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Debate: Should we be celebrating the Second Vatican Council?

Or should we be urgently seeking to fix the damage it did to the Church?

By on Thursday, 4 October 2012

Bishops gathered in St Peter's for the Second Vatican Council (Photo: CNS)

Bishops gathered in St Peter's for the Second Vatican Council (Photo: CNS)

Next week Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council with a Mass starting the Year of Faith. Joining him will be the surviving Fathers of the Council and the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences.

For many people, though, the Council is no cause for celebration. Daphne McLeod, of Catholic group Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, sees it as a disaster leading to widespread ignorance about the faith, a decline in vocations and a rise in Catholics leaving the Church.

On the other hand, the Council cannot be blamed for everything bad that has happened to the Church since 1965. And it had, some Catholics would argue, concrete achievements, such as its declaration on religious freedom, and its opening the door to an undreamt of era of ecumenism. It also dramatically improved relations with Judaism.

So, should we be celebrating the Second Vatican Council? Or should we be seeking, instead, to fix the damage it did to the Church?

  • maureen clarke,

    What a stupid question.I cant see how any damage has been done only good.The decline in vocations is surely down to the sexual abuse scandal and cover up that followed.ecumenism is a wonderful thing and should be cherished as is freedom of thought,free discussion and an end to hypocricy

  • Multitasking Litigator


  • Bob Hayes

    Should we listen to what the Holy Father has to say on the subject or should we disregard the Successor to Peter and proclaim our personal views to be the one and only true understanding of the Second Vatican Council and its consequences?

  • Giles

    You mean the sexual abuse scandals that really began to hit the headlines around the turn of the century? …35 years after the close of the Council??

  • Just_a_simpleton

    It was not the Council that did the damage, but the so-called “Spirit of the Council” which was really an anti-Spirit.   If we read the texts and live the Catholic faith they proclaim we will all be better Catholics.  Let us pray that this year of faith leads to greater fidelity to what was actually taught by the Council.

  • Robert

    Vocations: yes two from our parish this year but neither are likely celebrate the Novus Ordo.
    In France Frejus Toulin has as many vocations as the rest France bar Paris but then again half of its clergy will opt to say the Traditional Mass.

  • johnny

    both. Council = good. Reception of the Council = bad (not entirely of course but there were a lot of problems and a lot of confusion. a lot of which we still have). Celebrate the Council. Fix the reception of the Council. 

  • Robert

    “It was not the Council that did the damage, but the so-called “Spirit of the Council” which was really an anti-Spirit. “Is this true or a myth? Read the documents.

    Card Ratzinger described Lumen Gentium as Pelagian

  • Benedict Carter

    Well done for having this debate! That in itself is a hopeful sign that i for one am grateful for.

    I await the trotting out here all the Vatican II myths and legends (for so they are) from all the nu-Church Catholics as to the cruel and nasty pre-Vatican II Church, myths and legends propagated quite deliberately by those who have become, in actuality, fellow-travellors with the Church’s enemies. 

    Vatican II was high-jacked by a German-based group of bishops and periti who all held views that had been condemned by the Magisterium over many decades prior to the Council. This group high-jacked the Council, through out its prepared agenda and implemented a programme of Revolution that has eviscerated the Catholic Church.

    I await that blessed future day when whoever is the Pope abrogates this cuckoo in the Catholic nest, this victory of neo-protestantism, this vehicle of Revolution, and all the post-Council Magisterium based upon it. 

    Its documents, by the grace of God, are not dogmatically binding upon the Faithful (those who are left lurking in the rubble). They are vague mish-mashes of contrary assertions and dreary committee-speak which can easily 9and have been) interpreted in a heterodox manner. 

    We have a neo-protestant Council which ushered in a neo-protestant “Mass” and a neo-protestant nu-Church. all these have to be consigned to the dustbin along with the New Theology that gave rise to all three. 

    Fr. Malachi Martin once said that the complete collapse of the Church in the ten years following Vatican II can only be explained theologically-speaking by the fact that God had withdrawn Grace. I am very often strongly tempted to agree with him.

    There are no good fruits of the Vatican II Revolution. It’s a rotten tree and should be thrown into the fire, as Our Lord said.

  • Benedict Carter

    Being a Catholic does not demand that we make ourselves guilty of Papolatry. The moment the Pope dogmatically tells us what these vague and dangerous documents mean, once and for all, I will be the first to fall in line. 

    Until he does that, ALL Catholics are bound to stay with the prior Magisterium. Scripture itself warns us to stay away from ALL doctrinal innovations and treat innovators as wolves. 

    This is what the Traditionalist does, and he is the better, more faithful Catholic as a result. 

  • teigitur

    It had some good points. But the way the Novus Ordo Mass was forced on the Church by a few prelates was a disgrace and has done lasting damage. Not just vocations but Church attendance at an all time low. Save the Liturgy, save the Church, and the world.

  • teigitur

    This is the way ahead I hope!

  • Nat_ons

    A terrifying question, but a good thing to contemplate .. if not so pleasant to answer. The Holy Ghost is God, and God shall not be mocked; thus, if the church catholic truly the body of Christ, and its authoritative Magisterium is actually drawn together in Council by Him, then it is He who speaks (not men only). If one seeks to diminish this authentic, pastoral, and magisterial Council – deeming it to be a source of evil – one sets oneself not against men but God; what many (not least the wonderful Daphne McLeod) do not often acknowledge is that the Spirit of God does indeed move in mysterious ways .. not least in treatment of systemic disease in the body of the Church, a wonder that He must perform.

