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As the Church prepares for the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, I ask: what did Pope John hope for?; also, ‘what unites Hans Küng and Daphne McLeod’?

The answer makes gloomy reading

By on Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Pope John XXIII signs the bull convoking the Second Vatican Council (Photo: CNS)

Pope John XXIII signs the bull convoking the Second Vatican Council (Photo: CNS)

When Pope John XXIII opened the second Vatican Council on October 11 1962 he read the declaration Gaudet Mater Ecclesia before the Council Fathers. This spelled out his intentions for the Council. “In calling this vast assembly of bishops,” he said, he intended “to assert once again the Magisterium [the teaching authority of the Church] which is unfailing and endures until the end of time, in order that this Magisterium, taking into account the errors, the requirements, and the opportunities of our time, might be presented in exceptional form to all men throughout the world.”

The ecumenical councils of the Church, he declared, were the means of establishing the content of this Magisterium; but this teaching now needed to be restated in terms the modern world would understand: it was expected by the “Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world” that “the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and [the] First Vatican Council”, should take “a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.”

As the Church prepares to celebrate the Council’s 50th anniversary, we have to ask the question: were Pope John’s aspirations fulfilled by what happened in the name of the council itself? As Pope John ended his opening declaration, he did so, it is clear, with huge optimism about its mission and its anticipated achievements: “The Council now beginning,” he said, “rises in the Church like daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light. It is now only dawn. And already at this first announcement of the rising day, how much sweetness fills our heart.”

Pope John’s aspirations for the council were enunciated clearly enough. How faithful were those who came after him to what should have its spirit? He stressed, it will be noted, the importance of the great councils of the Church, and mentioned as being particularly important the Council of Trent and the first Vatican Council. Unfortunately, as we now know only too well, a considerable number of theologians took it into their heads that Pope John’s call for faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Church (and especially to those two councils) should be sidestepped: theologians like Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx declared that they and their own writings constituted a kind of alternative magisterium. The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner compared Vatican II with the Council of Jerusalem: the implication was that the council established an entirely new Church, which superseded everything that had come before. The Pope’s call for the study of doctrine “through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought” was taken to justify an actual replacement of the Church’s doctrine by modern thought, wherever these clashed: this was done, it was often declared, in the name of the spirit of Vatican II (rather than of the declarations the Council Fathers actually enunciated).

The results of this attitude, which the present Pope has called a “hermeneutic [ie a method of interpretation] of discontinuity and rupture”, can everywhere be seen. They were spelled out in The Flock recently by Daphne McLeod, who takes a gloomy view of what she believes were the results of the Council itself (rather than of prevailing distortions and misinterpretations of it):

Before Vatican II,” she writes, “we had many priests and religious and plenty of priestly and religious vocations, but now we are very short of both. It is difficult for younger Catholics to realise just how strong the Church was pre-Vatican II. For instance we were blessed to have many Religious Houses offering up constant prayer and doing much good in schools, hospitals and nursing homes. Likewise, no Catholic of the forties and fifties could have envisaged the plight of the Church today. It would have seemed to them an unimaginable catastrophe. Before this Council we had, according to Cardinal Spellman of New York, speaking in 1964, ‘the best informed laity the Church has ever had’, but now, as the Holy Father remarked in 2002 when announcing the committee who would compile the Compendium, ‘there is widespread religious ignorance’.

“Before the Council only 10-15% of Catholic school leavers lapsed – often to return later, so we kept their children when they married. Now over 90% of Catholic school leavers lapse never to return. Thus we also, inevitably, lose their children and their grandchildren.

“In pre-Vatican II days we were constantly building new churches and schools to accommodate our ever-growing Catholic population. Now we are closing many of our beautiful Catholic churches, and Catholic schools have to complete their numbers by taking in children of other faiths or none.”

But there are real questions here. They have often been asked, but are still worth asking again: how much of all this was the result of the Council itself? How much was the result of the way in which Pope John’s intentions were so cynically overridden? And how much, faced by the awesome power of modern secular culture, would have happened anyway? I have no easy answers. Some of it, however, was undoubtedly due to the cynical hijacking of the Council by theologians who were intent on reconstructing Christian belief to conform with modern thought. As a means of renewing the Church “if you can’t beat them, join them” was always doomed to failure; and it caused massive damage, damage which, I firmly believe — thanks to the last two popes — is now being undone. But there is a long way to go.

Ah, well. One amusing little fruit of these gloomy animadversions has been my discovery of something at least that firmly unites Daphne McLeod and Hans Küng: neither of them sees much to celebrate in the Council’s 50th anniversary. “Fifty ‘glorious’ years?” asks Mrs McLeod (clearly what Latin Grammars call “a question inviting a negative answer”). As for Fr Küng, who is not amused by the present Pope’s increasingly successful efforts to undo the distortions of theologians of his ilk, and who never thought that Vatican II went far enough anyway, he isn’t joining in the festivities either.

“I was honoured,” he wrote dyspeptically in May, “to receive the invitation [to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council at the German Katholikentag at Mannheim] but is one really in the mood to celebrate at a time when the Church is in such sore distress?”. “In my opinion,” says Fr Küng in his four-page reply, “here is no reason for a festive Council Gala but rather for an honest service of penance or a funeral service”. Penance, well certainly; we can all do with that. But what would Fr Küng confess, with Vatican II especially in mind? If he would like my guidance, I have one or two suggestions…

  • Parasum

    So you’ve said – and you are still mistaken.

