Fishwrap’s Kennedy wrong about Flannery’s heresy.

Over at the Fishwrap, the National Schismatic Reporter (the paper of record for heretics which has hijacked the name “Catholic”), failed-priest Eugene Cullen Kennedy wrote a thought – not a very good thought – about the Irish heretic Fr. Flannery, who is being corrected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Thus, Eugene Cullen Kennedy, defending Flannery, in a piece entitled “Fr. Flannery’s grasp of theology better than that of his silencers“:

“Consider just two of those that Flannery is being forced to sign off on if he wants to continue his work: Christ’s having established the church in hierarchical form and the assertion, employed constantly by bishops to legitimate their authority, that they are the direct descendants of the apostles.

“If anything, Christ called together a college of apostles, and the collegiality to which Vatican II returned is a far better image than the hierarchical form that was adopted from the hierarchical cosmological view of the universe and expressed in secular kingdoms, including the Roman Empire, whose provinces and proconsuls provided the model for laying out the governance of the church.”

The problem with these agèd hippies is that they don’t read the documents.

Shall we now look together at what the Vatican II really said?

Turn to the principal document of Kennedy’s much-vaunted Second Vatican Council, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium:

19. The Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, calling to Himself those whom He desired, appointed twelve to be with Him, and whom He would send to preach the Kingdom of God; and these apostles He formed after the manner of a college or a stable group, over which He placed Peter chosen from among them. …

20. That divine mission, entrusted by Christ to the apostles, will last until the end of the world, since the Gospel they are to teach is for all time the source of all life for the Church. And for this reason the apostles, appointed as rulers in this society, took care to appoint successors.

For they not only had helpers in their ministry, but also, in order that the mission assigned to them might continue after their death, they passed on to their immediate cooperators, as it were, in the form of a testament, the duty of confirming and finishing the work begun by themselves, recommending to them that they attend to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit placed them to shepherd the Church of God. They therefore appointed such men, and gave them the order that, when they should have died, other approved men would take up their ministry. Among those various ministries which, according to tradition, were exercised in the Church from the earliest times, the chief place belongs to the office of those who, appointed to the episcopate, by a succession running from the beginning, are passers-on of the apostolic seed. Thus, as St. Irenaeus testifies, through those who were appointed bishops by the apostles, and through their successors down in our own time, the apostolic tradition is manifested and preserved.

22. Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together. […] But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff.

That’s what Vatican II really says, my friends.

Kennedy doesn’t have a clue.  To get one, he could start by reading Lumen gentium.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Blatteroons, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty, Vatican II and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Burke says:

    In his recent article in the Irish Times recently (which he wrote despite being instructed by his order not to speak publicly or publish further) Fr Flannery is quite careful not to name what his problems with the CDF are, glossing over them by saying ‘ It is important to state clearly that these issues were not matters of fundamental teaching, but rather of church governance.’

    You can read his whole article at:

  2. Joboww says:


  3. CatholicMD says:

    Liberal dissidents don’t have time to be bothered with these things called “facts”.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    So many times in my Socratic discussions, the loudest and longest incorrect presentations were by students who never read the text.

    I use to call it the dissemination of ignorance…………and perpetrated by those who like to listen to themselves wax eloquent on nothing.

    For some reason this article reminds me of the famous encounter between G. K. Chesterton and Bertrand Russell, the former overweight and the latter too skinny. I paraphrase, as I do not have the exact text.

    Chesterton said something like this: Looks like there has been another famine.

    Russell: And, it looks like you are expecting a happy event.

    Chesterton: Yes, if it is a girl, we shall call it Mary, if a boy, Gilbert, and if it is wind, Bertrand.

    I can be corrected on the exact quotation…………

  5. disco says:

    It’s like the pope of Christian unity said, “It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.”

  6. Dr Guinness says:

    These so-called “Documents” violate the ‘Spirit of the Council’!

  7. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Vatican II: the Spirit killeth, but the letter giveth life.

  8. Scott W. says:

    I think I’ve figured out that dissidents are like the killer bunny in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. It looks cute and innocent. It speaks in vague, fluffy bunny-like platitudes. But “It’s got teeth like…it can jump about…LOOK AT THE BONES!” Except it devours souls.

  9. robtbrown says:

    Acc to Scripture in the early Church there were episkopoi (bishops) and presbyteroi (priests)

    Episkopoi means overseer. In so far as an overseer oversees someone, that indicates hierarchy.

    Presbyteroi means elder. In so far as an elder is older than certain others, that indicates a hierarchy.

