both sides) has nothing to do with God, but is an exercise in ego and power. I rarely see God in any of it.

      • Carl, I do believe there is a valid point to be understood in Bobs comment. The whole comment may not be “kosher”
        As you point out but to suggest Bob go and read his New Testament as you have done in your reply seems a bit aloof and smartish….. and possibly indicates an unwillingness to recognise some validity in the point Bob is making. In my words, one point being “Us and them” is a dynamic for the immature. Arguing over doctrine etc is a point that Paul referred to and the character and intent of several of the parables point to.

        • My point is not that all arguing about doctrine and practice is wholesome, thoughtful, or necessary (it obviously isn’t; I see it every day online). Rather, debates and even conflicts over such matters are often necessary and important. Church history bears this out.

          What I see more and more is that people struggle to see arguments against their views as anything more than personal attacks, even when said arguments are presented in non-personal ways.

          Bottom line: if a discussion/argument among Catholics is bothersome or angering, walk away. But let’s not act as if there aren’t legitimate reasons to make arguments, uphold doctrine, rebuff bad thinking/poor arguments, etc.

          • Sorry, but the arguing is best described as kids in a driver’s ed class arguing over laws when they have never left the driveway.

            The entire point of the religion is union with God, here and in the hereafter.

            Once the rubber meets the road, the meaning of the laws becomes abundantly clear.

            The lack of union with God is the cause of the arguments and results in disasterous decisions being made, same as putting non-drivers in charge of motor vehicle laws.

            The spiritual life requires explanations of doctrines and their necessities to attain that desired union.

            As for your advising reading scripture, I grew up in a household and school where scripture study was a requirement, along with memorization of huge swaths of it, from elementary school onward. And ALL scripture points to the necessity of that union and the consequences of not having that union, as well as the means of attaining that union. Do you think Christ would have even needed to come had people loved God with all their heart, mind, soul and strenth? Most of the arguing today is the exact same as the scribes and the pharisees and outsiders looking in. Your selections suggested readings only suggests some folk truly “got it” better than others.

          • I think your description of “arguing” is unfair. It’s also ironic, as you’re arguing about it.

            “The entire point of the religion is union with God, here and in the hereafter.”

            And that is a doctrinal assertion. If someone disagreed with you, would you respond? Would it be wrong to defend and argue about what you say is the “entire point” of Catholicism?

            It’s worth noting, I think, that I co-edited a lengthy and detailed book about union with God, titled Called to Be the Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification. And I wrote the chapters on the theme of theosis/deification in the New Testament and the Catechisms. So, I agree with you: the entire point of the Catholic Faith is to enter into life-saving, deifying union/communion with the Triune God.

          • Just to be clear, this is aimed primarily at Church leaders, as lay members are only following their examples in both the arguing and in lack of interior life. If you want a root cause analysis of most all problems in the Church and the world, there it is.

        • “In my words, one point being “Us and them” is a dynamic for the immature.”

          There’s the pot calling the kettle black again! Remember what Jesus said. “First remove the beam from your own eye…..”

          • Athanasius, May I draw your attention to these word quotes from Carls comment above:
            “ What I see more and more is that people struggle to see arguments against their views as anything more than personal attacks, even when said arguments are presented in non-personal ways.“
            Need I say more?

        • God Incarnate Himself did argue doctrine and practice, and in many ways. We may tend to focus on the overwhelming goodness, kindness, healing, saving, and charitable love that God Incarnate demonstrated. Do we also acknowledge his occasional harsh words and actions? Was the God of the Old Testament always at peace with His people? The mere fact of God Incarnate led to man’s discomfiture. [Do any of us feel entirely at ease and totally sin-free at receipt of Holy Eucharist even when it may immediately follow a full and contrite confession?] His coming led to division, and it does so still: “Get thee behind me, Satan!” He would have us be clean, and sometimes chastisement, sometimes hard love and debate/argument lead us there. Thanks be to God.