    It was the woeful and occult infection of modernism already pervading the Church that had to be faced, engaged with, and to be emerged from victorious .. or for the Church to be shown up – plainly – as something other than Christ’s ‘one body with one Spirit’. And only by the most intrusive of treatments could such an insidious and deep-seated ailment be addressed properly – in anything more than a superficially authoritative (yet easily ignored) papal teaching; hence, the terrible course of treatment we have had to endure in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Like a painful incision and a distasteful poultice, drawing out all pustulant degeneration together with the wasting yet beneficial action of chemotherapy, the underlying sickness of modernist heresy has been exposed, it is still being treated in Christ’s body, and thankfully this body already shows signs of recovery (in fact, something little less than another utterly unexpected miraculous healing is happening right before our eyes).

    I suspect few who attack the Second Vatican Council want to engage with its stated purposes, and not without some good reason .. for even while it was in progress the very course of the disease that needed treatment seemed to have overwhelmed the apparently health body upon which it was feeding. Nonetheless, by not engaging with what the Second Vatican Council was for – to look the modern world, its modernising adherents, and the heresy of modernism squarely and honestly, without flinching – is to allow men to wrench the Council from the Holy Ghost; having faced many of those who did and still do desire to wrench the Church from its Advocate’s way of working, the Sacred Tradition of Living Faith, I can understand any reluctance to engage. Yet it was for this very purpose the the Prayer to Saint Michael was revealed, and dutifully given to us by Pope Leo XIII, to engage with the wiles of the Devil; for Satan does not tempt with things that we would not desire rather only with things that do seem good to us (not least freedom, individuality, spontaneity et al); the many men and women who sought to ‘improve’ the condition of the church catholic by reaching out to the errors, needs and opportunities of the Post-War world were fired with a genuine desire to do what they thought best .. and that was their greatest error, equating their ‘best’ with the purpose of the Spirit .. other rather more malign powers were at work and swiftly turned good intention into a broad way to hell (e.g. disobedience, pride, now-ism).

    If one can celebrate a diagnosis of disease, a horrifying course of treatment, and its prescription then the Second Vatican Council certainly needs to be celebrated.

    If one does not want to celebrate the signs of a recovery and its vital growth after such a mortal struggle, then one must ponder on one’s own heart.

    If one takes the time to understand what the Holy Ghost was about – in using this odd vehicle of treatment – there’s plenty to celebrate.

    “A positive proof of the Catholic Church’s vitality is furnished by every single council held in the long course of the centuries — by the twenty ecumenical councils as well as by the many thousands of memorable regional and provincial ones emblazoned on the scroll of history. 
    And now the Church must once more reaffirm that teaching authority of hers which never fails, but will endure until the end of time. For that was Our reason for calling this most authoritative assembly, and We address you now as the humble successor, the latest born, of this Prince of Apostles. The present Council is a special, worldwide manifestation by the Church of her teaching office, exercised in taking account of the errors, needs and opportunities of our day.” Blessed John XXIII, Opening Address to the Second Vatican Council.

  • Benedict Carter

    The collapse in vocations started as the Council finished. The sex abuse scandal came to light 30 years later. Therefore, of the two, the Council clearly is more likely to be the culprit, no?

  • Benedict Carter

    Yes Giles, the ignorance is astonishing.

  • Benedict Carter

    This thread Robert will be full of this line … it was the spirit of the Council. 

    But the spirit of the Council arises from its documents and all the abuses that have followed, not only liturgical, can be traced back to this or that Constitution or other document. 

  • Benedict Carter

    The medical nightmare you paint above contains what point, exactly? 

    Modernism  has been excised from the Church’s life … by surrendering to Modernism?

  • Benedict Carter

    So let’s get rid of the Nervous Ordure and go back to the Old Mass. The NO has nothing to do with the Council’s document on the Mass, does it? 

    Or does it? In fact, yes it does. That document contains a whole series of “time-bombs”, deliberately planted, which were then used by the Revolutionaries to drive through a manufactured Mass, created by Bugnini and six protestant “observers” (who by their own admission did a great deal more than observe). 

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    I don’t need to read any more books about this Council to know that it was rotten through and through. 

  • Jcstubbs

    I would rather we just forgot about this Council, filing it next to Lateran IV (exactly). Lets just get on with believing what Catholics have always believed and living as Catholics have always lived.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    Vatican II is what opened the Pandora’s box to the “spirit of Vatican II” in the first place. Without the one there would not have been the other, a mess like the one we have experienced based on the “spirit of the Council of Trent” not being even thinkable.

    V II was the naive attempt of throwing oneself down a cliff hoping to stop in mid-air. It doesn’t work. If you put in the head of the people strange ideas about “aggiornamento” you can clearly see what is coming to you.

    Pope Benedict still clings to V II, the same way as Gorbachev thought that perestroika would actually succeed in reforming the Communist Party. He is a man still wedded to the dangerous theology of his youth. One can’t expect from him the decisive action his successors will, if you ask me, most certainly embrace.

    V II does not work not because it is evil in itself, but because it *unleashes the evil within the Church*. It is like a teacher saying to his pupils that from now on the enforcement of school discipline will be substituted by self-government, and then being surprised of the chaos that ensues and claiming that hey, the idea was brilliant nonetheless.

    V II will die. It is already a walking corpse whose too many deficiencies are only too apparent to those who know (and this is an important point) the beauty of the pre-Vatican liturgy and authentic Catholic mentality.

