Passages from Vatican II that Every Catholic Should Know

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). While all agree that the council was a milestone in the history of the Church, the meaning and application of Vatican II and its sixteen official documents has been a source of contention right down to the present day. Numerous acts of dissent from the Church’s official doctrine and discipline have been undertaken in the name of the “spirit of Vatican II.” Because of this, it is good for Catholics to familiarize themselves with what the council actually said in its official promulgations. While not everyone has the leisure to read through the hundreds of pages of conciliar material, there are certain passages which should be highlighted, in part because they counter attempts by those who try to ground their dissent in the council and its supposed “spirit.” The following are seven such passages that every Catholic should know.

1)  “Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop…. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #22).

After the council, “uniformity” became the chief vice and “creativity” became the chief virtue. The large scale liturgical changes proposed by the council fueled the thirst for further experimentation on the part of priests and liturgists, leading to everything from minor changes in the prescribed liturgical texts to liturgical dancing and puppet masses. However, these individuals have missed the main criterion for judging the right kind and proper extent of liturgical change clearly enunciated in the passage above. They are condemned by the very council they invoke to legitimize their acts.

2) “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #36).

A friend of mine once had an encounter with an elderly Church-goer who expressed her gratitude that Vatican II had abolished Latin from the liturgy. My friend asked her if she had read the council’s document on the liturgy, and the answer, not surprisingly, was “no.” While Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy does make provision for a much wider use of the vernacular, it also mandates a retention of Latin, even going so far as to say that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (#54).

3) “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #116).

There are few examples of how directly contrary to the explicit desire of Vatican II many in the post-conciliar Church went than this. The last fifty or so years have seen liturgists act as if Vatican II considered Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony (also endorsed by the council) as the least suitable music for the mass. Their solution has been to replace it with a wave of what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger called “utility music,” undermining the council’s attempt to make the liturgy a true encounter between man and the radical beauty of God.

4) “But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff” (Lumen Gentium, #22).

Collegiality was one of the hot topics at Vatican II. Many in the Church wanted to move away from what they considered an excessive focus on, and concentration of power in, the person of the pope. Vatican II did indeed do much to deepen our understanding of the importance and role of both individual bishops as well as the college of bishops considered as a whole. Some, however, took this collegial emphasis to the point of undermining the power and prerogatives of the supreme pontiff as defined by the First Vatican Council in the late nineteenth century. For example, in his book The Changing Church: Reflections on the progress of the Second Vatican Council, dissident theologian Hans Küng states that the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on the importance and power of the college of bishops was “a decisive counterpoint to the First Vatican Council’s one-sided definition of papal supremacy” (‘complementarity’ would have been a better word than ‘counterpoint’). The council, in fact, sets clear boundaries to the power of the episcopal college and emphatically reaffirms the ultimate primacy of the Vicar of Christ over the entire Church.

5) “But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum, #10).

Vatican II gave a great impetus to Scripture studies, especially among the laity. So as to not give free reign to individualistic hermeneutics, the ecclesiological and especially magisterial context for Scriptural interpretation is again stated.

6) “Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ” (Lumen Gentium, #10).

The post-conciliar Church has suffered from a major crisis of identity within her different states of life. Laymen and women now stampede into the sanctuary to perform those rituals once prescribed to the priest alone. Clergy have adopted a lay persona by casting off the collar, cassock, and habit in favor of the T-shirt and shorts, and – in the case of some religious—of abandoning secluded monasteries and instead populating city apartments.

This is, in part, a response to Vatican II’s new focus on the common priesthood shared by all the faithful. This focus seems to many to call into question the former radical distinction between priest and layman. In fact, many see Vatican II as helping to break down all of the walls formerly dividing the two (e.g. this blog post from the National Catholic Reporter).

Far less attention is paid to the first sentence of the passage quoted above, which states that the difference between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of all the faithful is not merely one of “degree,” but of “essence.” In other words, the two priesthoods are not on different levels of the same priestly spectrum, but, in fact, each is a very different way of sharing in Christ’s one priesthood. Whereas all of the Church’s faithful share in Christ’s priesthood by offering spiritual sacrifices, participating in the sacraments, virtuous living, and by proclaiming the Gospel to the world (LG, 11), the ministerial priesthood entails a mysterious identification with the Person of Christ Himself (acting “in persona Christi”), and so enables the ordained minister to effect the miracle of transubstantiation and the forgiveness of sins via the sacramental grace received at ordination. So, while Vatican II was indeed strongly opposed to excessive clericalism, it at the same time re-emphasized the radical distinction between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful.

7) “Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, [this Council] teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism, as through a door, men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved” (Lumen Gentium, #14).

Vatican II admitted to the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics (Lumen Gentium, #14-16). This created a firestorm both within and without the Church, as it seemed to reverse the Church’s perennial teaching of “outside the Church there is no salvation.” The result was that many questioned the necessity of the missionary endeavors of the Church, because if non-Catholics could be saved, why bother trying to convert them? And one hardly need to mention the fact that now practically every funeral is a mini-canonization ceremony.