  31. What are we really accomplishing with the debate about Vatican II? Whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent towards it, the truth is our Church is in deep trouble. You can blame it on Vatican II, blame it on the hijacking of Vatican II, or blame it on Vatican II not being fully implemented; however, none of that changes the fact that something major needs to be done to correct the dangerous course the Church is on. We are 60 years post Vatican II and many Catholics have either left the Church completely or don’t attend Mass regularly. In addition, most Catholics either don’t know what the Church teaches, or if they do, they disagree. The endless hand-wringing over Vatican II does nothing to solve these problems.

    Some faithful young Catholics, as well as faithful older Catholics like myself, have found sanity and solace in traditional Catholicism, the Baltimore Catechism, traditional devotions, and the Traditional Latin Mass. I find it telling that while the Pope and certain bishops show little interest in fixing the many problems our Church faces, they act quite decisively and quickly when it comes to clamping down on anything traditional. It seems counter-productive to persecute a small group of Mass-going Catholics who embrace the Faith whole-heartedly while simultaneously advancing a progressive agenda that’s leading the Church off a cliff.

    • Lisa, I empathize completely with your sentiments regarding the tussle over particulars surrounding V2 and, like you, I have found a relief valve (so to speak) in attending the TLM (as often as possible) and engaging the old calendar. Ironically, all the tussles, though I hate them ARE the reason why I have found solace in the TLM. My breaking point was an expose by Church Militant on the Synod’s use of “Isaac the Syrian” as a guide for the spiritual component of the Synod. He was a condemned heretic whose thought was that ALL SOULS were bound for Heaven. That did it for me. I knew then that I had to apply the brakes and seek an “arms distance” from this crazy train taking over the NO church. For me, enter the SSPX (yes, I know their “status”). One has to ask, though, what type of schism is one that actually LEADS TO belief as opposed to heresy and unbelief? I could go on, but, I think my point has been made clearly enough. Without the insanity of the NO, I would have never sought out the TLM in the first place. God bless you with an ever-deeper love for Christ this Lent!

    • Exactly. We are in a mess right now, what can we do about it right now? Re-reading the documents of VII -addressed to the long-gone trends of the early 1960’sdoesn’t offer much of a solution right now.

  32. The pre-Vatican II laity failed spectacularly in Europe in the face of fascism in the 1930s and 40s. The pre Vatican II laity failed everywhere in the post WWII cultural tsunami. Their mechanistic/legalistic piety melted away in the face of the post WWII culture of leisure. Liturgical abuse? Just watch (if you can handle it) JFK’s funeral mass celebrated by Cardinal Cushing on You Tube. No wonder Protestants thought the mass was mumbo jumbo! Thank God for Vatican II!

    • Not sure how you reach these conclusions: Didn’t just about everybody fail in the face of fascism prior to WW II? Winston Churchill, who accurately took the measure of Adolf Hitler was denounced as a warmonger and banned from the BBC. I can’t see where that’s attributable to some peoples’ mechanistic/legalistic piety. As for the decade of the 1950’s conversions to the Church were coming in at floodtide. But immediately after the conclusion of the Council and the implementation of its liturgical reforms, conversions cratered and have never recovered to the pre-VII level. Why do you suppose that happened? I’ve also seen the JFK’s funeral Mass and I think it was done quite by the book and with appropriate dignity, save for Cardinal Cushing’s grating vocalisms due to his multiple throat surgeries. I can’t see how we’re vastly better of in the Church than we were back in day, whatever its imperfections.

      • I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss his points. The vast majority of those who ran roughshod over the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and introduced liturgical abuses were formed in the older Latin liturgy. And the claim that things looked great prior to the council and worse afterward somehow makes it the council’s fault falls under that logical fallacy that is refuted by the fact that correlation does not equal causation.

        For the record, liturgical abuses existed prior to the revision of the liturgy. (Altar boys who served back then have varying memories of their experiences, some good and some bad. As one friend remarked, “Woe to you if you couldn’t keep up with the twenty-five minute mumbled Mass!”) So did Eucharistic desecrations and thefts. Some Eucharistic miracles happened due to those thefts, and long before Vatican II.

        Personally, I would love to see the older liturgy widely offered, and hope that a future pope restores that. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s perfect, or the cure for whatever ails the Church. That’s just wishful thinking, not faith.