    In 50 years time, I doubt that we will have anything at all left of this drunkenness and V II will be remembered in the same way as we now see the horrible concrete monsters built in the Sixties, at the time considered so modern but now being demolished. Nobody misses these buildings and no-one will miss V II.

    This is what in the end V II is. A horrible concrete building sitting in the middle of Church life; once thought beautiful but now increasingly recognised as an embarrassing eyesore; and not demolished yet just because the architects are in their dotage and still cling to the monster.

    Also please consider this: V II was a purely pastoral council, it took no new doctrinal decisions, it defined no dogmas etc. It made unclear and muddled what used to be crystal clear. It made chaotic what was orderly. One can put all of it into the rubbish bin and no damage done.

  • paulpriest

    There is little profundity in the Council documents – what was of any worth had been said many times before in wiser, more erudite and more evocatively beautiful ways.

    You know the saying of the camel being what the arab stallion would look like if it had been designed by a committee ?
    That’s V2 – [to mix metaphors] a vengeance rocket which gave us the hump!…

    Sure it had its inspired moments – certainly it fought the conciliarity corner [and His Holiness was right to promote Apostolic dignity] but it failed to recognise that the power of the Apostle is in their spiritual power – thus what was wrought was a perversion and corruption via earthly power – and Bishops Conferences telling His Holiness to go forth and multiply while parishes crumbled, dioceses were guilty of profligacy and gross negligence..and tens of millions within future generations were ostracized abandoned and left to the wolves…and let’s not forget most of the clerical abuse cover-ups were caused by tin-pot puppet master Bishops wanting to be masters of their own domain…..

    But it can’t be blamed for ‘the Spirit of Vatican II’ – that’s a different story…

    [from The Insulted & The Injured]

    One cannot repudiate the simple fact that Vatican II wrought a considerable amount of enthusiasm from some quarters….but on the parish level there was an awkward confusion about what was
    really happening – it’s with a deep irony that the majority of vociferous clerics about the subjects of the Council were ardent traditionalists ; they naiively presumed that there would be a sweeping
    clean of the stables and a return to orthodoxy and orthopraxis amidst the tiny hints of rebellion in the US and northern europe and the missions.
    Although there were major stirrings among the seminarians , the younger and the ‘professional’ clergy ; the ordinary priest on the doorstep was reticent to admit what was really going on – because generally he had absolutely no idea – basically they presumed it was
    going to continue as ‘business as usual’….

    Oliver Wendell Holmes said :
    “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I
    would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

    Good Pope John sought to gather the Church together in the simplicity
    wrought from complexity; regrettably the church ended up with a faux
    simplicity and simpletons.

    It came like a thief in the night :
    like a subcultural new fashion – punks, hippies, goths, yuppies, emos –
    we suffered with endurance the living nightmare of the ‘trendies’!!!!
    The onslaught and desecration became more rife than anything any Tudor
    Monarch had wrought upon the Church…the puritanical iconoclasts of old
    merely destroyed buildings and lives; these new trendies crushed and
    destroyed the purposes behind the building and lives.

    Ok I apologise now because I’m going to go contemporary theologically ‘incorrect’ and mention the devil….
    The worst thing about modern society is not that it is more evil [even
    though it is] but it’s the failure to recognise blantant evil when it’s
    right before one’s eyes !
    Now we have some pretty infantile ideas about the devil – part the absolutely gut wrenching terror of the exorcist; part 1930′s suave sophisticated elegant bounder – the english
    cad!! ; part Iago – the supreme suggester in our ears….

    Let’s make it clear – whatever this devil is – he is infinitely more dangerous
    than this – he’s a spoilt brat seeking to destroy everything and anything merely for the sake that given any opportunity , he can!! One of the best analogies of the devil in his actions within the modern Church is to compare him with, believe it or not, The Grinch who stole
    Christmas !!!
    Sounds a bit spurious doesn’t it ? Until you remember what the Grinch did – he stole all the presents to make everyone miserable…

    So the devil and all his minions used every fault,failure and weakness within us to make an all-out assault on our gifts…
    I call this ‘The War of the Sacraments’
    Just think about it – Suppose we were some great anti-Catholic legion – where would we intensify our assault ?
    Come on , imagine it ; what would you do ? how would you destroy the Church from within ?
    How about this way ?

    First destroy that which makes a Catholic a Catholic ; destroy what makes a Priest a Priest…

    a]On Baptism – make it unimportant , an irrelevance , deny original sin
    exists or twist the concept of original sin into something utterly
    unbelievable; imply that all religions are equal and baptism is of no
    intrinsic significance or worth. corrupt it until it crumbles….

    b] Matrimony – yet again make it non-sacramental, non unifying,
    non-Godlike in its love…. assault it from every corner ; suggest it is
    non-fungible; equivocate it with secular marriage or mere sexual
    liaisons or homosexuality; and go for the jugular – destroy the unity of
    a husband and wife by depriving them of the graces of a family, allow
    them to become obsessed with sexual awareness and fulfillment rather
    than intrinsic mutual love – destroy potential children, destroy the
    bond, destroy the love !

    c] The sacrament of the Sick – attack the very notion of life itself and promote the hideous evils of dying with dignity – kill off the handicapped foetuses because they may suffer
    in life, allow those in PVS to be starved to death, kill off the ‘burden’ of the terminally ill – deny the right to live until one dies – euthanise , eugenicise, abort !

    d] Confirmation – destroy responsibility and adult maturity altogether – reaffirm the right to act
    childishly,narcissistically, selfishly and irresponsibly – instigate a blame culture or one ridden with psychological neuroses and excuses for any behaviour – live and act as if one is a teenager for the rest of your life – refuse to take on the mantle, never assume
    responsibility…run away from the adult life in Christ – assault the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit by ridiculing them, denying them or tormenting those who excel in them or live their lives according to them.

