Seeking some clarity about an alleged statement of Bp. Williamson

We need some clarity on something.  Perhaps readers can get to the bottom of this.

Here is a little chum for the already murky water.  This comes from Catholic Church Conservation.

Bishop Williamson allegedly criticises Motu Proprio.

From Radio Vatican German service.

The majority of the Lefebvristes are against an agreement with the Pope. So said Richard Williamson, the controversial bishop of the SSPX. As the Italian daily La Stampa quoted him, the recent motu proprio is a ‘poisoned cake " ("torta avvelenata"). The declaration of the Pope should be thrown in the bin, according tp Williamson. [He is probably talking about the fact that the Pope says they have not right to exercise ministry.] – On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI had prohibited further acts of the SSPX such as the ordinations to the priesthood in Zaitzkofen. In the letter, the Pope united the "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, who is responsible for the SSPX, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. With the new papal decree Benedict XVI has created the canon law structure for SSPX dialogue with the Vatican. The motu proprio of the Pope is entitled with his Latin words which begin the document "Ecclesiae unitatem "(The Unity of the Church).

Radio Vatican has, apparently got this wrong- remarks taken out of context from this interview

Okay… we need some clarity about this.

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  1. Tom says:

    Why not invite +Williamson to reply?

  2. wsxyz says:

    I don’t know about this particular report, but the “poisoned cake” is Bishop Williamson’s long standing metaphor for Vatican II: If someone gives you a poisoned cake, you don’t try to cut out the poisoned parts and eat the rest, you just toss the whole cake out. Because even though it might look like a nice cake, if you eat it, you die.

  3. Dominic says:

    If you click the link to the video interview, I should think this is quite plain. Bishop Williamson was not referring to the Pope’s recent motu proprio. He was referring to Vatican II, which he said is not wholly bad or wholly good. He asks if a mother would feed her child a poisioned cake — the Bishops answers his own question, saying the mother would toss the cake into a bin. Moreover, this interview was posted several days BEFORE the motu proprio was released.

  4. Dominic says:

    “The majority of the Lefebvristes are against an agreement with the Pope.”

    If the majority of “Lefebvristes” follow the spirit of Archbishop Lefebvre, then they should support an agreement with the Pope. Lefebvre once declared, “It is our deepest wish to enter into perfect communion with the Holy Father, but in the spirit of the Catholic Faith and not in a liberal ecumenism.” If the SSPX and Rome can agree on doctrine (which I think they can), the SSPX will gladly return to full communion.

  5. David says:

    Just listen to the interview. +Williamson wasn’t talking about the motu proprio Eclessiae Unitatem or Summorum Pontificum. He couldn’t even remember the name of or the year that Summorum Pontificum was issued. +Williamson was clearly referring to the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council.

    Either shoddy journalism or willful misrepresentation.

  6. Father

    As the interviewer, I should have known that the quotes would be taken out of context, but thankfully, this isn’t Swedish TV…

    If you go to the interview and let it buffer, you can fast forward to Questions #5-#8 (I think) and see all of this unfold for yourself.

    Stephen Heiner
    True Restoration

  7. David says:


    I appreciate your optimism, but +Williamson does have a point. The SSPX will, without doubt, insist upon tossing all 16 documents in the waste bin.

    Not that that can’t happen. Imagine the CDF rehashing Pope Paul VI’s words that none of the 16 documents are infallible and that they define no new dogma, but are merely pastoral in natural. Now imagine the CDF agreeing with the SSPX that the documents of the Second Vatican Council ought to be opened up to revision or abandonment all together, and clearly states that the documents are not binding upon the faithful. Wouldn’t that be effectively tossing the documents in the waste bin in a certain sense?

    It would at least be clear that VCII is not a super-dogma, and it would be clear that a Catholic could completely ignore the Council documents if he or she chose to do so.

    That’s exactly what most people in the Church don’t want to happen, and I doubt that the current powers in Rome will allow such an understanding of the Council to emerge from these discussions. Let’s face it. A huge chuck of those who call themselves Catholic would walk. Would Benedict XVI want to risk such a massive schism?