There are two important things to note about this passage. One is that it clearly states that those who know of the necessity of the Church for salvation cannot remain outside of it and hope to be saved. The other is that, notwithstanding an acknowledgement of the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics, it also clearly states that the Church is necessary for salvation and that Christ is “the unique way of salvation.” This is important to mention because some interpret Vatican II’s acknowledgment of the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics as saying that there are other paths of salvation outside the Church. But this, in fact, is not what either the council or the Church teaches. As a 2000 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes clear, God’s “salvific grace … is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church.” The point is that those who may happen to be saved outside the visible confines of the Church are not saved in spite of the Church or Christ, but arrive at salvation some way through the Church and Christ. The council is, in fact, reaffirming the exclusive claim of Christ and His Church as the one path to salvation.

Many other passages from the council could be quoted, but this selection reveals just how far from the conciliar documents many in the Church have strayed. As we prepare to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of council’s closing, we would do well as a Church to reflect critically on the past fifty years to see just how well Vatican II has been so far implemented, and to consider how we can be truer to the council’s teaching as we move forward into the future.

Jared M. Silvey

By

Jared M. Silvey received his BA in philosophy in 2012 and his MA in theology in 2014 from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

  • Guest

    Thank you. I have recently started studying the documents of Vatican II. I have been surprised by the what I found as opposed to the “story” I have been fed my entire life. The documents were not the problem but rather their implementation. It often seems that someone had an agenda and used Vatican II to implement those changes regardless of the Truth of Vatican II. I am not sure they read the same thing I am reading now.

    • Vinny

      You are in the truth as opposed to the lies we have been fed since the 1960’s. Society in the 60’s destroyed this country in many ways. Regardless of your age, you are part of the new evangelization that the Church needs to continue to bring many to Christ through faith.

      • jacobhalo

        Watch what you say, this pope doesn’t want us to convert others to the Catholic faith.

    • Martha

      Ah, but the documents were the problem. See my post above. Cardinal Kasper admitted that ambiguities were inserted quite purposefully. Also, one tactic they used was to hide a rather heretical statement (like ditching the extra ecclesia nulla salus) within orthodox statements to confuse the lay reader and thus hide the heresy. Just yucky, the whole thing.

      You have to ask yourself why we needed V2 and all of its ill-begotten documents? There was nothing to clarify, no argument within the Church, so what was the point? Think about it, and its aftermath, and I think you have the answer.

      • Jay

        Hmmm…several scholars disagree with you, that it indeed needed to happen. I suggest reading a book titled, Vatican II: Did Anything Happen, by John W. O’Malley

        It provides arguments from both sides and is very informative. Several historians and theologians take write and take part in selected topics within the historical framework of the major events of the 20th Cent. Here’s the link.

        http://www.amazon.com/Vatican-II-Did-Anything-Happen/dp/0826428908/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423587970&sr=8-1&keywords=vatican+ii+did+anything+happen

      • Anthony Zarrella

        Be careful, Martha… Disagreeing with the “spirit of Vatican II” nonsense that has pervaded the Church is all well and good, but if you maintain that the conciliar documents *themselves* are heretical, then you are placing yourself in a state of schism from the Church. If you truly believe “extra ecclesia nulla salus,” (as I do) then that’s not a good state to be in…

        • jacobhalo

          Does Cardinal Kasper place himself in the state of schism with his views on marriage and the reception of communion?

          • Anthony Zarrella

            No, if he’s guilty of something (which I suspect he is), it’s heresy, not schism. He’s not refusing to acknowledge the authority of the Church – he’s promoting teachings contrary to doctrine. I admit the line is a fuzzy one in cases like this though (and, for all *practical* purposes, an insignificant one, since schism and heresy are equally serious sins, to the best of my knowledge).

      • Jared Clark

        If you read them through Tradition, even the ambiguous parts (purposeful or not) still cannot be misread. And not to be too disrespectful to a prince of the Church, but I do not trust what His Eminence says. Not only does he hope that the Church will stop enforcing her teachings regarding communion and marriage, he has also shown himself to be dishonest (his comments about African bishops and lying about the interview). If he thinks he had some advantage by attacking the documents of Vatican II (possibly to divide orthodox Catholics against each other), he would do it.

        Everyone reading this, remember to pray for His Eminence. He really needs your prayers.

        • Atilla The Possum

          I wouldn’t trust Kasper as far as I’d throw him… Cardinal or dustman!
          Yes, he needs prayers … he also needs to be taken to task!

  • JP

    Several years ago the late Notre Dame professor, Ralph McInery, wrote a short book on VII. He ignored the Spirit of Vatican II, and just concentrated on the documents. Like many others I was very surprised on what actually was documented as compared to what was practiced in Vatican II’s aftermath.

    One of the key features of this post-conciliar period is how deceptively the practice (or praxis) of our faith deviates from what is formulated. This feature allows both clerics and lay alike to say that they have not or will not change “doctrine”, when in reality it has been changed. The author’s example of the elderly woman who mistakenly believed the TLM was shelved is a great example. From the liturgy to chant, to our prohibitions against artificial birth control, the Church has undergone entirely destructive transformations without enacting one doctrinal change.

    We should keep this in mind when observing the Synod this autumn.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    I think everyone is aware of these documents. The problem is, “straying” from the clear sense of the documents – especially in the area of liturgy – often began, and now continues, with the popes. If the Bishop of Rome permits and even promotes ghastly liturgies that teach nothing Catholic, that abandon chant, etc., etc., you end up with… well, a Holy Mess instead of the Holy Mass.

