Was a Council necessary? Explain in 200 words or less.

Fr. Bede Rowe of A Chaplain Abroad has an amusing post about the observance of the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

He begins:

There was a world wide consultation of Bishops before the initial preparation of the Council began.

I think of it as the beginning of one of my exams:

—————————————–

Name:   ……………………
Class*:  ……………………

Answer the following question in ink using only one side of the paper provided.

Question 1

“What do you think the coming Vatican Council should discuss?”

*
In case of confusion, put your Diocese.

[…]

I would be tempted to move that asterisk down to the question itself!

There are lots of issues which could be discussed concerning the Second Vatican Council.  One of them might be:

Was a Council necessary?

Explain in 200 words or less.

Pius XII had thought about a Council to conclude the work of Vatican I, which had been interrupted.  He was advised against having a Council and, in fact, scrapped the idea.  John XXIII, on the other hand, seemed determined to have one.  Once it was underway, as some report, he seem to have tried to get it back into the box and failed.  Then he died.

The Second Vatican Council still causes a lot of confusion, principally because people who talk about it a lot haven’t actually read the documents.

HEY! Here’s a novel idea!

Discussion of the Council might start with a close reading of the documents!  (Dont have them?  Buy them.  USA HERE and UK HERE.)

And as you begin your project, how about a nice hot mug of Mystic Monk Coffee?

I have it from the highest authority that if the Council Fathers had had Mystic Monk Coffee… or Tea for that matter… none of the confusion that has devastated the Church for the last few decades would have occurred!  Trust me on this one.

Do you want to cause confusion?  No!

Do you want to issue documents that will be accused of ambiguity and even heresy?  No!

Do you want to force Pope’s to use phrases such as “smoke of Satan” and “hermeneutic of continuity”? No!

Take it from me, friends, you had better refresh your supply of Mystic Monk Coffee right now!

How about trying the Monk’s Four Favorite, which comes also with a sample pack you could even give as a hostess gift! People still give hostess gifts, right?

Do it for… the children.

Mystic Monk Coffee…. it’s swell!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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134 Responses to Was a Council necessary? Explain in 200 words or less.

  1. Timothy Mulligan says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf, what translation and collection of the documents of Vatican II do you recommend?

    [Which ever one you pick up and open! The point is to get into the texts. All of them have tricky bits which need the Latin… and even then the Latin doesn’t always resolve everything. But get into the texts.]

  2. leonugent2005 says:

    Yes a council was necessary and I look forward to the April 15 SSPX response to it. This response will do more than anything else to focus the minds of the Eminences in the next conclave.

  3. ContraMundum says:

    I think you’d have a hard time showing that any particular council was necessary. Certainly none of them could really have been necessary for our salvation; if they were, how could those from previous generations — for example, during the first century! — have been saved?

    You might meaningfully ask whether a given council is or is not helpful, though. The Holy Spirit prevents an ecumenical council from teaching error, but He does not miraculously prevent the councils from making statements that are inherently confusing or that may be deliberately misunderstood, to say nothing of being ignored.

    In spite of that, I think a Catholic should not regard an ecumenical council with the horror that a Constitutional Convention should inspire in the hearts of all patriotic Americans. We have assurances that the Holy Spirit will guide the councils and that the very structure of the Church will not be overturned. We have no such assurances regarding the United States.

  4. BTW, the valuable book about the influences at work during the Council, Wiltgern’s The Rhine Flows Into The Tiber seems not to be in print right now.

    Let’s try something.

    Amazon provides a link that says “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle”

    If enough people click that link, perhaps we can get this book onto Kindles everywhere.

    Click HERE.

  5. optimist says:

    The Council reminds me of a common business experience: you go to a seminar or training session out of town, and the presenters make a dynamite demonstration of the capabilities of the product/process/philosophy. You are enlightened; you see things in a new way. Then you return to your regular world and you can’t really make the new ideas work. What happens? If you’re a peon, nothing. BUT, if you happen to have authority, you can make changes and damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!!

    I think the attendees were caught up in this ‘spirit’, and when they went home the texts, traditions, and common sense of the past went out the window, because they were going to bring that ‘good feeling’ back with them, whether anyone else wanted it or not!

  6. AnnAsher says:

    I have done some reading on the matters of Vatican II;including it’s documents and The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, SSPX publications and such as Ugly as Sin. My conversion to Catholicism was led by “Spirit of V2″ people and priest. I have also communicated with CMRI. I had a crisis of faith about three years ago which ultimately led to TLM. I even almost converted to Orthodoxy in my search for Christ’s true Church. I believe the Second Vatican Council was unnessary because it was called for reasons other than refuting heresy and defining new doctrine. My evidence in support of my opinion is the fruits the council frought in my own life. Pre V2 I’d have learned the faith, the whole faith and nothing but the faith from the teachers of the faith.

  7. JLCG says:

    I will give an opinion I hold.
    Councils do not clarify issues, on the contrary the councils deepen the mystery. What is easier to believe that the Son is created by the Father or to declare that they both partake of the same essence?
    When the dogma of Transubstantiation is declared nothing becomes clearer, after all one has to posit the notion of substance and append or eliminate mentally accidents to it.
    Is it easier to believe that the Bishop of Rome is fallible or that he is infallible in certain matters.
    It is easier to believe that only Catholics will be saved, but the fact is that we don’t know what God’s purposes are. We are burdened by the tasks of being a Catholic. That is our task.
    The councils enrich it.

  8. Devin says:

    A priest friend is on the diocesan committee for the upcoming year of Faith. Although still in the planning phase, the use of Vatican II documents is expected to be heavily used as per the Holy Father’s request. As for whether the counsel is helpful or not, the question will be answered by historians. In terms of time, the council is really new and its impact on the Church for good or ill will take decades if not centuries to examine and see the fruit it bears.

  9. cornelius74 says:

    Just a little suggestion, the documents of V2 are, of course, available at

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/index.htm

    And for all of us Kindle-maniacs, nothing is easier than to copy the documents into a Word file and mail that to ourselves at the assigned Kindle email address… And the coffee, of course.

    Do enjoy.

  10. Andy Milam says:

    My essay…less than 200 words. 186 to be exact.

    Vatican Council II was not necessary as it was presented. There was no reason to launch the Church into “Catholic Modernism” or to embrace the concept of aggiornamento. The reality is that the churchmen of the time were moving away from biblical literalism and scholastic thought. They envisioned a Church which was more harmonious with the Protestant and Orthodox and Pagan man. They moved away from the idea that the head of the Church was Christ. This was the move away from vertical theology toward horizontal theology as a best practice.

    This was brought about in several main ways which were put in practice.

    1. Liturgical Reform
    2. Ecumenism
    3. Religious Liberty
    4. Collegiality/Magisterium

    By focusing on these four main issues, Vactican Council II reformed the very ideals upon which the Church was founded. Had the Council Fathers simply finished the business of Vatican Council I, there could be a very strong argument that it was necessary. As it stands, this was not the case and a new vision of the Church was brought to bear, regardless of the potential upheaval in Catholic thought and practice.

  11. Blaise says:

    Fr Z, perhaps we should try to get the documents of Vatican II on Kindle as well. Although perhaps a different translation. Cornelius74, that is a good idea but reading word files is less easy than ebooks due to sizing.
    I do like JLCG’s point.

    To the main question, it does not really matter whether it was necessary (and since it was not in reaction to any particular concern probably not) but that we properly, wisely and in the spirit of continuity that all councils and all the life of faith require take from it what it offers as an aid in our life as the Church militant.

  12. anilwang says:

    Yes, it was needed. The response to Humanae Vitae and Eastern Orthodox caving on on contraception shows that liturgy is no protection on doctrine. VII exposed the rot that was slowly creeping in to the seminaries and universities and Church and would have overtaken the Church in the same way that a frog is overtaken by the heat of a slowly heated pot of water.

    VII exposed the crisis and woke up the complacent and lukewarm. But it also provided for some tools (e.g. Laity now read encyclicals/catechism/Bible/LOTH as a reference tools for daily living. Lay apostolates now flourish) for combating the crisis as well as a renewed love of Tradition and a clear demonstration that that modernism ultimately leads to the destruction of the Church. It may take a generation or two more to recover from the VII vaccination, but the Church will be better for VII.

  13. Long-Skirts says:

    THE
    BEES
    SACRED PURPOSE

    For centuries beeswax
    In the sanctuary reigned
    Our sacred purpose
    From the first ordained.

    Producing honeycombs
    All that we handle —
    Though our sacred purpose?
    The Holy Mass candle.

    But at the last council
    Of the great Church bee
    Man turned to man
    Birthed sterility.

    Graces for fruits
    Crops and offspring
    Schools, churches shut —
    Can’t pollinate a thing

    Until man again
    On His altars lets towers —
    Candles of beeswax
    Sacred purpose…
    …all ours!

  14. Joel says:

    “Do it for… the children.”

    lol…thanks for that Fr.

  15. digdigby says:

    The devastation after VII was swift and total and was of supernatural origin. This is after the repentent Coulson and a team of ‘encounter group therapists’ were turned loose at IHS, the pride of Catholic LA. in 1966-7.
    TLM: Marvelous, indeed. How many years did it take to destroy this
    Immaculate Heart order?
    COULSON: It took about a year and a half.
    TLM: Of the 615, how many are left?
    COULSON: There are the retired nuns, who are living in the mother house in
    Hollywood; there is a small group of radical feminists, who run a center
    for feminist theology in a storefront in Hollywood…
    VII was as necessary as it is that antichrist rule the earth some day.

  16. Sister H. says:

    I agree with the suggestion to NOT get the “revised, iclusive language” version.
    Do a little searching and get this one instead:
    “The Documents of Vatican II Walter M. Abbott, S. J. General Editor, and Very Rev. Msgr. Joseph Gallagher, Translation Editor”…the difference between the two translations is amazing!

  17. Titus says:

    A council following the second world war was appropriate. Twentieth-century innovations in communication, education, and government were rendering certain existing canonical tools obsolete. The fact that the nineteenth century’s upheavals would not be corrected called for a reexamination of policies (not doctrines, policies) that had been developed when the question remained in doubt. This is not to say that Vatican II, as it took place, was necessary: the council was called too late and made a hash of many projects. It should have taken place under Pius XII, prior to the madness of the 1960s. A council then might have addressed the legitimate social innovations without suffering so abundantly the ills of the actual council in deliberation and implementation. It also should never have left the Church without any laws for two decades by calling for vast changes and then letting the work of revising the CIC drag on so long. This work should have proceeded during the council, or substantial drafts should have been prepared in advance. The council should have refrained altogether from making the vague descriptive or aspirational observations about society fill so much of the actual documents.

    There, 174 words.

  18. Legisperitus says:

    O certe necessarium Concilium!

    ;-)

  19. Mike says:

    A few points:
    1. Pope Benedict believes the problems post-Council were sown pre-Council. I’ll take his word for it.
    2. This problem involved separating piety from doctrine, love from the law. The was a hardening, a legalism, a minimalism present way before V2.
    3. I was born in ’61; the post-Council world I grew up in took maybe 80% of Catholic teaching and simply chucked it. Ergo, I listened to Neil Young on Sunday mornings rather than go to guitar Masses with stupid homilies. Mea Cupla, but I was young and stupid and, here’s the thing, UNTAUGHT about what the Faith was.
    4. On a personal level, I would say the Council was worse than the illness, and only know we are righting the ship of Peter.
    5. That being said, I accept the Council, it happened, I like a lot of the documents–I have read about half of them–and I say move on, test everything, keep the good, and for goodness’ sake, restore what was lost.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    I’ve read the council documents and find myself stunned… STUNNED… to find all the things that it did and did not say! They are actually quite beautiful, and it is sad to see how they have been twisted, warped, and ignored.