  • Parasum

    If there’s going to be a Great Apostasy (TM), it’s going to make the fuss since V2 look like a picnic.  

    The trouble with prophecies of woe is that the prophecied woes can always be far worse than the little spots of bother that have in the meantime been mistaken for the prophecied woes. That’s why the Protestant identifications of the Pope as Antichrist are unconvincing – there are far more convincing candidates for the post. 

    Besides, there is no unmistakable indication that the world is ending; a lot of the signs people point to, have happened time and again in history.

  • Parasum

    Well, Father, actually – he’s not a layman.  

  • Parasum

    “Your opinions are replete with the notion that we, as a society, are more “advanced” than our forebears.”
    ## In many ways, we are – this is simply a fact. If God works in the world, why should it not be so ? It is not wrong to be better off in certain ways than previous generations. Our forebears were themselves “more “advanced” than [their]  forebears”. 

  • Parasum

    LOL –  I heard a variant of that. It seems to be very popular. 

  • Parasum

    “That was the time when a personal relationship with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit was taken away from the faithful.”
    ## These things are God’s – how can they be taken from those to whom God grants them ? 

  • Parasum

    They all have their uses.

  • Parasum

    The Robber Council of Ephesus in 449 (338 years before the Seventh EC, which is Nicea II in 787) was not Western – it was Eastern. And it was not Ecumenical – it was meant to be by those present, but it has never been counted among Ecumenical Councils. 

  • Parasum

    The emphasis in on “become historically and fully”. The Church is not yet “co-extensive with the world” (the words are Pius XI’s). Reaching some countries, out of many dozens, is not proof that this has happened. So although the CC is Catholic in principle, it is not yet fully Catholic in geographical extent, or in time. It has not yet fulfilled its catholicity – its catholicity in all these ways is a calling, and a goal, and a present reality; the present reality of this incomplete catholicity is the pledge that it will eventually be fully and entirely catholic in every way. 

  • Nat_ons

    LOL, but fundamentally mistaken. This kind of ‘joke’ attacks not Vatican II, or Blessed John XXIII, but the Holy Ghost .. painfully akin to the unforgivable sin, I’d say, save only that God plainly has much more of a sense of humour than many posting here. What I find most amusing in this sort of humour is its pettiness; the best cynicism is trivial about important issues, ‘camp’ is another way of looking at it – Oscar Wilde was a master at forming it into a mot juste; thank heaven that Mr Oddie finds a lively joy in Chesterton’s much more paradoxical squint at life – now that kind of humour I really do find a hoot.

  • JabbaPapa

    “Mister” is deliberate …

  • JabbaPapa

    It is the *SSPX* position that the disagreements between the Society and the Church are doctrinal in nature, the position of Rome is (far more sensibly) that the SSPX’s current status is the consequence of a failure of discipline.

    Religious Liberty as taught in Dignitatis Humanae is a contradiction of
    the teachings of Pope Gregory XVI in his encyclical Mirari vos, Pope
    Pius IX in Quanta Cura. Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei and Pope Pius XI
    in Quas Primas.

    The doctrine of Religious Liberty is the most problematic one, because it involves previously stated infallible doctrine.

    However, underlying any possible doctrinally valid solution to this particular argument lies the absolutely central dogma of Free Will.

    Religious Liberty is a necessary consequence of our Free Will.

    To complain of Vatican II contradicting Mirari Vos is quite galling, coming from people seeing these words therein : Therefore may the unity which is built upon
    the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall
    and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings. To check
    the audacity of those who attempt to infringe upon the rights of this Holy See
    or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your
    people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. As St.
    Cyprian wrote: “He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was
    founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church.” …. As St. Gelasius writes:
    “It is the papal responsibility to keep the canonical decrees in their place and
    to evaluate the precepts of previous popes so that when the times demand
    relaxation in order to rejuvenate the churches, they may be adjusted after
    diligent consideration.”

    Otherwise, the statement :

    Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the
    Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is
    spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible
    to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of
    religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter,
    you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care.
    With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one
    baptism”[16] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of
    salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the
    testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against
    Him,”[17] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him.

    … a) is of course absolutely correct b) does NOT contradict the doctrine of Religious Liberty, nor does it contradict the infallible doctrine that salvation is possible for individuals outside the Earthly Church, by the Grace and Mercy of God.

    This statement :

    This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and
    erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be
    maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though
    some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage
    accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of
    error,” as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by
    which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already
    inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly “the bottomless pit” is
    open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of
    which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of
    minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws — in other
    words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows,
    even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory
    perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion,
    license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

    … is not an infallible teaching, and Vatican II has to some extent contradicted the statement — this is perfectly within the bounds of the Authority of an Ecumenical Council, which is greater than that of a non-infallible teaching in a Papal Encyclical.

    This paragraph of Pope Gregory XVI’s writings should therefore be viewed (with all due respect and honour) as opinion, not as doctrine, given that the proper source of doctrine concerning this question is Dignitatis Humanae.

    At the very least, Catholics holding such opinions cannot due to the existence of this Encyclical be viewed as engaging in heresies.

    This opinion of that Pope : The Church has always taken action to destroy the plague of bad books is offensive and wrong. And
    This was true even in apostolic times for we read that the apostles themselves
    burned a large number of books. (Acts 19)
    is WRONG — in fact, Acts {19:18} And many believers were arriving, confessing, and announcing their deeds.