    • Jure

      Make a mess

    • Agreed. When the supposed guardians of the church are foisting the “spirit of V2” upon the heads of the faithful, that makes for fertile ground to harvest a crop of liberal nut jobs, it’s almost hard to take the council itself that seriously.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Is the phrase”liberal nut jobs”a new form of holy language we’re not yet familiar with? A new form of “sacred Latin” perhaps? Iwould like to think that we can disagree without being disagreeable,anglicanae; or is that too much to hope for?—PEACE IN CHRIST.

        • I assert liberalism is a sort of madness, and the Catholic Church has been seized within by a great many devoted to this madness.

        • Mike

          Laurence,

          Your thoughts are worthy of consideration, and charity above all for those who believe.

          But the tone you’ve offered them are no better than the ‘snark’ and sarcasm you are decrying.

          Then to use the Pax Christi is a sort of passive-aggressive self-righteousness.

          If I’m wrong, then so be it – I apologize publicly.

          On the other hand, you too need to be aware of the tone and motives in your heart.

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            If you have the singular ability to read”snark and sarcasm” into my posts,Mike…indeed, so be it.However,I would remind you that there is much that can be read into Holy Writ itself that would speak of sarcasm and an ancient form of”snark”,i.e. the Prophet Elijah’s encounter with the false “prophets”of Baal in 1st Kings 18:27. So…short of being downright rude,which I strive to avoid,I have no problem with sarcasm;sometimes it needed to open the mind to the concerns of someone other than yourself,particularly if you think you’re right. As for the other, the motives of my heart are known only to Almighty God and those I reveal them to.So…PEACE IN CHRIST,ALWAYS.

        • Albee

          Actually Liberalism is a sin, a heresy.
          Please find the book (a short read)

          Liberalism is a Sin, by Fr. Felix Sarda y Salvany.

          Here is a free version:
          http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/LIBSIN.HTM

          And one can find free downloads most everywhere.

          “Liberalism is THE error of our times. It is essentially the mistaken notion that one religion is as good as another and that people have a right freely to choose whatever religion suits them best.”
          (from the back cover….)

          Chapter 25 “How Catholics Fall into Liberalism”
          http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/LIBSIN.HTM#25

    • Jay

      Didn’t Pope Benedict try to straighten things out? I wasn’t Catholic back then, but it seems from what I read he attempted to right the ship. What about JP2?

    • Vinny

      Perhaps the Bishops are afraid, maybe subconsciously, that the numbers of people who call themselves Catholics will decrease if they aren’t more progressive. If so, they lack faith because if people know true Catholicism we would gain converts.

      • St JD George

        I think so too, though I don’t concern myself with numbers so much. To be sure many will melt away under the bright light of the truth, but I think there is a great hunger for the truth to be delivered with strength of conviction and with mercy, grounded in Jesus and not adrift on the sea bending to temporal cultural mores. The later I’m convinced drives many away as if to preach a form of relativism that they can get anywhere.

      • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

        “Progressive”, Conservative, Orto-morto etc. are words often used by those who DIVIDE and RULE. It won’t affect true Children of God. Being a Pastor the present Pope is above those who divide and rule. Those leaders who are Pastoral “gain converts”.

        “If the Bishop of Rome permits and even promotes ghastly liturgies that teach nothing Catholic, that abandon chant, etc., etc., you end up with… well, a Holy Mess instead of the Holy Mass.”

        It looks God has made a serious mistake. He should have made Dr. T.J.W. the Pope.

    • JohnnyVoxx

      I don’t know that “everyone” is aware of these documents. I don’t think 1 in 100 Catholics have read them and understand how their ambiguity was used to further the modernist agenda. I was born in 1970 and so simply took the “modern Church” at face value. The moto proprio and my stunning first Tridentine Mass in 2007 caused me to want to look at those documents. I am only now able to really start seeing the big picture after years of study. These types of articles are welcome to me as a poor layman who is trying to express the importance of restoring the Church as best we can.

  • AcceptingReality

    Thank you, good to know. Changes to liturgical text are rampant at our parish. One priest, not actually assigned to our parish but frequently invited to say Mass by our pastor, changes the same five or six passages in Eucharistic Prayer II every time. He skips the line “Like the dew fall”. He changes “light of your face” to “light of your presence”. He does a lot of freelancing when invoking saints in the prayer. Like many priests he is also fond of opening Mass with “Let’s call to mind the many blessings God gives us” in place of “Let’s call to mind our sins.” The same priest doesn’t elevate the Sacred Host at the prayer before communion when he says, “Behold the Lamb of God….” I brought it up to our pastor who was pretty much dismissive about it.

    • That would drive me bonkers. Maybe you ought to address the priest by a different name everytime you see him — you know, to keep it fresh and interesting.

      One if the blessings of a liturgy is to curb the whims of the individual for the sake of the many to foster corporate prayer.