    But now we come to the Crux…The major assault which is destroying Holy Mother Church from both without and within.
    e] The dissolution of Holy Orders
    f] The Abolition of the Confessional
    g] The denial of, and the spitting upon the Blessed Sacrament

    We know it’s happening – we can witness it all around us…
    Now I think I’ve gone into more than enough detail regarding the priesthood
    elsewhere, the majority are not acting like priests, for a lot of these they have no notion or concept of priesthood to begin with ; so they fumble along in the dark , hoping that whatever they do will either suffice or placate….

    I must emphasise the way the violation of these last three sacraments has
    personally affected the clergy:

    Primarily it is through a loss of identity and understanding of the vocation. Alienating them from the
    seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy :

    To feed the hungry;
    To give drink to the thirsty;
    To clothe the naked;
    To harbour the harbourless;
    To visit the sick;
    To ransom the captive;
    To bury the dead.
    To instruct the ignorant;
    To counsel the doubtful;
    To admonish sinners;
    To bear wrongs patiently;
    To forgive offences willingly;
    To comfort the afflicted;
    To pray for the living and the dead.

    Secondly it is through isolation and ignorance – remove all proper education and
    instruction from the sacred traditions and wisdoms ; remove them from the flock and make them devoid of any experience or understanding of their human condition. It thus deprives the clerics of the graces of the cardinal virtues: Prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice.

    The easiest way to do this ? Make the confessional redundant, prevent the
    priest interacting with his people – stop the practice of home visiting – make the priest isolated from and ignorant of all the people around him.

    Thirdly it is by depriving the priest of the ritual of being a priest – removing every habit or sacred ritual which complements or supplements and inspires the theological virtues : Faith, Hope &

    Violate the mass, despoil it – de-sacralise it , demean and debase and de-spiritualise it; turn the symbolism on its head to represent the exact opposite of its intent- Turn the mass, our
    participation in the ritual sacrifice of the public execution of God
    Incarnate for our Redemption – INTO A PARTY ROUND A TABLE!!!

    - but most importantly – promote treatment of the most precious , sacred
    gift from God ; His very Body and Blood , instill the habit as one of overfamiliarity and disrespect verging on contempt ! No longer make the vessels valuable and beautiful and worthy to befit the King of Kings, rather turn them into bowls not fit for dogs to drink from ; no longer
    have the priest and people dress as if they are in the presence of royalty, no longer have the priest and people bow or kneel in homage of their God, no longer have the people receive the Blessed Sacrament ; compel them to give it to themselves…destroy the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament , and you destroy every consequence that comes from that respect…

    That’s what Mother Theresa meant when she said Holy Communion in the hand brought her the most sadness !!!
    A faithful Catholic of a century ago would look upon the average
    contemporary mass of today with the horror and outrage of witnessing a satanic ritual – why ?
    The way we virtually spit upon the Blessed Sacrament through our indifference and abject negligence.

    If a priest resides in this culture which disrespects the greatest of things ?
    How else will he act towards anything else ?
    Save with an attitude distinctly devoid of reverence?

    Lastly – once the priest is unaware of who they are, and no longer acting like a priest inside the
    Church through prayer and ritual and respect/worship of the sacraments ;
    Or outside the Church pastorally within the community with respect for God’s children,
    Once all the major damage is done ; impose the sin of Pride upon it all – poison it irrevocably through presumption and despair ; either make the cleric oblivious to these factors and allow
    him to continue as if everything is wonderful, or make him believe in nothing except his despondent futile ineptitude and the utter falsity of all that he and the Church stands for.

    … and to seal everything up – to prevent a change of heart , a damascene conversion, a
    metanoia ; ensure that the priest never encroaches upon the critical virtues – patience, gentleness and humility.
    That’s how to destroy the Church – it’s a brilliant masterplan isn’t it ???

    Recognise any of this?
    Are we at the dawn of a new Second Spring with the New Evangelization?
    Or is the Year of Faith time to get our act together?

  • Christopher

    Gosh, you do like the sound of your own keyboard.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    It’s a good keyboard, though, isn’t it? Paul Priest has written a magnificent post. What have you offered?

  • Christopher

    So, the Council was worthless and could safely be placed in the rubbish bin? I would suggest that you read the present Holy Father’s writings on Vatican II, but I see that you don’t hold him in high regard. From your various postings, I gather that you’re a follower of the schismatic SSPX, or worse, a sedevacantist. Dissent is dissent no matter whence it comes. You are either for Peter or against. You cannot claim to be truly Catholic and be against Peter. Christ clearly promised to protect His Church (led by Peter and his successors) from error. You either believe Christ or not. It would appear that you do not.

  • Diffal

    If the Pre-Vatican 2 church was so strong, so robust and so healthy then why did it go gentle into that good night? Why was it that when Popes Pius XI and XII, both of blessed and venerable memory, condemned ideologies based on race(i.e the Nazi’s) both before and during(respectively and together in Mit Brennender Sorge) WWII they were ignored by Catholics!

    This is a question I must ask myself as I weep for all we have lost.

