Msgr Pozzo on a “para-Council” and misinterpretation of Vatican II

A reader sent a link to an engaging address given at Wigratzbad (the FSSP HQ) by the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” back on 2 July about “Aspects of Catholic ecclesiology in the reception [assimilation] of Vatican II”.

He is addressing the intrepretation of the Conciliar documents.

The article is on the site of DICI.

Here is an excerpt.   I suggest you read the rest there.

Msgr. Pozzo’s analysis of the influence of the para-council

Msgr. Pozzo intends to prove that, concerning two controversial points (the first being the unity and uniqueness of the Catholic Church, along with the question of the expression subsistit in from Lumen Gentium 8, and the other—the relations between the Catholic Church and other religions, including ecumenical and interreligious dialogue) “the authentic proclamation of the Church, with regard to its absolute claim, has not been modified substantially with the teaching of Vatican II.”

Hence one can only wonder why the conciliar documents, which in Msgr. Pozzo’s view are so clearly in conformity with Tradition, have given rise to a contrary interpretation on this point. [Some readers will be tempted to jump in and say that the Council documents were riddled with "time bombs", that they were made purposely ambiguous on certain points.] The Roman prelate asks the question and answers:  “What is the origin of the interpretation of discontinuity or of rupture with Tradition?  It is what we may call the conciliar, or more precisely, para-conciliar ideology which took hold of the Council from the beginning and superimposed itself on the proceedings.  By this expression we do not mean something concerning the documents of the Council, nor the intention of the participants, [All the participants?] but rather the general framework of interpretation in which the Council was placed and which acts as a sort of internal treatment [conditionnement intérieur] affecting our subsequent reading of the facts and the texts.

The Council is not the same thing as the para-conciliar ideology, but the story about that ecclesial event and about the mass media has served in large part to mystify the Council, and that is precisely the para-conciliar ideology. [Certainly entities such as IDOC played their part in distorting the Council's teachings.] In order to show all the consequences of the para-conciliar ideology as an historical event, one would have to examine the Revolution of 1968, which was based on the principle of breaking with the past and radical change in history.  In the para-conciliar ideology, the 1968 Movement meant a new paradigm for the Church in breaking with the past.” [And that wasn't in play before and during the Council?]

Msgr. Pozzo concluded that we must use “the hermeneutic of reform in continuity” recommended by Benedict XVI “to address controverted questions, thus freeing, so to speak, the Council from the para-council that has become mixed up with it, while preserving the principle of the integrity of Catholic doctrine and of complete fidelity to the deposit of faith handed down by Tradition and interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church”.

At the end of this presentation, one question remains:  can the para-council denounced by the Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission be identified with the post-conciliar period?

[...]

This is an engaging piece.   Read and discuss.

BTW… it really is worth reading.  It ends with this:

On the one hand, Monsignor Pozzo proposes liberating the Council from the para-council, and on the other hand, Amerio and Radaelli demand that the Roman Magisterium stop being “pastoral” so as to be clearly dogmatic.  This is the heart of the debate about Vatican II, which Msgr. Gherardini calls “a much needed discussion”.

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10 Responses to Msgr Pozzo on a “para-Council” and misinterpretation of Vatican II

  1. mysticalrose says:

    “By this expression we do not mean something concerning the documents of the Council, nor the intention of the participants, [All the participants?] but rather the general framework of interpretation in which the Council was placed and which acts as a sort of internal treatment [conditionnement intérieur] affecting our subsequent reading of the facts and the texts.”

    “General frameworks” don’t simply spring up ex nihilo. Someone must be responsible for the creation and dissemination of this para-conciliar ideaology!

  2. kgurries says:

    Dici said: “Hence one can only wonder why the conciliar documents, which in Msgr. Pozzo’s view are so clearly in conformity with Tradition, have given rise to a contrary interpretation on this point.”

    The Bible has also given rise to many contrary interpretations — yet we do not question its conformity with Tradition. Is the problem really with the text or the individuals that manipulate and/or abuse (however innocent) the texts?

