Fifty Years Later–Vatican II’s Unfinished Business

SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL

Fifty years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Church in the United States is in the throes of a struggle. Loyal Catholics are showing renewed vigor and vitality, and are helping the Church to move forward in unity. At the same time, the Church is also being exhausted and drained from within by a vocal movement of other Catholics who continue to dissent from Church teachings, particularly the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Dissent is entrenched in the Church in the U.S.
For most American Catholics over 50, it is an accepted fact that dissent from the magisterium of the Church is widespread, tolerated, and, in some quarters, even welcomed. The breaking point, of course, was Paul VI’s 1968 prophetic encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which condemned contraception as “intrinsically disordered.”  The encyclical became one of the most controversial documents of the century, if not many centuries. The widespread dissent by Catholics was led with enthusiasm by huge numbers of Catholic theologians, professors and intellectuals. The onslaught of bright, articulate academics turning on the Pope encouraged many Catholics in the pews to do the same.

Why would so many educated Catholics—who should have been ready and able to defend the teaching authority of the Church—turn against the Pope with such force? How could they justify it?

The most popular argument was that permission to dissent had been given by none other than the Second Vatican Council. The dissenters claimed that “the spirit of Vatican II,” along with theological perspectives of the Council, supported their argument that individual Catholics have a right to dissent from “non-infallible” Church teachings—even authoritative encyclicals like Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae—if they felt they had a good enough reason.

Unfortunately, this false notion was unwittingly given a boost by none other than the bishops of the United States. On November 15, 1968, a few months after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, the bishops issued their pastoral letter, “Human Life in Our Day,” to help Catholics interpret the Pope’s encyclical.  The bishops said in no. 51 of that document that in some cases, a Catholic could dissent from “non-infallible authentic doctrine” of the magisterium. They explained: “The expression of theological dissent from the magisterium is in order only if the reasons are serious and well-founded, if the manner of the dissent does not question or impugn the teaching authority of the Church, and is such as not to give scandal.”

So, the bishops did approve of limited dissent from papal teaching in faith and morals.

This position was given even more credence later by the powerful and widely quoted Cardinal Bernardin when he was Archbishop of Chicago. Shortly before his death in 1996, Cardinal Bernardin initiated his Catholic Common Ground Project, to bring factions of the church together in “dialogue.” According to a Nov. 14, 1996, article in Origins (pp. 353-356), the axis of Cardinal Bernardin’s legacy was the belief that “limited and occasional dissent” from the magisterium of the Church was “legitimate.”

But what did Vatican II really teach?
So, the intellectual community and even the high-ranking Church leaders were reinforcing the idea that dissent from Church teachings was to be expected, even welcomed—and that permission to do so came straight from Vatican II.

However, had they really read the documents of Vatican II?

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), no. 25, presents a far different answer from the dissenters. This carefully reasoned Vatican II document states that, even though the bishops of the Catholic Church are not individually infallible, they do teach infallibly the Church’s doctrines of faith and morals “when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.”

What could be clearer? Lumen Gentium, no. 25, explicitly states that one such case of the bishops teaching infallibly is when they teach a matter of faith and morals in “an ecumenical council.”  Vatican II was “an ecumenical council.” The Council also taught in no. 25 of Lumen Gentium that these definitions of the bishops on matters of faith and morals must be held with a “religious assent.”  Furthermore: “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra …”

The Council goes on to explain this required assent to the Pope’s non-ex cathedra teaching: “…that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will.” But how does one know the Pope’s “manifest mind and will?” Again, the Council clarifies it by saying that: “… His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.”

Clearly according to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council there is no room for dissent from even the non-ex-cathedra or “non-infallible” decisions of the Pope on matters of faith and morals—not even “limited and occasional” dissent. This means that there is no room for dissent from the Pope’s teaching on contraception in Humanae Vitae. A Catholic, therefore, who would maintain that one could dissent from a non-ex cathedra or non-infallible decision of a pope, would be implicitly dissenting from Lumen Gentium no. 25 and the Second Vatican Council itself.

The occasion for the misunderstanding
Although Lumen Gentium, no. 25, speaks clearly, it should not come as a surprise that it was misinterpreted. Part of the confusion arose from an interpretation of Paul VI’s statement about the authority of the decisions of the Council.  As found in vol. 11 of The Pope Speaks, Paul VI stated in “After the Council: New Tasks,”

In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium. This ordinary magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents.

For the dissenters, the Pope’s careful parsing of the Council’s mission—to avoid “any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility”—was apparently just enough of a loophole to keep the fires of their argument alive.

However, note that the Council titled Lumen Gentium, as the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.  That indicates that the “nature” of Lumen Gentium is “dogmatic” per se, and its “aim” is to point out to Catholics those dogmas of divine faith which have always been part of the belief of the Church!

So, while there are no “extraordinary” dogmas in Vatican II, there are ordinary dogmas which are drawn from Scripture, Tradition, or previous teachings of the magisterium. Thus, even though the Pope and the Council did not exercise their infallible authority to teach Lumen Gentium, the contents (teachings) in Lumen Gentium are, by their very sources, clearly dogmatic. Thus, each Catholic must accept no. 25 of Lumen Gentium as a matter of faith, even though the form of the document itself is not infallible.

Of course, the fact remains that none of the documents of Vatican II are taught ex cathedra. Therefore, none of the teachings of Vatican II are formally pronounced as dogmas by the Second Vatican Council itself. So, very strictly speaking, a person can dissent from Vatican II itself without being a formal heretic. However, to dissent from an ecumenical council is no small matter. To put it informally, one may avoid being a heretic, but still may be a “bad” Catholic.

Ordinary counciliar self-verification is not enough
How did this confusion take root? It can best be explained as rising from the concept of conciliar self-verification. In other words, the Second Vatican Council teaches that the fathers at an “ecumenical council” are teachers of faith and morals, and their “definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.” The problem is, the ecumenical council making this statement is itself an ecumenical council—and, therefore, is making statements about itself and not making it with the highest authority, i.e., ex cathedra.

In other words, one might say this is the conciliar version of chasing one’s own theological tail. The fallout has been that, for several generations of Catholics, from academics and Church leaders to the laity in the pews, the lasting impression is, “Vatican II said it was okay to disagree with the Pope.”