    The aftermath of the council(nothing else to my mind evokes the confusion and carnage) highlights the pre-concilliar malaise which affected the church despite not because of her practices, and which and continues to effect her to this day. I cannot accept the withdrawal of grace line as it implies that Christ will not be with us until the end of time as per Mt 28:20. Nor can I accept the “council as rupture” line that über-trads and über-liberals agree on. The Second Vatican Council was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Church it must and indeed can only be implemented through the hermeneutical lens of the previous 20 councils and slowly but surely I believe that is beginning to happen.

    P.S all those liberals who rave about “Good Pope John” should read the wonderful things he has to say on the beauty of the latin language, the wonder of the extraordinary form of the Mass(to call it Tridentine is to misname the Mass of the ages which predated Trent by centuries) and the real need for holy obedience.

    I think its to early for celebrations but we should certainly mark this pastoral council by reading its documents within the Tradition of the Church’s 2000 years of pastoral experience.

  • Diffal

    If the Pre-Vatican 2 church was so strong, so robust and so healthy then why did it go gentle into that good night? Why was it that when Popes Pius XI and XII, both of blessed and venerable memory, condemed ideologies based on race(i.e the Nazi’s) both before and during WWII they were ignored by Catholics!

    This is a question I must ask myself as I weep for all we have lost.

    I cannot accept the withdrawl of grace line as it implies that Christ will not be with us until the end of time as per Mt 28:20. Nor can I accept the “council as rupture” line that übe-trads and über-liberals agree on

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    It’s the only possible way TO read them, diffal. But there is a problem: in several cases, they seem to contradict, oppose, replace, the earlier Magisterium with new teaching. If this is indeed the case, then vatican II can only be a false Council.

    Various groups of Catholic intellectuals (Italy, Poland) and senior clergy too have asked the Pope to explain where the continuity lies. He has not responded. 

    Perhaps because there IS no continuity?

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    I have every one of his books and have read not only them, but many other things he has written. 

    Your assumptions are wrong, I am delighted to tell you. Of course the Church will prevail but it certainly does not mean that the Church will always be large or even visible. Indeed, in the current situation, which is the Great Apostasy, the Church may disappear from sight altogether.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    It DIDN’T go gentle into that good night. 

    The Catholic group of Bishops at V II was out-manouvered at every turn by the Rhine Group. But they tried. Too late as it happened, and frustrated at every turn by the Pope. 

    Then after the Council, the Catholic Church went underground. and it continues underground to this day. But it is growing. 

  • paulpriest

     short on time – wanted to provide a comment on how the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ – as exemplified in the ideoporn of the Tablet and the StandUp4Vatican2 mob has made every attempt to destroy the Church from within…and how the devil has had a field day…

  • Nesbyth

    And re the Novus Ordo, Cardinal Heenan wrote in his Pastoral Letter of October 12th 1969: “Why does the Mass keep changing? Here is the answer. It would have been foolhardy to introduce all the changes at once. It was obviously wise to change gradually and gently. If all the changes had been introduced  together you would have been shocked.” (from The Great Betrayal by Hugh Ross Williamson;1970)
    The general Catholic public was duped which is why some of them went along with it…plus the natural sort of obedience thing that some Catholics have towards the hierarchy. But many left for good whilst others struggled on in despair or formed associations such as the Latin Mass Society, or joined St Pius X etc. 

  • Alan

    I am one who would not have become a Catholic without VII.  And I am far happier with the Church than you and those who think like you seem to be. 

  • Alan

    Where will I find this “earlier Magisterium” which VII contradicts?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church? 

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    Read all the Encyclicals from approx. 1750 onwards.

  • Ælfrid the Mercian

    Well, Alan, you will excuse my being direct but your many posts here show pretty conclusively that you are still the protestant you used to be formally. Which proves the Traditionalist point, doesn’t it?

  • Kevin

    Vatican II derives its authority from the pre-Vatican II Church that called it. Any statement of VII that undermines the authority of that Church (e.g. claiming that it is not the mystical body of Christ) undermines VII itself.

    Best to adopt the hermeneutic of oblivion.

  • Benedict Carter

    We simply cannot say that we haven’t been taught, nay – COMMANDED what to do in circumstances such as the Church finds herself today. What is true for a Pope (see below) is certainly true for a Council. The documents of vatican II, not being dogmatic, do still require our assent; but NOT (in my opinion) when these non-dogmatic statements appear to conflict with the constant prior Magisterium of the Church.

    - – - 
    St. Athanasius, 4th Century

    “THUS, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to the Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”

    St. Robert Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chap. 29:

    “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and to prevent his will form being executed; it is not licit however, to judge [canonically or temporal court], punish or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior.”

    Francisco Suarez, 16th century theologian, never rebuked in times when rebuke was certain and swift, in De Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16:

    “And in this…way the Pope could be schismatic, if he were unwilling to be in normal union with the whole body of the Church, as would occur of he attempted to excommunicate the whole Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if he wished to overturn the rites of the Church based on Apostolic Tradition… if [the Pope]… gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defence.”

    Galatians 2:11

    “But when Cephas [Peter] was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4:

    “There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glossa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2.14), ‘St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects.”

    Acts 5:29

    “But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 104, A. 5:

    “It is written: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ Now sometimes the things commanded by a
    superior are against God. Therefore, superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.”

    Blessed Pius XI, Letter to Bishop Brizen:

    “If a future pope teaches anything contrary to the Catholic Faith, do not follow him.”

    St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory, Chapter 3, Section 7:

    “What then should a Catholic do if some portion of the Church detaches itself from communion of the universal Faith? What choice can he make if some new contagion attempts to poison, no longer a small part of the Church, but the whole Church at once? Then his great concern will be to attach himself to antiquity which can no longer be led astray by any lying novelty.”