  8. Matt Q says:

    I agree with Father Z. We certainly do need clarification on this. At the point, Archbishop Williamson is now a whipping post, and the butt of jokes. People can say all kinds of nonsense attributed to him and he would have no way of defending himself. No mater what he would say would always be used by the other side as denial, obfuscation, twisting his words around, on and on.

    On the face of it, I don’t recall any sentiment by Archbishop Williamson not wanting unity with the Church. He like other Society members have reservations about Vatican II as may we all do, and wishes his Society to proceed with caution, and they should.

  9. Having watched this full interview now (great job), it is even clearer now why ED was moved under the CDF. But it was remarkably discouraging. His notion of simply disposing of the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council into the dust bin of history and the “boogeyman” of so-called Conciliarism under the guise of Traditionalism is so patently absurd, one wonders how Rome can ever deal with those who hold such views.

  10. John says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel:
    Now ask yourself, how can the average and orthodox Roman Catholic deal with people as Cardinals Mahoney, Marini, or the Bishops of Austria, China (Patriotic faction) the Jesuit order, and the list goes on and on, who unlike the SSPX skate at the edge of the faith and union with the Church? It is so easy to get caught up in condemnation litany. The SSPX are Catholics who are demanding that the 16 documents be scrubbed by a good theologian-editor, lessen ambiguities and clarify their official interpretations in conformity with Church Tradition. Seems to me it is an eminently reasonable demand. The Pope has no objection to this. Why is their request “patently absurd?”

  11. jj says:


    “The Pope has no objection to this”

    What makes you think that the Pope has no objection to this?

  12. Jack says:

    The SSPX has always claimed loyalty to the Holy Father, the final test is nearing.

  13. John says:


    His Holiness’ remarks and more importantly his actions are ample indications that the upcoming theological discussions will take place. So, I conclude, He has no objections. If he had there would not be the occasion. You may as well await the outcome. It could be more interesting than many might expect.

  14. Latekate says:

    I am still trying to get a bead on the whole SSPX issue. From what I can see, these SSPX clergy were excommunicated for not accepting Vatican 2 as dogma and not wanting to abandon the EF and a lot of tradition (which Vatican 2 eliminated). Yet all manner of “progressive” attacks on the Church are tolerated (like the Notre Dame scandal, divorce, “feminist” nuns denouncing patriarchy, seminaries punishing students for reading Aquinas [!!!]) and nothing is done about them.

    It certainly looks to me like the SSPX were correct, the Church is in serious trouble because of the various “interpretations” of Vatican 2 that have been tolerated, change agentry, and the loss of tradition and the EF. Now that the Church has been slid into tolerating behaviors previously not tolerated people are unlikely to return to pre-Vatican 2 ways (although I could be wrong). The statists (anti-christ) smell blood and have stepped up the attacks on the Church.

    I realize the SSPX were disobedient to the Holy Father in ordaining priests, etc. while excommunicated but it looks like they have an appreciable following who are traditionally Catholic. Is there any kind of way the excommunications could be deemed unjust or unwarranted? Or were they really warranted?

    Is my perception of this situation wrong?

  15. David says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel,

    Depending on what you mean by “simply disposing of the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council into the dust bin of history”, it’s not as absurd as you might first think.

    According to the reigning pontiff at the close of VCII, Pope Paul VI, the Council was not infallible, and no new dogmas were defined. The only dogmas contained in the 16 documents are those that had already been defined. Finally, the Council was pastoral in nature.

    From this it can be concluded by the CDF:

    The 16 documents of VCII are not binding on the faithful.
    The contents of the documents are open to re-evaluation in light of changed circumstances or in regards to the relative success or failure of the pastoral initiatives contained therein.
    The contents of the documents can be criticized in light of prior teachings of the Magisterium.

    In the minds of both the extreme left and the SSPX, this would amount to tossing the Council. The SSPX would sell it as such to their clergy and lay faithful and return to the Church. The extreme left would leave the Church over VCII suddenly loosing its vaulted position. It remains to be seen which sort of people the powers that be want to have in the Church. I hope truth prevails.