Thus began the era of “taking sides.” It was as if the Catholic faith became no more than a grand game—Pope and established Church teachings versus the dissenters—and individual Catholics could simply pick which team to root for. Some called themselves liberals (the “left”) while others called themselves conservatives (the “right”).  Each group dissented from Vatican II, but for different reasons.

Many liberal nuns in the U.S., for example, continue to sympathize with anti-life groups that claim they are helping the poor by promoting the poor’s right to funds for abortion and contraception. They claim to be supporting social justice by defending, or, at least, sympathizing with, the gay agenda. They are especially vocal in demanding that the Church ordain women to the priesthood—even after John Paul II informed them that the Church teaching on an all male priesthood is infallible and, therefore, cannot be changed.

On the other hand, the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, continues to err on the side of utter conservative rigidity. They reject the Second Vatican Council as a movement of the Holy Spirit, and cling to the minutiae of 500-year-old rituals as necessary, for their own sake.  The change of the liturgy from Latin to English, or the vernacular of each particular country, is their most well-known objection.

Therefore, today, 50 years after the opening of Vatican II, the misinterpretation of one of its most salient documents, Lumen Gentium, continues to drive a number of Catholics in the United States into one of two camps, the “right” or the “left.”

However, the age of confusion may be coming to an end. According to a July, 2012, article in Catholic World Report, the widespread errors that had grown up about papal authority was addressed head-on by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the newly-appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“We also have the problem of groups—of the right and the left, as is usually said—which take up much of our time and our attention,” Archbishop Müller was quoted as saying. “Here, the danger easily arises of losing sight of our main task, which is to proclaim the Gospel and to explain concretely the doctrine of the Church.”

The archbishop was clear: dissenters do not belong solely to one camp or the other, despite the fact that each one would claim it to be so. Rather, dissenting Catholics on both the “right” and on the “left” are soaking up the energy of the Church by demanding attention to grievances and stifling the apostolate.

A clear path ahead
One way out of this dilemma is clear and simple. Obviously, the Second Vatican Council’s self-verification of Lumen Gentium, no. 25, was not sufficient to bring about the hoped for unity in faith and morals in the Church.

Therefore, Lumen Gentium, no. 25, should be verified outside of the Second Vatican Council. This could come either by the Pope, using his infallible authority to define Lumen Gentium, no. 25, as ex cathedra, or by another ecumenical council doing so. Given the deep, lasting errors which inadvertently took root after Vatican II—clearly, a great Council which has been unfairly besmirched by controversy—is it too much to think that the solution may be another, clarifying Council, perhaps Vatican III?

Some may argue that requiring all Catholics, even theologians, to make an absolute assent to Lumen Gentium, no.25, to remain in the Church would be severe. It would be a retreat from the spirit of John XXIII’s promise, which he made when he opened Vatican II in 1962, that the worldwide Council would use “the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.”  In other words, the Church would guide her flock without condemnations”—known in earlier centuries as the much dreaded “anathema sit” (“let him be excommunicated”).

However, if this confusion is faced, either through a ringing papal document, or the dramatic convening of a new Council, the outcome will absolutely follow Pope John XXIII’s call for “mercy rather than severity.”

Consider that it is Mercy itself for the Church to clearly proclaim her true nature and teaching authority. If she puts an end to the confusion of several generations, she can turn her entire strength and authority to attract people to the Catholic faith. And by doing so, how can we not say that she will be extending the Mercy of Christ himself?

As Christ said, “The Truth will set you free”—and what greater act of mercy is there, than to free those enslaved by error? Finally, dissenters on both the “right” and the “left” will have the Truth clearly presented to them, so that they can freely decide whether or not they are going to join the Church’s mission into the future.

The beauty of this approach is that no one needs to be explicitly condemned. The proclamation would be equivalent to the definition of “papal infallibility” or the “Immaculate Conception” or the “Assumption.” It would be a dogma defining the Church.  A person who could not assent to Lumen Gentium, no. 25, would finally know—clearly and without equivocation—that they are no longer Catholic. The decision would be theirs.

Will this happen? We have reason to hope. Perhaps, the first inklings of a definitive move by the Church came in the words of Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Asked by an interviewer, “What do you think of the discussions with the Lefebvrists, and with the religious sisters of the United States?” The archbishop replied: “There are no negotiations on the Word of God, and one cannot “believe and not believe” at the same time. One cannot pronounce the three religious vows, and then not take them seriously. I cannot make reference to the tradition of the Church, and then accept it only in some of its parts.”

The Archbishop went on to say: “The path of the Church leads ahead, and all are invited not to enclose themselves in a self-referential way of thinking, but rather to accept the full life and the full faith of the Church.”

In the archbishop’s words are the seeds of rebirth, a rooting out of error, and the beginning of a new era of faith.

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared April 22, 2013 in Homiletic and Pastoral Review and is reprinted with permission.

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap

By

Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M.Cap., is spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity in Denver, as well as being one of the spiritual directors for the Missionaries of Charity in the western United States. He was director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, from 1999 to 2010; a chaplain for Missionaries of Charity at their now-closed AIDS hospice, Seton House, and at Gift of Mary homeless shelter for women in Denver from 1989 to 2008. His articles have been published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Faith, Soul Magazine, Pastoral Life, and The Priest. He has also made three series for Mother Angelica's EWTN: “Crucial Questions,” “Catholic Answers,” and “What Did Vatican II Really Teach?”

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Please, no more with Vatican II. It is finished as far as I’m concerned. It was a complete disaster.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mitchell.7773 Jim Mitchell

      I agree, if not in its substance, then in its frequently sloppy ambiguity and seemingly endless verbosity.