  21. rfox2 says:

    Regarding a close reading of the Conciliar documents themselves: I’ve spent many hours reading the documents, both alone and in discussion groups with ecclesiastical history and theology graduate students from reputable and well respected Catholic universities, and discussed specific constitutions at length with well educated and well formed priests, and I can say with my hand on my heart that a close reading of those documents does not clear up any of their ambiguity either with regard to the “intent” of the document or with their actual content. We’ve examined the documents linguisitically, studying the Latin to try to clear up the ambiguities, and the problems of interpretation obstinately persist. There is something about the very language of the V2 documents that lends itself to “misundersanding”, and a variety of equally legitimate interpretations. The two camps that the pope has outlined regarding the proper “hermeneutic” of the Council (continuity and discontinuity) can both legitimately claim positions of interpretation drawn directly from the texts of the Council because of the extreme lack of definition to the language that was employed.

  22. BillyHW says:

    Why was John XXIII so desperate to be a ‘council pope’?

  23. Dr. K says:

    “In terms of time, the council is really new and its impact on the Church for good or ill will take decades if not centuries to examine and see the fruit it bears.”

    Show me your fruit and I’ll show you countless people who have left the Church and countless priests (such as in Austria and Ireland) working to drive the remnant away.

  24. skypilot777 says:

    While I very much encourage anyone who doesn’t have a hard copy of the documents of Vatican II, I’d like to recommend Congregation of the Clergy’s online resource Bibliaclerus of which the documents of the Council are only a fraction. Its a great thing to have all this at your fingertips.
    http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html

  25. pfreddys says:

    I think one of the initial laudable aims of the council was to try to solve the enigma of why The Church has not made any substantial missionary inroads in Asia.
    It would have been nice if the the council issued a recondemnation of communism which was the greatest evil at the time.

  26. rfox2: a close reading of those documents does not clear up any of their ambiguity either with regard to the “intent” of the document or with their actual content

    Accounts of the process of development of the documents of the Council–for instance, Fr. Giampietro’s book presenting Card. Antonelli’s memoirs detailing the behind-the-scenes discussions and maneuvers in the drafting of Sacrosanctum Consilium on the liturgy–suggest that this ambiguity was studied and deliberate. A consequence of the fact that most of the experts comprising the commissions drafting documents for the Council had “liberal” intentions, whereas the documents were subject to approval by mostly “conservative” bishops with quite different predispositions. Therefore, the documents were carefully crafted to support the interpretations (and later implementation) favored by their authors, but to conceal their real intentions from the actual Council Fathers who would sign off on them (largely, in the style of modern legislative bodies, without reading before voting).

  27. dnicoll says:

    Reading the documents may not help. During my RCIA this year our Deacon always came with his copy of the V2 documents. And yet the most common phrase he used throughout was “I think that…..” I’d have loved to have known what the Church taught. So I ended up self-Catechising for all the value-add he brought. When we covered V2 we were shown a video aimed at showing how out of date the church was at the time (the Pope in his papal tiara, people saying if it wasn’t for the administrators, the Church’s position on contraception would have changed, etc).

  28. Sid says:

    A reform of the Divine Office was necessary, or at least an alternative to the 150-Psalms-a-week Office. What was needed was (1) the emphasis that the Office is for everyone, and (2) an arrangement of the Office that was user friendly for busy folks.

    Whether a Ecumenical Council was needed to make these changes is another question.

  29. yatzer says:

    Wow, dnicoll, that sounds like my class from 1978! Fortunately, you have the opportunity to self-educate. Not having access to all the channels of information that there are now, I finally decided I had maybe made a mistake and dropped out for the 10 years preceding JPII’s final illness and death. His funeral showed me that the Church I thought was my fond imagination was still there, and I proceeded to use the current opportunities myself–winding up in back in the Church in a solid parish. I had hoped RCIA was better now.

  30. Mike says: 1. Pope Benedict believes the problems post-Council were sown pre-Council. I’ll take his word for it.

    I think he’s absolutely right. Pope St. Pius X saw it clear back at the turn of the last century, warned against it and tried to stem the tide (cf. the oath against modernism). The enemies within the Church had all their ducks in a row and were all set to hijack the Council. The Council was just the pretext for all the changes they were waiting to implement; like the firestorm of opposition to Humanae vitae, the chaos that followed the Council was anything but spontaneous. It helped the infiltrators that many people seemed (and still seem) not to have read the actual Council documents themselves, but have been content to just take their word for it what the Council allegedly taught.

    I have read the Council documents, and cannot recall any mention of Communism, the greatest threat to the Church and the world. How could this be?

  31. ContraMundum says:

    Of course the real reason that Vatican II had to be convened was to deal with the implications of the Roswell Crash for the Third Secret of Fatima. Everything else was just a smokescreen.

  32. Geoffrey says:

    “A reform of the Divine Office was necessary, or at least an alternative to the 150-Psalms-a-week Office. What was needed was (1) the emphasis that the Office is for everyone, and (2) an arrangement of the Office that was user friendly for busy folks.”

    Amen to that! I pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily and love it. I cannot imagine fitting in the Divine Office in the Extraordinary Form on a daily basis.

    I think one way to look at the many changes that took place after the Council is to see how specific was the Council? For example, adding more readings from Sacred Scripture to the Mass and creating a multi-week cycle for the psalter were called for, but the Council was silent when it came to “how”.

    3-year cycles, 4-week cycles, etc., were not mandated and technically could be changed.

  33. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The council fathers lived through the great depression, WWII and the beginnings of the cold war. Many had memories of the world before WWI. Most of them recognized that civilization as it had existed before the 20th century could not be restored within their lifetimes. Unlike the period after the fall of Rome, the postmodern world features magnificent technology, but those tools are employed by people who lack the most basic morals and, in many cases, any faith or family. The council fathers endeavored to craft a strategy to keep the institutional Church operating through this new dark age, much like the children of Israel had to struggle to keep their faith during the Babylonian Captivity (the hermeneutic of continuity doesn’t fail to recognize that some attributes of life are changed by the destruction of civilization, hence the hermeneutic of captivity). Sadly the forces at work destroying civilization outside the Church have wrought much havoc within the Church as well. Even so, the council likely delayed a significant persecution. The mad crowds of 1968 could well have emulated the bloodlust of the wars of the Vendee worldwide had they not (wrongly) presumed that they had already defeated the Church.

  34. mysticalrose says:

    Oh dear. As someone born well after the second Vatican Council and who works with countless progressive Catholics, I am not looking forward to the endless celebrations/rehashing that will accompany the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council. Which I’m sure will be followed by the 50th anniversary of the close of the first session, the 50th anniversary of the writing of the first document, the 50th anniversary of the time two of the periti sneezed at once during session, etc. Enough already.

    But that having been said, I am undecided about the “necessity” of the Council — as a formal closure to Vatican I, perhaps. Otherwise, perhaps not.

  35. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Oh, Contra, you are too funny. What brand aluminum foil doyou use for your hat, I am finding Kroger’s store brand too thin…

  36. “I have read the Council documents, and cannot recall any mention of Communism, the greatest threat to the Church and the world. How could this be?”

    A commitment that the Church would steer clear of the issue of communism was a precondition for the attendance of certain Orthodox observers.

  37. wmeyer says:

    I have Wiltgen’s book, which excellent. I voted to have it on Kindle, but shall not hold my breath.

    I also have Flannery’s translation of the documents, and have pulled down and prepped somewhat the (not very good) English versions from the Vatican site. These appear to have been scanned in, and not checked much for OCR pattern errors.

    I have also begun my own file with three columns, the first for Latin, the second for English, and the third for my own notes. I found the only serviceable tool for this was TeX, as the only way I could see to get Word to synchronize paragraphs would involve pasting them one at a time into cells of a table.

    Even with my exceedingly limited comprehension of Latin, there are some discrepancies which fairly leap off the page, as a word in Latin with strong resemblance to an English word finds no similar or related word in the English. So OCR errors aside, another question is who translated the docs which were scanned to put on the site? There is no attribution that I have seen.

    My own study has been chiefly in Sacrosanctum concilium, and even on my first reading, I saw clearly that articles 37-40 were the chief loopholes which account for the post-conciliar ravaging of the liturgy.

    Also, I believe it was in Alcuin Reid’s The Organic Development of the Liturgy that I read of the experimentation which was done in Collegeville and other locations, long before the Council.

    Now, if only I could persuade the parish DRE to actually read the documents….

  38. Captain Peabody says:

    As far as I can understand it, the Council had two purposes which we would have to examine before pronouncing on its “necessity” or “non-necessity.” To start with, it was supposed to finish the work of Vatican I and provide a more extensive constitution and definition on the nature and organization of the whole Church, not just the Papacy as VII did. This, I think it accomplished quite well with Lumen Gentium, one of the few “Dogmatic” constitutions among the VII documents. This much of the Council, I believe, is firmly infallible, and will be an important part of understanding ecclesiology for a very long time.

    Secondly, it was supposed to provide a reorientation of the Church in response to the radically new climate of the post-war world, a world in which the great empires and absolute monarchies, which had for over five hundred years tried to control, manage, and take possession in whatever way they could of the Church, were now essentially dead, and the uneasy compromise solutions of the great State Churches no longer tenable.

    It is hard to overestimate the importance of this aspect of the Council. For five hundred years, the various Popes had directed their teachings largely to people living under the control of state churches and absolutist monarchies–in the face of this, Popes naturally tried to ensure the just treatment of Catholics living in these societies as much as possible, and to direct the power of these states toward productive and Catholic ends as much as possible. Now, the Church suddenly had to deal with democracies and communist governments with no interest in managing or respecting the Church, but a policy of either keeping her as a free part of society, or simply destroying her altogether; it had to deal with the intellectual climate of modernity and the freedom of thought and expression engendered by modern forms of government. To say this was a different world than the 19th century is to make a dramatic understatement–it had, and has, both enormously positive impacts (I don’t think anyone should mourn the fall of absolutist monarchy and its poisonous and treasonous attempts to conquer and corrupt the Church) and enormously negative (self-explanatory). Even if Vatican II was not the most succesful possible response to those issues, I think a response would inevitably have to be formulated on a truly universal level, new policies put in place for the interaction of Church, state, and civil society, and the Church set up in different ways to take advantage of different circumstances. Of course, this does not at all have a bearing on unchangeable dogma, or on the divinely-revealed organization of the Church itself–it merely has to do with the proper relation between the Church and the new types of government, civil society, and discourse.

    That many people, including council Fathers, took the occasion as an opportunity to finally sell their souls to the World is not, ultimately, a reflection on the necessity of the council–in fact, it in many ways goes to show that the situation really was different, and that the Church had to deal with this new situation in a fairly dramatic fashion or face (as it has) mass heresy and indifferentism from the seductive influence of this “new world order.”

    How the actual documents and acts of the Council interacted with this is complicated, but I can say that at least some parts of the Council have had very positive impacts, and will continue to do so in the future–I have myself experienced some of this positive impact in my own life. They really do help the Church to deal with the modern world in a positive and traditional way. Other parts were used by the new enemies of the Church to support their new selling-out to the State and the World, as we all know, and to justify their wholesale rejection of Catholic tradition–but these enemies would likely have made these attempts anyway, and their knowledge of the VII documents does not give one much confidence that they have at all based their beliefs on the teachings of the Council. Some of the Council’s statements must be viewed as prudential attempts to respond to these important questions–they must be taken seriously, and must help to engender a proper Catholic response to the modern world, but they are not the be-all and end-all of Catholic teaching, anymore than the Council of Nicea’s directions as to how to recieve back heretics into the Church. Others must be upheld as dogmatic and infallible statements, but these are mostly of a general character and do not modify the essential teaching of Catholicism in the least.