    St. Catherine of Siena, Letter to Pope Gregory XI:

    “Alas, Most Holy Father! At times, obedience to you leads to eternal damnation.”

    First Vatican Council, Pastor Aeternus §4:

    “For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.”

    Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animus.

    “For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this xtraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith”.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    Benedict – Germany was bombed to bits, its people subject to all manner of atrocities (100,000 women raped in Berlin after 1945) and then told at the Nuremburg trials that it had perpetrated the greatest crime in history. That is the reason why Germany theology collapsed 60 years ago and, in the process, pulled down the rest of the Church with it.
    You can’t have it both ways Squadron Leader Carter as in the Dambuster March AND the TLM. You want both but you can’t have them. That’s how life works, I’m afraid.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    They were not ignored by German Catholics. It’s a lie. We in the UK were lied to about the war and then the Allies brainwashed Germany (including its Catholics) with the same lies from 1945 onwards. Unless the West faces up to the 1939 disaster then the Catholic Church will continue to collapse in Europe and anywhere else where these lies have been packaged and sold.

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    The scandals were a direct result of the Council. The Servants of the Paraclete who ‘treated’ abusers brought down their founder Fr. Fitzgerald in a coup during the Council and launched a program of modernisation. The result was priests were sent back into parishes. The St. Luke’s Institute in Washington was even worse in that regard. 

    The whole point of the Council was to share best practice of the likes of Fr. Fitzgerald. Instead the complete opposite happened. This disaster has nothing to do with the ‘spirit of the council’. The Paracletes implemented a program that completely negated Fitzgerald’s work. Total disobedience of their founder.

  • paulpriest

    No – the Pre-Vatican II Church was not as healthy as we all believed…

    [from The Enemy Within]
    The cause ?
    We need to go back a century and beyond…to the age of
    presumption and arrogance. Italy , France and Germany were beginning to
    settle down after generations of crisis; Britain and Ireland were
    beginning to reap the benefits of the decades-long struggle to
    re-integrate Catholicism, The US was gaining the security in the power
    of money and distance from warring europe – and Catholicism leapt on the
    bandwagon grasping the opportunity to thrive espcialy among the
    millions of immigrants, the British Empire was stealing a quarter of the
    world from its rightful owners and instigating ‘peace’ down the barrel
    of a gun and utilising every available natural resource – and we resided
    in the shadow of that effect ; The Church was gaining ground, there
    were no significant adversaries and
    theological/scriptural/moral/canonical and clerical spheres were
    beginning to become effective and powerful influences within societies;
    the social teaching of Leo XIII made this even more of a concrete
    visible active prevailing force – we built churches, hospitals, schools,
    junior and senior seminaries bulging at the seams – and it’s here we
    begin to see the first signs of complacency…

    I’m not going to go through a history lesson – it’s all readily available
    to anyone interested – but the first major test to the Church in the new
    century was modernism. Now Pius X was truly a saint and he sought to
    remedy a crisis in a specific way – suppression of the questionable ;
    and the re-emphasising and reformed expression of age old dogmas and
    their doctrinal implementation and consequences – almost every available
    resource was oriented towards what the church teaches and how it is to
    be taught….

    You see the problem ? It’s very subtle , but
    here’s the root of what followed – we were complacent in that we
    presumed that society and the individual were not going to significantly
    change in their outlooks and lifestyles…

    Inadvertently we’d become contaminated with Hegelianism – we’d catholicized his notion of the Geist – the development and progression of society and the
    Church along a certain path – all that was required was a reiteration of
    ‘the what and the how’ of Church teaching ; the ‘why?’ we believe or
    act wasn’t exactly ignored, but it was never deemed an absolute
    intrinsic necessity towards understanding and living the catholic faith -
    and anyway, Catholic society possessed the capabilities to deduce the
    ‘why’ from the hearts and minds of those who thrived in the overwhelming
    thrall of the Church. Because we had a surplus of understanding ‘the
    why’ among the average cleric or devout parishioner, we merely assumed
    that feeding the faithful [and the trainee clergy] with ‘the what and
    the how’ was more than amply enough for doctrine and praxis to be
    sustained. We presumed that the monolith of the teaching authority of
    the church would suffice. We were negligent because we failed to notice
    the idol of ‘Church authority’ had feet of clay.

    Thus the message of the ‘why we believe and live that belief’ was neglected
    and compromised; and in a way it became distorted and obfuscated into
    being perceived as not primarily a spiritual authority ; but more a
    regimented temporal [albeit religious] one…it was seen as ‘surplus to
    requirement’ to do anything other than ‘state the faith’, not
    continually prove it…it was seen as an unnecessary exigency to do
    anything other than ‘show love of neighbour’ through teaching, healing,
    feeding, housing, consoling and caring – very little effort was made to
    emphasise the ‘why we love’ or to validate or prove or remind the
    faithful ‘what business we are about and why’

    This negligence only took three generations to wreak havoc -war irreparably
    altered society and the clergy were already being contaminated by this
    black hole in their catechesis and training; the ignorance manifested
    itself in two ways:

    a] questioning every aspect of the Church and the faith it professed and the morality it demanded; failing to realise that one was not personally equipped or experienced or educated enough to assess or discern the core motives and reasonings of the fundamental teachings, these people decided that they could work out their own , personalised theology, morality and ecclesiology – or
    sought answers from sources external to the church [regularly of the protestant ilk like Bultmann, Barth or Tillich]

    b] defiantly refusing to contemplate the possibilities of the motives or
    reasonings behind the church teachings [possibly out of fear or a sense
    of possibly losing the newly acquired temporal power within a
    parish/diocese] and rather than attempt to understand the why ; instead
    blindly following what the church says to the letter [and possibly
    adding a more rigorist or pietistic flavour to it in the process] –
    ‘Just do what you’re told and stop asking questions!!!’