    We know that the Holy Father considers VCII as being pastoral, not dogmatic in nature, and that VCII was a watershed event in Church history, a unique ecumenical council. At the same time we know that he is thoroughly dedicated to the Council, or I suppose those pastoral initiatives of VCII. This pope certainly isn’t going to toss the documents in the waste bin of history. However, I’m sure he is going to steer a coarse in which the documents are seen in the proper perspective that Paul VI wished to give them. His position will appeal to those in the middle, though many in the middle will still have to change their thinking to adjust to the changes about to take place.

  16. John,

    You wrote:

    “The SSPX are Catholics who are demanding that the 16 documents be scrubbed by a good theologian-editor, lessen ambiguities and clarify their official interpretations in conformity with Church Tradition. Seems to me it is an eminently reasonable demand. The Pope has no objection to this. Why is their request “patently absurd?””

    What I heard in the interview with Bishop Richard, though, was not “scrubbing” (however one may define that) but “scrapping.” I think certainly applying the concept of the “hermeneutic of continuity” to the conciliar texts is the only proper way to interpret the 16 documents. But that is not what Bishop Richard was saying.

  17. David,

    To say that the council was not dogmatic in nature, but rather pastoral does not in any way diminish its authoritative nature as an ecumenical council of Catholic bishops whose documents were received and ratified by the Pope of Rome. I think the idea of reducing the authoritative nature of an ecumenical council to simply “defining dogmas” infallibly doesn’t seem to square well with the history of the 21 ecumenical councils in the Church’s history. That said, it would be interesting to see an argument put forth on what precisely constitutes an irreformable teaching of a council defined from the perspective of the 21 councils in history. As you can imagine, the Orthodox and Catholic East would take a keen interest in this.

    Incidentally, in my earlier post I referred to Bishop Williamson as “Bishop Richard.” For those who might have wondered about this slip, in the East we refer to Bishops according to the manner by which they are commemorated in the Divine Liturgy, that is, by their first name, not their last. No disrespect or over familiarity was intended here. It was completely unintentional and just dawned on me that it could be easily misinterpreted.

  18. cjl says:

    Yes Father, the Radio Vatican German Department sometimes does very strange things.

    Fairness doesn’t seem to be concept for them.

  19. cjl says:

    But the good thing is that the most lay faithful doesn’t care to read it, because of its utter boredom.

  20. cjl says:

    As the matter of fact, Bp. Williamson could not have been responding to the Motu Proprio because it was released this week, but the interviews the Radio Vatican and La Stampa quoted here was already taken in the week before.

    Liars Liars Liars, shameless Liars in the La Stampa, and what the Radio Vatican did I don’t want to judge here.

    And what the bishops said in Germany is also very funny, for example, SSPX-members are not allowed to go to communion? But I think the excommunication is lifted?

  21. cjl says:

    The interview quoted can be seen under:

    or from the blog of Bp. Williamson himself there is a link:

  22. David says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel,

    The Church teaches with authority both when she exercises her Ordinary Magisterium and when she exercises her Extraordinary Magisterium. When the Church exercises her Extraordinary Magisterium she teaches with absolute authority, meaning that the faithful must believe in what is proposed in order to maintain the bond of faith, mainly due to the special relationship between infallibility and authority in this case. Because what the Church proposes is free from error when proposed by the Extraordinary Magisterium, the faithful must believe because to do otherwise would lead them away from truth. When the Church exercises her Ordinary Magisterium she teaches with a degree of authority, but not absolute authority because such teachings do not preclude the possibility of error. The faithful are required to give assent, what is proposed “must be accepted with docility”, but this does not mean that it is closed to all discussion. Because what is proposed by the Ordinary Magisterium does not preclude the possibility of error, the faithful may question certain aspects, especially that which is ambiguous or doesn’t seem to coincide with other teachings of the Church, or prior propositions of the Church regarding the same subject matter.

    Clearly this is the case in regards to the Second Vatican Council, which is evident by the present Pontiff’s actions concerning the Institute of the Good Shepherd. The Institute of the Good Shepherd declared reservations regarding certain points of Vatican II, and as part of the Vatican’s negotiations with the Institute, the Institute has been allowed to keep these reservations and discuss them. In turn, the members of the Institute remain docile in their respect for the authority of the Second Vatican Council.

    If there is no distinction to be made between authoritative documents, as you insinuate, the matter for these reservations (to wit, liturgy, ecumenism and religious liberty), how is it possible that the Institute of the Good Shepherd has been allowed to hold this matter in reservation and even discuss it respectfully?