        • Well I certainly didn’t argue that the old liturgy was perfect, but it seems clear that the drive to change came not from the laity, but from a cloistered segment of the clergy. In any case, I’m not sure what your point is: Yes, of course the dissenters and vandals who ran in all directions after the Council had attended Mass in the old rite, but they clearly didn’t like it, indeed despised it. If they were “formed” by anything, it was their seminary training where, as Jacques Maritain observed in his 1966 book The Peasant of the Garrone, they read anonymously circulated modernist texts by Teilhard de Chardin and others like it. Whatever its intentions, VII had the effect of bringing the modernist radicals all together simultaneously. They were, of course, a minority, but they quickly seized the microphones, since they, far more than most of the bishops in attendance, favored reforms far more drastic than the Council’s documents actually called for. As for the Latin liturgy, it’s a particularly painful case in point: For something that in 1960 had seemed timeless and immutable to be not only gone but actually prohibited – think of that – prohibited less than 10 years later not surprisingly suggested to many ordinary churchgoers that Catholicism had become a different religion. And it was all force-fed, by clerical fiat, the laity having nary a word to say about any of it.

    • The pre-Jerusalem I hierarchy failed spectacularly in the face of our Lord’s Passion. Thank God for all 21 ecumenical councils since then!

    • John –

      The Cushing JFK Funeral Mass is embarrassing and pathetic and, frankly, disgusting.

      I wouldn’t conclude he was the norm, but then again, we can’t really know what the norm was.

      On the point about WW2 and facism, there is absolutely no reason to believe anything other than the same result would ensue with our generation the NO Mass.

      There is a gut-wrenching image from the book The Red Horse, by Eugenio Corti, whose novel retells his own real-life experience about his himself and his cousins and friends in Milan being drafted into Mussolini’s Army and forced into the war on the side of the Germans against the the Russians on the eastern front. In retreating in winter through a battlefield days after a big battle, the Italian soldiers found hundreds of slain German soldiers, and tried to gather their IDs to report the names of the dead. They found this in their pockets: half of them had rosaries; and half of them had porno.

      I can’t think of any reason why the findings would be any better, if not much worse, now.

      • Chris, Cardinal Cushing was definitely NOT the norm. He was the celebrant of the requiem Mass for JFK due to the fact that he was the archbishop of Boston and a close friend of the Kennedy family. As I’ve indicated in a couple of other comments here, his voice was as grating as it was due to multiple throat surgeries which left him barely able to speak. In my opinion, he was even more difficult to follow in English than in Latin. But no, this Mass was not at all typical for the time in which it was celebrated. Unfortunately, the many deviations and abuses associated with the NO are all too typical, as they continue to be.

        • Well, I lived back then, and the mumblety-mumble gibberish masses were in fact typical, and I’m not the only one saying it. Father Benedict Groeschel also said it, and I quote, “we didn’t have mass in Latin. We had mass in gibberish.” And I don’t care how many throat operations Cushing had, they would not have forced him to slur the words and sentences into complete nothingness. They would have affected his voice, not his articulation–and would not have forced him to race through the text at breakneck speed. You keep saying, in effect, “you didn’t see what you saw–and you didn’t hear what you heard.” Oh, yes I did.

          • Not saying that at all, just that I and many others also saw something different. Is that impossible?

  33. Vatican II. Valid, but failed? The JPII / BXVI narrative had credibility while they were in office, but seems to have lost momentum with BXVI’s unfortunate abdication. Dr. Chapp (and George Weigel, et al) keep saying “But the documents, the documents!” We can all see, however, that those who control the Church now obviously don’t share their reading of the documents. If Weigel’s book ignores the entire pontificate of Francis, would that perhaps be because he has no answer for it? The book unfortunately ignores the elephant in the room / Church and fails to speak to the needs of this moment.

  34. Respectfully, I think Chapp is talking past Lucas.

    Lucas’ point is that there are problems in the Catholic Church right now which endless arguments about Vatican II won’t fix, because the arguments over Vatican II have been the same for 50 years, have resolved nothing, and aren’t immediately relevant to the practical problems we are facing. He’s not saying VII is invalid or even knocking it: he’s saying lets talk about the problems people in the church are facing right now. As if to say: “I’m not against Vatican II, I just don’t think every argument and discussion needs to revolve solely around VII.”