    It was a lack of education, a dearth of understanding , and a childish
    arrogance [something only truly present among the ignorant] that led to
    the initial divergence of what we perceive now as
    progressive/liberal/neo marxist and the Ultra-traditionalist ‘fascist’.

    rather than being a Faith ; this ignorance allowed ideology to pervade and contaminate the ranks of the clergy.

    But what about the parishes and dioceses ?

    Well charitable activity, intense social interaction, continuous prayer and
    devotion and the machinations of the Holy Spirit through these corporal
    and spiritual works of mercy delayed or even halted the progression of
    the ‘intellectual’ malaise…but even within this there were detectable
    flaws, especially amongst the attitudes of certain clergy – whereas
    previously they had taken up the mantle of responsibility for their
    flock, burdened themselves, sacrificed and lived their love for the
    parish – with subsequent generations this responsibility and earned
    position of spiritual authority became distorted into the presumption of
    the younger priests [or the older priests who had been 'tainted by
    habit to forget the origins of things' ] that this clerical position was
    one of temporal , civic, social authority. The ostensible ‘shepherd’
    slowly metamorphosed into a normatively benign well-meaning dictator !!!
    But this was by no means a universal occurrence – the high amount of
    clergy and their busy lives interacting with the communities allowed
    human living and loving to deflate a lot of clerical egos and autocratic
    ambitions….the only places it was truly likely to happen was where
    socio-cultural influences thrust the cleric into more than just a priest
    but a civic representative of authority – this usually occurred in
    either the rural backwaters [e.g. in ireland where the priest was
    practically a minor deity - we can still se it today in certain regions
    of the developing world or in the US among the ultra-conservative
    protestant bible belt pastors] or amongst the isolated or
    disenfranchised immigrant communities – Italians, Irish, Poles etc….

    This clerical ambiguity of their role as a priest ,
    and the ecclesiastical consequences of poorly trained catechetical intellectual ignorance ,
    with the splitting of the church along the lines of ignorant loyalty [right-wing] and ignorant defiance [left-wing];
    with the rise in political ideologies of all flavours and their mixing
    with the realms of philosophy and social sciences and even transgressing
    into theology ;
    all wrapped up in the social upheaval after the second world war – inevitably led towards Vatican II…

    ….and we all know the consequences of that.

  • Harold Ullenberger

    Yes, we should be.  And in my parish we shall be.  An officially-convened ecumenical council of the Church is of the highest value and authority.  

  • daclamat

    Heavily influenced by Congar and Du Lubac, Gaudium et Spes rose from the floor of Vatican 2, and was heartily promulgated by John.Paul II and Josef Ratzinger.”The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.” Can’t see what’s debatable about that. Congar held that the Council came too early, that the Church hierarchies lacked the maturity to take on the task. John XXIII agreed, but thought the Holy Spirit would see it through. The Council didn’t damage the Church.  Obscurantism and authoritarianism did. Dry rot looks solid enough, until the roof begins to fall in. Instead of seeing people moving away from the rotting structure as damage caused by the council seem them as bravely try to follow the kindly light.

  • awkwardcustomer

    I pressed the ‘Liked’ button on this by mistake and now must retract.

    Blaming the ‘Spirit of the Council’ and not Vatican II for the devastating damage that has been done to the Church is like blaming the ‘Spirit of Sovietism’, or something like it, for the horrors of Communism and not the writings of Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels. 

    Marxist appologists do this all the time.  Oh no, they say, there’s nothing wrong with the principles and ideas of Communism, just the way those ideas and principles have been interpreted and put into practice.  

  • awkwardcustomer

    I agree.  A magnificent post.

  • awkwardcustomer

    The ‘spirit of the Council’ line is a classic deflection tactic - a bit like blaming Stalinism, but not Communism itself, for the terrors and failings of the Soviet regime.

  • paulpriest

     The vocations ‘crisis’ – is part of a well-planned ideological
    scheme for an elitist ‘futurechurch’ for the professional laity and
    professional ‘specialised’ clergy ; wrought in anti-clericalism and
    anti-sacramentality and lay-empowerment
    [i.e. those who are 'devoted'
    enough and interested enough to pay should be afforded all the
    privileges that school and church closures and sales can provide]
    want superchurches and foundations/learning centres – the destruction
    of the parish system and all the responsibilities and duties of
    maintaining and shepherding local communities.
    You know the concept of
    the undeserving poor?
    This is extended to the ‘undeserving Catholic’
    those who don’t participate other than through mass attendance and
    private devotion and prayer – they aren’t physically participating, they
    merely ‘spiritually’ mantain the faith, and raise their children into a
    Catholic lifestyle – they are surplus to requirement – a drain on

    Ever heard of vocations scrutiny committees?
    Where the professional
    laity are invited to interrogate potential seminarians and veto any
    unsuitable to their ‘vision of becoming eucharist’? Any idea what these entail?
    Any idea how much anti-catholicism is involved?What
    does a seminarian think on remarriage for divorcees? contraception ?
    gay marriage? environmental issues? ecological sustainablity and
    population control ? Yoof ishoos? What’s their political persuasion ?
    What do they think of that anachronistic defunct cruel ignorant fool
    ratzinger ?