    {19:19} Then many of those who had followed odd sects brought together
    their books, and they burned them in the sight of all. And after
    determining the value of these, they found the price to be fifty
    thousand denarii.
    shows new converts to Christianity destroying their own false books of their previous false religions of their own initiative, not the Church “taking action” to do so.

    Otherwise, his statements towards the end of the Encyclical about Authority are not of course required to be held de fide, they are at least somewhat offensive to the dogma of Free Will, and they are very plainly demonstrative of the *abuses* of over-authoritarianism in the 19th Century Church.


    As for Quanta Cura, it is a condemnation of Communism, not even an infallible one, and of the false liberties that Communism pretends to provide.

    It contradicts Dignitatis Humanae not even in the slightest degree.

    In fact, Dignitatis Humanae : The demand is likewise made that constitutional limits should be set to
    the powers of government, in order that there may be no encroachment on the
    rightful freedom of the person and of associations
    actually restates the specific teachings of Quanta Cura against these sorts of political errors, and more forcibly given its greater degree of pastoral Authority.

    And Dignitatis Humanae teaches : First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to
    mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and
    come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the
    Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of
    spreading it abroad among all men
    . Thus He spoke to the Apostles: “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, teaching them to observe all
    things whatsoever I have enjoined upon you” (Matt. 28: 19-20). On their part,
    all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His
    Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it.
    This Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human
    conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force
    . The truth
    cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance
    into the mind at once quietly and with power.

    Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their
    duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society.
    Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of
    men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.

    This is a clear and unambiguous statement that all Traditional teachings of the Church on the full Primacy of the Christian and Catholic Faith are reaffirmed, and not contradicted.


    Immortale Dei :

    The right to rule is not necessarily,
    however, bound up with any special mode of government. …. Furthermore, the civil power
    must not be subservient to the advantage of any one individual or of some few
    persons, inasmuch as it was established for the common good of all
    . … It is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man’s response to
    God in faith must be free
    : no one therefore is to be forced to embrace the
    Christian faith against his own will. This doctrine is contained in the word
    of God and it was constantly proclaimed by the Fathers of the Church. The act
    of faith is of its very nature a free act.

    This is not to “contradictDignitatis Humanae … it’s to affirm exactly the same teachings !!!

    The following absolutely excellent section of that wonderful Encyclical OTOH simply needs repeating :

    24. Amongst these principles the main one
    lays down that as all men are alike by race and nature, so in like manner all
    are equal in the control of their life; that each one is so far his own master
    as to be in no sense under the rule of any other individual; that each is free
    to think on every subject just as he may choose, and to do whatever he may
    like to do; that no man has any right to rule over other men. In a society
    grounded upon such maxims all government is nothing more nor less than the
    will of the people, and the people, being under the power of itself alone, is
    alone its own ruler. It does choose, nevertheless, some to whose charge it may
    commit itself, but in such wise that it makes over to them not the right so
    much as the business of governing, to be exercised, however, in its name.
    25. The authority of God is passed over in
    silence, just as if there were no God; or as if He cared nothing for human
    society; or as if men, whether in their individual capacity or bound together
    in social relations, owed nothing to God; or as if there could be a government
    of which the whole origin and power and authority did not reside in God
    Himself. Thus, as is evident, a State becomes nothing but a multitude which is
    its own master and ruler. And since the people is declared to contain within
    itself the spring-head of all rights and of all power, it follows that the
    State does not consider itself bound by any kind of duty toward God. Moreover,
    it believes that it is not obliged to make public profession of
    any religion; or to inquire which of the very many religions is the only one
    true; or to prefer one religion to all the rest; or to show to any form of
    religion special favour; but, on the contrary, is bound to grant equal rights
    to every creed, so that public order may not be disturbed by any particular
    form of religious belief.

    26. And it is a part of this theory that all
    questions that concern religion are to be referred to private judgment; that
    every one is to be free to follow whatever religion he prefers, or none at all
    if he disapprove of all. From this the following consequences logically flow:
    that the judgment of each one’s conscience is independent of all law; that the
    most unrestrained opinions may be openly expressed as to the practice or
    omission of divine worship; and that every one has unbounded license to think
    whatever he chooses and to publish abroad whatever he thinks.

    27. Now, when the State rests on foundations
    like those just named – and for the time being they are greatly in favor – it
    readily appears into what and how unrightful a position the Church is driven.
    For, when the management of public business is in harmony with doctrines of
    such a kind, the Catholic religion is allowed a standing in civil society
    equal only, or inferior, to societies alien from it; no regard is paid to the
    laws of the Church, and she who, by the order and commission of Jesus Christ,
    has the duty of teaching all nations, finds herself forbidden to take any part
    in the instruction of the people. With reference to matters that are of
    twofold jurisdiction, they who administer the civil power lay down the law at
    their own will, and in matters that appertain to religion defiantly put aside
    the most sacred decrees of the Church. They claim jurisdiction over the
    marriages of Catholics, even over the bond as well as the unity and the
    indissolubility of matrimony. They lay hands on the goods of the clergy,
    contending that the Church cannot possess property. Lastly, they treat the
    Church with such arrogance that, rejecting entirely her title to the nature
    and rights of a perfect society, they hold that she differs in no respect from
    other societies in the State, and for this reason possesses no right nor any
    legal power of action, save that which she holds by the concession and favor
    of the government.