  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

    With all due respect to Fr. Scanlon, who makes some very good points in his article, the problem with Vatican II was and is Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council was the scheme and means by which “Progressive/Marxist” bishops would take over the church from the inside, after trying for almost a century. This movement had been squelched by both Pope Pius X (at the turn of the 20th century) and later by Pius XII (in the middle of 20th century). Finally the “liberal” bishops got their “man” in with Pope John XXIII, who was either complicit in this scheme or too naiive to know he was being manipulated by the “evil” bishops. The rest, as they say, is history — the eventual destruction of the traditional church. I would highly encourage everyone to read the book “The Second Vatican Council – An Unwritten Story” by Roberto deMattei.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

    Dear Father,
    You are making some very fine distinction here which I’m not sure that I fully comprehend (for example, what are the consequences of being merely a “bad” Catholic as opposed to being a heretic?) Let me ask you a straightforward question: if a pope ever announces (and, please, don’t tell me that it is impossible) that homosexuality is acceptable by the Church, do we have to follow this teaching this”with docility and sincerity”? Frankly, I would rather become a Mormon…

    • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

      Well, Father might not tell you that it is impossible for the pope to announce that homosexuality is acceptable, but the fact remains that no popes have ever officially taught heresy and they will not. Look at the history of the Church. The Byzantine Patriarchs had about 20 heretics who taught heresy whereas the Latin Rite had none – in the one or two questionable cases, it can be demonstrated that they did not officially teach heresy. When Jesus returns, will there be faith in His Church which he promised to be with till the end?

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        You can teach and do a lot by not “doing” anything (emphasis on doing)! It’s called a grave sin of “omission”!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

        My point is that Lumen Gentium 25 does not prevent such an occurrence. Also, it is a weak argument to say that something cannot happen only because it has not happened yet.

        • Hegesippus

          Unless you add the premise at Peter’s Primacy, with God the Son stating that the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

            Yeah, sure. In this situation, though, there is absolutely no need to worry about Vatican II and similar things because the Lord will take care of everything.

      • janet_baker76

        This is not true, Mr. Brady. Pope Liberius fell into the Arian heresy and was deposed by ‘the priests of Rome’ and replaced by Felix, and the Third Council of Constantinople declared Pope Honorius I a heretic posthumously.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

          Actually, Constantius sent Liberius into exile for supporting Athanasians, the fighter of the Arians. Also, historical research has shown that it was very unlikely he signed any of the Sirmium creeds despite arguments of some to the contrary. Also the anti-Roman Arians rejected the antipope Felix who was an Arian but welcomed Liberius. There is much more I could say, but the fact is you cannot prove it and the Vicar of Christ is defended from ex-cathedra official statements of heterodoxy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

            This position takes us very, very close to papolatry, don’t you think so?

            • Hegesippus

              Only by making a huge leap to use an emotive word.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                Is this your reasoned reply?

                • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

                  My own reasoned reply is one based on faith. if we are not able to have faith in our Lord’s protection of His Church based on his words to Peter, his prayer that Peter’s faith would not fail, and His promise to send the H.S. to lead the Church into all truth, why are we talking about Christ and his Church at all. Besides, the facts of history show that the Church has been protected from error as doctrine has developed but no popes have proclaimed heresies such as Pelagianism, Monophysitism, or Arianism. Given how many leaders other groups calling themselves churches have gone back and forth, this must be seen as Providential.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    Let’s wait and see, shall we?

                    • Kondrad

                      well, you can always convert to Mormonism should that happen, so constant is your faith

          • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

            N.B.: I meant to say “the anti-Arian Romans” rejected Felix, who was heterodox and embraced Liberius. Why? As Sozomen the historian made clear, he insisted on excommunicating anyone who affirmed “that the Son is not like the Father in substance and all other respects.” In other words, he was NOT Arian despite Ms. Baker’s claims. Similar things can be said about Honorius.

    • mark sheran leosala

      have you ever read the Scriptures on how Jesus approached those who are in
      need of understanding?

  • Bill Russell

    Cardinal Bernardin was one of the most destructive influences in the modern history of the Church. Considering the pivotal role he played in the appointment of bishops for many years, there is a dismaying thread uniting him to most of the bishops who subsequently were removed from office for moral turpitude. Beside the billions of dollars it has cost in civil penalties, the moral disaster is incalculable.

  • NECatholic

    Father Scanlon’s article is interesting as being somewhat intellectually interesting but cannot be taken very seriously. There are three things that call in question his thinking:

    1) Implying that some level of moral equivalence exists between ‘conservative’ objections to the change from Latin to local languages and the ‘left’s’ active campaign in support of killing the babies in the womb is obscene. It calls in to question the author’s seriousness.

    2) US Bishops, en masse, ‘checked out’ on holding any strict positions on morality a long time ago – e.g. continued tolerance/support of pro-abortion public figures among the laity and priests (e.g. Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago), priestly financial and sexual infidelities are and have been regularly ignored. The passive response to politicians forcing gay marriage, abortion rights, religious persecution is uninspiring to say the least.

    3) Today’s Apostle’s Creed states a belief in the ‘holy, catholic Church’ not the ‘Holy Catholic Church’ – effectively endorsing all and sundry Churches, rather than a single Catholic Church – sort of weakens the argument for the Roman Catholic Church.

    • Alecto

      I’d settle for a wholly catholic Church.

      • Alecto

        Instead of the holey catholic Church!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

    Then Cardinal Ratzinger acting as CDF head taught that even non-infallibly taught teachings cannot be dissented from without acting as a heretic, so it seems possible that a dissent from LG 25, which was dogmatic, would be a heretical dissent. The quote from his commentary on the “Professio Fidei” follows. But for full disclosure, I should admit that Vatican II explicitly declared in some places that it did not intend to bind everyone strictly [e.g.,: “In view of the conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.” (Walter M. Abbott, SJ, The Documents of Vatican II, p. 98)].

    Here’s the relative part of the CDF document:

    “Doctrines [which] are … defined with a solemn judgment as divinely revealed truths either by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks ‘ex cathedra,’ or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or infallibly proposed for belief by the ordinary and universal Magisterium … require the assent of theological faith by all members of the faithful. Thus, whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy, as indicated by the respective canons of the Codes of Canon Law.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mitchell.7773 Jim Mitchell

      It does seem clear from #3 at the link that we are NOT always bound by “non-infallible” papal teachings — http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfworthycom.htm

      • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

        that is referring to what is called prudential judgments and not to matters of doctrine

        • hombre111

          Heh, nice catch. Conservatives take great comfort in the prudential judgment thing when it comes to the social teaching of the Church. Others take comfort in the prudential judgment thing when it comes to following Humanae Vitae.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

            My comments were based off of Magisterial pronouncements such as that mentioned by Mr. Mitchell and that of the CDF’s commentary on the profession of faith – where it is explicitly taught that matters of faith and morals that are taught definitively are not open to debate, and Humanae Vitae is referenced. This is contrasted with matters like the death penalty or the need to go to war which the Catechism itself speaks of in reference to changing conditions or prudential judgment (see 2309 and 2267).