  • Harry

    I would add this to the list:

    19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught …
    Dei Verbum

    I have always been surprised at the silence among orthodox Catholics regarding modern Catholic Scripture scholarship’s blatant violation of the dogmatic statements of Trent and Vatican I regarding the interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Leo XIII reminds us of these dogmatic statements in Providentissimus Deus:

    St. Irenaeus long since laid down, that where the charismata of God were, there the truth was to be learnt, and that Holy Scripture was safely interpreted by those who had the Apostolic succession. His teaching, and that of other Holy Fathers, is taken up by the Council of the Vatican, which, in renewing the decree of Trent declares its “mind” to be this – that “in things of faith and morals, belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be considered the true sense of Holy Scripture which has been held and is held by our Holy Mother the Church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; and therefore that it is permitted to no one to interpret Holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.” By this most wise decree the Church by no means prevents or restrains the pursuit of Biblical science, but rather protects it from error, and largely assists its real progress.

    Needless to say, the priests coming out of our seminaries today do not believe that many miraculous events recorded in the Scriptures, that were unanimously believed to be historical events by the Fathers, actually happened.

    • Catechist Kev

      I agree with you, Harry.

      Yet, remember, some of those “modern Catholic Scripture” scholars were on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Yikes!

      • Harry

        Actually, the PBC remained very orthodox while it had the authority granted it by Pope St. Pius X, who made the rulings of the Commission a part of the Magisterium, the supreme teaching authority of the Church. This extension of the Magisterium was later removed after the Second Vatican Council. The decisions of the PBC while it had such authority have been disregarded. I think you would be interested in this article on the authority of the PBC:

        http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt94.html

        Benedict XVI summed up the problem with modern Scripture scholarship this way in Verbum Domini:

        35. … The lack of a hermeneutic of faith with regard to Scripture entails more than a simple absence; in its place there inevitably enters another hermeneutic, a positivistic and secularized hermeneutic ultimately based on the conviction that the Divine does not intervene in human history. According to this hermeneutic, whenever a divine element seems present, it has to be explained in some other way, reducing everything to the human element. This leads to interpretations that deny the historicity of the divine elements.

        Verbum Domini can be read in its entirety here:

        http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20100930_verbum-domini.html

        Thanks,
        Harry

        • Anzlyne

          thanks for the links- great information

      • jacobhalo

        And to name two who were part of Vat. II Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Martha

    All of the documents of VII need to be burned and banished to the dustbin of eternity. I don’t care what orthodox things some of them say, there was nothing that hadn’t been said before, and those were only said to lend credibility to the rest of the drivel, or to add much desired ambiguity by those who hated the Church. If everything from VII disappeared it would do nothing but good for the Church.

    I’ve read most of them, and what a waste of time! That is, unless you’d like to brush up on your psychology, fallacy logic, or maybe perhaps if you’re studying to be a lawyer, and would like some sneaky tactics to use. If you really feel you need to pore through the documents of a council, at least choose a legit one, like Nicea or Trent. Not some pastoral hoo ha that was not required nor helpful.

    Sorry for the nutty. Just soooooooo tired of the excuses and explanations.

    • Jay

      Can you share specifics?

    • I asked my brethren here as one exploring conversion: what did Vatican 2 give or add to the Church (positively) officially that she did not have in fact before? What did it truly accomplish (again, positively speaking)?

      I’ve got Denzinger’s most updated book on the councils, and I can understand Nicea I through Nicea II, and Trent, etc. But Vatican II is a puzzlement to me.

      • Jay

        Some will say the following events during the 20th Cent. gave way for Vatican II: Two world wars, the rise of secularism in Europe, increased world-wide migration, and diaspora,the collapse of European hegemony, the Holocaust.

        • Thank you, Jay, for the fine response. I have little doubt those events shook humanity to its foundations, and the darkness of war and death introduced an existential crisis unlike any other century. I also think it was a perfectly optimal time for the Church to weigh in with insights about the times and an offer the true solution to the ills that beset Mankind.

          But the devil being the opportunist he is introduces the same old lies repackaged in tantalizing philosophy and words which soothe the egos of men. The heresy of Modernism (it is heresy proper as far as I’m concerned, no less than Gnosticism, Manichaeanism, Marcionism, etc) has a noxious ubiquity not unlike Arianism did in the 4th century. Did Rome speak prophetically to her times? Or did she mirror them in Vatican II?

          I have a lot of questions still. The fruit, however, is not convincing.

        • Vinny

          Those events didn’t give way for Vatican II but they may have been a part of the great distortion of Vatican II

      • jacobhalo

        What did VII give us? empty convents, seminaries, Catholic schools, churches, cafeteria Catholics, no lines at confession, clerics who are heretics. This what we got.

  • Paul M. Matenaer, MTS, JCL

    I would add:

    “This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity” (LG 8)

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      If what you call “catholic unity”is contingent upon submitting to a mere man,i.e.the so-called ” pope,forget it;that kind of chimeric submission is man-centered folly,as has been amply demonstrated throughout the centuries.The True Universal Church has only ONE TRUE HEAD, and that HEAD it the RISEN SAVIOUR, CHRIST OUR LORD,PERIOD.One Lord,One Faith,One Baptism,One True Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,No Other Name Given(NOT any particular -“ism”; catholicism,protestantism,orthodoxism,etc).Put your faith in Christ alone;we all of us were NEVER invited to anything or anyone BUT HIM;we were commanded to be witnesses OF HIM, not bogus and strained interpretations of Scripture and what we THOUGHT was being said.The True Rock and Foundation of the TRUE CHURCH is CHRIST HIMSELF,and the sooner ALL Christians realize that,the better. To be frank, catholicism makes arrogant, hubristic claims about itself that are the products of the aforementioned bogus,strained interpretations that need to be discarded, NOW. It’s no accident that you’ve in turmoil over Vatican II since its inception; it goes to show how very clever Satan is at sowing strife and discord –POVERBS 3:5-6, people!!—Mull and reflect.