    This : … the
    unrestrained freedom of thinking and of openly making known one’s thoughts is
    not inherent in the rights of citizens …
    is OTOH obviously written in a time *before* the Internet Revolution :-)

    The actually doctrinal teachings of Immortale Dei are contained in its §§ 36-50 — these are the teachings that are to be held de fide by Catholics, and the teachings of Dignitatis Humanae a.

  • JabbaPapa

    Lumen Gentium , The doctrine on the Church contradicts Pope Pius XII Mystici corporis and Humani generis.

    Mystici Corporis Christi is an Apostolic Encyclical to the Popes brother Bishops and other Ordinaries.

    As such, permission is not granted to the laity, nor the vast majority of religious or clergy, to interpret its contents directly, but interpretation of its contents must be provided by those Bishops and Ordinaries, or by some higher Authorities in the Magisterium, or exceptionally by theologians.

    Nevertheless, I find its teachings not only NOT to be contradictory of Lumen Gentium — but in fact to be directly supportive of the Vatican II document !!!

    so for this
    reason above all the Church is called a body, that it is constituted by
    the coalescence of structurally untied parts, and that it has a variety of
    members reciprocally dependent
    . … One must not think, however, that this ordered or “organic”
    structure of the body of the Church contains only hierarchical elements
    … At the same time, when the Fathers of the Church sing
    the praises of this Mystical Body of Christ, with its ministries, its
    variety of ranks, its officers, it conditions, its orders, its duties,
    they are thinking not only of those who have received Holy Orders, but of
    all those too, who, following the evangelical counsels, pass their lives
    either actively among men, or hidden in the silence of the cloister, or
    who aim at combining the active and contemplative life according to their
    Institute; as also of those who, though living in the world, consecrate
    themselves wholeheartedly to spiritual or corporal works of mercy, and of
    those in the state of holy matrimony. Indeed, let this be clearly
    understood, especially in our days, fathers and mothers of families, those
    who are godparents through Baptism, and in particular those members of the
    laity who collaborate with the ecclesiastical hierarchy in spreading the
    Kingdom of the Divine Redeemer occupy an honorable, if often a lowly,
    place in the Christian community
    , and even they under the impulse of God
    and with His help, can reach the heights of supreme holiness, which, Jesus
    Christ has promised, will never be wanting to the Church. … For they, too, are
    ruled by Jesus Christ through the voice of their respective Bishops.
    Consequently, Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members
    of the Universal Church
    , for they are united by a very special bond to the
    divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called “principal
    parts of the members of the Lord;”  moreover, as far as his own
    diocese is concerned, each one as a true Shepherd feeds the flock
    entrusted to him and rules it in the name of Christ
    .  Yet in
    exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are
    subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although
    enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly
    from the same Supreme Pontiff
    . Therefore, Bishops should be revered by the
    faithful as divinely appointed successors of the Apostles,  and to
    them, even more than to the highest civil authorities should be applied
    the words: “Touch not my anointed one!”  For Bishops have
    been anointed with the chrism of the Holy Spirit. … In a natural body the principle of unity unites the parts in such a
    manner that each lacks in its own individual subsistence; on the contrary,
    in the Mystical Body the mutual union, though intrinsic, links the members
    by a bond which leaves to each the complete enjoyment of his own
    . … And if at times there appears in the Church something that indicates
    the weakness of our human nature, it should not be attributed to her
    juridical constitution, but rather to that regrettable inclination to evil
    found in each individual
    , which its Divine Founder permits even at times
    in the most exalted members of His Mystical Body, for the purpose of
    testing the virtue of the Shepherds no less than of the flocks, and that
    all may increase the merit of their Christian faith. For, as We said
    above, Christ did not wish to exclude sinners from His Church; hence if
    some of her members are suffering from spiritual maladies, that is no
    reason why we should lessen our love for the Church, but rather a reason
    why we should increase our devotion to her members.
    It seems to me to be quite ridiculous to claim this (BTW extremely beautiful) Encyclical as having some sort of “contradiction” with Lumen Gentium !!!!_______________Pius XII provides various general principles against Relativism and Modernism in Humani Generis — to claim these as “contradicting” Lumen Gentium is to base one’s opinion on the nature of that document on the conjectures of rebellion and false doctrine.

  • Af

    ## These things are God’s – how can they be taken from those to whom God grants them ?

    The book explains it. You’ll have to read it (The Nearly Perfect Crime) to find the answer, and to understand the extent of what was lost.

  • JabbaPapa

    The doctrine on Ecumenism in Lumen gentium no. 8 and Unitatis redintegratio no. 3 contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius IX in the propositions 16 and 17 of the Syllabus and also Leo XIII Satis cognitum and Pope Pius XI in Mortalium animos.

    I am really starting to wish Pope Pius IX had never published his Syllabus of Errors — all that it ever seems to achieve is to foment new Errors in its place …

    Syllabus :

    16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

    Lumen Gentium 8 does NOT teach that “man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.”

    It just DOESN’T !!!!

    Unitatis Redintegratio 3 does NOT teach that “man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.”

    It just DOESN’T !!!!

    17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

    Lumen Gentium 8 does NOT teach that “good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.”

    It just DOESN’T !!!!

    As for Unitatis Redintegratio 3, not only does it state in Quanto Conficiamur Moerere that :

    There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.

