The best way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II is to bury the Council. We should be way beyond merely combing through the Council documents pointing to what is good, what is not trustworthy and what is contrary to Tradition.
Rather, I believe we should also mount a no-compromise offensive, asking our Church leaders to explain their fervor for inherently flawed documents; why they insist, contrary to their duty to teach the Catholic Faith integral and inviolate, on passing off damaged goods as quality merchandise.
Just consider some of the most famous quotes regarding Vatican II.
Cardinal Giuseppe Siri said:
“If the Church were not Divine, the Council would have buried her.”
The liberal Cardinal Joseph Suenens rejoiced:
“Vatican II is the French Revolution of the Church.”
Bishop Thomas Morrow, a prelate who participated at Vatican II, said later in life:
“I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated, and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and liable to be reformed.”
At the close of Vatican II, the bishops asked Council Secretary Archbishop Felici for that which the theologians call the “theological note” of the Council; that is, the doctrinal “weight” of Vatican II’s teachings. Felici replied:
“We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the decelerations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.”
Liberal Protestant Observer Robert McAffee Brown, writing immediately after the Council, said he despised Pope Pius XI’s and Pope Pius XII’s magisterial pronouncement on Ecumenism (Mortalium Animos and the 1949 Decree on Ecumenism) because both documents insisted on the conversion of non-Catholics to Catholicism as one and only way to true Christian Unity. McAfee Brown went on to say he loved Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism because the Council text nowhere mentions the need for non-Catholics to convert to the Catholic Church.
Even Walter Cardinal Kasper, an ardent advocate of ecumenism, recently admitted the confusion within the Council texts themselves.
Kasper writes in the April 12, 2013 L’Osservatore Romano:
“In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.”
The ambiguities, omissions and lack of precision in the Council texts were no accident, as The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber documents, but the result of careful calculations of modernist theologians and bishops at the Council who planned to exploit these weaknesses in the texts after the Council closed.
The chaos resulting from these documents is well attested by the present ruinous state of the Church throughout the world. The very fact it is commonly held that Vatican II documents can have both a liberal interpretation and a conservative interpretation (the hermeneutic of discontinuity/hermeneutic of continuity dichotomy) testifies to the want of scholastic precision in the documents themselves. No one even pretends the Decrees of Trent or Vatican I can be interpreted in any other manner than the precise language in which they are written.
In fact, as mentioned previously in Catholic Family News, during the Council preparations, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre noted the want of accuracy in the “pastoral language” of the drafted texts. He proposed the Council produce two sets of documents: one in “pastoral,” easy-to-understand language for the average man; and the other in the precision of scholastic language.
His proposal was immediately shot down, since the progressivists did not want the exactitude of scholastic language to lock them into a traditional interpretation of the texts.
Theologian Msgr. Bruno Gherardini, in his recent book Vatican II, A Much Needed Discussion, re-emphasizes thepastoral intent and nature of Vatican II declared by John XXIII himself, as well as the Council’s refusal to employ language of past dogmatic councils (i.e., “We teach and declare…, ” etc.). Since Vatican II is not dogmatic, he notes, then “none of its doctrines,” unless they re-echo previous definitions, “are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding.”
Yet throughout the discussions between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X, today’s Vatican constantly demanded the SSPX must accept Vatican II in its totality.
Vatican Cardinal Koch recently said it is “unthinkable” to question Vatican II. Archbishop Müller, the present head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, went so far as to claim it is ‘heresy’ to say Vatican II constitutes a rupture with the past, even though that rupture is manifest for all to see.
Unthinkable to question Vatican II?
Let’s take another look, from what we’ve quoted so far, at what is openly admitted about these Council texts.
They are not carefully formulated, but “tentative and liable to be reformed.”
They contain points that have a “novel character” of which “we have to make reservations.”
They are “compromised formulas” that have “a huge potential for conflict.”
Why then do our Catholic leaders constantly express such ardor for Vatican II, and insist that traditional Catholics accept the texts without question?
We may ask our Church leaders: why do you insist on our adhesion to texts that are “tentative and liable to be reformed”?
What is your attraction to documents that contain novelties of which “we have to make reservations”?
Why do you love doctrinally anemic decrees that are applauded by liberal Protestants?
Why do you love documents that contain “compromised formulas” that have “a huge potential for conflict”?
Why do you love what is inherently flawed? Why do you love a Council of mass destruction? Why do you love decay and death?
Perhaps, at this point in time, this is a better way to approach the Council. No longer should we be only on the defensive, explaining why we find various aspects of the Council unacceptable.
Rather, we should question our Vatican leaders and the world’s bishops as to why they love the smell of rotting flesh; why they glory in a plague of locusts; why they prefer vapidity and putrefaction.
One of the saddest events of the past month was the Vatican Radio report of Pope Francis’ statement that “Vatican II is the beautiful work of the Holy Spirit”; his claim that to resist the Council is to “resist the Spirit”; and that those are “testardi” – stubborn hardheads – who want to go back from Vatican II.
If these are truly his sentiments, it should put no dent in our resolve. The Vatican II establishment now collapses under its own decay. It is time for traditional Catholics to close in for the kill, and not merely ask if we may be excused from the worst excesses of their reckless experiment.
It is time to go on the offensive, without anger, without bitterness and without letup. We must relentlessly ask our Church leaders why they love a blunder of such magnitude that “if the Church were not divine, the Council would have buried her.”