  3. danphunter1 says:

    I would suppose that this is precisely what the discussions betwixt the FSSPX and the Roman representatives is about.

  4. kgurries says:

    Msgr. Pozzo: “It is what we may call the conciliar, or more precisely, para-conciliar ideology which took hold of the Council from the beginning and superimposed itself on the proceedings.”

    According to Msgr. Pozzo the problem is not to be found in the documents themselves or in the (intention) of the participants. At the same time, there was a “para-conciliar ideology” that “took hold of the Council from the beginning and superimposed itself on the proceedings.” This is an amazing statement! Basically, it means the doctrine is pure and faithful to Tradition — but it has effectively been passed on and applied in a defective manner — by way of a false para-conciliar ideology. If all of this is true — then the real battle is not against the council itself — but the para-council ideology that falsely presents it. Imagine the impact if all tradition-minded Catholics would join the Holy Father in his crusade against the para-conciliar ideology.

  5. Thomas G. says:

    mysticalrose hits the nail’s head: the Bishops who were present at the Council were the same who returned to their Dioceses and implemented the Council over the following decade(s), all the while being in the thrall of this “para-conciliar ideology” which “took hold of the Council from the beginning.

  6. catholicuspater says:

    After we get beyond the niceties, I think the obstacle is the same one it always was: the Pope says we can interpret the real Council in the light of tradition, despite the para-Council that distorted it.
    SSPX says that the real problem is with the texts themselves.

    Msgr. Pozzo is not agreeing with them and thus, despite the diplomatic ping-pong, the crucial question remains whether SSPX can do what Arbp. Lefebrve told Pope John Paul II he could do in their November, 1978 meeting, namely, accept the Council in the light of tradition.

    That’s what the Pope wants and what Msgr. Pozzo wants but that is not what SSPX is saying.

  7. Prof. Basto says:

    Father, if I’m not mistaken, the DICI link you gave links only to the analysis of Mons. Pozzo’s conference, and not to the text of the conference itself. However, Rorate has posted a translation of that conference: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/10/msgr-pozzo-on-aspects-of-ecclesiology.html

  8. kgurries says:

    Thanks Prof Basto. The analysis of the talk only seems to hit on one aspect. This is an important speech that touches on so many controverted questions — from an official under the CDF. This is significant.

  9. asophist says:

    I have read the council documents and, though I’m no expert, a great deal of the text of the council documents seems to me to be clearly NOT dogmatic, but a collection of musings and opinions of a gaggle of daydreamers. In addition, the council texts contain such statements as “We honor also the Muslims…” and it says things about how other religions are instruments of salvation. How can such expressions of merely human respect and apparent religious indifferentism be interpreted in the light of tradition?

  10. dominic1955 says:

    I don’t see why we need to defend “The Council” to the death, other than that some people in high places look at it as some sort of personal achievement or an event that defined their whole being. It is kind of like the people who built up an imprudent cultus around JPII based on the mere fact that he was pope during the majority of the time they lived or could remember.

    We’d all be much better off if the Vatican would just come out and apologize for the whole Vatican II affair, bury it, and then get on with business. Who cares if Vatican II isn’t heretical, it doesn’t boldly proclaim the Catholic Faith near as well as Vatican I or Trent and its simply not clear. As the above poster said, its more of a collection of musings and opinions of daydreamers. As such, we have much better tools at our disposal than the musings of Vatican II. Rather than looking at it as some sort of new beginning or standard by which all present catechesis and teaching must draw from, it should be overlooked and we should be going back to the older Councils and Popes, all of which taught the Catholic faith much clearer and much more forcefully.

    There is no way you can twist Pascendi around to make it sound like St. Pius X was a big fat modernist, though I’d love to see someone try. You can definitely make Vatican II seem to say what you want it to say, the heretics have been doing so for the last half century or so.

    The comparison to the bible is not apt, the Holy Scriptures are the word of God. Ecclesiastical documents are not revelation, they are much more dependent on the human intellect and skills of the author. As such, they can be downright rotten and in need to being consigned to the rubbish heap.