    From the perspective of a young person – I’m older than Lucas but I’ve felt the same for years – the arguments about Vatican II don’t really seem to have much to do with us. Most of the intense feeling about “the council” is among people who either remember it or who lived through the near aftermath; their arguments seem to be reflective of their time, not ours.

    Because you know what, the VII argument has been decided by history: the “hermeneutic of rupture” people, who think VII was the French Revolution in the church, have lost. They lost because there isn’t a second generation of people like that. Annoyingly the first generation is in power right now but nobody under 50 who thinks like that is in the Church. Their efforts did not bear fruit.

    This means the “hermeneutic of continuity” won, but it also means that younger people want, you know, continuity. It means we don’t want a big sign saying: danger do not touch! on the pre-VII church. It means accepting all the Church’s history and traditions. (I’m aware there is a very grumpy and online reject VII faction, but such ideas won’t survive the death of the Vatican II generation).

    Chapp’s essay responds as if the Lucas essay were a radtrad attack on the counsel but as you can see it isn’t on point: the validity of the counsel really isn’t in question nor is the extent of its authority “despite” being pastoral.

    In fact the “OK Boomer” essay actually agrees with Chapp’s often stated observation about people in power in the Church now who want to implement the 1970’s, this time by force (“the 1970’s didn’t fail they just haven’t been tried”).

    (by the way Boomer is an internet term for “old people” in general, it’s not necessarily confined to the demographic of Baby Boomers)

  35. Even I myself am sick of writing about this article!

    Question: HAS ANYONE ACTUALLY READ THE Mr. Lucas’ essay in CRISIS?

    I submit it bears little resemblance to what Larry says it says. Then again, I’m a English teacher who struggles with awkward grammar. I’m not a theologian.

    • I read it more than once. I think Larry’s reading of it is sound. (I’ve dabbled in theology, writing, and editing.)

      • So long as VCII has us all enthralled, I suggest we let Hermes fly and keep Pandora confined! IOW, our differing interpretations may best keep for the future.

        Did you also read Douthat? And those commenting on his comments on their commenting?

        Blessings of Lent!

  36. Although I am 65, I have never identified with the so-called ‘boomer’ generation. Painting groups with broad brushes used to be considered something that was not good, today it seems people wear this identifying factor by the culture (media?) at large as a badge of honor or is it the need to belong? That being said as a child in Catholic grammar school in the mid to late 60s and early 70s, VII insanity transformed the Church before my very eyes. We were robbed of our inheritance of the beauty and traditions of the Catholic faith. Gone were the beautiful Sisters of Charity of Mother Seton, in their classic habits who were my first teachers. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ was all the rage as a catechetical aid. Gone was the idea that we Catholics knew anything for sure.

    It is a wonderful gift of God that the younger generation has at the ready, many places within the Church today with a firm foundation of Tradition and Dogma, not the least is the Traditional Latin Mass, to go to for support and guidance. There is so much more support for tradition and the true teaching of the Church in recent decades that they even have the ability to toss aside the very point of departure (VII) that has caused so much suffering and loss of faith for previous generations as if it is irrelevant to them and their faith. I think this is a mistake.

    The fact is that there are well placed ambiguous statements that were, and are being exploited as the ‘spirit of VII’, that are disconnected from what the Church always held,such as Freedom of Religion, Ecumenism, and not least of all is the theology of the Mass. Sticking one’s head in the sand or trying to rationalize them away is not going to do any good as these are the very points that have, and are, greatly contributing to the loss of faith and confusion among Catholics, especially the youth such as indifferentism, loss of belief in the True Presence, the reasonable hope that no one is in Hell….

    • The parish schools in my rural diocese in upstate NY almost all closed in 1971 when the teaching order of nuns pulled out of the region. My parents (now in theie eighties) had attended these schools in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, and they always said that they provided them with an inferior education, that the nuns even back then were teaching “odd” things, such that they would not have sent their own children to those schools if they had not in fact closed.
      My point being, the seeds of collapse were planted way before Vatican 2. And thus I’ve always thought that arguing about Vatican 2 is a very misguided waste of time.

      • I don’t doubt your parents’ experience, but I wonder whether it’s accurate to view the entire American Church of tat era through that particular lens. Our experience in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, for example, was quite positive and provided good preparation for students aiming to go to college.