            • hombre111

              The CDF has said a lot of things, many good, others to be abandoned with the solemn pronunciation: “As the Church has always taught and believed….” ie, see a pope’s justification of slavery, and another pope’s rejection of democracy and the freedom of religion.

  • Howard Kainz

    At Vatican II, the document Gaudium et spes #51 makes a very general statement about contraception: “On the strength of these principles, the children of the Church are not
    allowed, in the matter of regulating procreation, to adopt methods
    which are reproved by the teaching authority of the Church interpreting
    divine law.” The problem is that use of the Pill, unlike other methods of contraception, seemed merely to tweak periods by adding hormones, just as adding insulin helped diabetics regulate glucose tolerance, or taking antibiotics helped sick persons to overcome bacterial attacks. It was a very subtle change in the whole history of contraception.

    • Facile1

      “Tweaking” the estrogen levels of a human female is different from “tweaking” the insulin levels of a diabetic human.

      One body is actually performing by design and the other isn’t.

      Can you tell which one?

      Distributing medically unnecessary drugs to healthy female bodies is to tell her (with a smirk):

      “You’re equal only under medication.”

  • Henry

    Father, I am personally offended by your negative indication of those who “cling to the minutiae of 500-year-old rituals”. This characterization dismisses the reverent liturgy encouraged by way of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. And it also dismisses an entire movement of young people who seek a more serious than the awkward folk guitar kitsch so common on Sunday mornings. I am not an SSPXer and in fact I’m troubled by their self imposed exile. But I’m also troubled that you Father, do not understand the facts of their separation and rather, insult so many Catholics who enjoy the Extra-Ordinary Form and are in communion with the Church.

    • windjammer

      You’re spot-on. Have no fear. V2 will be nothing but a minor detour in God’s whole scheme of things. In the real world and God’s world results count. V2 results? One word description…DISASTER! It was hijacked and the documents were left purposely vague in order to allow for “flexible interpretation”. In the case of the liturgy, it was turned upside down from a sacramental event to a social event. The fact that one Bishop (Anibale Bugnini) and 6 Protestant ministers were the driving forces behind the changes is all that you need to know. Don’t get the liturgy right you’ve got nada but real problems. V2 says nothing about what was done to the liturgy, the sacramentals, the altar, the statues, etc. It was just done unilaterally! The results speak for themselves. Not withstanding all the blathering, nonsensical explanations promulgated by well intentioned folks like Fr Scanlon. Are we to believe what they say or deny what we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears?

      This is really not hard. Go on YouTube and down load any EF mass. Then Do the same with a N.O mass. Then ask yourself one question..”If you knew you were going to die tomorrow and meet God, which Mass would bring you closest to Him before you died?

      The good news is you can’t kill truth. The kids today are rapidly learning that the N.O. is hollowed out in comparison to the EF. The vernacular will/is being implemented in parts of the EF which was the original intention. Gregorian chant is now open source and beautiful sacred music/chant is being created daily by a new generation of gifted and holy musicians/writers. Beauty, reverent, mystical, sacred, sacramental, holy, transcendent, uplifting, are infused within us by God. He uses all of them to draw us to Him. Beautiful Liturgy and Sacred Music are the portals to God.

      The N.O. while valid, does not do it because the emphasis is not on the glorification and sacramental worship of God but rather the emphasis is social and placed on the congregation. It’s not an accident that the N.O. seems more Protestant than Catholic. Add the “Big Box” Church approach post V2 and the loop is completed. Then have “sin” essentially removed from the pulpit and replaced by psychobabble, social justice, and Church Nice and the result is predictable. We have “trashed our brand” and folks know it. However, God is still in control and this too will change back to Him as it always does.

    • Henry

      I’ve spent the day thinking about Fr. Scanlon’s piece. And I’ve concluded that, yes, I’m one of the bitter clingers. Yep, it’s true I cling to the minutiae of an old fashioned out dated ritual – a ritual that’s actually 2000 years old (far more than 500)! I’m disappointed in any priest who isn’t a “clinger” to Christian ritual minutiae like, say “THIS IS MY BODY” – whether spoken in Latin or any language. Reducing the EF Mass and describing it as ritual minutiae trivializes the most crucial event (yes a ritual) that can occur this side of Heaven. However, the statement does illustrate the difference between those hungering for a serious and reverent Mass and those unwilling to provide it.

      • Alecto

        But it isn’t simply the words, it’s the environment, the music, everything! I’m sorry, but a sterile modern monstrosity with guitars strumming 3 chord crap doesn’t exactly exalt anyone to contemplation of eternity, the divine mystery, or even reinforce the belief that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. Give me some Romanesque, Baroque or Gothic architecture and music please! No wonder communicants act the way they do.

    • Cherie J

      Henry,
      Thank for speaking up for those who love the Extraordinary form of the Mass. It is obvious that the good Father has never seriously examined the very real and valid reasons that many of us prefer the Extraordinary form and believe that it is absolutely necessary that it continue to be used. On the other hand I do believe that the SSPXers are being deliberately obstructive in their nitpicking at Vatican II. How much good could they do the Church if they had taken the attitude of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and chosen to work within the Church?

    • franthie

      Like you, Henry, I am not a member of the SSPX. Suddenly, in the paragraph concerning that Society, Father Scanlon’s tone changes from explanatory to one of disapproval with a hint of contempt. The 500-year-old rituals he mentions were as relevant and as new as ever before the Council, and not ‘for their own sake’. They were full of significance, and much more fitting than the puerile replacements in the raising of the mind and the heart to God. Our new Church, it seems, will accept anything but tradition. But the signs for the future, I’d say, are looking better these days. I was 30 at the time of the Council and have clear memories of the Catholic Church in Scotland before Vatican II.