      • Warren Anderson

        Yikes! Where to begin?

        The head of the Church is, indeed, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour. That said, Jesus left us the Petrine Office to guard the deposit of the Faith. To be in communion with Christ is to be in communion with the Church Jesus himself established on Peter.

        The early Church Fathers, i.e., disciples of Apostles of the Lord, handed on the teaching that the Bishop of Rome occupies a unique authority in the Church. Furthermore, if one examines the record of the actions of popes in the early Church, it is easy to see the Bishop of Rome exercising a universal jurisdiction in the Church. If you have a beef with anyone, then you have a beef with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who founded His Church on Saint Peter. cf Matthew Chapter 16.

        P.S.,

        1 Timothy 3:15: The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth. The Church, under the authority of the popes, collected the books into the Canon of Holy Scripture (e.g. Decree of Pope Damasus I, A.D. 382, Council of Rome; compare also the lists of books from Hippo 393, and Carthage in 397 and 419). Canon= 73 books, 46 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. Protestant bibles omit several books read in Church liturgies for 1400+ years.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah…thanks for the catholic party line groupthink ,Warren…I think you actually think that I haven’t read or heard it all before.No…I’ve been studying,and obviously still am,roman catholicism for over 25 years,and I find its claims no more credible now than I did when I first started.Now,it might suit your ego to make cute and co-sign Jesus’ Name to the bogus hermeneutics and strained pseudo – theological interpretations undergirding your bogus, contrived, man-centered institution,Warren,but frankly, your religious system has been weighed in the balance and found wanting by anyone who has taken the time to do a systematic,thorough,and detailed study of said system,free of coercive pseudo – theological constructs and the need to…”loyally submit my will and intellect to your presumed ecclesiastical masters, I.e the so-called”magisterium”.I can only thank Almighty God that I can operate under the dictates of Galatians 5 : 1.I’ve said this before, and I’m happy to drive the point home again: Your church is NOT my Saviour nor is your pope,Boniface VIII’S”UNAM SANCTUM ” notwithstanding, your church is NOT my Judge,and the arrogant, hubristic claims of roman catholicism are just so much nonsensical drivel.So…now you know where I stand—PEACE IN CHRIST.

          • Objectivetruth

            Where’s the bible come from, Larry? Do you have any clue?

      • Vinny

        “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him”.

        Also, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,m “Receive the holy Spirit.23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” How would they know which sins to forgive or not if they don’t hear them?

      • Objectivetruth

        Lovely how you cherry pick scripture to pick your own, erroneous interpretation of scripture. Perhaps you need to review Matthew 16. I’m going to guess Christ didn’t give you any authority over His word, didn’t say “to you, Larry, I give the keys to the kingdom of heaven?”:

        Peter’s Confession about Jesus.*

        When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

        They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

        He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

        Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

        Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood* has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

        And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

        l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

        Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.

        Mull and reflect.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah…Thanks for parroting the tiresome catholic groupthink party line,Vinny–that went a looong way in convincing me…Tell me, Vinny…do you think The Saviour was who He was before your bogus, contrived, man-centered institution known as the roman catholic church came along, or do you actually believe that your church re-imaged Him and re-made Him into the image your church wanted Him to be in?

          • Objectivetruth

            Tell me…..

            Did Christ give us a Church?

            Are you aware of where the bible comes from? How it was assembled, or put together?

            Did Christ personally give you authority to speak for Him and interpret His teachings without error? If He did, show me where?

            Annnnd…..I’m not Vinny….

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              That’s fine…What applies to Vinny’s post applies to you as well.I’m not as nearly impressed by the bogus, contrived, man-centered institution known as the roman catholic church as you are,”ObjectiveTruth”.—PEACE IN CHRIST.

              • Objectivetruth

                Thanks for ignoring my questions, Larry.

              • Anthony Zarrella

                Laurence, you keep repeating the same phrases (“catholic groupthink,” “bogus, contrived, man-centered institution”) rather than replying to the substantive points people are making against you.
                For one thing, *of course* we think Christ was Christ even before He established the Church. However, we didn’t make the Church – He did (see the Scriptural citations from Objectivetruth and Warren, above).
                Second, to put Objectivetruth’s point in more crystalline form – Where does your Scripture come from? The Church (the *Catholic* Church) established biblical canon – the same canon used by virtually all Christian denominations. How do you know which books are divinely inspired and which are man-made, unless it’s because the early Catholic Church said so?
                Third, saying aggressive, insulting things, then following it up with “PEACE IN CHRIST” is sort of like spitting in someone’s face then offering a tissue. There are plenty of equally clear and equally emphatic ways to say what you’re saying, without being brazenly offensive about it.