    Any idea how many young and middle-aged men fall at this first hurdle ?

    being an Orthodox Catholic they fall foul of the system at the first
    hurdle and are precluded from even testing their vocation !

    …and that’s before we get to seminaries with their inherent
    anti-clericalist argot; the only priests worth their salt are
    ‘specialists’ – those who don’t bother with trivialities like
    shepherding a parish and leading the faithful in their spiritual lives
    through the sacraments and preaching/consoling/advising
    …and therefore
    what they’re taught is a dissemination of authentic Catholicism
    scripture is neither historical nor true
    - the real Christ was nothing
    like that
    - the early Church neither believed nor practised as the
    Church of today
    - the Church went awry after Constantine and only began
    to get back on the right tracks after Vatican II
    - and probably themost poisonous of all…morality involves
    self-determination and empowerment, the evolution of the collective
    conscience in environmental and socio-political arenas…

    So when a man is finally ordained and thrust into a parish – is he
    prepared for it?
    Has he a spiritual, moral, doctrinal and pastoral
    grounding and training to be a shepherd?
    Not at all.
    So you see the
    cracks rapidly beginning to become ruptures – out go all the parish
    groups like the legion of Mary, the UCM , the SVP – well they’re either
    eliminated or ignored and left to their on devices without any priest
    In come groups where the priest can show off his
    special-nature – bible study, meditation, yoof groups, RCIA etc.

    masses ?
    Well out go any services after 11a.m. on Sunday.
    masses? Well one disappears because the priest must have his day off,
    another disappears because there’s a school mass, another because
    there’s a convent mass, and the saturday morning mass[and the
    confession] goes because well? There’s now a saturday evening mass….

    Parish visiting?
    Well a new lay-ministry can ‘become eucharist’
    [they use all the nuspeak] by distrbuting the sacrament to the
    housebound; the priest might have hospital duty-call one week a month
    and there is a deanery meeting once a month and there’s perhaps a
    diocesan committee meeting once a month – so the priest can find all
    manner of excuses to basically put off visiting their parishioners.

    So what happens? Basically the new priest either vanishes from
    the parish for up to three weekdays [travelling to their day off, their
    day off, coming home from their day off] and for the rest of the week
    makes himself available to a few of the ‘professional enthusiastic laity
    who want to be lay ministers’ for a few hours; and the rest of the time
    locks himself away in his ‘castle’ – only coming out on saturday
    evening and sunday morning.

    What does this isolation do ?
    Alienates him from his flock,
    disenfranchises the parish, gives the priest more chance to become
    utterly disillusioned by the very nature of his priesthood – seeing it
    all as irrelevant and futile – and thus he might fall into depression,
    laziness, self-pity and anxiety – and thus be open to all manner of
    temptations or self-indulgences – falling back on food, drink, tv, the
    internet or sexual impropriety..

    …all because the priest was neither
    trained nor educated into how to be a priest – to work to ensure that
    his loneliness was more a spiritual form and less a physical reality –
    lacordaire said a priest should be a member of every family yet
    belonging to none – yet the way the modern priest is trained in
    ‘pastoral ministry’ where they don’t actually reach out or go out to
    their flock – they merely wait for them to come to him [and they never
    do because they don't know him!] and even then they have to deem
    themselves more a ‘sociological expert’ rather than a paternal consoling

    Why do you think ‘confession’ has been the most desecrated and eliminated sacrament over the past generation ?Because
    priests are neither educated nor trained in how to understand the human
    condition, how to understand the nature of sin, how to relate to people
    and how to preach the sanctifying redemptive power of Christ [and you
    have to see it's very difficult when a seminary-professor has told them
    there's no such thing as original sin, Jesus probably didn't bodily rise
    from the dead, confession is an invention by the church, and
    confession's only necessary for 'serious' sin - and nobody really sins
    any more - they're just manifestations of faults in their psychological
    development - society or bad-parenting's to blame, not the individual]
    The priest doesn’t really believe in sin and doesn’t believe that
    they’re really forgiven… because even though they might have
    previously believed it – they’ve had years of a seminary indoctrinating
    it out of them….

    The more a priest is non-functioning and isolated?
    The more a parish
    The more readily he’s acceptable to a notionof a
    superchurch-futurechurch scenario where he can run away from his parish
    duties and become a ‘specialist’ and be adored by professional laity
    fans and students.
    No longer will he need to spend any time with the
    old folk smelling of wee and the brats in the middle school and the
    nagging old dears who bend his ears about special devotions to our lady
    or how they’re worried their son might be gay or becoming an alcoholic
    after a marital break-up – in one fell swoop all those pastoral duties
    and responsibilities disappear – no need to penny pinch the budgets and
    worry about leaking roofs – instead a nice cosy apartment – good food –
    adoring fans and pastoral duties they want to perform…

  • Alan

    Your definition of “Protestant” seems to be anyone who does not share your narrow view of what Catholicism is.  Including 99% of members of the Catholic Church. 

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    I am not convinced that all the names you drop have the power and influence you claim them to possess including the Popes. Of greater interest is that the Catholic Church was not only the institution which collapsed in 1965. The USA began its own path towards self-destruction during the Johnson adminstration. Establishing the model which now characterises its present mess of massive government spending, terrifying growth of the military industrial complex and permanent war.

    Who gives a stuff about De Lubac?