  • disqus_BD1WTedpf7

    I think the characterization of SSPX is very poor.
    They do object to the liturgical renewal based on the evidence before their very eyes which all can see — disaster. Also it is based on a traditional and official understanding of the point and purpose of liturgy.
    But even more importantly, the SSPX objects to the doctrinal novelities of V2, in particular the abandonment of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the movement from Religious Tolerance to Religious Liberty.
    These are serious matters and not just minutae…. These are real changes and aren’t easily smoothed over using the new phrase “living magisterium” which seems to be cover for a Pope doing whatever he wants.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The notion of the “living magisterium” is no novelty.

      “Tradizione!” thundered Pope Pius IX, at Cardinal Filippo Maria Guidi of Bologna, “La tradizione son’ io!” – “I am the tradition!”

      • disqus_BD1WTedpf7

        Can you find any publication of the term “living Magisterium” prior to Vatican II?
        I agree with Pope Pius IX that the Holy Father can be seen as the tradition, but as Vatican I said, only when he defines ex cathedra or repeats already infallible doctrine.
        It hardly covers the case of our modern day popes, that put in place policies that are in open conflict with past teachings, particularly in the areas of liturgy, religious liberty, universal salvation, the Jews and the old covenant, relations with non-Catholics etc. On all these points the modern popes have done things and said things that fly in the face of consistent teachings from the past. Their grace of state hardly makes this contradiction go away, but instead they have used the phrase “living Magisterium” to legitimize ecclesial fashion,which is here today and could be gone tomorrow.
        Hardly a sound basis for a concept of tradition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mitchell.7773 Jim Mitchell

    Under #3 is a freedom to dissent against the pope’s teaching on 2 moral issues, holding to a more traditional position rather than an attempt to modify those positions by JPII — http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfworthycom.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mitchell.7773 Jim Mitchell

    Are we permitted to dissent from Pope Leo X’ condemnation of proposition #33? — http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo10/l10exdom.htm

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mitchell.7773 Jim Mitchell

    That last bit is chillingly ominous. The embrace of the fullness of the faith must include all that came before Vatican II and interpretation of Vatican II completely within the context of all that went before. Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller seems almost to be one of those who view the beginning of the church not at Pentecost, but at Vatican II. If this is going to be more of the same, then “forward” will necessarily mean forward over a cliff. In the past few decades, I’ve gone from pro Novus Ordo to a state of extreme shock after experiencing both the traditional Latin Rite and the Catholic Byzantine Liturgy and how they are both magnitudes beyond the new rite in beauty and depth. I have not gone over to the Sedes or SSPX, but something very serious has gone wrong since Vatican II. If the revolution in the rite is any indication, then there has been dangerous tampering with doctrine at the highest levels as well. Even Vatican II’s comments upon Islam appear to be based on a factually incorrect understanding of that religion; correct in its evaluation of the council fathers’ IDEA of what Islam is, but irrelevant to the nature of the actual religion of Islam as it exists in the real world. Maybe the Sedes and SSPX are both wrong about many things, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe in both the pre and post Vatican II church AS UNDERSTOOD BY ROME HERSELF and hold to a belief in the church’s infallibility and binding authority in anything but the most explicit, precise, concise dogmatic teachings.

    • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

      How true. I highly recommend the book “The Second Vatican Council – An Unwritten Story” by Roberto deMattei. Simply fascinating, but more than that…. scary!

  • hombre111

    I will always remember the day Humanae Vitae was proclaimed to the world. Our bishop met with his priests and tried to find a pastoral, as opposed to dictatorial, way to preach about the document. We mostly agreed that married people know a heck of a lot more about sexuality in its married context than celibates, even a pope, ever will. In the end, we joined with the Canadian bishops and decided to tell people to be prayerful, speak to God about their own situation and the Church’s teaching, and make up their minds like Christian adults.

    Since then, I have read Humanae Vitae six or seven times. I have started it with the prayer, Lord, make me humble enough to see what the pope is saying here. But it is like praying, Lord, teach me to believe that 2+2=3.

    • disqus_BD1WTedpf7

      Humanae Vitae and the Church’s teaching on sexuality is where the rubber hits the road spiritually. It means that everyone has to decide either for God or for themselves in an area of life that is most intimate and personal.
      Ordering one’s sexuality in accordance with Church teaching is difficult to do given the context of the modern world, but it is the means by which one either seeks God or seeks self. There is no middle-ground.
      Humanae Vitae is already proven prophetic, but for those enamoured by the world and the pride of life, they will never understand.

      • musicacre

        It should also reaffirm that marriage is not for everyone. Why does no one mention this? It is a vocation, therefore takes alot of work, dedication, self-sacrifice, maturity to put off pleasure, etc. It is not for the faint-hearted or just pleasure-oriented. It shouldn’t be a general expectation that every one marry.

    • janet_baker76

      I cannot agree that married people ‘know a heck of a lot more’ about anything at all simply by virtue of their living in the particular state. A mechanic may know much about an internal combustion engine, little about the theory of conservation of energy. We are speaking of a revealed, not a natural, way of life, in Christian marriage, and it is a matter of sorting out the truth by the usual means, not by democratic decision.

    • TomD

      I too have read Humanae Vitae numerous times and have concluded that it is both morally and theologically correct. The challenge is that, if you consider the teachings primarily from a human perspective, they appear to be both unreasonable and unachievable. But that is the incorrect way to approach the teachings. As children of God we are called to transcend our circumstances and attitudes, not to succumb to them.

      The teaching in Humanae Vitae may be the most difficult for us to faithfully make our own, because it reaches to the core of our humanity and we naturally wish to resist that which is difficult to live by. Dissent from Humanae Vitae is perhaps the best example of why the Church is in the condition it is in today.

      • hombre111

        The problem is, Humanae Vitae appeals to the principles of Natural Law, which is reason, and not revelation, at work. I think Ratzinger himself said that the Church cannot teach de fide the conclusions of natural law. Natural law is a deductive process flowing from certain unquestionable moral principles, such as “do the good.” The conclusions of Humanae Vitae are several steps down the deductive chain.