    But NOWHERE in Unitatis Redintegratio 3 does it state that there is “good hope” of eternal salvation of “all of those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ” !!!!!!!

    The constant teaching of the Church is that only the Catholic Church provides good hope of a pathway to salvation — but that salvation is an affair that is between each individual person and God, so that even those in other faiths may be granted salvation by the Almighty, in His Grace and Mercy.

    It is just simple common sense that those non-Catholic faiths having a greater degree of similarity with Catholicism are more likely to provide teachings conducive towards a successful journey through this life towards the next than those that deny the greater bulk of her doctrines.

  • JabbaPapa

    The teaching on Collegiality in Lumen gentium no 22 and no 3 Nota praevia which is the explanatory note, contradicts the teaching of the 1st Vatican Council, Pastor aeternus.

    No it bloody well DOESN’T :

    Lumen Gentium 22 : The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact.

  • Tomjones20

    May God save his church.
    Having read the articles on this website and comments that are posted leads me to the sad conclusion about the evil within today’s Church. I have never witnessed such arrogance and downright intolerance from ‘Catholics’ before.
    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love… by the same Holy Spirit may we be truly wise. The Second Vatican Council was directed by the Holy Spirit, visum est Spiritui sancti et nobis.
    “I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world”.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Second Vatican Council was directed by the Holy Spirit, visum est Spiritui sancti et nobis.
    “I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world”.

    Very true !!! :-)

    But the far larger source of arrogance and downright intolerance from ‘Catholics’ has, in recent decades, been mainly forthcoming from revisionist ultra-liberals — whose intolerance of traditional-minded Catholics (not one of these myself, as such, BTW) has been utterly BRUTAL in both scope and hubris.

    Epistle to the Galatians {6:6} And let him who is being taught the Word discuss it with him who is teaching it to him, in every good way.
    {6:7} Do not choose to wander astray. God is not to be ridiculed.
    {6:8} For whatever a man will have sown, that also shall he reap. For
    whoever sows in his flesh, from the flesh he shall also reap corruption.
    But whoever sows in the Spirit, from the Spirit he shall reap eternal

  • Gildaswiseman

    the Rhine
    Flows into the Tiber,
    Fr. Wiltgen explains that the question of collegiality, which Karl
    Rahner judged the battle crucial for the agenda of the Rhine
    countries, was the most debated one. It was caused by the controversy
    over the interpretation of collegiality, which admitted of three

    a.    The
    traditional interpretation said that the bishops’ college exercised
    supreme authority by human and not divine right. Hence, the pope
    alone enjoyed supreme power by divine right and there was no dual

    b.    The
    most liberal interpretation considered that the subject of the
    supreme power was the college of bishops together with its head, the
    pope. The latter would be simply primus
    inter pares,
    bound in conscience to follow the decisions of the college as their
    head and representative. His function would be limited to playing the
    policeman to keep order among the other members, with a synarchic and
    no longer a monarchic power, according to a thesis condemned by the

    c.    The
    moderate liberal interpretation saw the pope as possessing supreme
    power by divine right and could use it freely, whereas the episcopal
    college was not always free to use it and depended on the pope,
    although it too held it by divine right.

    pope had left the drafters free rein, though warned several times
    over of their perverse intentions, until the day when one of the
    experts committed the supreme indiscretion of putting in writing the
    interpretation which the modernists planned to draw from the
    ambiguous passages once the Council had ended. This paper fell into
    the hands of the conservatives, who carried it to the pope. Pope
    Paul, finally understanding that he had been fooled, was greatly
    moved and wept.[2]

    could be done to rectify a text accepted by the Fathers but ambiguous
    and which laid waste to the divine constitution of the Church? The
    pope ordered an appendix to be included in a Nota explicativa
    praevia which excluded the heretical interpretation.[3] The
    Catholic doctrine had been saved, in extremis, at least
    as regards the constitution of the Church. Nonetheless, the addition
    of such a note will ever remain an eloquent testimony to the
    ambiguity of the conciliar texts.

    despite all these clarifications, some ambiguity remains as to the
    subject of power in the Church.

    In virtue of his
    office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church,
    the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the
    Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of
    bishops… is also the subject [subjectum quoque]
    of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we
    understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and
    never without this head.[4]

    what is object of controversy is the unicity of the ecclesiastical
    power defined at Vatican I “…to Peter alone, before the other
    apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true
    and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ.”[5] Although the
    text of Lumen Gentium appears rather innocuous, its
    ambiguity was officially recognized by Msgr. Pietro Parente, the
    Council relator of the theological commission whose role was to
    clarify the sense of the declaration.[6] In this text, the SSPX
    objects two things:

    1.    There
    is ambiguity as to the distinction of powers: The
    power given to Peter (Mt 16) and to His Apostles (Mt 18) of binding
    and loosing, although of the same nature, is not the same in order
    and extension. That of the Apostles is subordinate and restricted
    whereas Peter’s power alone is supreme and universal. Hence the
    power of bishops’ college is not on a par with that of the pope.
    Nor can we say that when together, it is another subject
    properly speaking because, when the body of the bishops is joined to
    the pope as subject of the universal supreme power, this subject is
    only materially distinct from the pope alone, but formally identical
    to the him as subject of the primacy.