    The work and the challenge that VII sets for us is thus that of finding our place in the modern world in a way that preserves our own identity while allowing us to respond to in an effective way the challenge presented by the new governments, philosophies, and civil societies. Some of that work is already done; some of it is ongoing; and some of it is still to come. Until that process is complete, the jury is largely out.

    So, yes, I do think that, ultimately, a council or something very like it was necessary. VII may have been a little overly ambitious, and it may have been marred by ambiguity, but that does not change the real challenge VII was convened to deal with, and the real value of these texts, understood in their proper context as part of the living tradition of the Church, for helping us to deal with and relate to the modern world with all its opportunities and excesses.

  39. pm125 says:

    Modern-ism. Small item in light of above mentioned trends and developments.
    Last fall, as a sub/note taker at a presentation for dre’s, my mind had a fit and is still ill with the memory. The speaker sort of polled the people on the idea of presenting a Holy Spirit to children because, after all -Jesus -really -isn’t -there for them to visualize.
    Such an impossible trial for them to put a human face on cartoons.
    Someone has to crack the whip and standardize, when expectations are, after years of ‘study’, that ‘they’ learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Glory Be, and the Hail Mary.
    Someone and soon. From retired due to poor endurance.

  40. Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Anyone who is honest about the state of theology and theological training in 1960 (rote memorization of neo-scholastic manuals and subtle “wink-wink” dissent), the condition of liturgy then (rushed low Mass as the norm, perfunctory preaching), and contemporary Catholic social culture (collapsing ghetto-Catholicism, or patronage of Catholic authoritarians like Franco), has to recognize that something like an Ecumenical Council was needed. The better questions are:

    1. Was the 1960s to time to call it? I would say no.

    2. What the optimistic openness to assimilating an already decadent Euro-American secularized culture the right approach? I would say no.

    I think that is 200 words . . .

  41. Indulgentiam says:

    Whatsoever the Lord permits is necessary for our salvation. So yes, i firmly believe that VII was necessary. In my opinion VII turned up the lights and though the roaches ran for cover we have seen them, we will track them, stomp them out, clean up and with Our Lady leading us restore order. Thank you for the links to better examples of the documents Father. God bless you

  42. Nicole says:

    Contramundum – you said, “The Holy Spirit prevents an ecumenical council from teaching error, etc….” I am merely curious where that is taught in a binding manner…could you point out your source for that teaching?

  43. Andrew says:

    Reading the actual conciliar documents in Latin is only the beginning step: one should also study the actual preparatory documents of the Council: someone who knows, mentioned 40 volumes of those (with each volume being really laaaarge). With the exception of few pages, all of it is written in – not English – but … take a guess … yes, Latin. And I don’t think it has ever been translated into any vulgar language (Deo gratias).
    So, as soon as I have read all of that and gotten a degree in historical ecclesiology or something like that, I will start writing my 200 word response to this thread. By then, I should be approaching my 110th birthday. Or: I can just have some coffee!

  44. pberginjr says:

    I’m surprised to hear that The Rhine flows into the Tiber is out of print. I purchased my copy a couple of years ago after hearing about it on a few blogs (I confess it’s still on my shelf to be read) at a very reasonable price from Amazon. TAN was A publisher (were there others?), so if it is out of print, I imagine they’ll probably issue a new printing sometime in the near future. A kindle (or nook!) edition would be great too though.

  45. Nicole says:

    Captain Peabody – if you believe that Lumen Gentium is infallible, how do you square that with the several statements of the Holy Father Pope Paul VI that while the Council’s work was authoritative (binding upon religious assent), it was not making recourse to the infallible magisterium?

    “And last of all it was the most opportune, because, bearing in mind the necessities of the present day, above all it sought to meet the pastoral needs and, nourishing the flame of charity, it has made a great effort to reach not only the Christians still separated from communion with the Holy See, but also the whole human family. […] We decided moreover that all that has been established synodally is to be religiously observed by all the faithful, for the glory of God and the dignity of the Church and for the tranquillity and peace of all men. […] Given in Rome at St. Peter’s, under the [seal of the] ring of the fisherman, Dec. 8, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the year 1965, the third year of our pontificate.” (In Spiritu Sancto, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, The Documents of Vatican II, pp. 738-9)

    “Today we are concluding the Second Vatican Council. […] But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.” (Address during the last general meeting of the Second Vatican Council, December 7, 1965; AAS 58)

    “There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility.” (General Audience, December 1, 1966, published in the L’Osservatore Romano 1/21/1966)

  46. CarismaTeaCo says:

    In the words of Sister Liberatta (Dominican)…. ‘You are being too pre Vatican’ and ‘Cut that traditional crap out’

  47. heway says:

    Born in’35, I was a young nurse when Good Pope John convened the council. I believe it was necessary. Contrary to some people’s opinion, our churches were not filled wth beautiful music, organs, choirs. Oh, we had majestic cathedrals and if it happened to be in the neighborhood of a philharmonic, you might hear all those wonderful things. When oldsters say that old ladies did not use their missal but fingered their rosaries throughout Mass – true, true. Late at night from St.Michael’s in Toronto, Gregory Baum gave a rundown of the activities of the council that day.
    One would never go into a protestant church for ‘anything’! Now I sing with many Baptists, Methodists, etc – in my church and theirs, not for religious rituals but for the Glory of God. The whole idea of ecumenism stemmed from WWII and the knowledge that christians had better learn to support one another or we would destroy the earth.
    I love Pope John and his beautiful spontaneous moonlight homily. He may not have been the intelectual Pope John Paul was, but he had a way of letting everyone know that God loves us.
    I carry a copy of “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church”, Daughters of St. Paul, 1964-65 to every diocesan , parish and catechetical meeting – I am a daughter of Vaticn II.

  48. Rouxfus says:

    The documents of the Second Vatican Council (along with the documents of all the other Councils of the Church) are included in the amazingly robust and fulsome iPieta app for iOS and Android. It’s the best three bucks you’ll ever spend.

  49. Andy Milam says:

    @ Henry;

    “Accounts of the process of development of the documents of the Council–for instance, Fr. Giampietro’s book presenting Card. Antonelli’s memoirs detailing the behind-the-scenes discussions and maneuvers in the drafting of Sacrosanctum Consilium on the liturgy–suggest that this ambiguity was studied and deliberate. A consequence of the fact that most of the experts comprising the commissions drafting documents for the Council had “liberal” intentions, whereas the documents were subject to approval by mostly “conservative” bishops with quite different predispositions. Therefore, the documents were carefully crafted to support the interpretations (and later implementation) favored by their authors, but to conceal their real intentions from the actual Council Fathers who would sign off on them (largely, in the style of modern legislative bodies, without reading before voting).”

    I agree 100%. That is a fascinating book. Great reference.

  50. Nicole says:

    ContraMundum – thanks for the source, but I was looking for a binding source. The First Vatican Council sets up the Ecumenical Council as a tool of the Roman Pontiff in which he defines that which he knows to be in keeping with Scripture and Apostolic tradition: “Eomani autem Pontifices, prout temporum et rerum conditio suadebat, nunc convocatis oecumenicis Conciliis aut explorata Ecclesiae per orbem dispersae sententia, nunc per Synodos particulares, nunc aliis, quae divina suppeditabat providentia, adhibitis auxiliis, ea tenenda definiverunt, quae sacris Scripturis et apostolicis Traditionibus consentanea, Deo adjutore, cognoverant. Neque enim Petri
    successoribus Spiritus Sanctus promissus est, ut eo revelante novam doctrinam patefacerent, sed ut, eo assistente, traditam per Apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodirent et fideliter exponerent.”

    I don’t really see anything else in there which would allow an Ecumenical Council to be an equal authority to the Pope, either, even in matters of defining doctrines concerning faith and morals to be held by the whole Church… Any additional info you have would be greatly helpful. Thanks ahead of time.

  51. ddobbs says:

    I do not think the council was necessary to combat heresy as happened in many previous councils, but I do think that there are teachings of the council that are considered necessary.

    I think that Lumen Gentium was a bombshell that the Holy Spirit dropped on the church. Holiness is no longer just for zealous priests and faithful nuns; all people are called to be Holy. All of us without exception are called to be Saints. It would be hard to argue that this was a new teaching, but it was never emphasised so firmly as during Vatican II.

    I also believe the stressing of full, conscious, active participation during liturgy was a huge breakthrough. Mass is no longer seen as something the priest does, and I pray my devotions and come to communion when the bell rings. We are all called to be participants and partakers in the Heavenly Banquet. Obviously, some people twist this in the name of the “Spirit of Vatican II” but the concept in my mind is so essential that I cannot imagine ever ‘going back’.

  52. Augustin57 says:

    So, what you’re saying is that the tactic that Nancy Pelosi came up with “Just sign the bill! You can read it later!” when they were trying to shove the health care bill down our throats wasn’t new? It showed its ugly face in Vatican II? LOL

  53. Fr. Wiltgen’s “The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber” from Tan Books is currently out of stock there, but apparently can still be purchases from

    http://search.catholiccompany.com/search?w=wiltgen

  54. BobP says:

    anilwang: “Yes, it was needed. The response to Humanae Vitae and Eastern Orthodox caving on on contraception shows that liturgy is no protection on doctrine.”

    I think it’s noteworthy that the matter of ABC among other things was not presented for discussion at Vatican II. Did Pope John and Pope Paul fear that the bishops would appeal to public opinion on this important matter if it had been placed on the agenda?

  55. Geoffrey says: I think one way to look at the many changes that took place after the Council is to see how specific was the Council? For example, adding more readings from Sacred Scripture to the Mass and creating a multi-week cycle for the psalter were called for, but the Council was silent when it came to “how”.

    I don’t know about the necessity for more readings and a multi-week cycle for the psalter. The case can be made that this should not have been done, for the simple reason that what you hear over and over and over not only sticks, but becomes woven into the fabric of your mind, and becomes food for meditation. Greater variety may translate to greater breadth, but surely this comes at the expense of depth. Which is more important?

    Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. says: Anyone who is honest about the state of theology and theological training in 1960 (rote memorization of neo-scholastic manuals and subtle “wink-wink” dissent), the condition of liturgy then (rushed low Mass as the norm, perfunctory preaching), and contemporary Catholic social culture (collapsing ghetto-Catholicism, or patronage of Catholic authoritarians like Franco), has to recognize that something like an Ecumenical Council was needed.

    This builds on the point made earlier, that the seeds for what followed the Council were sown before the Council. These conditions — especially the state of the liturgy — surely resulted in large part from the secularization that had been growing in the Church for decades.

    The better questions are: 1. Was the 1960s to time to call it? I would say no. 2. What the optimistic openness to assimilating an already decadent Euro-American secularized culture the right approach? I would say no.

    Absolutely.

  56. “I also believe the stressing of full, conscious, active participation during liturgy was a huge breakthrough.”

    Actually, the term participatio actuosa goes back at least to Pope Pius X (1903) when he urged actual prayerful participation in the Mass (as stressed by successive pre-Vatican II popes):

    “The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the Altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

    When I first encountered the Mass in the 1950s, this manner of prayerful participation by people using their hand missals seemed to be as common then as it is uncommon now (except at EF Masses).