        Natural lawl has its strengths. And its weaknesses. For instance, even in the 1800′s, a pope was arguing for slavery. Natural law did not keep the Church from condemning democracy and freedom of religion. Natural law still does not lead the Church to give women a leadership role.

        When you argue philosophy (as natural law thinking does) you have to be aware of several things. 1) The essentialist fallacy 2) Dualism 3) Somebody might be using better logic. 4) The appearance of new facts. 5) Somebody might be arguing from a better perspective. 6) A more adequate verses a less adequate frame of reference.

        • TomD

          At the risk of continuing a futile discussion, my only point was that the reasoning of Humanae Vitae is, to me, both morally and theologically persuasive, as difficult as it may be to live by. The source of the Church’s teaching, whether or not appealing to natural law, is ultimately less important to me.

          My other point was that when our perspective is principally human-centered rather than transcendent, we attempt to rationalize away that which is most inconvenient for us. This is a very human response. It seems to me, that in many instances, this is exact what has happened with the teachings of Humanae Vitae. Having said this, I do not pretend to know your ultimate reasons for opposing the teachings of the Church.

    • Facile1

      As a woman, I believe the fact that Humanae Vitae slipped past a room full of men (albeit in skirts) can only mean the Holy Spirit was at work in Vatican II.

  • caroline

    It seems to me that the original mistake was made at Vatican I when they defined papal infallibility without making provision for the problem inherent in any definition, exclusion of what is not included in the definition. Defining infallibility as an ex cathedra statement makes non ex cathedra statements possibly questionable. As the author points out, a pope could attempt to correct this problem by a further definition pronounced ex cathedra but there is bound to be yet another exclusion with any further inclusion.

  • musicacre

    There should be objection to the way the Liturgy was FORCED on the world in the vernacular, when no permission from any document gave that permission. The vernacular was to be used for special occasions only. It’s time to fess up finally and at least give all Catholics the straight story of how they were hood-winked into a Liturgy where the meaning of words always changes. I was born in the 60′s but feel in the Traditional Liturgy I have discovered a gem; where you are “allowed” to be in awe of God and kneel.

  • Alecto

    Very instructive, thank you very much for that perspicacious explanation of Vatican II and detailed the problems which followed. Given the level of dissent, the deep, profound divisions among American Catholics, I do not believe simply explaining or clarifying the Council or its authority will suffice. That may have solved issues 25-30 years ago, but no longer. I also do not understand how one Council can contradict previous Councils? How can Vatican II do away with a mass in use for centuries arguing it is no longer legitimate? No Council has more authority than any previous Council. Therefore, what was legitimate before (Tridentine mass), continues to be legitimate worship.

    What resulted after Vatican II wasn’t simply confusion, and I would argue an intentional effort to confuse and divide Catholics by people of ill intent such as “Cardinal” Bernardin the Maleficent, it was a failure by the clergy tasked with catechizing, to teach and instruct two or more generations of Catholics in the authentic faith. The tragic effect of that failure by clerics was to deny required instruction, confuse, and then reinforce error. It will be impossible to heal the breach or to evangelize anyone until the Church renews efforts to catechize Catholics. The rest will take care of itself.

  • Mary

    The Vatican II documents are beautifully crafted. They helped me deepen my faith and I believe were a great gift to the Church.

    • janet_baker76

      I’m a sucker for a good looking guy, myself. But perhaps you will be inclined to look a little deeper. Letter to Confused Catholics, or The Rhine Flows into the Tiber are a couple of sources that might change your mind.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ryanjbrady2 Ryan J Brady

        What Went Wrong With Vatican II by McInerny would be good as well. What went wrong? Liberals made themselves their own popes in the falsely called ‘spirit of V2.’ They got in the habit of rejecting the Magisterium after Humanae Vitae (in favor of themselves or liberal theologians). V2 was ambiguous, for sure, but not positively bad or erroneous. The Rhine Flows into the Tiber and Pope John’s Council by Davies are illuminating though, in that they show that even though the Holy Spirit would not allow falsehoods to be taught, the liberal periti helped obfuscate the truth.

        • musicacre

          Also, Vatican II Timebombs, by Michael Davies, shows a lot of what went on behind the scenes and how some cardinals and bishops were manipulated at times. They would agree on wording, only to have alot of extras added later. Many allowances for interpretation, etc., esp for the New Order of Mass.

  • janet_baker76

    There is insincere concern for the poor, most of all the denial of the heart of the cry Que Viva Cristo Rey, false concern which gives them soup and blankets but keeps silent (and comfortable) in the secular belly of the beast that churns them out faster than we can dig their broken bodies out of the ruins. This is one of the three items of horrific heresy at Vatican II, the heresy regarding ‘religious freedom’ (just read it parallel to ‘sexual freedom’ and you see at once). The other two are ecumenism and collegiality. This is in addition to the ruined liturgy. This is what SSPX is struggling against, may God help them.

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  • allen

    THey had better take another look at the N.O.This is not the Mass of The Council….Pope Benedict did a VERY GOOD JOB trying to get the church back on track……..but still along ways to go…..Turn the Priest back around so he is “facing East”/ad orientem…..The use of Latin for the parts of the Mass that are sung….Kyrie/Greek, Gloria, Credo, Santus , Angus Dei….in Latin again….this modern music is so un reverent 50 yrs of guitars and pianos is enough………..wake up Bishops!

    • Facile1

      I love the Latin Mass. But here in the Philippines, where there are 65+ basic languages, 300 dialects (some of which don’t even have a word for ‘holy’), I always attend the Mass in Tagalog. I was raised in English and I cringe now and then when I disagree with a translation. God cannot talk to us in His language anymore than we can talk to our own children in ours.

      • musicacre

        This was never about believing ..” God understands us better when we pray in Latin.” It is about language being a huge uniting force, and the language of the church having a powerful affect to unite us from all countries. Also, most local languages constantly change the meaning of words, when you do that with the Bible or the Mass you get a completely different theology, eventually. Don’t you see that with all the languages where you live, it especially makes sense to have Latin where at least for those words of the Mass you are all understanding together? Rather than the Tower of Babel? We have an approved Latin Mass an hour away from where we live and I try to never miss it!