  10. mike cliffson says:

    Like the signers mentioned on the thread two posts ago demanding prolifers be proguncontrol, This is not ABOUT facts, its about medium message-massaging, perception.
    This is no way to merit eternal life, be the salt of the earth, the light etc.
    They shouldn’t get a free pass on outright lies, but its still playing THEIR game.

  11. wmeyer says:

    Facts… another word perverted by the liberals. Facts are truths, not opinions.

  12. fvhale says:

    Flannery: “…and the collegiality to which Vatican II returned…”

    I would at this point recommend the book The Motherhood of the Church by Henri-Marie de Lubac, SJ (English translation by Ignatius Press, 1982; French original 1971). He had more than a little to do with Vatican II.

    In this book, Part II, Chapter IV is “The Episcopal College,” from which I quote:

    The idea [collegiality] is appealed to again and again today, not only in theological circles, but in all manner of discussions. But can we be sure that it is always well understood? Far from it!

    It would be naive to be overly surprised by this. In the sudden intensity of its revival, the doctrine of episcopal collegiality risked becoming distorted by conforming, in many minds, to read-made models taken from the history of human societies or from the situations or ideas of our times….The results are always deceptive. (pp. 235-236)

    The collegiality of bishops “can develop in all its pastoral fruitfulness only when it appears connected to the fundamental idea of those who, from the ‘First-born’ of the Father on, have mutually become brothers….It achieves its meaning only if the particular bishop truly represents his church and if, because of him, a part of the ecclesial fullness is truly gathered into the oneness of the whole.” [quoting Ratzinger, Le nouveau peuple, 112, 118] (pp. 237-238)

    Now, despite the care taken by the Council to prevent confusion, this doctrine gave rise not only to unwarranted extrapolations, but also–just like the doctrine of religious freedom or that of Scripture and tradition, or that of the universal priesthood and the People of God [ref. Ratzinger again]–to aberrant interpretations. That these interpretations are sometimes presented as defining the spirit of the Council beyond a letter which one must “transcend” does nothing to change the fact that they are misinterpretations [note: from which arise, in repercussion, unending hostilities…] Before wishing to “transcend,” it is necessary to seek to understand (p. 238).

    That from a theologian that had a lot to do with Lumen Gentium.

    Understanding is hard work, and understanding spiritual things may require humility, fear of God, practice of obedience, seeking holiness, etc. It is so much easier to “transcend” and say the Church has it all wrong.

  13. @robtbrown: Indeed, hierarchy can be found in the New Testament epistles…

    “But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” (1 Thess 5:12-13)

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb 13:17)

    “Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.” (1 Pet 5:2-3)

  14. Rich says:

    Our holy father nailed it when he said at the opening of the Year of Faith that the Church is to use the documents of the Council as a compass as it journeys toward maintaining and spreading faith in today’s world. Embracing “what the Council really says” is key to pulling ourselves out of the dregs of what has been imposed upon the Church in the name of the “Spirit of Vatican II” for the last 40 years.

    At the opening of the Year of Faith, our holy father also said he was going to focus on the four constitutions of the Council – Lumen Gentium, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Dei Verbum, and Gaudium et Spes – as he ventured to mine the riches of the Council with the Church during the Year. I thought this meant he was going to begin a new series of catechesis on the documents, but something of that sort hasn’t happened yet. I hope it does.

  15. Cecily says:

    Scott W.–that killer bunny is a perfect analogy! wow

  16. robtbrown says:


    What are you doing for your sciatica?

  17. Peter Rother says:

    Not only is Mr. Kennedy refuted by the text of Lumen gentium as stated by Father Zuhlsdorf, but let us also not forget the intervention of His Holiness, Paul VI, in exercising his higher authority to place a Nota explicativa praevia into Lumen gentium to further clarify this precise issue. A very short, but helpful, introduction to the Nota as well as the text may be found at

    The Nota directly refutes the false notion of collegiality as equality that Mr. Kennedy puts forward. Some snippets: “‘College’ is not understood in a strictly juridical sense, that is as a group of equals who entrust their power to their president, but as a stable group whose structure and authority must be learned from Revelation. . . . The parallel between Peter and the rest of the Apostles on the one hand, and between the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops on the other hand, does not imply the transmission of the Apostles’ extraordinary power to their successors; nor does it imply, as is obvious, equality between the head of the College and its members, but only a proportionality between the first relationship (Peter-Apostles) and the second (Pope-bishops).”

