There is an amazing fight going on in Italy over the heart of the Church’s authority and teachings. The fight has great importance for the rest of the Catholic world.
Some fast background:
In 1962 when the Council was about to begin, a book of the decrees of Ecumenical Councils, Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta was published by a group of scholars, the recently deceased Giuseppe Alberigo, Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti (a consultant for Card. Lercaro, who headed up the post-Conciliar liturgical reform through the Consilium), Perikles Joannou, Boris Ulianich, Claudio Leonardi e Paolo Prodi. These formed an Institute for Religious Studies in Bologna. Originally, some of these were students of the Church historian Hubert Jedin, but Jedin’s influence was shrugged off.
The lefty "School of Bologna" dominated the theory of interpretation of the Second Vatican Council and writing its history. From 1995 to 2001 they published a five-volume History of Vatican Council II in several languages. I think it is necesary to identify with a "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture". They held that the Second Vatican Council is a "new kind" of Council. It was a novelty. An event, rather than something that produced documents. John XXIII wanted something entirely new, but Paul VI put on the breaks. The Council was a break with the past and new beginning.
Now the School of Bologna is reissuing the abovementioned work through Brepols but with some real differences. The title reveals their vast shift of view of the Councils: Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta. The first of the three volumes was released in 2006. Ironically, Alberigo presented the volume to Pope Benedict, and then died.
The word "General" in the title the thought of the School of Bologna.
The idea here is this.
The people preparing the volums are saying that only some of the Councils in the first millennium can be considered "Ecumenical" Councils. The Councils which occurred during the Medieval period or after the split between West and East can be considered only "General" Councils. Those which occurred after the Protestant revolt should be called "General Councils of the Roman Catholic Church".
However, the Church understands that the Council recognized by the Roman Pontiff are valid and authoritative for all Christians.
Remember that recently the Holy See’s CDF issued a clarification about the fullness of the Church subsisting in the Catholic Church.
So, in an unsigned note published in L’Osservatore Romano on 3 June, we read: "To which concept of the Church did the editors of the work think themselves obliged to refer? Certainly not that of the Catholic Tradition. It appears the underlying idea was that after 1054 the undivided Church no longer holds."
This excited two responses in the secular press, one on 8 June in La Repubblica by Giuseppe Ruggieri another on 9 June in Corriere della Sera by Alberto Melloni. There are the heirs of Alberigo and Dossetti.
The the President of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences, Mons. Walter Brandmüller responded in an article published simultaneously on 13 June by both L’Osservatore Romano and Avvenire, the daily of the Italian Bishops Conference. Brandmüller said, "It seems the editors wanted to define as Ecumenical only those Councils compatible with the model of the Byzantine pentarchy: an ecclesiological conceptualization that no basis in either Scripture of the apostolic Tradition."
On 22 July in Corriere della Sera Mons. Brandmüller responded directly to Melloni. Melloni had cited John XXIII to claim that "General" and "Ecumenical" really mean the same thing and that the description of volume III as "General Councils of the Catholic Church" merely a way to advertise what the book contains, a marketing point.
I offer you this in light of what the Holy Father is doing in trying to repair what he calls a "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture".
This is what we are up against.
There is a vast and hitherto virtually unchallenged hermeneutical discontinuity machine dominating nearly every "power structure" in the Church right now. Much of the grease and fuel for that engine of rupture comes from the School of Bologna and the volumes they pulished. You will not find a Catholic library that does not have Alberigo’s multi volume History of the Council. It is new. It is glossy. It will be the standard. It is effectively an instrument of reinterpretation of the Council along the lines described.
The Holy Father’s move in Summorum Pontificum to say that the Roman Rite necessarily includes the integral use of the pre-Conciliar Roman Rite, the CDF’s document about subsistit are terrifying to the hierophants of the discontinuity machine and their localized cells of minions. The progressivist Church establishment see these moves of the Holy See much as the tenders of a great machine welcome the approach of interopers carrying monkeywrenches and buckets of gravel.