    2.    There
    is ambiguity as to as to the unicity of the subject of the
    Primacy: Although
    the Nota
    Praevia clarifies
    that the pope alone can have an autonomous power, it does not take
    away the ambiguity of Lumen
    Gentium as
    to his exercise when he acts with the episcopal college. What
    prevents the understanding of these texts in the ‘moderate liberal’
    sense – stating that the pope is theconditio
    sine qua non,
    authorizing the exercise of full powers – and yet, acting as the
    chairman simply consenting to the college decisions? This would
    constitute primo
    et per se,
    that is formally, a second subject of the primacy, besides the pope
    alone. This would create a breach in the divine constitution of the
    Church, leaving the door open to a ‘diarchy.’

    it rash to say that these democratizing theories brought about the
    dismembering of personal episcopal power? Some texts of Vatican II
    raise doubts as to the effective exercise of this power along
    democratic lines:

    It is often impossible,
    nowadays especially, for bishops to exercise their office suitably
    and fruitfully unless they establish closer understanding and
    cooperation with other bishops.[7]

    bishops’ personal authority was henceforth torn between the
    authority of the pope and that of the powerful episcopal conferences,
    creating a situation which threatened to ruin the Church.

    As an individual bishop
    I am absolutely powerless. Matters have been so arranged in the
    Church today, that an appeal by a bishop would be ridiculed as well
    as going unheard.[8] Almost all synods, diocesan or national, have
    tended to assert their independence and taken up ideas and made
    proposals at odds with the stated policy of the Holy See, requesting
    such things as the ordination of married men, and of women,
    Eucharistic communion with separated Christian brethren, and the
    admission of bigamous divorced people to the sacraments.[9]

    is most urgently needed is a pope who believes in his papal power.


    Pius VI in 1786 against [Joseph Valentine] Eybel [a canonist –
    Ed.], who claimed that “Christ willed that the Church be
    administered after the model of a republic…The power of the pope is
    limited to the sole prerogative of supplying for the negligence of
    the others.”

    Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, p.232.

    It indicates that the college – lacking any permanent mode of
    existence – “only occasionally… engages in strictly collegiate
    activity, and that only with the consent of its head,”

    4 Lumen
    Gentium #22.

    5 Denzinger 1822;

    Msgr. Pietro Parente, “Relatio circa Caput III, #22-27”, in Acta
    synodalia sacrosancti concilii oecumenici vaticani II, vol. VIII,
    pars III, p. 72.

    7 Christus
    Dominus #37.

    Romano Amerio, Iota
    p. 234.

    9 Ibid.,
    no. 232.

  • JabbaPapa

    Yes, well — meanwhile in the real world :

    Lumen Gentium 22 : The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact.

  • Gildaswiseman

    1) Mortalium Animos is a Pastoral Encyclical, and as such its Authority is subservient to that of any Ecumenical Council
    According to a recent CNS article on the SSPX and the Vatican, Cardinal Brandmuller says:[1]“There is a huge difference between a great constitution,” like the Vatican II constitutions on the church, the liturgy and divine revelation, “and simple declarations,” like the Vatican II declarations on Christian education and the mass media.”Strangely enough, the two most controversial documents” for the SSPX – those on religious freedom and on relations with non-Christians – “do not have a binding doctrinal content, so one can dialogue about them,” the cardinal said.Here we have yet another prelate re-emphasizing the fact that the texts of the Second Vatican Council are not binding. Though these admissions would have been welcome even earlier, the growing number of such statements shows that perhaps the wind is starting to blow in a different direction. One can imagine how much differently the 1970’s and 1980’s may have been if one did not have to pretend that Vatican II contained the same doctrinal content as Nicea or Trent.The 16 texts of Vatican II are titled in different ways. Here are a few examples among the most controversial texts: Some are called: Dogmatic Constitution (Lumen Gentium), Decree (Unitatis Redintegratio) Declaration (Dignitatis Humane; Nostra Aetate), and Pastoral Constitution (Gaudium et Spes.)Obviously they do not have the same value and the same level of importance. For instance, the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium speaks about the nature and definition of the Church whereas its equivalent, Gaudium et Spes, speaks of the Church in its relation with the present world.This being said, clarity is still needed as to the clear theological category or qualification of each group of texts. The documents of Vatican II, in many cases, remain an enigma to theologians with no key to open them and clarify things. We are in the midst of a fog with no way to distinguish.Cardinal Brandmuller’s statement, however, needs to be nuanced. It is fair enough to say that Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate are the target of the SSPX and it is fair to say that Archbishop Lefebvre refused to sign two of these “minor” documents (Dignitatis Humanae and Gaudium et Spes). It is not so fair to give the impression that, having reduced the value of the declarations, all will be wonderful with the SSPX. Indeed, Cardinal Brandmuller almost implies the ability to continue informal doctrinal criticisms by insisting on the non-binding nature of these documents.Our objections to Vatican II remain. To cite only one: in Lumen Gentium, we object very strongly to collegiality as expressed in #22, and to the famous phrase “subsistit in” (#8), which paves the way to the ecumenism of Unitatis Redintegratio, a very ecumenical decree to which our objections are known.All the key theologians involved with the neo-modernist movements (Rahner, Congar and de Lubac) themselves admitted the extreme importance of these changes which the SSPX objects to, whether they belonged to constitutions or decrees or simply pastoral texts. For instance, the seemingly minimal text ofGaudium et Spes was for de Lubac the one which best revealed the spirit of the Council. The declaration of Dignitatis Humanae was for Rahner one of the most important achievements of Vatican II.But perhaps their time has come and gone. Has a more candid analysis of the post-conciliar situation of the Church led those like Cardinal Brandmuller to admit the possibility of discussing the texts of the Council? If he is not the first to say so, let us at least hope he is not the last.Footnote1 Published by Cindy Wooden on May 21, 2012 under the title, “Regarding SSPX, Vatican officials discuss levels of church teaching”. 