    The Nota also refutes Mr. Kennedy’s notion of some sort of deconstruction of the hierarchical office of the papacy. Again, some snippets: “The College, which does not exist without the head, is said ‘to exist also as the subject of supreme and full power in the universal Church.’ This must be admitted of necessity so that the fullness of power belonging to the Roman Pontiff is not called into question. For the College, always and of necessity, includes its head, because in the college he preserves unhindered his function as Christ’s Vicar and as Pastor of the universal Church. In other words, it is not a distinction between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops taken collectively, but a distinction between the Roman Pontiff taken separately and the Roman Pontiff together with the bishops. . . . As Supreme Pastor of the Church, the Supreme Pontiff can always exercise his power at will, as his very office demands. Though it is always in existence, the College is not as a result permanently engaged in strictly collegial activity; the Church’s Tradition makes this clear. In other words, the College is not always ‘fully active [in actu pleno]’; rather, it acts as a college in the strict sense only from time to time and only with the consent of its head.”

    It seems to me that Mr. Kennedy has not read Lumen gentium. [D’ya think?]

  18. StWinefride says:

    Another scripture reference re hierarchy in the Epistles:

    “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14)

  19. NoraLee9 says:

    I for one am puzzled and aggravated by the continual deference paid to Vatican II, and its “spirit.” It seems as if some folks believe there was no church before it, or worse, whatever preceded it was inferior. Most troubling is the insistance of EWTN to integrate mention of the council into every prayer, show, homily, etc. broadcast over their network. I wonder if folks obsessed over the Vatican I council as much? Did priests preach on it from the pulpit? Did families argue over it at dinner? Somehow, I don’t think any other council, at least none from the last millennium, created so much agita within the church.
    I can be corrected if wrong.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown, walking and resting but open to suggestions through my blog….not here.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    NoraLee9, I too am a little tired of this emphasis, especially from the pulpit, which is almost weekly in England and Ireland since the beginning of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

    It is not merely the controversies which are overlooked, but if priests and bishops pushed the CCC as much, we all would be in better shape. Methinks….

  22. Well, I had a bit of fun with the perpetually-dyspeptic commenters at the NC(haha)Reporter site.

    I said, well, I believe what the Church teaches, and posted, without attribution, a section from Lumen Gentium. I was curious to see if anyone would identify it as from the Council they all claim to love.

    At one point, I said, I believe this; do you? That caused sputters of outrage; I’m a “bully” like the KGB and I don’t understand Catholic dogma.

  23. dominic1955 says:

    There is no tyranny like liberal tyranny. Failed-priest (excellent term) Kennedy and his Irish pal are just repeating the same tired heretical garbage that the Protestant heresiarchs said in the past. Christ didn’t set up a hierarchical church, he didn’t institute the sacraments, etc. etc. Nothing new under the sun, just repackaged.

    Also, I get really tired of dissidents and “progressives” style (if that is what you could call it) of “argumentation”. Blather on about nonsense heresy and then declare anyone who upholds orthodoxy to be stupid, not having a grasp on “modern” theology. This is tiring and frustrating, because there isn’t much of an argument you can make against emoting and bullying.

  24. One Thousand Points for the accent-grave in “agèd”!

  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    EWTN is waging war on the “Spirit of Vatican II” by promoting the Letter of Vatican II. It’s important that they do so, and fairly constantly, because most people have heard all kinds of lies about the “Spirit of Vatican II” and what it demands. They probably hit somebody who’s never heard it before, every time and every day.

    People who’ve heard it before will probably be quite a bit more bored than interested; but it’s a didactic channel by intention, and teaching means repetition.

  26. sciencemom says:

    Hilarious … if it weren’t so sad. But really, how did the phrase “that they are the direct descendants of the apostles” ever get past the editors? Have you ever heard a bishop claim to be a “direct descendant” of the apostles?!

  27. StWinefride says:

    Thank you Surbanbanshee – spot on about EWTN and that also goes for Priests who courageously promote the truth of Vatican II from the pulpit and on their blogs etc.

    If Vatican II is not going to be consigned to the dustbin, then let’s see what it truly said and highlight the many ambiguities that allowed for faulty interpretations and translations.

    The average person in the pew has little knowledge of the Second Vatican Council, however they are living through the upheaval it caused, not only in a New Mass, but the falling away from the Faith by family members, friends due to poor catechesis.

    There is a huge work of restoration to be accomplished and those out there who are aware of it need to stick together, fight together and gather new “soldiers” along the way.

    Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”.

    John 13,33

    Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.

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