        • (I’m not the Larry from Upstate New York, by the way.) As to why conversions have crashed since the Council, I don’t think that’s a hard question at all. It’s because the church has been a self-satire since then, and never more so than under Pope Francis. I’m not interested in defending the way things are today, because I never said that we’re doing great now. My point is to oppose efforts to idealize the before-1962 American church as some kind of garden of saints to which we need to return. It was nothing of the sort. It was a house of cards–a collapse waiting to happen. As for the rate of conversions, I’ve been unable to find detailed statistics on the web regarding the church and Catholics going back to the mid 20th century, so I won’t venture to comment until I can peruse the numbers myself. I like to know what I’m talking about before I talk. I’d appreciate it if you could steer me to where I can get those numbers. Thank you.

          • Thanks, I’m aware of which “Larry” you are. I don’t think I’m idealizing the pre-VII Church at all, just suggesting that it may have been doing something right, and wasn’t the caricature that it’s often depicted as being. What, I wonder, appealed to the many converts who came to the Church at that time? In the mad rush of reform that followed the Council, a great deal was hastily and thoughtlessly discarded. Here I apply the same standard that I do to VII: If there’s something that works keep it. If there’s something done before the Council, such as the appeal of the old rite of Mass to many people, then please allow it. I can agree with some, even possibly much of your critique of the Church pre-1962, but I can’t accept it as a package deal. Sorry, I don’t have references for conversion statistics at hand, so I’ll do some searching and let you know.

  37. Many young people today long for a deep, authentic, transcendent encounter when they turn to the Almighty in prayer. They want a liturgy that reflects the seriousness of the effort, something that helps them escape the lunacy of our present cultural crisis. Instead, they get saccharine liturgies inspired by pop culture, along with endless lectures, essays, and colloquia about the glories of the “authentic” Vatican II Council, something no one anywhere has ever experienced, apparently. This is why many youth are sick to death of hearing about Vatican II from the “boomers” who still mumble about it incessantly.

  38. “So, if Lucas is correct about Vatican II being irrelevant, then so also are the pontificates of John Paul and Benedict, since their message, as Weigel demonstrates, is the same as the Council’s message.”

    In a way, it’s all irrelevant. Last week, in my university class on Parkinson’s in France, a formerly fervent Catholic country, the image of John Paul II was flashed on the screen as an example of someone with the disease. The professor asked who he was. Nobody raised their hand with the answer.

  39. Before they began contorting VATICAN II, they had made a pact to ignore the moral law on abortion. Before that they had already been doing abortions while informally allowing defecting from prosecuting the crimes.

    Then they began making abortion legal while in the meantime criticizing and ignoring Humanae Vitae -all as if it was the way of VATICAN II to do just those (evil) things.

    To where we have arrived at this moment in time, after they made homosexuality “legally” into “marriage” (somehow); to ignore the moral law on homosexualism and sodomy. We are told we are allowed to verbally confess that “in law” the “marriage” is actually “civil union”.

    Alas, the last set just described, actually came forth from Rome. Who should instead have been witness to exposing the truth as I have now done it; and confronting the lies profess to stand as truth.

    I always held Tradition to its wisdom and it is NOT TRADITION to say or to hold, that that state of affairs and its progression, are the fault of VATICAN II. Come now.

    And when you say it is the fault of the Council “because of this way” too traditional and it is solved by “that other way” not too traditional -you add lies and untruth!

  40. I think Dr. Chapp missed the Crisis article’s main point, because he mistook Lucas’ call to ignore the council nothing more than another call to “reject” the council. It wasn’t; Lucas clearly thinks that blaming the council is just as much a waste of ink as defending the council.

    Two quotes to illustrate:
    “We wonder about the vocation crisis, the abuse crisis, and the financial crisis. We observe dwindling numbers. “Where are all the Young People™?” we cry. And everyone either blames the Council, blames those who blame the Council, or blames those who blame those who blame the Council.”

    “The contemporary debates about liturgy, theology, and politics that often appear to baby boomers to be about Vatican II are not actually about Vatican II.”