  • JabbaPapa

    There is nothing illicit in this opinion, nor is it incompatible with any pre-Vatican II, Vatican II, or post-Vatican II doctrines that I am aware of — with the exception of the opinion on “subsistit in”.

    Our objections to Vatican II remain. To cite only one: in Lumen Gentium, we object very strongly to collegiality as expressed in #22, and to the famous phrase “subsistit in” (#8), which paves the way to the ecumenism of Unitatis Redintegratio, a very ecumenical decree to which our objections are known.

    It is quite possible to object to the doctrine of Collegiality.

    The verb “subsistit in” is not dogmatically problematic, whatever your feelings might be about ecumenism.

    The Truth of Revelation *does* in fact subsist in the Roman Catholic Church — the consequence of this teaching is that it does not subsist elsewhere.

    It is possible to disagree with the current teachings on Ecumenism, because apart from some very minimalistic doctrinal definitions on the nature of ecumenism, not themselves problematic as such, the vast majority of them are purely pastoral in nature, and can therefore be freely questioned by Catholics.

  • ChrisMcDonnell

    Cardinal Martini concluded his final published interview with these words.“I have a question for
    you: What can you do for the Church?”

     That phrase is reminiscent of Kennedy’s inauguration speech in 1960.“Ask not what your country can do for you but  ask what you can do for your country”

    Martini’s question is one that we should all ask of ourselves for these are difficult days
    for each one of us. The tensions and strains within the Church are only too evident and for many, the dissident voices are a challenge to faith. But then the society in which we live is no easy place to rest your head. Many here in UK will remember the street disturbances that swept some of our cities in August 2011. Not in any way excusable but symptomatic of a great grievance and pain, a
    loss of direction, the lack of jobs and the paucity of hope.
    So we must, individually and collectively, ask ourselves that question, and having asked it look for, listen for and seek an answer. We might also paraphrase Reuben Feurestien, a professor of education who wrote many years ago:

    If there are limits, I don’t know them. And when we are not able to make a child function, then we have some kind of stiff finger which goes only in one direction: “it’s his fault” One of the great problems is to make that stiff finger more flexible, towards oneself, towards society, towards the
    teacher: “Have I done all I need in order to change the child?”

    Replace “the child” by “the church” and “the teacher” by each one of us, members of the church and then it begins to take on a different complexion.

    We are where we are, how we got there is the experience of a pilgrim church. But all of us have a responsibility to take the next steps and if that means raising a critical voice, in charity, then so be it. But always in charity. Some contributors to the blogosphere seem to forget this. May Carlo Martini rest in the peace of the Lord.
    Chris McDonnell

  • Tomjones20

      I am saddened that anyone should feel hurt within the Church. So I measure the strength of your feeling.
    Judge not, lest you be judged


  • JabbaPapa

    I judge no-one — I am not God.

  • Kammbo

    The Roman Catholic Church has ceased to be European and has
    become truly universal. That has implications for its style of leadership; the
    Church must bring the bishops fully into government.

    That is the theme of this essay by the late Cardinal König
    published as part of a commemorative volume for the 150th anniversary of the
    Austrian Catholic Bishop’s Conference.

    This article appeared in The Tablet on 27 March 1999.


    To cope with a rapidly changing world, the Catholic Church
    has to preserve its unity. But it also has to develop Catholic diversity. What
    style of leadership will enable it to do this? From the point of view of
    ecumenical endeavour, the very existence and exercise of Roman primacy are the
    real difficulty, but

    how can or should the present structure of command, which in
    the past century has become so centralised, be amended or improved?


    A gradual decentralisation is needed, so as to strengthen
    the concern and responsibility of the college of bishops for the whole Church,
    under and with the Petrine office. That was the direction specified at the
    Second Vatican Council. At the same time, the competence of individual bishops
    both locally and regionally needs to be strengthened too, for they are the
    shepherds of their local Churches, the vicars of Christ in their own dioceses.
    That is why Vatican II described the Church as a communion of local Churches.


    the Vatican authorities
    have striven to take back autonomy and central leadership for themselves. The
    intentions of Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum have not been realised. The style
    of leadership of the universal Church which is being practised today is not
    entirely in keeping with the council’s intentions.


    He was no doubt implying that the principle of subsidiarity
    could be given more importance in Catholic associations. And the same applied
    to dioceses, religious orders and other church communities. Averting centralism
    within the Church, as Gundlach saw it, implied thinking about giving more scope
    to lay persons. Long before the Second Vatican Council and its Lumen Gentium
    text, Gundlach was of the opinion that laity should be entrusted with tasks
    that they could carry out as well as, or better than, priests, and that, with a
    view to the Church’s general well-being they should be “free to act and take on


    Lumen Gentium 27 makes it quite clear that, the bishops are
    not the Pope’s emissaries, nor are they here, as some maintain, to carry out
    the Pope’s instructions. They are not to be regarded, the conciliar document
    states, as vicars of the Roman pontiff (meaning the incumbent Bishop of Rome),
    “for they exercise a power which they possess in their own right and are
    most truly said to be at the head of the people whom they govern. Consequently,
    their authority, far from being damaged by the supreme and universal power, is
    in fact defended, upheld and strengthened by it.”