        • Facile1

          Language is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT. To unite us under one Church is NOT (and never was) Jesus’ mission.

  • allen

    Joe DeCarlo is correct is was a complete disaster, even more the way it was implimented was HORRID

  • Thomist

    It would appear that most are unfamiliar with Vatican I’s Dogma on ex cathedra papal infallibility and the accolade give by Bl John Paul II to Fr Ermenegildo Lio, O.F.M., a Vatican II peritus, to whom the Pope sent a message drafted in fine calligraphy with his own handwritten signature, and his Apostolic Blessing, expressing “deep thanks for your volume Humanae Vitae e Infallibilità and with warm appreciation for the sentiments of sincere adherence to the Magisterium of the Church which have always guided your activity of research and teaching: I impart to you from my heart a special Apostolic Blessing, a pledge of continuing heavenly assistance towards a fervent perseverance in the love of Truth and the service of souls.”

    Fr Lio had detailed the ex cathedra status of the decision against contraception in Humanae Vitae and Fr Brain Harrison has done the same for the declaration against women priests in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. It is high time that The Vatican I dogma is understood in its clarity on papal ex cathedra declarations.
    See: http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt12.html#II
    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt43.html
    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=835

  • whatsup54321

    About Vatican II and Infallibility: Does not an Ecumenical Council enjoy the gift of infallibility by its very nature?

    About Humanae Vitae: While I believe that reaction to Humanae Vitae was, as the author here states, to at least some degree responsible for some dissent in the Church, I do not believe that it was the sole or primary starting point for dissent in the Church. (What didn’t help is that in few places was the teaching carefully taught and understood within the larger context of sexual and marital love. Unfortunately, this is still true today. How many people REALLY understand what the Church teaches about artificial contraception and the WHY of it??)

    About Vatican II: I am always amazed at those who take an historic event such as Vatican II and isolate it from the context of society and culture. People who do this with the Church, generally speaking, also amaze me. There is nothing that can be understood in isolation from the rest of reality, even if some people try their best to dismiss a particular reality (or realities).

    During the time before, during, and after Vatican II, this world was undergoing the most dramatic changes in human history in the shortest period of time. Begun by the industrial revolution, developed by all the social revolutions having their beginnings as early as the 1940′s and 1950′s, and becoming most evident in the 1960′s and 1970′s, these cultural shifts were rampant and profound. This was especially true in the Western world where the majority of Catholics were physically located at the time. In the midst of that cultural context was the Church – not apart from and certainly not isolated from any of those cultural shifts.

    The cultural changes radically challenged traditional worldviews (like Christianity). They exist today and even some leaders in our Church embrace their false worldviews. They were and are cultural changes and views that challenge how Christians and others view sex and sexuality, gender, technology, war, illegal use of drugs, feminism, spirituality, civil rights, etc. etc. etc.

    I cannot understand why we seem to ignore these false realities that influence so many people and isolate the Church (and Vatican II) from them. Once you isolate the Church and all its members from these changes in worldview, It is too easy to blame Vatican II for current circumstances in the life of the Church. And that’s what some people do, even those who comment here. It is troublesome that people could be that isolationist and seemingly ignorant of the larger context within each of us lives.

    Anyone who reads the actual documents of Vatican II (particularly Lumen Gentium and Gaudiem et Spes) as the author of this article has indicated, will clearly see that there was NO retreat in Vatican II from understanding the Church as a hierarchically ordered communion. Roles and offices were clearly articulated. Teaching authority was not redefined. If anything, the dynamic and organic beauty of the entire Church as the Community of the People of God, each with specific roles and offices in harmony and solid relationship within the Body of Christ was stressed.

    Let’s not make Vatican II the villain. It doesn’t make sense to do that.
    Let’s realize that there were (and are) so many other things that influence people and societies. These realities are very real and very difficult to counter.
    Let’s realize that few people in our world are isolated and able to completely separate from their cultural contexts (except, perhaps for hermits those in monasteries, and the like).
    Let’s accept the challenge to transform this world to Christ, and let’s do that without breaking up the Body of Christ by renouncing the beauty and Truth of an incredibly wonderful and life-giving Ecumenical Council rooted in Scripture and our Tradition. Instead, let’s build up the Body of Christ by seeking, fostering and nurturing healthy relationships that reflect and image the harmony of relationship that is our Trinitarian God.
    And, for God’s sake, and for the sake of the Church, let us Catholics remember that we are called to be one. This was a prayer of Jesus, that we are one. Unity can and does exist, and it has done so and continues to do so in the Church, even with diversity (e.g. look at the Eastern rites). Being one does not mean being the same, but being one in the Faith. Let’s not contribute to the scandal that disunity brings to the Body of Christ.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

      “Does not an Ecumenical Council enjoy the gift of infallibility by its very nature”
      No.

    • musicacre

      About Humanae Vitae: read Anne Roche Muggeridge’s book, The Desolate City and in this well- researched (and well-argued) book you will see that EVERYONE including and especially, the Marxists and feminists (the same) considered contraception as THE starting point of a very ferocious revolution, (against the Catholic Church teachings) that has not ended to this day. There are many reasons that this issue was pivotal and used to challenge all moral authority in the Church.

  • William Beckman

    Fr. Regis. I remember inviting you to give a talk on Lumen Gentium 25 at the 23rd Mile Hi Congress in Denver, February 1992. You told it like it is just as you have here, and the CINOs screamed bloody murder. Your contribution along with those of Peter Kreeft, Ronda Chervin, Monsignors Smith and Albacete and others helped to open a new ecclesial perspective in Denver which World Youth Day 1993 transformed into a center of renewal for the Church in the US. Thank you for defending the fullness of Catholic faith including the Second Vatican Council!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

    Let’s be clear about a couple of things. I don’t attend the Latin Mass, but those who do did not initially set about disobeying the Church. In fact, they assent to everything that the Church teaches about the faith and morals. Their stomachs have been turned by the rancid heresies that developed in the wake of the Council. I don’t agree with them that the Council was wholly to blame — since I can actually read, and have read the Council’s documents. But there is no equivalence between their queasiness about the Novus Ordo and the advocacy, by the “left,” of things that are stupid, destructive, unnatural, and evil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.keevers William Keevers

    http colon slash slash is repeated twice on the link “Homiletic and Pastoral Review”. It is a broken link.