    It is silly to suggest that the author is unaware that the crisis of unbelief is still present and worse than ever. The point of the article, as I saw it a a Millennial reading it, is there are no winners in a debate about whether Vatican II failed or succeeded or fell somewhere in the middle. This doesn’t help solve any real life crisis going on right now; at best it’s too theoretical, at worse it’s evasive. (Remember, the article was directed at people obsessed with defending OR blaming the council.)

    All too often, discussions and debates that need to happen get sidetracked as soon as Vatican II is mentioned. When it devolves into squabbles about who is for or against the council, it stops being about any substantive issue, doctrinal or pastoral.

    Dr. Chapp himself even offered an example of this, with some people throwing the “anti-Vatican II” smear at popes JP2 and B16. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick that avoids the substance of a debate: as are most “if you’re against me you’re against the Council!” or “if you’re against me you’re unthinkingly blind to all criticisms of the council!” kinds of arguments.

    • Although I agree with the points that you make here, I’d simply emphasize in response how very difficult it is to move away from “THE COUNCIL,” as the exclusive frame of reference for anything has happened before or since then. As Father C. noted elsewhere in this thread, his seminary studies in preparation for the priesthood focused on VII exclusively, and absolutely nothing else. Progressives continue to reference VII as an opened-ended endorsement of whatever reform package they’re pushing in any given moment, while conservatives have nearly dogmatized the reforms enacted on the authority – in particular of the liturgy – as set in stone for all time. So if a writer such as the fellow at Crisis – who set off Larry Chapp in yet another frantic defense of VII – suggests that THE COUNCIL can no longer serve as a guide for what ails us now, you see what stiff resistance he encounters again and again.

    1. Ask yourself this: Will the documents of the Vatican II Council still be the focus of the life of the Church in 500 years from now? Will the “Vatican II renewal” and its “new springtime of the faith” still be going on 500 years from now?
    2. Probably not, right?
    3. So, that means that we all agree that at some point the Vatican II texts will fade into history, and will be mostly forgotten, as has been the case with most or all of the pastoral and liturgical documents issued by popes or councils.
    4. So, given that the Vatican II documents will one day be sort of set aside and no longer substantially adhered to, discussed, or argued about, couldn’t that “one day” turn out to be very soon, perhaps as soon as the next pope assumes seat of Peter?
    5. Couldn’t the next pope simply announce that the great experiment in ecumenism that was initated by the Vatican II Council is now ended, and the whole Church will now return to the pre-Vatican II practice of striving to convert Protestants and Eastern schismatics to the One Holy and Catholic Church, and that any Catholic who voices dissent against this policy, or acts against this policy, will be strongly disciplined per canon law? Isn’t that at least possible?

    • “… and the whole Church will now return to the pre-Vatican II practice of striving to convert Protestants and Eastern schismatics to the One Holy and Catholic Church…”

      Lumen Gentium called, and…”

      This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

      They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(12*) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged. …

      In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth. …

      Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

      As the Son was sent by the Father, so He too sent the Apostles, saying: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world”. The Church has received this solemn mandate of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and must carry it out to the very ends of the earth. Wherefore she makes the words of the Apostle her own: “Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel”, and continues unceasingly to send heralds of the Gospel until such time as the infant churches are fully established and can themselves continue the work of evangelizing. For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her part that God’s plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world. By the proclamation of the Gospel she prepares her hearers to receive and profess the faith. She gives them the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ so that through charity they may grow up into full maturity in Christ. Through her work, whatever good is in the minds and hearts of men, whatever good lies latent in the religious practices and cultures of diverse peoples, is not only saved from destruction but is also cleansed, raised up and perfected unto the glory of God, the confusion of the devil and the happiness of man. The obligation of spreading the faith is imposed on every disciple of Christ, according to his state. Although, however, all the faithful can baptize, the priest alone can complete the building up of the Body in the eucharistic sacrifice. Thus are fulfilled the words of God, spoken through His prophet: “From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof my name is great among the gentiles, and in every place a clean oblation is sacrificed and offered up in my name”. In this way the Church both prays and labors in order that the entire world may become the People of God, the Body of the Lord and the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that in Christ, the Head of all, all honor and glory may be rendered to the Creator and Father of the Universe. (LG 14-17)

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