    Why would the Holy Father allow discussion if there is no disagreement or the possibility of reformulation?

    Allow me to direct your attention to Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1998 commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem, which states:

    “’The third proposition of the professio fidei states: “Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciates when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act’.”

    To this paragraph belong all those teachings on faith and morals presented as true or at least as sure, even if they have not been defined with a solemn judgment or proposed as definitive by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Such teachings …require religious submission of will and intellect….

    A proposition contrary to these doctrines can be qualified as erroneous or, in the case of teachings of the prudential order, as rash or dangerous and therefore “tuto doceri non potest.” [Cf. Canons 752, 1371; Eastern Churches Canons 599, 436 §2]”

    NB: The term used by Cardinal Ratzinger, “propositions contrary to these doctrines can be qualified as erroneous”, does not mean that they must be qualified as erroneous. In other words, there is room for discussion and disagreement concerning points of the Ordinary Magisterium’s teaching, the judgment of which belongs solely to competent authority. Thus we have the CDF’s role in the doctrinal discussion with the SSPX.

    If the CDF should judge the SSPX position not erroneous or not rash or dangergerous, then what? It would settle it that the documents of VCII were pronouncements belonging only to the Ordinary Magisterium, making it a completely unique event in the Church’s history. As such, it certainly would not affect any other Ecumenical Council, all of which contained pronouncements belonging to the Extraordinary magisterium.

  23. I wish people would stop using “+Williamson” to describe SSPX Bp. Williamson.

    The “+” is an indication that the bishop in question has a see, even if it is only titular.

  24. David says:

    Noted. I actually didn’t know that. I was using “+” for convenience.

  25. TNCath says:

    Well, I am sorry to say that I agree with Bishop Williamson. While Bishop Fellay may personally want a reconciliation, I believe many of those associated with the SSPX will never be satisfied with whatever agreement is reached. While I believe the new arrangement of the PCED with the CDF will expedite a solution for those in the SSPX who wish to be reconciled with the Church, I also believe that there will always be a group of dissenters who will continue to “do their own thing” extra ecclesia.

  26. Tom says:

    Thanks for the clarification! I’m surprised that those in the press who refer to him as a “so-called bishop” don’t use (-).

  27. Patrick says:

    We should stop being suprised at the silly things stated by the SSPX. Remember most of them have not studied at real universities, but rather received their own in-house education. While I’m sure it’s a good education it doesn’t match with the advanced education of many of the bishops, the Holy Father included. It will be difficult to get them to step away from their prejudiced view of VII. They know no other way.

    Bp. Williamson I fear is correct on the sentiments of their faithful. Their Catholic identity is entirely bound up with being “against” something. Once they are no longer against anything they lose their very identity. Most will never do that.

    Hopefully a reunion occurs, even if many do not follow.

  28. LoganE says:

    A Congress on Vatican II

    An exceptional insignt into Vatican II

  29. Mitchell NY says:

    An interesting interview to say the least..I found the metaphor of “logs in a river being freed up by the indult” unque and quite fitting…Also his discussions about the Campos situation..In relation to their own deal between Rome and the SSPX I think his idea about where you are headed, “empty but heading toward filling in” and “full but headed toward emtying out” is the real crux an agreement taking place…Joining the conciliar Church while being able to guarantee that they will be able to continue to “fill in” and not “empty out” their Society and the Church as a whole seems a fair objective. Lengthy but a worthwhile listen.

  30. David,

    You wrote: “If there is no distinction to be made between authoritative documents, as you insinuate, the matter for these reservations (to wit, liturgy, ecumenism and religious liberty), how is it possible that the Institute of the Good Shepherd has been allowed to hold this matter in reservation and even discuss it respectfully?”

    I never insinuated that no distinction could be made between authoritative documents. Even among the VII documents themselves distinctions can be made in terms of their relative weight (a “Dogmatic Constitution” versus a “Declaration” or “Decree”). Also, the charism of infallibility does not stipulate that magisterial formulations – even with the supreme authority of the Church – will always express things in the best way at the best time and in a comprehensive manner and with the proper motivation.