    Today, however, we have an inflated centralism. The issue is
    twofold, as I have demonstrated. On the one hand, we have to strengthen the
    bishops’ collegial concern and responsibility for the whole Church in
    accordance with Vatican II. On the other, we have to cease restricting the
    competence of local and regional bishops as church leaders. That means amongst
    other things that bishops must have a say in episcopal appointments, in
    accordance with the principle of subsidiarity – that nothing should be done at
    a higher level which can be done at a lower level. It also means giving the
    bishops’ conferences a more precise role and function.


    I repeat that it is not a case of seeking to eliminate the
    Roman pope as the guarantee and symbol of unity, as the Roman Curia fears.
    Without a pope, we should all be in trouble. Who else could have convoked a
    Second Vatican Council other than Pope John XXIII? Who else could have spoken
    out so effectively at the international level on human rights, human freedom
    and dignity with regard to Christ’s message, other than Pope John Paul II? What
    we have we to do, rather, is to discover a new form of government  – that is to say, rediscover the old form -
    which is particularly favourable to ecumenical concerns. Unless the episcopal
    college is made responsible in conjunction the Pope, neither the Orthodox nor
    the Anglicans nor the Protestants will consider any practical steps towards


    We have to return to the decentralised form of the Church’s
    command structure as practised in earlier centuries. That, for the world
    Church, is the dictate of today.


    The great majority of bishops at Vatican II (with the Pope)
    formulated the teaching that the world’s bishops were to govern the Catholic
    Church, but always together with the Bishop of Rome. This was no novelty, but a
    recovery of practice in the early Church. There would need to be representation
    in some way and a ‘Senate’ of bishops in Rome,
    with the Pope, was seen as a practical way forward. The Roman Curia, officially
    as a civil service was to be fashioned to serve both Pope and bishops governing
    as a ‘college’. Over forty years after the close of the Council, the civil
    service has tightened its grip on power over the rightful government: the
    world’s Catholic bishops, always with the Pope.


    In the early centuries the Church’s acceptance of the
    vernacular Latin for its liturgy contributed to the spread of the Christian
    faith, but its continued use of Latin long after it became a dead language
    blighted the health of the Church until Vatican II when the use of vernacular
    languages brought new life to our liturgy. Recent decisions by the Vatican
    are a major set-back for the health of the Church in this area.


    When one goes beyond the so-called ‘deposit of faith’ to the
    gospel itself, it is helpful to remember that God’s word is a living word that
    becomes incarnate in every culture and is alive and new each day. It is not
    only gift, but challenge. It is alive in itself, but Christians are called to
    make it come alive in their own culture. This means that while the same
    Christian faith can be found in all areas of the world, there is room and need
    for a variety of theologies to express and explain it. All of these theologies
    will be culturally and historically conditioned. The Church is enriched by the
    presence of Indian, Asian and African theologies, black theology, feminist
    theology and liberation theology. The movement from classical to historical
    consciousness means recognising that our personal identity is conditioned by
    our culture and history, and learning to read the ‘signs of the times’ and
    discover seeds of the gospel in that culture. The gospel is not a frozen
    package handed down from the past, but a living word that comes alive in each
    new culture, and a saving word that takes flesh in the complexity and messiness
    of everyday human life. Our statements of faith and our discernment in morals
    must reflect this reality, and that will be the measure of their truth. There
    is no need to criticise the past in the light of recent developments. Former
    teaching may have been appropriate in its time and place, but uncritical
    repetition of it is a disservice to the gospel.


    There is a definite tendency to minimise liturgical changes,
    which are the more visible results of the Council. The Latin Mass is again
    promulgated. There is nothing wrong with the Latin Mass as such, but it would
    have been better not to forbid it in the first place. Now its return is seen by
    both the conservative and the progressive side of the church as a symbol of
    going back to pre-conciliar modes of thought. Even the new English translation
    of the Mass which is to be foisted on us has gone back to its Latin roots,
    become less meaningful and more distant from the people.


    Is the sex scandal and much else wrong in the Church
    principally, or substantially a symptom of the failure by the Vatican to
    implement vital elements of teaching in the Second Vatican Council? The
    Council’s decisions produced the most solemn teaching in the Catholic Church
    and this is a theme to which the website must return regularly. This is only
    partly because most of the remedies currently aired (tentatively) for our
    present crises were formulated, at least in embryo in the teachings of the
    Council. Rarely mentioned is the fact that each bishop in communion with the
    Bishop of Rome is himself a “Vicar of Christ”. Always with the pope, the
    world’s bishops are responsible for governing the Church (collegiality). They
    are not his district managers. It is encouraging that we are joining with and
    can welcome a group with a near-identical purpose (see The whole issue of sex and marriage is but one
    issue – now in sharp focus – needing attention and could fall into place given
    the wider reforms proposed by the Council. Responsibilities for the distortions
    of Vatican II must come under scrutiny.  HK


  • Jane

    The Vatican says Vatican II did not invalidate past doctrines. “What was, still is.” -Pope Paul VI (pope during Vatican II)

    The current Pope now allows the Latin mass. Read the documents of Vatican II. Both English and Latin were supposed to be allowed.

    The current Pope only gives communion to people kneeling and on the tongue. Traditional and awesome enough?