          • Objectivetruth

            “that went a looong way in convincing me.”

            I’m going to take a wild shot and guess you’re not here to be convinced, correct?

            You’re only here to ignorantly attack the Catholic Church without the foggiest clue what the Catholic Church is all about, correct?

            Right, Larry?

      • If any particular church can have heads, why not the body catholic have an earthly head? Does Rome say the pope replaces Jesus? Never heard that at all.

  • gregoryvii

    The article would have been more complete if it had added these quotes from V-2. “All altar rails shall be dismantled and removed from every Catholic church.” And “Free standing tables shall be installed, and priests shall say Mass on them facing the people.” Well, that was the standard line we got from pastors after the Council as they were doing just that!

    • Isaac

      And where were these quotes in the documents? You see, they were NOT in there.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        I think he’s being ironic – the two of you are in agreement.

  • Bob Boehm

    The best thing the Church can do with all the documents of Vatican II is burn them, and then return to the practice and defense of Tradition.

  • Mike17

    There is a huge gap between what the documents of the Council say and what the dissenters claim. Unfortunately, when this is pointed out they just say that you are holding to a literal interpretation of the documents as if this somehow means that you are therefore wrong.

  • Ruth Rocker

    Today, on the catholicculture.org website is an article about a prominent Italian bishop attending the dedication of a new islamic cultural center. If islam is indeed a heresy, they why, oh why, is ANY Catholic involved in this, let alone a bishop?? This is a perfect example of the lunacy that has infected the Church today. Lord protect your faithful.

    • St JD George

      Maybe he went to pray or paid homage that they not burn down his church.

  • JohnnyVoxx

    Phew. Thank you for this, as one who is just now sorting out the wreckage.

  • Tziggy

    There is no doubt V2 has been used by some (maybe many) to obfuscate Catholic Culture. I find this article intelligent and informative. However, those fanning flames of dissent vociferously decrying “liberal” conspiracy while only recognizing “conservative” tradition within the body of Christ need to take a step back and listen to Jesus in today’s reading Mk 7:1-13

    This people honors me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me;
    in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines human precepts.

    We would all do well to keep our tongues in check while commenting

    • Barbara

      What other kind of tradition is there than ‘conservative’? That’s what conserve means – gotta have something to conserve – that would be tradition.

      • Tziggy

        Ahhh, the semantic police just pulled me over. And whilst we fight amongst ourselves, the world burns. For the record, I like comunion rails and head veils, but I still say its better to love than win the rubric wars. May peace be with you Barbara.

  • jacobum

    Excellent article for Part 1. May I suggest Part 2? It would explain and clarify the old “giveth and taketh” routine of the V2 docs. Part 2 could/would show the “how”, “where” and “why” the admitted ambiguities (per Cdl Kasper..yes that Cdl Kasper aka The Popes Theologian) were artfully inserted to counter the referenced declarative statements in your current Part 1. The ambiguous “time bombs” were deliberately inserted to blow up later. To juxtapose and paraphrase the old slogan for Timex watches…”They keep on ticking and give us a licking every time they explode.” In other words they were deliberately designed to fail…..forward!

  • accelerator

    “There are two important things … it clearly states that those who know of the necessity of the Church for salvation cannot remain outside of it and hope to be saved. The other is that… the Church is necessary for salvation and that Christ is ‘the unique way of salvation.’
    Seriously? First, who on earth would reject the Church if they thought it true?! All this statement says is that “Very Bad People” — those who willfully reject God — can’t be saved. But the other line is a complete compromise, for it wants to say there are not many paths to God, but then leaves open the idea that all paths to God somehow eventually lead thru Christ whether we see that or not. No salvation outside the borders, so we just extend the borders: you’re in the Church whether you realize it or not! Talk about smoke and mirrors theology. So Buddhism, while false, might lead someone to Christ via their intentions. You’re “in the Church” whether you realize it or not. This was why JPII and Mother Theresa both taught pagan religions were actually vehicles to God despite themselves, and why the latter noble soul never tried to convert dying people in her care. We still wonder why Vatican II causes such problems. It wanted to be all things to all people, to be ‘nice’ and affirming, and in the process it killed Catholic missions with the proclamation of one document. Francis Xavier kind of sort of wasted his time! I am afraid the Church we got was the one the Council documents set us up for, albeit quietly and in rhetoric padded by a million words. All the defenses are sounding a bit old after 50 years of failure and impossible-to-reach clarity across the board: Mass? Missions? Biblical Authority? If there is a Catholic consensus, it must be shared by a very small minority. And pointing to the scattered ‘conservative’ clauses, like the Council was simply hijacked by evil liberals, simply does not jive with how all of the Vatican II popes — including Ratzinger — have allowed it to be enacted. Assisi, anyone? Pope Francis is a Vatican II Pope par excellence. We defend Vatican II till we are blue in the face and then get fidgety when the Pope ‘goes all Vatican II’ on us. I think we are somewhat in Catholic denial.

    • Ronk

      Is St Thomas Aquinas pre-Vatican II enough for you? He said:
      “It belongs to God’s providence to furnish every man whatsoever with the means to salvation, provided there is no barrier thrown up by the man himself.” This was not an idea invented at Vatican II.
      God told us that we must be baptised and be members of His Church to be saved, but this does not place limits on HIS mercy on those who honestly and sincerely seek Him, i.e. seek the good and seek to love.