  • Chad Koenig

    I shall quote Mel Gibson from Braveheart: “where are you goin?” “I am goin to pick a fite.”

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  • JohnFK

    Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter came about as the result of SSPX. Priests of that order who did not want to face excommunication were invited over by Pope JP11. He then formed the Priestley Fraternity of St. Peter, his knowledge of the importance of the EF Mass being preserved. It was in large part due to the heroic actions of Archbishop Lefebvre that tradition is miraculously re-emerging in the Church. Read some of the SSPX letters from Archbishop Fellay, and they are clearly Catholic in their teaching, nothing contradictory. We have leadership of their stock in Cardinal Burke and a few others, but their voices need to be listened for among the growls of the wolves Benedict XVI saw so viciously continuing to attack from within. Pray hard, and let’s hope a new wave of leadership will flush out the evil and ambiguities of V11.

  • Jack

    Vatican II is a plague and a council that has ruined more souls than the devil ever could, it defected from all past teachings and was a politically correct council with more words and conflicting teachings, where one paragraph first seems fine the next a departure, must have been written by lawyers . This was done intentional and these 16 volumes contained more words than all of the other councils combined. As a product of Vatican II, God has given myself, my family, in laws and many who actually are intelligent and the bell goes off, and we found our way to SSPX and SSPV chapels. The cafeteria and so called “conservative” Catholics try and use the obedience angle but my obedience is to God and if we are wrong in adhering to past teachings then then the church was wrong then

    God bless and find your way back to Tradition

    • musicacre

      “…. ruined more souls than the devil ever could ….”?? If souls were ruined it certainly WAS his work.

      • Jack

        The Pope is the Vicar of Christ and is the shepherd of 1B Souls, first with John XXIII and then with Paul VI, you have a new catechism, new code of canon law, new bible translation, new mass, new customs, even new sacraments in form and matter-new everything-all in 50 years? It is a new church, protestant to the bone and yes, if the Pope who is the shepherd allowed these things and a council that inflicted such damage, then he is the cause of the damnation of these souls. Ever notice how every Pope since V2 is so called “blessed” or soon to be a saint? When was the last time any Pope or Priest ever quoted any encyclical or papal bull by a pre V2 Pope? Its because they cant because it is conflicting with the new teachings and then the “Church” would defect as it would no longer be “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic”-the 4 marks of the church , remember your Baltimore Catechism? The church is in eclipse, it is not the true church any more

  • Thaddeus J. Kozinski

    “On the other hand, the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, continues to err on the side of utter conservative rigidity. They reject the Second Vatican Council as a movement of the Holy Spirit, and cling to the minutiae of 500-year-old rituals as necessary, for their own sake. ”

    Father is exactly right here. Notice his phrase, “cling to the minutiae . . . for their own sake.” This is an accurate depiction of the neurosis and immaturity in the “traditionalist” movement. I’ve seen it first hand. It is laudable and even obligatory to have a love of the extraordinary form, as it is obviously superior in terms of aesthetics and theological richness than the Novus Ordo. But the clinging to minutiae (like mantillas and fasting for 12 hours, etc.) for their own sake that is rampant in traditionalist circles is gnostic, Phariseeish, neurotic, idolatrous, and inner-circle making.

  • Paula

    Interesting article but my conscience tells me that the Extraordinary Mass, the Mass loved by all our saints, is the right one … with all the ‘minutiae’!
    … and something tells me that the FSSP is forming the Catholics of the future …

  • quisutDeusmpc

    While I fully concur dissent of any and all varieties is sapping the energy of the Church, I am not convinced that an ‘ex cathedra’ statement or another council needs to be called to shore up the First Vatican Council’s teaching on ‘papal infallibility’ or the nature of the teaching or the ‘religious assent’ due an ecumenical council or its teaching, vis a vis Lumen Gentium 25. I doubt that much if any catechesis has been done in re Lumen Gentium 25, specifically. Have we seen any Adult Faith Formation Classes on it at the parish level? As with Dominus Iesus, it seems to me that the competency and concern of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are better suited to circumscribe this problem. After fifty years, the Second Vatican Council has barely begun to be understood much less fully implemented. It took three hundred years for the Council of Trent to be fully implemented before the First Vatican Council was called. The intransigence of the Lefebvrists and their ilk, is both understandable, and to a certain extent, laudable. We tend to forget the secular history that has so colored their perception and attitudes. The Jacobins of the French Revolution with their cry of ‘Ecrasez l’infame’ (crush the infamy – that is, the Church) and the martyrdom of the Nuns of Compeigne began a two hundred year experiment in laicite and the secularisation of French society. Tenaciously and perseveringly French Catholics continued to pass down their faith in the face of radical opposition. When it seemed to them, that the very Church herself had adopted the very modernism they had been resisting for one hundred eighty years, is it really any wonder they had to ask themselves the existential question, Why have we been resisting for 200 years to see the Church herself capitulate? I do not agree with their conclusion, but admire their zeal and passion for what they wrongly consider “the” faith, Tridentine Catholicism, which was itself a reactionary development of circling the wagons in the face of the Protestant Revolution (see Brad Gregory’s trenchant analysis in “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society”)

  • quisutDeusmpc

    (oops, hit the return/submit button instead of shift). Similarly, the pay/pray/obey; don’t think, don’t question, just believe; obeisance/clericalism has graciously become a relic. The explosion of intelligent, substantial works in apologetics, biblical theology, moral theology, the focus on the relations within the Trinity, patristics, salvation as theosis/deification, a renewed appreciation of an atonement of recapitulaition, and on love as total gift/sacrifice for the good of the other as other all bode well. These things take time (i. e. the greying and waning influence of the various dissenting factions). The World Youth Days and the institutions of higher learning self consciously based on the classical/Catholic model (Steubenville, Ave Maria University, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts); the publications of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Compendium, and the Youth Catechism; the Cistercian Studies/Monastic Wisdom series, et al will bear fruit in due season.

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