    Such compromises as you mentioned are not unheard of in the history of the Church. For instance, during the Union of Brest in the 16th century, certain controversies between the Orthodox who desired union with the See of Rome and the Latins were treated in a similar manner:

    Articles of Union:

    “1. Since there is a quarrel between the Romans and Greeks about the procession of the Holy Spirit, which greatly impede unity really for no other reason than that we do not wish to understand one another – we ask that we should not be compelled to any other creed but that we should remain with that which was handed down to us in the Holy Scriptures, in the Gospel, and in the writings of the holy Greek Doctors, that is, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not from two sources and not by a double procession, but from one origin, from the Father through the Son.

    5. We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Church.”

    One wonders whether something similar pertaining to the issues at hand could be formulated for there to be reunion with the SSPX. The problem is, I have my doubts about those who share the disposition of a Bishop Williamson.

  31. David says:

    “We should stop being suprised at the silly things stated by the SSPX. Remember most of them have not studied at real universities, but rather received their own in-house education. While I’m sure it’s a good education it doesn’t match with the advanced education of many of the bishops, the Holy Father included.”

    Oh, yeah, Patrick. So true… those trained at Scotus, or St. Johns in Boston, or Mount Saint Mary\’s in Cincy… yeah, they\’re sooooo much more educated than those ignorant SSPXers! Why just the other day a grad from the PCJ in Columbus discovered there\’s this thing called the Latin language! Betcha there ain\’t any SSPXers out there that knows that, huh?

    All sarcasm aside, modern seminaries aren’t exactly ivy league schools. The standards were dropped pretty low back in the 70s. I even managed to graduate from one! BTW, I didn’t start to learn about our Catholic faith until about 7 years after I got my MA from the Josh.

  32. Jason Keener says:

    Bishop Williamson’s “poisoned cake” reference is ridiculous, and all it encourages is more rigid black and white thinking that does no one any good. (Does the SSPX leadership ALWAYS have to be so dramatic and talk in such foolish sweeping terms?)

    Are there problems with the Council and its implementation? YES! Is every iota of every document of the Council worthless? Absolutely not. Any Catholic who insists the documents are totally worthless denies the working of the Holy Ghost in the Church today. Is every bit of the newer theologies of Ratzinger, Wojtyla, de Lubac, von Balthasar, and Congar total rubbish? No. Why does the SSPX continue to insist on bashing almost everything that goes on in the Church since the Council? Not everything is garbage. Where is the good will of the SSPX? When will the SSPX finally show some balance and proper enthusiasm for the positive developments in theology over the last 40 years? How can the Holy See dialogue with the SSPX when the SSPX maintains such an arrogant rigid position that can never acknowledge any good in someone else’s approach to theological questions?

    The Catholic Tradition has made room for many intellectual currents and charisms over the last 2000 years. We cannot fall into the SSPX’s “hermeneutic of rigidity” that can never seem to incorporate any newer ways of thinking into the Church’s life. The Catholic Faith is a living entity. It is not a fly stuck in amber.

  33. Dominic says:

    It’s just not fair to assume that a view of Bishop Williamson is a view shared collectively by the SSPX. The fact that Bishop Fellay could compare Bishop Williamson to a “grenade in a crowd of people and you don’t know where to throw him” (Salt and Light television interview, June 15th, 2009) means that he doesn’t represent our views. Bishop Williamson has been put to the side and we need to move on.

  34. Jason Keener says:


    Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has also stated in past interviews that the entire Second Vatican Council has to be scrapped. Is that really an intelligent comment for Bishop Tissier de Mallerais to have made? The Church is going to totally scrap an ecumenical council at which all of Her bishops met and drew up 16 documents?!? It’s not going to happen, and it’s unhelpful for the SSPX leadership to even entertain such a prospect. Catholics who worship at SSPX chapels should write to their bishops and beg them to desist with this constant drumbeat of negativity and arrogance towards the Roman Pontiff and the Council.

    I was watching some more of the Bishop Williamson interview, and he brought up the same old chestnuts. “Modernist Rome” has defected while the glorious SSPX guards the “True Traditional Faith.” Isn’t this “Modernist Rome” name calling stuff getting old? Bishop Williamson also implied that Pope Benedict isn’t really holding the true faith in full measure, but the SSPX is. What arrogance! Did Christ promise the keys to the Bishop of Rome or to Bishop Williamson?