    • CharlesG

      There is a difference to being within or outside the visible Church on earth. Within the Church, we have the sacraments to provide clear guidemarks to salvation. Outside the visible Church, you might be saved through some invisible connection to the Church of God, e.g., following the law of God written in one’s heart, but it is a lot less clear. By the way, the potential salvation outside the visible Church is not totally new with VII, see the teaching about the invincible ignorant, or Lactantius or St. Paul.

  • LionelAndrades

    The mention of the necessity of ‘faith and baptism’ for salvation, is an approval here of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, in Vatican Council II (LG 14,AG 7)

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/02/the-mention-of-necessity-of-faith-and.html

  • Xavier

    I would say that the elderly lady who hasn’t read the documents is more correct.

    There is also this phrase – “Particular law remaining in force”, before the SC states, “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

    So first of all, SC states the use of Latin is subject to particular law in force. And this particular law, at the time of document, required the preservation of Latin.

    It’s followed by the following : “But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.”

    It has been a true blessing for the Church to finally get rid of Latin. Church made deep inroads into Africa and Asia after the Second Vatican Council. Latin was the impediment for the Church to grow and flourish in places where Latin is, well, Latin.

    • Anthony Zarrella

      I would argue that it’s been a true blessing for the Church to finally *add* the vernacular, but a loss to get rid of Latin. I think the idea behind Summorum Pontificarum was the right one – that the soaring majesty of the Latin Mass and the “accessibility” of the vernacular Mass should exist side-by-side in complementarity.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      The Latin liturgy was not an indigenous worship tradition in Asia or Africa, so there was certainly a stronger case for extending the vernacular according to local traditions in those areas of the world. At the same time, I don’t think it was or is quite as much of a barrier there as you suggest, since Africans are usually well represented at the EF Masses I attend in NYC or elsewhere, especially when they add their voices to the choir. In the west, however, there was virtually no demand anywhere among laymen to introduce the vernacular, and the decision to force-feed the OF missal was a pastoral disaster that did not need to happen. Many Catholics were quite at ease with the Latin liturgy, and no attempt was made to assess what, if any, support existed for even minimal change. Instead, the liturgical reforms were simply mandated by the command of clerical bureaucrats who, despite all of the rhetoric about the Age of the Laity, dismissed any and all objections and told us to obey, obey, obey. I couldn’t then, and can’t now, see the smallest justification for any of this.

    • Barbara

      But how interesting that Holy Mother Church spread her mantle over the entire world, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, North and South, all with Latin Mass, Latin Sacraments, Latin, Latin, Latin! Doesn’t it stretch the imagination to think that the holy priests and religious who used Latin for all important, unchanging liturgies never spoke to the actual people in their native languages. To believe otherwise is just silly and childish.

  • Peschken

    Excellent article! Too many so called Catholics around today who do not want to hear the truth about Vatican II. Instead excercising their own version of what they think the Catholic Church should be. … But the Church did not communicate her message well, and unfortuntely this is, for the most part, still the case.

    Today though we are blessed with a wonderful communicator: Pope Francis.

    Practicing, authentic Catholics should follow the Holy Fathers example!

    Another top notch communicator Archbishop Sheen put it this way: “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

  • John Fisher

    Apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same church I most firmly accept and embrace.

    Everybody knows that those heresies, condemned by the fathers of Trent, which rejected the divine magisterium of the church and allowed religious questions to be a matter for the judgment of each individual, have gradually collapsed into a multiplicity of sects, either at variance or in agreement with one another; and by this means a good many people have had all faith in Christ destroyed.

  • Glenn M. Ricketts

    No offense at all to Jared Silvey, but I can’t count the number of times I have referred to these passages and similar ones in the documents of VII in disputes with clerics, especially where liturgy is concerned, only to encounter reactions that ranged from purple rage to back-of the-hand contempt. The script that usually followed, also tediously familiar to many regular posters here, is that the “spirit” of VII was what really counted, that the Council documents were an “opening,” and one shouldn’t get hung up on what they merely said, etc., etc., etc.

    My question, 50 years later, is how long we will be bound hand and foot to the decrees of a “pastoral” council whose only visible effects so far have been to unleash chaos and to enable the Church’s destruction from within? Didn’t Paul VI invoke the Council’s authority in forcing the OF missal on the Church? Didn’t the likes of Bernardin, Mahoney, Clark, Hubbard, etc. always insist that they were simply being faithful to VII, and cite the passages to prove it? Are we ever going to right our course and return to the “authentic” path prescribed by the Council? It’s hard to see how that’s going to happen, if it still hasn’t 50 years out. And while I don’t see any possibility of breaking free of the VII disaster any time soon- the present Pope seems to be an enthusiast for that perverse”spirit” – we can at least call a spade a shovel: whatever the intentions of the Council and the bishops of 50 years ago, it didn’t work, it was a colossal failure. The Church’s current condition bears no resemblance at all to the rose-tinted, delusional optimism of that time, which still seems to prevent many at present from seeing things clearly. The Emperor is naked, and we need to acknowledge the fact that he is.