  57. Jason Keener says:

    I think the Second Vatican Council was absolutely necessary because the Church needed to help the faithful understand that the essence of the Catholic Faith is about obtaining deep and personal communion with God and also sharing in this community of love with fellow Catholics. See works on Communio Theology for more information. Unfortunately, before the Council it seems that many Catholics practiced their Faith only because they feared Hell or out of habit. [So, the institutions dedicated to the works of mercy were not from charity?] If the pre-Vatican II Church was truly some Golden Age where most Catholics had a truly deep and well-formed Faith, why did the convents and seminaries empty out so quickly? Why did so many others abandon the Faith altogether?

  58. Charlotte Allen says:

    I’m with Fr. Thompson. The church during the years right before the council looked sturdy and vibrant, but there were many ways in which it was already rotted at the core and poised for disaster. As Fr. Thompson points out, the urban-ethnic communities that were the backbone of preconciliar U.S. Catholicism had already been suburbanized, and their offspring, growing up in suburban comfort, were already chafing at the bit of restrictions on, say, divorce and birth control.

    There was also the regime of rigid scholastic (actually neo-scholastic) theology and philosophy enforced since the late nineteenth century in the seminaries and at Catholic colleges. Scholastic theology is a wondrous edifice, but it was an invention of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the West, and it represented a break with the centuries of theology that had been nurtured in monasteries Western and Eastern for centuries before the schoolmen came onto the scene. The decades that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council were marked by a huge upsurge in Catholic scholarship on monastic and patristic theology–and this generated resentment that such efforts had to be subordinated to the mandatory inculcation in scholasticism and scholasticism alone. It fed into nascent dissent elsewhere.

    I think that Pope Pius XII was aware of this problem, which is why he consistently encouraged biblical scholarship and archaeology, but he was hindered from calling a council himself, first by World War II and then by his declining health. By the time Pope John XXIII convened the council, the resentment and dissent had reached tidal-wave proportions, at least among Catholic intellectuals–and after the council everything just went haywire, unfortunately.

  59. James Joseph says:

    Fr. Z.

    I am a pain, yes. Is it against the rules to translate the Latin documents on one’s own initiative? I have been led to believe that we are not allowed to. [If it was your Latin prof who suggested that you shouldn’t do that, I would rethink the project. That said, someone does need to have a pretty good grasp of Latin as well as the doctrine and history of the Church.] Call me a suspicious and wounded furry woodland creature, if you must, trapped in the corner.

  60. Andy Milam says:

    @ddobs;

    “I think that Lumen Gentium was a bombshell that the Holy Spirit dropped on the church. Holiness is no longer just for zealous priests and faithful nuns; all people are called to be Holy. All of us without exception are called to be Saints. It would be hard to argue that this was a new teaching, but it was never emphasised so firmly as during Vatican II.”

    Lumen Gentium didn’t define or create anything new. Holiness has existed from all time for all of the Church faithful. Look at what you’re saying, are you saying that the majority of canonized saints are priests and nuns? I daresay they are in the minority. The vast, vast majority of canonized saints are the faithful. The problem is that the priests and nuns of the 20th century, by design starting in the late 1930’s STOPPED teaching the faithful about holiness. They got the faithful to the point where they were so preoccupied with the outward that the inward was completely lost. By way of example, prior to the 20th century, there was no need for a “hand missal,” but by 1958, they were so necessary that many faithful (these are my mother’s words), could not go to Mass without their missals. What does that say? It says that the previous generations of the 20th century were not taught about participatio actuosa, but rather they were taught about participatio activa. AND THAT HAS NOT CHANGED. I am a huge, huge proponent for participatio actuosa, but participatio actuosa isn’t “full, concious and active pariticiation of the faithful” as has been promoted in recent decades. Participatio actuosa is the inward participation in the Mass which leads one to a faithful worship of Our Lord in the Eucharist, whilst laying our prayers at the foot of the altar for the priest to offer on our behalf. IMHO, the hand missal was a huge detriment to the Mass. The hand missal was a way for the liberal castrati to change the intentions of participatio actuosa, from being an inward participation in the Mass which leads to the faithful worship of Our Lord in the Eucharist to that of a “full, concious, and active participation.” I can just as easily unite my soul to the sacrificial action of the Mass by meditating on the Life of Christ or the mysteries of the rosary, or the stations of the cross, as I can to following along in a book, word for word. When Pius XII said that understanding the Mass and following it was the most noble way participate in the Sacred Mysteries, he didn’t mean word for word. He meant through an inward participation. THAT is what participatio actuosa really means. And that is where Lumen Gentium missed the boat when it comes to being a bombshell. It was a bombshell only insofar as it scattered authentic Catholic thought. It is not dogma, it is not doctrine. It is merely a statement on a dogma that already existed….and was not taught for the better part of 60 years, by design.

  61. trad catholic mom says:

    Was there a current heresy that needed addressing? No.

    So no, no council was needed.

  62. tioedong says:

    Yes, the Council was necessary. The pre Vatican church had a church where the priest mumbled quickly through the Latin mass while we all sat around saying our rosaries. And it was worse in countries whose language had little in common with Latin, so couldn’t understand it.
    The preVatican II had lots of nuns who thought petty rules were more important than loving God. The Pre Vatican II church often neglected the poor: Yes, the nuns worked with them, but they were invisible to the laity (Read Catherine Doherty’s books about this, and yes, I know about the St Vincent DePaul society…but that wasn’t “hands on”…). Indeed, the laity were second class citizens when it came to working with the church. Try becoming a lay missionary in those days: it was very hard… (I did, but only by being placed at a Catholic hospital by a secular group).

    If you read history, after every council, there are problems and schisms in the church. In a century or two, things settle out. Think of it as pruning to get new growth.
    And yes I condemn those who used the council for their own ends, but the alternative was a ghetto church that had little or nothing to do with people’s actual lives.

  63. friarpark says:

    In talking about remodeling our church I heard talk of “we need to make our building a Post Vatican II church”. Makes me shudder at the thought of what could happen. I’ve seen a 1948 picture of our sanctuary and I could cry at what was gotten rid of. A post Vatican II church would look exactly like the 1948 picture. We all know that, but well …ahem…Milwaukee diocese…need I say more?

  64. friarpark says:

    “Participatio actuosa is the inward participation in the Mass which leads one to a faithful worship of Our Lord in the Eucharist, whilst laying our prayers at the foot of the altar for the priest to offer on our behalf.”

    This is what I’m working towards in my prayer at Mass. Thanks for giving me a definition. Wish this would have been taught in the 60’s.

  65. Peter in Canberra says:

    Bishop William Brennan, the then bishop of Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia), is reputed to have responded to John XXIII’s call:

    “Nothing enters our mind”.

    If only there were more like him.

  66. Tantum Ergo says:

    OF COURSE Vatican II was necessary! How would we ever function without Bugninicare? Think of all the manufacturers of guitars and bongo drums that would be out of business! Let alone the leotard manufacturers who outfit the liturgical dancers. And Oh! the big puppet manufacturers, the makers of the new watered down catechetical materials, the Communion rail ripper-outers! the list goes on and on. Sheesh!

  67. ContraMundum says:

    @Nicole

    Why would you want anything more?

    Was Vatican II convened by a pope? Yes. Were its documents approved by the pope of the time? Again, yes. Have subsequent popes treated it as anything other than a binding ecumenical council? No.

    Did Vatican II do all the good for the Church that was hoped at its opening. It certainly appears to me that it did not, but you could make a good case that the same is true of the First Council of Nicea, which is why it was only the First Council of Nicea. Councils may tell people what they ought to do and believe, but they can’t really make people do and believe what they ought. In terms of results, councils rarely do all that was hoped. After all, Trent hasn’t really reversed the Protestant Reformation, has it?

  68. ContraMundum says:

    The preVatican II had lots of nuns who thought petty rules were more important than loving God.

    That one really jumps out at me. The postVatican II solution appears to be having only a few nuns who think that petty rules (generally about supporting Democratic Party politics) are more important than loving God.

    Seriously, if there is one thing we cannot judge about another person, it’s whether the motivations for that person’s actions are the genuine love for God. If he had not been actually canonized, we could always imagine that St. Damien of Molokai tended to lepers just to show off. If that sounds crazy, we could always imagine that he was crazy, too, then.

    One thing I have never heard about pre-Vatican II nuns was that they were characteristically disobedient to legitimate Church authority. That’s not an impossible-to-judge statement about their inward motivation; it is an easily observable fact of their outward actions. Can you say the same thing about the Leadership Conference for Women Religious today?

  69. Traductora says:

    “No” is way under 200 words.

    And the explanation – the good parts were already being done and the bad parts should never have happened – is also under 200 words.

  70. Bender says:

    Was a Council necessary?

    The last five successors of Peter and nearly all of the successors of the other Apostles — who are guided by the Holy Spirit — thought it necessary. So, yes, it was necessary.

  71. Bender says:

    The response to Humanae Vitae and Eastern Orthodox caving on on contraception shows that liturgy is no protection on doctrine.

    History demonstrates that the attacks on HV, and the nose dive that did occur amongst people in the Church, were led by pre-Vatican II priests and those religious and lay persons who were instructed and catechized before Vatican II.

    The Council wasn’t the cause of the problems that came to light later, the Council was the solution to those problems.

  72. Bender says:

    I think it’s noteworthy that the matter of ABC among other things was not presented for discussion at Vatican II.

    From Gaudium et Spes:

    50. Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. . . . Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. . . .

    51. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.

    To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonorable solutions indeed; they do not recoil even from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to authentic conjugal love.

    For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.(14)

    All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men.
    _______________
    14. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930): Denz.-Schoen. 3716-3718, Pius XII, Allocutio Conventui Unionis Italicae inter Obstetrices, Oct. 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951), pp. 835-854, Paul VI, Address to a group of cardinals, June 23 1964: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 581-589. Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment. With the doctrine of the magisterium in this state, this holy synod does not intend to propose immediately concrete solutions.

    Notwithstanding the disclaimer of footnote 14, the prior teaching of the Church (“methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church”) was clear on the illicit nature of artificial birth control.

  73. Bender says:

    More from GS —

    47. Yet the excellence of this institution [of marriage] is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect. In addition, married love is too often profaned by excessive self-love, the worship of pleasure and illicit practices against human generation. . . .
    48. By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown. . . . As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union and the good of the children impose total fidelity on the spouses and argue for an unbreakable oneness between them. . . .

    Pope Paul’s later insights into the unitive and fruitful nature of authentic marital love, as expressed and manifested in the sexual act, thus making any intentional separation of that unitive/fruitful component from the act illicit, follow directly from what the Council says here.

  74. shane says:

    Bender, nice try, but all the bishops who attended the Council, voted for its resolutions and subsequently implemented it in their own dioceses, were also educated, catechized and formed before Vatican II.

  75. leonugent2005 says:

    It seems to me that studying the documents of V2 is necessary but not sufficient. [I don’t anyone (who isn’t a liberal) has suggested that they are sufficient. Liberals don’t read anything before or after the Council. Nor do they read the Council documents before invoking them.] You need to study the magisteriums of the Paul VI, John Paul2, and Benedict XVI. They are the authoritative interpretation. Spend some time reading JP2’s encyclicals.

  76. Nicole says:

    ContraMundum –

    What more I want is: a binding source which teaches that merely the fact that a Council is Ecumenical makes it also infallible. I am telling you that I’ve seen no such thing reading the Ecumenical Councils (or other various Papal Documents) themselves (though it does seem to be put forth by questionable/non-ecumenical/unapproved portions of councils held at Constance and Basel). Even the source that you gave me (when it was not contradicting itself) did seem to put forth the notion that the infallibility of the Ecumenical Council is really an extension of the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff; though, I’m not saying that the Catholic Encyclopedia is a binding source of doctrine.