    I also don’t understand how Bishop Williamson can keep criticizing the format of the Second Vatican Council’s documents. Yes, the documents were written in more of an essay-type style, but so were all of the great papal encyclicals written by Leo XIII and Pius XII. An essay format can be employed in the task of writing church documents, and employed well.


  35. Philippe says:

    Bishop Williamson was referring to the second Vatican council, if this source is right: As some pointed out, the torta avvelenata (poisoned cake) is a frequent metaphor of his when talking about Vatican II. By the way, I just wonder why Bishop Williamson starts making public statements again, as Bishop Fellay barred him from doing some months ago.

  36. Veritas says:

    Im surprised Williamson has the time. I thought he was engaged in an introductory course in historical method , to be followed by an intensive study of German archives and interviews with survivors of Auschwitz, etc. in order to have some contact with reality before his next pronouncement on the Shoah.

  37. Tom L says:

    Does the theological certainty of a valid council, i.e. Vatican II depend on the pronouncements of the council or on the documents? If Archbishop Bugnini distorted some portions of the council, I suppose the council has to be interpreted not by dissenting theologians, but by the Catholic Church … you know, just like the bible. God will not allow Himself to be misinterpreted.

  38. Joe says:

    MY…my… It appears after all the rebellious actions of the SSPX and the foolish ramblings of their so-called bishops, that THEY may indeed be the poisoned cake, whose seemingly delicious succor will wreak spiritual illness beyond imagination upon their renegade faithful.

  39. tired student says:

    I thought that Williamson was under house arrest in London. How’d he find enough time to get out and spread his lunacy?

    I think (pray, hope?) that the Vatican replaces de Mallerais and Williamson with orthodox and non-antisemitic bishops. Maybe even elevate priests from orthodox EF orders to leadership over the SSPX (now THAT would be a bombshell!) de Mallerais and Williamson will probably split and do their own schismatic radtrad thing, and likely take a chunk of the SSPX with them. But if these two want to return to Rome, I hope they get long-term KP duty at some monastery and not get anywhere near a leadership position. I don’t know that much about Fellay, but after some of the stuff that has been coming out of Camp SSPX as of late, I don’t know if any of their leadership are truly unbiased and trustworthy.

  40. Dominic says:

    Hi Jason.

    I concur that Bishop Tissier’s statements are quite troubling. Thankfully, a number of SSPX priests do not agree with him. Unfortunately, I simply am not in a position to say what the “majority” of the 500 SSPX priests think on this issue – very few people would be since we are such a diverse and physically spread out operation.

  41. steve jones says:

    The Vatican II project will continue for another 30 years at least. Then the money will have run out and all the project’s implementors will be dead. At that point we can return to the Catholic faith.

  42. Veritas says:

    If one starts nit- picking about Councils where does it end? Many of the SSPX criticisms of Vatican II could be levelled at earlier Councils.
    Vatican I had a large number of Italian bishops present all of whose expenses were paid by the Pope, it decided matters which it was not called to discuss, it was never officially ended as it was merely prorogued, its decrees were never officially promulgated, a considerable number of the participants left without voting, and it was not unanimous. Newman was doubtful about it at first but seeing it generally accepted regarded it as the work of the Holy Spirit.

    No doubt similar criticism could be made of Trent, and earlier Councils. The critics should beware of where their argument leads.
    Williamson is no ignoramus, he does at least have a first degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge , but his grasp of History, whether secular or ecclesiastical, seems a bit doubtful.

  43. wsxyz says:

    When will the SSPX finally show some balance and proper enthusiasm for the positive developments in theology over the last 40 years?

    For which specific, enumerated, positive developments in theology over the last 40 years should they show enthusiasm?

    I’m just curious.

  44. wsxyz says:

    Many of the SSPX criticisms of Vatican II could be levelled at earlier Councils.

    Probably the single most important criticism leveled at Vatican II is that it defined no dogmas, contained no language compelling acceptance of any of its teachings, and was declared by the Pope to be merely pastoral.

    Against which earlier councils could this criticism be leveled?

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