  • Christene Bartels

    Reading this article and the comments that have followed, please allow me to summarize my understanding of what has been said.

    1. For the past 50 years, five popes, and countless bishops, priests, and laity have basically been in apostasy, which is, last time I checked, a mortal sin.
    2. Only an anointed few have maintained the integrity of the faith and remained “pure and true Catholics.” It goes without saying that this cozy little group would count themselves among the “elite”.
    3. As testimony to their faithfulness, they reject Vatican II, or at least any interpretations that differ from theirs, disparage any changes that said documents have brought forth, and basically cast aspersions upon the whole of the Catholic Church. Except, of course, the elite group of “pure and true” Catholics who have remained faithful to the Traditionalist’s form of the Mass.

    Have I missed anything?

    Well, let me make my own pronouncement. You are NOT some kind of Catholic blue-bloods and the Church is NOT some kind of spiritual country club. I think Jesus made that rather clear.

  • César Pozuelos

    Too many exceptions … “Damned exceptions”, said Mons. Gherardini

  • ArtND76

    I have read big chunks, but not all of the V2 documents. I had already seen all of the passages quoted above and have had my own questions for liturgists who were claiming V2 as the reason for what they were doing.

    For my own part, I favor the vernacular for liturgy – given that the translation used is one done with the proper care and approval of those bishops in union with the Pope. I know enough church history to remember there being a controversy concerning the liturgy in Latin as opposed to the original Greek. I’ll bet there were first century Christians that even thought the use of Greek in the liturgy to be outrageous, thinking that it could only be in the original Aramaic or Hebrew that Jesus used. My thinking about the particular language I liken to Jesus’ concerning the Sabbath: just as the Sabbath is for man’s benefit, not the other way around – so too the language of the liturgy is for man’s benefit, not the other way around.

    As I understand it, V2 gave me the office in English. V2 also directs the bishop and his priests to lead their congregation in daily prayer – using that office. I don’t see too much happening in that regard in my local diocese. For me, nothing has had a greater impact on my personal faith as a lay person. Having the office in a language I can read is a big deal, and in particular the Office of Readings. To not pray the Office daily is a terrible lack! To our shame, many Muslims pray more daily than we do. Who do you think they copied? They took our 7 times daily (with beautiful Psalms, scriptures and writings of the Fathers) and reduced it to 5 times with much less meaning.

    Also as I understand it, V2 gave us more scripture in the Mass. That said, I, too, can do without the explaining away of the miracles in the Gospels, one example of which I heard during the ihradio bishop’s hour from the previous bishop of San Francisco concerning the feeding of the 5000. If Jesus rose from the dead in the body, then all of those miracles are easily believable. If we do not believe in Jesus rising from the dead in bodily form, then as St. Paul says “we are the most wretched of men.”

    • Randy

      This is a great comment. As a recent convert, makes much sense.

      • ArtND76

        Thanks for letting me know. I hope others discover the “secret” of the Office of Readings. It is a gateway guide from our mother church to the early fathers of the church and the writings of the synods, which can be quite daunting otherwise – as in “where do I start?”. I don’t see how a person can prayerfully read and reflect on these and not have God touch and instruct them. There is the original, leather bound 4 volume set – but now there is universalis dot org , which is vastly superior in that all the page flipping is eliminated and one can focus on praying the readings rather than merely trying to navigate them. Many of my personal studies of a particular early father started by seeing a selected reading from that father in the Office of Readings and wanting to see more.

  • Shawn Albert

    First, Vatican II was NOT a Dogmatic council. Absolutely no where did it define anything, nor did it condemn any heresies. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter what Vatican II did or didn’t say.

    Second, on quote 2, you forgot a very important piece that went “particular law remaining in force” in other words, it was one of those “time bombs” in Vatican II that so many say don’t exist, but even Cardinal Kasper admitted a couple years ago were to be found in Vatican II. (that is, that there were “time bombs” in Vatican II)

    Third, even Paul VI and John Paul Ii both on 2 separate occasions said that Vatican II was not dogmatic. (And just because 2 of the documents use the term at the beginning of their titles doesn’t mean that they are.)

    Fourth, Vatican II is the only general council in the history of the Church which did not claim infallibilty, but the previous 20 made many infallible statements. Check out Trent. All those Canons listed in there? Those are infallible statements. Show me a canon in Vatican II. Good luck.

    Fifth, I don’t care about so-called arguments put forward by people who simply parrot the same old tired arguments that V II is magesterium and we must accept it blah blah blah. Seriously, when John Paul II, who was AT Vatican II, and who 50 years later is still saying that we have to find out what Vatican II is or means…..that alone should tell anyone that Vatican II is not a Council on the same level as Trent and the others. Period.

  • NDaniels

    “Muslims and Jews worship the same God as Christians do.”

    Although there Is only One True God, Christians worship The Ordered Communion of Perfect Love, The Most Holy Blessed Trinity. God Is Love; Love exists in relationship.

  • papagan

    For those who may be interested, here is a thought-provoking lecture by a noted Catholic author, Edward T. Oakes, S.J.: “The Second Vatican Council and the Church’s Engagement with the Modern World” https://vimeo.com/52551709.

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