    So, yes, the Second Vatican Council was convoked, celebrated and confirmed by the Roman Pontiff (and has been bound upon our religious assent). I am not contesting that fact. I am, however, contesting the conjectural statement that this very fact makes the Council infallible. Even your non-binding source (as a standard) wouldn’t call the Second Vatican Council an infallible one or say that it contained infallible definition from what I’ve seen.

    It would really be a fool’s errand to judge any Ecumenical Council by anything other than the solemn judgments of the Church, meaning, regardless of whether individuals implement the binding teachings given us from the Church, they remain none-the-less binding.

  77. Bender says:

    Bender, nice try

    OK. If you are going to critique something I said, please specifiy what it is that you are talking about. What did I “try” that you object to?

  78. ContraMundum says:

    OK, Nicole, you either accept this, or you don’t. This is from the Catechism:

    891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,” and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.” This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

    The relevant quote is from 418 LG 25; cf. Vatican Council I:DS 3074.

  79. ContraMundum says:

    Please understand that if you are rejecting the Catechism as not sufficiently dogmatic, and rejecting the Vatican II reference as a source of confidence for the validity of Vatican II, you may on similar principles reject pretty much everything that the Catholic Church teaches. Then you can become a Unitarian Universalist and go on talk shows to say how you “outgrew” the Catholic Church.

  80. Christophe says:

    The Council was disastrous. To the contrary, it was necessary not to have a Council. As Michael Davies used to say, paraphrasing Tacitus, “They created a desert, and called it reform.” The Church decided to throw in its lot with the modern world, and now is paying the price. Pope John chided those who opposed the calling of the Council as “prophets of gloom, who are always predicting disaster.” Well, turns out the prophets were right.

  81. Geoffrey says:

    “You need to study the magisteriums of the Paul VI, John Paul2, and Benedict XVI. They are the authoritative interpretation. Spend some time reading JP2?s encyclicals.”

    Excellent point. Pope Benedict XVI has said that Blessed John Paul II was the authoritative interpreter of the Second Vatican Council, and to examine his writings carefully.

    I have recently discovered the importance of reading the documents of the Servant of God Paul VI. He often discussed the reasons for various changes. I recall one mention of naming January 1st to Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, and how it had its roots in the Roman tradition. Not every change was done haphazardly.

  82. St. Epaphras says:

    The Rhine Flows into the Tiber is available used on Amazon, Alibris, and ABE Books (ABE has quite a few copies). Got mine recently on Amazon, in good shape and decent price.

  83. Pingback: Some Vatican II readings « The Orthosphere

  84. Nicole says:

    ContraMundum –

    Firstly, there is no degree to “dogmatic.” Some article is either dogmatic or it is not, therefore what is “sufficiently” dogmatic, and what is not, has no bearing.

    Secondly, I never posted anything here putting the validity of the Second Vatican Council into question. I professed publicly that it was a Council convoked, celebrated and confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and IS binding upon the religious assent of the entire Church. I, however, am not going to arrogate to myself the position to call the Pope a liar in regard to the Council; the Holy Father announced once implicitly and twice quite explicity (before and after the close of the Council) that the Second Vatican Council had made no recourse to the infallible magisterium.

    The fact is that if we take the standard for judgment (rule of faith) given in the First Vatican Council, “Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium,” the Second Vatican Council (and the Catechism of the Catholic Church) does not make the cut. The First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ made at the First Vatican Council is clearly at odds (contrary) in some respects with the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church made at the Second Vatican Council (remember the First Vatican Council teaches that truth cannot be in opposition to truth). The First Vatican Council sets up one body who exercises the supreme magisterium: that of the Roman Pontiff; the Second Vatican Council sets up two bodies who exercise the supreme magisterium.

    <blockquote cite="1. That apostolic primacy which the Roman pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching. This holy see has always maintained this, the constant custom of the church demonstrates it, and the ecumenical councils, particularly those in which East and West met in the union of faith and charity, have declared it.
    2. So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion. What is more, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks made the following profession: The holy Roman church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole catholic church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor the Roman pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled. Then there is the definition of the council of Florence: The Roman pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church.
    3. To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received.
    4. It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world, sometimes individually, sometimes gathered in synods, according to the long established custom of the churches and the pattern of ancient usage referred to this apostolic see those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing.
    5. The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God’s help, they knew to be in keeping with sacred scripture and the apostolic traditions.
    6. For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.
    7. This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.
    8. But since in this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.
    9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of the catholic religion and for the salvation of the christian people, with the approval of the sacred council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, 1. in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, 2. in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, 3. he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”>

    This principle and rule which I used is a safe-guard manifesting the continuance of the Church, whereas the attempt at painting itself infallible in the Second Vatican Council would destroy the Church (this is apparent since the Second Vatican Council attempted to make one equal two doctrinally speaking). The view presented above in the fourth chapter of the First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ shows that it is impossible that there is another body which also exercises the supreme power of teaching (supreme magisterium). It is clear above that the Holy Spirit was promised to the Successor of St. Peter and not to the Council as a whole. The Roman Pontiff confirms the brethren, not the Council. The See of St. Peter is the one where faith knows no failing, not the Ecumenical Council.

    Once again, I do not deny the binding quality of the Second Vatican Council, I merely do not agree that it carries any infallible quality.

    “So, then, if anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.” – First Vatican Council

    Saying that the Second Vatican Council binds one’s religious assent does not rend the seamless garment, so to speak, it is a statement of obedience (since that is how the Roman Pontiff chose to bind it).

  85. Nicole says:

    yep…I used the html tag incorrectly :)

  86. Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Dear Charlotte,

    Thanks for your second to my post on the Council well above.

    Could you give me an email at athompson@dspt.edu? I have lost your address.

    I would like to hear your ideas about how to deal with the publicity about my biography of St. Francis that just appeared in the (silly) cover article of Newsweek.

    Thanks, Fr. Z., for not sending this post down the rabbit hole!

  87. Father K says:

    “The preVatican II had lots of nuns who thought petty rules were more important than loving God.”

    Now we have much fewer nuns who think petty ideologies are more important than loving God!

  88. Clinton R. says:

    A council was needed given Vatican I was never concluded. However, has there ever been a council where the result was a huge, worldwide loss of the Faith? I understand the current apostasy cannot be completely blamed on Vatican II, but it’s implementation sure hasn’t helped. Because some of the documents can be best described as ambiguous, they have given dissidents the excuse they craved to veer away from sound Catholic doctrine and teaching to such a degree that they in effect created a new religion that bears little resemblance to the Church pre Vatican II. And it’s done in the name of “The spirit of Vatican II”. Would we have the SSPX or sedevacantists if the result of Vatican II wasn’t perceived as a reversal of the teachings of the Church for the previous 1900 years? Would we have had to endure the drastic changes in the Mass, “wreckovations” of parishes, Assisi 1,2, & 3, communion in the hand, altar girls, EMOCs, interfaith prayer services and the like if Vatican II never happened? Where we go from here is of the utmost importance. If the Catholic faith is reduced worldwide at the same rate as in the last 50 years, then the Church will be reduced to a remnant.

  89. jflare says:

    I’m inclined to think that Vatican II was not only necessary, but in fact, critical. And critical right then, in 1962.

    I WAS around for 6 years of Catholic Jr High/High School. I heard loads about the “Spirit of Vatican II”. I ultimately grew annoyed enough with this half-undefined “Spirit” to begin researching Vatican II itself. ..And ultimately to reading all four Constitutions. I was amazed to learn that such EXISTED. I was also amazed, horrified, angered, and inspired, by what I read in those documents. Some ideas we’ve implemented fairly well. Others, well, we need LOADS of work.

    I think Vatican II happened when it did and with regard to the subjects-matter addressed because the Holy Spirit could see a definitive need. Remember, in 1962, we’d begun John Kennedy’s Presidency, we’d survived the Depression, World War II and Korea, we’d begin involvement in Vietnam, we’d begun the Cold War. By the way, we’d begun to understand the severity of the Holocaust and the very first hints of the sexual revolution had dawned. …And little tiny seeds of dissent against “old-fashioned rules” had begun sprouting everywhere. Any of these factors alone would’ve caused skepticism with faith. All of them together created the Perfect Storm of intellectual, practical, and political assault, a severe plague of madness that could easily plunge humanity worldwide into sheer madness.
    If you think our Church has suffered intensely from Vatican II, imagine the trials we’d’ve faced if John XXIII HADN’T convened his bishops.
    Our Holy Spirit knew we’d need to discern newer answers to very old questions; merely repeating rules and regs from rote memory would not suffice. Ability to understand the faith in a severely deep manner would be needed.
    That’s what we got, however painful the education process may have been for us.

    Nicole, Contramundum: I understand a few concerns regarding the Pope’s infallibility. He must be teaching to the world AS Pope regarding matters of faith and morals. Well, each Constitution has his name on it, so he’s teaching as Pope it would seem. Next, Vatican II implied that ALL people on earth could learn from the Church, so teaching to the world seems to be in play. Next, Pope Paul VI name appears on each document, so he appears to be teaching AS Pope. ..And I don’t know how you can argue that Vatican II didn’t teach on faith and morals. Vatican II seems to demand that a person examine faith with an extremely discerning eye.
    If you can argue that it didn’t address faith and morals, I’m inclined to ask what this faith and morals ARE.
    Again, I’m not an expert, but declaring that Vatican II didn’t teach infallibly..seems to me a very difficult case.

  90. In the era of the 1st Seven Ecumenical Councils, the notion of them being Ecumenical was the result of them being received by the church throughout the Ecumene–the Christian world which was in communion with the historic Patriarchates. Robber councils did exist and were later repudiated. It is too bad the Vatican 1 and 2 were not conducted in a similar fashion. It would be much easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. But it is what it is.

  91. AnnAsher says:

    I don’t think it is fair to say the Eastern Orthodox “caved” on contraception. “Caved” implies any form of contraception and liberal use is accepted. That is not true. The Orthodox instruction on contraception (barrier methods only) is the same as the Roman instruction on NFP. Which provides for individual, case by case, pastoral instruction of couples for serious reason. When I use the term “pastor” I mean Pastor – Priest who is in charge of the souls in question. But alas Roman Catholics now promote NFP as the accepted means of birth control in the west. It is not. So, I believe it is disingenuous to say the Orthodox have caved when in practice so have we.

  92. When the time came for me to read The Rhine Flows Into The Tiber, I borrowed a copy from the public library. It was fascinating.

    As for the question of whether Vatican II was necessary, I submit that something was necessary. I am inclined to think that things would actually have been worse without Vatican II, as hard as that may be to believe at times. The Church was off course, and the wheel needed to be turned. It was probably turned way too far way too fast, but as others have indicated, the internal rot was present well before Vatican II and needed to be corrected. The problem with rot is that sometimes it requires major demolition just to expose it before the reconstruction can begin. Think of replacing the rotted underground tanks at a gasoline station, or a supporting wooden joist in a house. One can be reasonably optimistic that the reconstruction of the Church is about to begin and may already have begun, but not all of the rot has been removed just yet.

  93. ContraMundum says:

    The First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ made at the First Vatican Council is clearly at odds (contrary) in some respects with the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church made at the Second Vatican Council (remember the First Vatican Council teaches that truth cannot be in opposition to truth).

    That kind of naked assertion can be (and has been) made about the Gospels themselves. You can find any number of people who will say that the four accounts of the Resurrection (among other things) are “clearly at odds (contrary) in some respects with” each other. Do you believe that also? If so, which (if any) of the Gospels do you believe? If not, is it because you have found the perfect harmonization?

    Most of us, I hope, accept the truth of each of the four Gospels, even though it is not clear precisely how they should be harmonized.

    We should extend the same attitude to statements about timeless truths (as opposed to disciplines that may change) from ecumenical councils.

    I, however, am not going to arrogate to myself the position to call the Pope a liar in regard to the Council; the Holy Father announced once implicitly and twice quite explicity (before and after the close of the Council) that the Second Vatican Council had made no recourse to the infallible magisterium.

    I am not calling any pope a liar — well, presumably not about such an important topic. But now you need to give the direct quote instead of expecting me to trust the telephone game.

  94. Jason Keener says:

    Father Z said, “[So, the institutions dedicated to the works of mercy were not from charity?]”

    I think there were clearly many, many holy Catholic saints who were motivated by charity and their deep relationship with God over the centuries. Having said that, I still think there was a bit of a tendency towards a legalist and minimalist approach to the Faith by some of the faithful in the pre-conciliar age (and probably every other age of the Church) that was in part due to the Catholic formation of the era. I also think the endeavor of theology was enriched after the Council by a greater emphasis of the Early Church Fathers and the Scriptures. There are many great things about a scholastic approach to theology, but there was also a tendency before the Council to reduce the great events of Salvation History to not much more than a set of propositions. Studying theology as a set of propositions is certainly an important starting point or one way of understanding the holy doctrines of our Faith, but there are other approaches to theology that are beneficial too. Of course, the post-Vatican II era has not been some Golden Age of Catholicism either.

  95. Nicole and ContraMundum,

    Essentially the same conversation has transpired periodically in recent years here at WDTPS. It always seems to me that the discussion tends to be fruitless, if not pointless and vacuous, if it is restricted to the general question of the infallibility of Vatican II documents and proclamations. Even the question of the infallibility of a particular Vatican II document may be meaningless, since each of them likely contains statements whose infallibility no one would suggest.

    Whereas there can be benefit to discussion of a particular Vatican II teaching that is specified, as to whether it is infallibly taught. Particularly, if some one can suggest a specific Vatican II teaching on faith and morals that was new and arguably necessary for salvation.

  96. Maltese says:

    ContraMundum,

    Councils are necessary inasmuch as they proclaim dogma and resolve confusion. Vatican II declared no new dogmas and sowed confusion. So, no, it was not necessary. Exhibit 1 (out of 10,000) please tell if the statement below helps clarify indifferentism or leads to indifferentism:

    Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery … They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. NOSTRA AETATE

    Uh, OK, but shouldn’t they have said a loving and trusting flight to goddesses?

  97. ContraMundum says:

    That is mostly true, but there should be consistency. In an ecumentical council endorsed by the pope, the things that can be infallible, are infallible. It’s the same for Vatican II as for the other ecumenical councils. On the other hand, the canons of the First Council of Nicea are no longer considered to be in effect by the Catholic Church. They were an example of things that were binding in obedience, but not unchangeable. There are certainly aspects like that in Vatican II, also.

    But if we are to employ the most extreme skepticism about Vatican II, we should do the same thing for every other document. Out goes Fatima! It’s all private revelation, and for the skeptic that is the easiest and first thing to go. The same goes for all the other private revelations: Lourdes, Guadeloupe, etc. And almost nothing that any pope says really meets the standard of ex cathedra, either, so we can regard with suspicion all those non-infallible encyclicals that people keep citing.

    In fact, if your object is to be a Catholic who believes the absolute minimum without being unquestionably in a state of mortal sin, you’ll be a very impoverished Catholic indeed — and a very silly one, too.

  98. Maltese says:

    The eminent theologian Msgr. Gherardini has this to say about Vatican II:

    …not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism–this can be seen above all in GS…none of its doctrines, unless ascribable to previous conciliar definitions, are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding: he who denies them cannot, for this reason, be called a formal heretic…

    In fairness, he commends many passages of Vatican II; I have read the documents, and much of it does beautifully reiterate prior doctrine. The problem lies where it sows confusion, particularly in GS and SC. Ironically, in ignoring SC, and forging a new liturgy (rather than butchering the TLM), Bugnini and Pope Paul VI actually saved the TLM!

  99. Anonymous Seminarian says:

    I believe the Second Vatican Council was necessary, not perhaps the exact one we got, but one we could have had. The council should have addressed directly the phenomenon of “modernity” by a brief historical/cultural/philosophical analysis followed by a roadmap for the faithful—how to live ‘in modernity’ without being a modernist. And as a pastoral council, it should have done this in few words, clearly accessible to most people, and, perhaps, could have addressed different cultural spheres separately. It should have, in sum, taken into account the great cultural changes that had occurred in preceding century to sift carefully the good from the bad, to affirm or provisionally encourage the former and unambiguously condemn the latter.
    Similarly, the council was necessary to re-address the perennial truths of the faith to modern ears, as well as the authentic reform of the liturgy, again, taking account of what had been happening both good and ill in the recent years and setting a firm direction forward, unambiguously in continuity with the Roman Church’s tradition.

  100. Supertradmum says:

    Have read many times all the documents and commentaries. No, the Council was not necessary. IMO, it opened the door for reformers who were waiting for an opportunity to protestantize the Church through a false perspective of ecumenism and it irrevocably changed the meaning of “lay person”, again opening up the door to the clericalization of the laity.

  101. ContraMundum says:

    Ultimately, the question “Was Vatican II really necessary?” belongs to the same class of questions as “Was Karol Józef Wojty?a really the best choice for pope?” and “Did I choose the right woman to marry?” They are all hypothetically valid questions to ask, but (1) knowing the answer won’t really do any good, anyhow, since we have to live in the real world and not the world of woulda/coulda/shoulda, and (2) even asking them is likely to provoke anger and hurt feelings.

  102. Bender says:

    Re: infallibility

    Sigh. Must we? It really is true that all too often both ends of the spectrum are really two sides of the same coin. In this instance, so restricting the definition of “infallible” to such an extreme as to be almost never applicable to any teaching of the Magisterium.

    To these folks, and you will actually hear some say it, the only “infallible” teachings of the Church are the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. Apparently everything else is up for grabs. In which case one must wonder, what good it is to have the guidance of the Holy Spirit if practically all of it is ultimately essentially optional?

    It really should not be this difficult, at least if one doesn’t subscribe to an overly constricted legalistic view that looks for loopholes and excuses not to personally believe what the rest of the Church believes. It is a rather strange argument to say, “Yes, this teaching is authoritative, but the Pope did not use the magic words to proclaim it, with all of the formality of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of the Vatican I definition, so it is not ‘infallible’ and, thus, is not really obligatory despite being authoritative.”

    Either a teaching is true or it is not true. Either the Magisterium is guided by the Holy Spirit and protected from error or it is not. There are practical reasons why a pope may decide to not use the precise wording and formula of Vatican I when teaching, but that does not mean that the teaching is not entirely true and, therefore, unchangable.

    When Pope John Paul II wrote that the question of reserving the priesthood to men was unchangable, that was for all intents and purposes an “infallible” proclamation. And when, in Evangelium Vitae, he wrote

    57. Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

    That is essentially an “infallible” teaching. Indeed, the story is that John Paul wanted to make a formal declaration, but Cardinal Ratzinger advised against it. Why would the good Cardinal do that, was it because he believed that such is merely opinion or policy, that it is capable of being changed? No — Cardinal Ratzinger advised against it so as to not play into this false notion that a legalistic formulaic definition was needed everytime the Magisterium spoke infallibly.

    As ContraMundum points out above, very few of the Magisterial teachings have been formally declared ex cathedra as “infallible.” But that does not mean that they are not and we really should not have such a constricted view that looks for loopholes and excuses to not believe, or that merely accepts out of a sense of obligation and obedience without really being open to believing with all our heart and mind.

  103. Bender says:

    “Was Karol Józef Wojtyla really the best choice for pope?”

    And to properly answer that, one must ask — Who chose Karol Wojtyla as pope?

    Either one believes in Providence, that God does actively participate in the affairs of the world, rather than sitting comfortably up there in heaven, especially through the Holy Spirit guiding the Church, as Jesus promised it was to be, including speaking through the cardinal-electors and through the Magisterium, or one does not believe it.

  104. ContraMundum says:

    @Bender

    Actually, the question is a little more complicated than that. My understanding of the teaching on this matter is that we are not guaranteed to get “the right man” for pope, but we are guaranteed that whoever becomes pope will have certain divine protections. I recall Benedict XVI saying something like this immediately after his election. I would add that the Holy Spirit no doubt provides guidance to the cardinals, but they presumably retain the free will to ignore that guidance.

    Besides, if it is possible that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the selection of every pope, it seems equally likely that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the convening of every ecumenical council.

    Whether the decision to choose this specific man to be pope is human or divine, and likewise whether the decision to convene an ecumenical council at this specific time and for these specific purposes is human or divine, once the decision has been made, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to be present and intervene.

  105. Bender says:

    we are not guaranteed to get “the right man” for pope

    There have been popes in history who clearly were rather unsavory types and, presumably, these were cases where the electors did not listen to the Holy Spirit.

    But the question was concerning Karol Wojtyla specifically (and Joseph Ratzinger after him (and Giuseppe Sarto for you traditionalists)).

    I have no doubt whatsoever that the electors did listen and, thus, it was the Holy Spirit who chose these men through the actions of the cardinals.

  106. Bender says:

    Here’s an interesting report from John Allen on Pope Benedict, infallability, and the Council —

    A long-simmering tension over ‘creeping infallibility’

    When Pope Benedict XVI used the word “infallible” in reference to the ban on women’s ordination in a recent letter informing an Australian bishop he’d been sacked, it marked the latest chapter of a long-simmering debate in Catholicism: Exactly where should the boundaries of infallible teaching be drawn? . . .
    Debate over the reach of infallibility has swirled ever since the First Vatican Council in the 19th century, and has become steadily more intense since the early 1980s.
    Vatican I formally defined papal infallibility in 1870, and most experts say it has been clearly invoked only with two dogmas, both about Mary: the Immaculate Conception in 1854, and the Assumption in 1950. In that light, some theologians and rank-and-file believers argue that on other contentious matters that have never been formally proclaimed as infallible, such as the ordination of women, contraception and homosexuality, dissent remains legitimate.
    Other voices in the church, however, insist that a tight focus on rare public proclamations downplays the role of the church’s “ordinary and universal magisterium,” meaning things that have been taught consistently across time. Such teachings are effectively infallible, according to this understanding, even if no pope has ever formally declared them as such, and thus Catholics are bound to accept them.
    Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, a leading advocate of this more expansive view of infallibility was Cardinal Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict XVI.
    In the 1980s, these clashing views were at the heart of an exchange between Ratzinger and Fr. Charles Curran, an American moral theologian fired in 1987 by The Catholic University of America in Washington after a lengthy investigation by Ratzinger’s office. In back-and-forth correspondence with Ratzinger, Curran defended a right of dissent from what he called “authoritative non-infallible hierarchical teaching.”
    Ratzinger responded that such a restricted view of the church’s teaching authority derives from the Protestant Reformation, and it leads to the conclusion that Catholics are obligated only to accept a few core dogmatic principles — the Trinity, for example, or the resurrection of the body — while everything else is debatable. In fact, Ratzinger said, the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) used the phrase the “secondary object of infallibility” to refer to a wide range of teachings on faith and morals that are intrinsically connected to divine revelation, and therefore infallible. . . .

  107. pinoytraddie says:

    It was Necessary in Some Aspects(Church-World Relations,Popular Piety),but almost NOT in others(Liturgy,Ecumenism,Doctrine etc….)

  108. ContraMundum says:

    Well, OK. John Paul II was a very good pope, so he presumably was the choice of the Holy Spirit. Still, if the cardinal electors have freedom to choose whom they will, the question remains valid, even if there are good grounds for thinking the answer for that particular election is “yes”. I am really only interested in the general question, not the specific example.

  109. robtbrown says:

    anilwang says:

    Yes, it was needed. The response to Humanae Vitae and Eastern Orthodox caving on on contraception shows that liturgy is no protection on doctrine.

    By the time Humanae Vitae was promulgated, the vernacularization of the liturgy had already taken place.

  110. robtbrown says:

    Re the Divine Office:

    1, Strictly speaking, it is a priestly function. Thus any adjustment to accommodate lay use is not appropriate. That does not mean the laity shouldn’t use the Breviary, but rather that priests shouldn’t be using a Breviary designed for lay use.

    2. The Church has a long history of lay participation in the Divine Office, with attendance at the Office in monasteries and with Cathedral Canons–St Thomas More often attended public Office. Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry was for lay use, and the Little Office of the BVM was able to be used by the laity.

    3. In so far as the Rule of St Benedict mandates the weekly Psalter, using a 2 or 4 week cycle is at odds with Benedictine life. Although there is no hard and fast rule against secular priests or those of certain religious orders, about 15oo years of tradition militate against it.

  111. Nicole says:

    ContraMundum –

    pish-posh. It’s well known that no prophecy can be made from a private interpretation of the sacred scriptures. The authentic interpretation of the sacred scriptures belongs to Holy Mother Church (especially never holding anything in that regard to the contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers of the Church) as is taught in the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent. However, the solemn judgments of the Church ARE the authentic interpretations of that which is in keeping with sacred scripture and tradition. It makes no sense, therefore, to pit the means of the interpretation of scripture against the means of understanding the interpretations given authoritatively by the Church.

    Regarding the telephone game you see here, I posted this above in response to Captain Peabody’s post. Apparently it was missed. These are three statements that the Holy Father Pope Paul VI made in regard to the Council, before it closed, at its closing and a year after it closed respectively.

    “And last of all it was the most opportune, because, bearing in mind the necessities of the present day, above all it sought to meet the pastoral needs and, nourishing the flame of charity, it has made a great effort to reach not only the Christians still separated from communion with the Holy See, but also the whole human family. […] We decided moreover that all that has been established synodally is to be religiously observed by all the faithful, for the glory of God and the dignity of the Church and for the tranquillity and peace of all men. […] Given in Rome at St. Peter’s, under the [seal of the] ring of the fisherman, Dec. 8, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the year 1965, the third year of our pontificate.” (In Spiritu Sancto, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, The Documents of Vatican II, pp. 738-9)

    “Today we are concluding the Second Vatican Council. […] But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.” (Address during the last general meeting of the Second Vatican Council, December 7, 1965; AAS 58)

    “There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility.” (General Audience, December 1, 1966, published in the L’Osservatore Romano 1/21/1966)

  112. robtbrown says:

    Nicole says,

    The First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ made at the First Vatican Council is clearly at odds (contrary) in some respects with the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church made at the Second Vatican Council (remember the First Vatican Council teaches that truth cannot be in opposition to truth). The First Vatican Council sets up one body who exercises the supreme magisterium: that of the Roman Pontiff; the Second Vatican Council sets up two bodies who exercise the supreme magisterium.

    In so far as the second body can only exercise its magisterium under the authority of the pope, I would say they’re not as much at odds as you portray them.

    The important change that came with Lumen Gentium was the expansion of the authority of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, which was exercised in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (nb: Cardinal Ratzinger’s comment that OS was a new kind of infallibility). In so far as the pope is the one who points out what the OUM teaches, it seems to me it is an indirect expansion of papal authority. And the OUM is established on the Tradition of the Church.

  113. Nicole says:

    Giving obedience to that which is bound upon one’s religious assent is not optional. I have never stated that one can throw out the Second Vatican Council because the Holy Father did not use the “magic words” or that the Council does not oblige. Failure to obey the Council where it binds results in commission of grave sin. That’s common sense!

    That does not, however, restrict the nature of the teachings to irreformability. While they must be obeyed here and now, they can change.

    There’s an obvious hierarchy of teachings and other binding statements in the Catholic Church that most seem to be glossing over for whatever reason. Merely because the Pope does not speak “ex cathedra” does not mean that he is not binding the laity and the entire Church to believe and obey all the same; it is merely an indication that the Holy Father can err, that he can reform or reprobate these such previous pronouncements or that he could abrogate them altogether.

    The Holy Father is the one who His Divine Majesty, Our Lord Jesus Christ, wished to enjoy the prerogative of infallibility in defining doctrines concerning faith and morals. It is the Holy Father who possesses that infallibility which Our Divine Redeemer wished HIS CHURCH to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals. That is stated explicitly in the First Vatican Council. I do not see, personally, what reasonable position a person could expose, based upon the same authority present in the statement defining the Pope’s infallible magisterium in the First Vatican Council, which would allow an Ecumenical Council to enjoy said same prerogative.

  114. robtbrown says:

    I don’t know where Vat II uses “secondary object of infallibility”–it is not found in Lumen Gentium. The concept, however, is present: Teachings on faith and morals that are to be held definitively (secondary objects) rather than believed (primary objects)–tenendam rather than credendam.

  115. Nicole says:

    rotbrown,

    I was not discussing the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, but rather what the Church proclaims to be divinely revealed (or even binding on Catholic faith) in her solemn judgment.

    I am totally open to correction in regard to the opposition that I see regarding these two points presented in the doctrine of the First and Second Vatican Councils, but honestly, I don’t see these two points as the only instance of disparity between the Second Vatican Council and previous works binding upon religious assent as well as assent of faith.

    If you read Cardinal Ratzinger’s doctrinal commentary on the Apostolic Letter motu proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem by the Holy Father Bl. John Paul II, then, I think you will see also that Cardinal Ratzinger believed at that time that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium was also exercised by the Bishops dispersed throughout the world. It’s not an expansion of Papal authority, it’s part of how the Church transmits the deposit of faith as well as matters which surround it binding upon Catholic faith (such as, who actually occupies the Holy See at any given time). However, this is not a defining arm, like that of the Roman Pontiff’s infallible prerogative, it is merely a reflective arm of what is dogmatic fact, so to speak.

  116. albizzi says:

    John XXIII himself was the first to introduce ambiguity in that council when he ordered as a preamble before it opened that no discussion about the communism would be tolerated and _therefore obviously_ no condemnation issued.
    This may look a bit odd when everybody is aware that the atheist communism actually was the main challenge the Church was facing.
    Some bishops tried to ignore that interdiction but they were silenced.
    In my opinion, that council began on flawed grounds: Wasn’t such an interdiction straight contrary to the purported “openness” VATII was invited to display?

  117. albizzi says:

    Nicole,
    The council Vatican II binds on the faithfuls so far as its teachings don’t contradict a previous council or a previous infallible pope’s statement.
    That said, would you provide a list of the VATII’s teachings that in your opinion you believe they are binding on the faithfuls.

  118. Bea says:

    I don’t need 200 words, I only need ONE

    NO

    Cardinal Pietro Sforza Pallavicini 1607-1667, (historian of the Council of Trent) said/wrote “To convoke a General Council, except when absolutely demanded by necessity, is to tempt God”

    On this, he was quoted by Cardinal Timothy Manning 11/15/1909-6/23/1980 (attended VII 1962-1965).

    Was VII absolutely demanded by necessity? Church attendance flourishing, seminaries full, schools and convents flourishing, Altar Societies and many active groups participating in Church activities, divorce among Catholics almost non-existent, questioning the Pope unquestionable. A popular saying in the 1950’s was “Rome has spoken, the case is closed” Now it’s “Rome has spoken, lets dialogue/dissent/protest ….. (fill in your own blanks)”

    Now? belief in the Real Presence appears to be not aware of by witnessing Church attendance, dress and behavior in His Presence or in His House. Vocations down (although they’re picking up among Traditional orders), schools closing, churches closing, convents dwindling (Except among Traditional orders), divorce AKA Catholic annulments up, contracepting up among Catholics believed to be OK, rebellion against Church teachings (Ordination of women/Humanae Vitae/Gay marriage/etc.

    So I only need one word (even if I did add the above to my original NO):

    NO

  119. Bea says:

    I forgot to add:
    Why do people quote Vat II more often than the bible or the Church Fathers?
    Do they think the Church began with Vat II?

  120. Bender says:

    it is merely an indication that the Holy Father can err
    _______________

    This is where your position is confusing.

    You say we should assent. But when the Pope teaches, how should we presume to take it?
    (1) Should there be a presumption of errability and errancy, a presumption that he might be wrong and the teaching could change? or
    (2) Should there be a presumption of correctness, that he is not possibly wrong, but what he teaches is right and true?

    Rather than say, “well, if the Pope does not expressly speak ex cathedra, that is an indication that he might be in error,” shouldn’t the correct approach to be the opposite, that if he does not specifically state that he is merely expressing an opinion and that he might be wrong and we are free to disagree (as Pope Benedict did with “Jesus of Nazareth”) that that is an indication that we are to conclude that he is correct? Shouldn’t the Pope himself be the primary judge of his correctness and not one billion individual Catholics (who lack the charism he has) deciding for themselves what degree of correctness he might have?

  121. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    Yes, a council was needed.

    Not only was the Church facing increasing heresies of modernism which was clearly not being adequately answered by the encyclicals that had previously been authored, but it was also facing a crisis of theology and liturgy (we can debate whether the answers were adequate or not). In addition we were coming out of World War II, dealing with the personal, governmental crises that resulted, and entering into a world which Democracy was to play a much greater role world-wide–hence the statements on ecumenism and religious freedom, which would prepare for a world where officially secular governments were becoming the norm. These political realities meant that the Church was entering a fundamentally different world, and thus, needed a constitution to a address it.

  122. Bea says:

    Bender:
    quote (and Giuseppe Sarto for you traditionalists)). unquote

    THIS is part of the problems created by V2

    There used to be ROMAN CATHOLICS. We were ALL Roman Catholics.
    Now there are Traditionalists, liberals, neocons, etc.
    And yet Our Lord often prayed “That they may be ONE”

    ===============================
    As to “dogmatic” as quoted by many in above posts:

    Born in 1937, I was an adult (in years anyway HaHa), being 25 at its start and 30 at its closure.
    Repeatedly it was said then that this was a PASTORAL Council and had nothing to do with dogma, subsequently it is now quoted as “dogmatic”. Not so.
    “Bringing the Church into the modern world” was one of the aims of Pope John XXIII. Rather than Ecumenical, he meant it to be “Apostolic” How to teach the world about Christ, how to bring Christ to the world in our time. How “ecumenical” now seems to be its aim is beyond me, because I remember Pope John’s words were NOT for achieving unity by concession, but by teaching the Truths of Our Faith, clearly and using modern means (at the time it was mostly TV and Radio).

    We are an Apostolic Church in union with the apostles, not “ecumenical” in union with schismatics, heretics and pagans. Pray and teach by example, yes, but we do not water down our Faith to gain numbers.
    It would be well to remember this in this YEAR OF FAITH, as proclaimed by our, now, Pope Benedict XVI.

  123. Nicole says:

    Bender,

    There should be no presumption either way. Either he speaks infallibly or he speaks fallibly. If he speaks infallibly, what he gives us cannot be reformed, revoked nor in error. If he speaks fallibly, what he gives us can be reformed, revoked or in error. This doesn’t mean when he speaks fallibly that he is in error, nor that merely because he is teaching in his ordinary magisterium that we can neglect what he says, dissent, stand in obstinacy or disobedience before him. Like I said before, the ordinary teachings of the Pope bind one’s religious assent (upon the pain of grave sin), just as the ordinary magisterium of one’s bishop or a general council of the bishops in union with the Roman Pontiff do the same.

    What is bound on our religious assent does also bind upon the natural virtue of faith, due to the office that demands the assent. But, only that which is infallible binds upon the supernatural virtue of faith. Simply because something can be in error doesn’t mean that it is, nor that it can be disregarded if it is bound upon us by an authority.

    The Pope himself is the primary judge of this…AND as I posted in quotations above, the Holy Father Pope Paul VI bound the Second Vatican Council upon our religious assent, not our assent of faith.

  124. Bender says:

    There should be no presumption either way.

    Nicole, I’m sorry, but there is no sitting on the fence here, there is no being agnostic here — either you presume the Pope to be correct or you do not presume him to be correct. It is either black or it is white. If you do not presume him to be correct, you necessarily have a presumption of errability and errancy.

    You can’t have it both ways, and you can’t have this infinite expanse of gray, as your position would have it. An infinite expanse of gray is no real deposit of faith at all, it is all too close to that relativism that imposes a dictatorship upon us because every question is always open to new answers, different answers. The last 2000 years may have said women priests are sacramentally impossible, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

  125. robtbrown says:

    Nicole,

    1. From the First Vatican Council:

    Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed

    which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition,
    and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed,
    whether by her solemn judgment
    or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.

    Note:

    1. “Divinely revealed” is predicated of the OUM.
    2. Such authority extends only to primary objects of infallibility (to be believed)

    From the Second Vat Council (Lumen Gentium:

    Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.

    Note the extension to secondary objects of infallibility (to be held).

    2. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is considered a secondary object.

    3. My point was primarily that the expansion was of the authority of the OUM (cf secondary objects)–I thought I was fairly explicit about that. But I also noted that it is the pope who points this out (as in OS), and so it is an indirect expansion of his own authority.

    I’m not sure what you mean by religious assent. There is a phrase, obsequium religiosum, that

  126. robtbrown says:

    Nicole,

    That last sentence was supposed to have been deleted. Anyway:

    “Religious assent” is a not so good translation of “obsequium religiosum”, which is better translated as obedience or submission. As an unrepentant Thomist, I think the act of faith is intellectual: I assent intellectually to teachings of the Church because of my a priori assent that the Church has Divine Authority to teach–not because of obedience.

  127. Nicole says:

    robtbrown,

    Thanks for your long explanation.

    I do understand the semantic difficulty that crops up at times. What I mean by “religious assent” is the internal action of the will in forming the intellect upon the articles given by the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium. I am not using it as an equal word translation for “obsequium religiosum” which I would call a religious submission/obedience. I, personally, would call the religious submission the genus dealing with the general action of intellect and will, together, both in believing/holding articles and then subsequent external actions; and religious assent the species dealing with how the intellect is formed and holds/believes the articles given for belief.

    The act of faith IS intellectual! I agree. But there is a supernatural and a natural virtue of faith, that while they are not two faiths, are virtues by which articles from totally different sources/offices are believed. Those articles held by religious assent are given assent by the natural virtue, due to the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium in the institution of His Divine Majesty, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Those articles held by the assent of faith are given assent by the supernatural virtue and due both to God as Author as well as to His Church, insofar as God has defined it.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there must be a realm of “secondary objects of infallibility” as you call them. I merely call them matters of Catholic faith (whereas, what you call “primary objects of infallibility,” I call matters of divine and Catholic faith). They both (matters of Catholic faith, as well as matters of divine and Catholic faith) require belief by the supernatural virtue of faith.

    However, I do not buy that the Second Vatican Council dealt even in the realm of “secondary objects of infallibility.” The Holy Father Pope Paul VI stated that “all that has been established synodally is to be religiously observed by all the faithful” in his Apostolic Brief In Spiritu Sancto in regard to the Second Vatican Council… This really makes it impossible to believe that the Holy Father, even together with the Council, bound anything on our assent of faith in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

    Thank you, once again, for your response and explanation.

  128. Nicole says:

    Bender,

    I said there should be no presumption, because that is what I meant. I cannot presume when I hear the Pope bind something that he is either binding what he says with the possibility of error or not. One is bound to discern such statements and then conclude by the standard given in the First Vatican Council whether he is speaking infallibly or fallibly…and then believe/hold the article bound accordingly.

  129. jflare says:

    ContraMundum wrote:
    “Besides, if it is possible that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the selection of every pope, it seems equally likely that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the convening of every ecumenical council. ”

    [Card. Ratzinger once explained that the role of the Holy Spirit was to prevent total disaster resulting from our choice when it came to things such as elections of Popes and the calling of Councils.]

    Um, yes, so far as I’m aware, that’s true. I thought that was a given actually.

    Bea,
    My father grew up during the 40’s and 50’s, studied for the priesthood, and prepared for the diaconate. He’s seen the Church quite a little from both the lay man’s view AND the cleric’s. If asked, he’ll tell many a stories relating how the Church’s intense rigidity, insistence on particular rules without real knowledge of why, played a role in beginning to dissuade people from the Church. Mom can related a story of attending Mass with a friend (Mom grew up Methodist), but the friend being pretty much completely unable to explain anything at all about what happened during the Mass. Again, this was BEFORE the Council. Lack of comprehension of the meaning of the rules, severe inflexibility in discipline related to the rules, and seriously inept explanation of your primary ritual..strike me as pretty serious problems!

    Fr Groeschel of EWTN fame has noted that many problems had begun to grow below the surface in the Church. Lacking a Council, I suspect those problems would’ve exploded on the surface anyway, but leaving the Church with no means at all to defend against them. Though provoking the whole faithful to know their faith more fully DID set her up for rough times as “archaic” practices became exposed, but knowing WHY we do this seems almost AS important as knowing WHAT should be done.

    I think we’re seeing the real fruits of Vatican II as we “youngsters’ start demanding more and more of BOTH the old AND the new. In particular, because we grew up with “new” and grew bored with it, we’re embracing much of the old and insisting on learning more.

    I think this a good thing.

  130. Bea says:

    jflare
    Yes, there was rigidity (This, I consider better than todays laxity).
    We obeyed and followed the rules without really understanding why. We followed in blind Faith.
    It was later as an adult that I learned more about my Faith by becoming immersed in contemplation and meditation that the light clicked on. AHA === THIS is what they meant and were trying to teach us as children. The rigidity, the teachings were the ground work for what was to come. THEN, we could practice our Faith for the right reasons.
    When my children were growing they were taught “love the Sandinistas” “tolerate, tolerate, tolerate” without understanding WHY because they were not being taught in Catholic Schools the whys but only the “love” without the WHY,without the WHO in HIS proper perspective. Their generation were taught to be “nice” without understanding why and who was behind this “niceness” A “niceness” that called for no courage to stand up and defend the Faith because they were not taught to understand that Faith. They were taught the end product of that Faith without the groundwork for it.
    My husband and I understood this lack in their teachings and we (mostly my husband) taught them with the old rigid method of “rote” with the Baltimore Catechism. They learned the answers and later it all kicked in and now they serve the Church for the right reasons.

    Many of their friends and classmates were not so lucky. Some married outside the Church, some married and divorced, family problems and separations, abandoning the One True Church because they were NOT taught to fight for their Faith and Love it, but only to be “nice” The young need to be taught backbone. They will learn it in their formative years with being taught “rigidity” and “order”. and an understanding that HERE is something MORE important than ME and MY FEELINGS. They will appreciate their Faith in later years if they will learn to not give up the fight.

    I, too, had a friend (she was Episcopalian) who would come to Mass with me on occasion, and she understood that I could not attend her services and was accepting of this. She sensed there was something bigger here than our friendship, even if I couldn’t go into detail to explain. It was just THIS is THE CHURCH. She wanted to become Catholic but her mother said she would disown her, so she never did; but something (SOMEONE) was calling her to be a Catholic at that “rigid” time.

  131. Cantate says:

    NO! The Church was not broken, the Mass was not broken and neither needed “fixing,” especially with a consecration of the Sacred Species in the midst of a protestant service, given to us by Paul VI through the efforts of Bugnini, a Freemason. “The smoke of Satan has entered the Church….” Guess who let the smoke in? The world is supposed to conform to Christ’s Holy Church, NOT the Church to the world. Don’t forget that all the bishops at Vatican II had taken the Oath against Modernism! It appears that they went back home to let the liberal liturgists “advise” them. Look at the “fruits” of Vatican II, as so many readers have enumerated in comments above. The Church shelved its great legacy of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, exchanging it for banal ditties and not a few protestant hymns when it suppressed the old Roman rite. To destroy a religion, just destroy its ritual.

  132. robtbrown says:

    Nicole,

    Sorry for the delay. I had written about half a response, then in picking the laptop off the floor, accidentally hit the on/off button. So I’m starting from scratch.

    My previous explanation was not long—mostly it was texts from Vat I and II (which you seem to have blissfully ignored). I am not able to offer to you a complete course in a few words on a blog.

    Anyway:

    1.The distinction between primary and secondary objects of infallibility is not my own invention but is common theological usage. In this case, I would offer the distinction between dogma (the priesthood) and a conclusion that follows from it (all male). I noted the difference between the use of the of “held” (tenenda) and “believed” (credenda). You might want to have a look at Ott.

    BTW, whether the latter can be defined was the core of a famous debate of many years between two Dominicans—Fr Marin Sola and Fr Garrigou-LaGrange.

    2.That Vat II increased the infallible authority of the OUV not known as well as it should be. Liberals want to ignore it and mitigate any infallibility at all, and conservatives want to reduce infallibility to papal.

    3 I cited the relevant texts of Vat I and II, noting the distinction between held (tenenda—secondary objects) and believed (credenda—primary objects).

    4. Acc to St Thomas (whom I follow), the act of Faith resides in the speculative intellect. This act is very personal and cannot be classified as obedience. Obviously, the phrase obsequium religiosum, which by definition resides in the practical intellect, is of a quality that would make “religious assent” a poor translation.

    The modern approach, whose roots are found in Dun Scotus and has prevailed in the Church at least since the Counter Reformation, emphasizes the practical intellect, an approach which permits the use of the phrase “obedient to the articles of faith”, a phrase I don’t much like. I don’t think any true assent of faith can be a response of obedience.

  133. jflare says:

    Bea,
    I would suggest that in many ways, we’re arguing opposing sides of the same coin.
    If you lament that people have left the Church in the wake of Vatican II, due to laxity of rules that makes faith seem irrelevant, I would comment that many “moderns” that I have chatted with online have informed me that they came BACK to the Church or remained in it AFTER Vatican II precisely because they had spiritually left the Church before. When Vatican II provoked the faithful to THINK hard about why they did things, some of these folks came back because they could now adapt rules a little bit so the rules would mean something worthwhile.

    I have been as appalled as you with regard to the new rigidity, that of refusing to even admit to the “old”, but what I’ve seen of the “old” DOES suggest ample room for abuse and neglect.

    In other words, we can argue back and forth all day about which approach might be better–something the Church HAS done throughout the ages–but I don’t think insisting that “modern” notions absolutely sank the Church completely will help.

    When we assume that the local ordinary should be able to direct his flock properly regarding faith, we’re assuming inherently that our ordinary knows enough about contemporary concerns to be able to address them thoroughly and well.

    Oddly, it’s the newer, “modern” bishops who seem to me to struggle with this much more than the old.