Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part 5)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part 5)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015

(continued,number 5)

The Four Constitutions

Section II

Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum - on the sources of Revelation

What are the principle errors contained this constitution?

This Constitution makes an important step toward Protestant theology in refusing to distinguish clearly the two sources of Revelation.  It speaks of a progress of Tradition and utilizes the expression “living Tradition”, in the manner of the Modernists.

How does DV alter the doctrine of the two sources of Revelation?

DV leaves aside the doctrine of the councils of Trent and Vatican I on the “two sources” of Revelation (Tradition and Holy Scripture), for making Tradition and the Magisterium converge into Scripture alone: “sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture […] in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. […They] form one sacred deposit of the word of God” (§ 9 and 10).

Note in the passage the expression “in a certain way (quodammodo)”: things are left in flux without daring to affirm the error frankly.  We will find elsewhere this manner of speaking.

It is an important step toward reconciling with the Protestant heresy that denies Tradition as the source of Revelation.

How does DV speak of a progress of Tradition?

According to the infallible doctrine of the Catholic Church, Revelation terminated with the death of the last Apostle1: There is thus no objective progress of the deposit of the faith (by new truths that would be revealed); at the most, there is a subjective progress (a more precise definition of truths contained in the deposit of the faith).

Without making this major distinction, DV admits a progress of Tradition: “Now what was handed on by the Apostles […] develop[s] [proficit] in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. […] For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.” (§ 8).

How did DV introduce the Modernist notion of living Tradition?

In paragraph 12, DV says that Holy Scripture should be read taking into account “living tradition of the whole Church“.

This is also an ambiguous expression which could ultimately receive an orthodox interpretation (the immutable Tradition received from the Apostles also continues today to be transmitted by the current, living Magisterium of the Church), but which evidently, in context, favors the Modernist idea of a Tradition that is living because it is the expression of the sense of the faith of the people of God, and thus susceptible to evolution.

It is this latter meaning that will be used after the Council: In the name of living Tradition, the Conciliar Church will try to excommunicate Msgr. Lefebvre2  and to justify the ‘hermeneutic of renewal in continuity’ (the claim that post-conciliar Church is in continuity with the Church before the Council, because there is a continuity of the living subject, even if there is discontinuity on the doctrinal plane3).

Are there other errors in DV?

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Vatican II, Le Sel de la terre 55 (pp. 26-38) indicated as contestable points:

* A false notion of Revelation described as a dialogue of salvation and a conversation with God (DV 2), not as a deposit of supernatural truths;

* A new approach to the faith (DV 5) considered as a total abandonment of the person to God is reconciled with the faith-trust of the Protestants or the faith-sentiment of the Modernists;

* The protestantization of the Holy Church and in particular the abandonment of the traditional notion of inerrancy of the Scriptures for the benefit of a truth relative to salvation (DV 11).4

It could also be added that DV encourages ecumenical translations of the Bible,5 which is an unheard-of novelty in the Church.

(To be continued)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Four)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Four)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015

(continued,number 4)

The Four Constitutions


Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church

What is the importance of this Constitution?

It comes first, because the new theology being subjective, as we have said, the conciliar Fathers first focus their attention on the subject (the Church) before focusing on the object (the doctrine to teach).  But in modifying the conception of the Church, in adopting a “new ecclesiology” 1, the Council overturns the entire Church and commences its self-destruction.

What are the principal errors contained in this Constitution?

This constitution Changes the notion of the Church, and presents the principles of collegiality and liturgical revolution.

Wherein does this constitution change the notion of the Church?

Until Vatican II, the Church was a society into which one entered by valid baptism, and from which one left by apostasy, heresy, schism, or a major excommunication2.

In LG (Lumen Gentium), the Church is not defined in a precise manner:

* LG says that it is “like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race” (§1), which allows for adding to its proper finality (the union with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ) a second finality (the unity of all of mankind).

* LG also says that the Church is the “people of God” (an expression used forty times in LG), which allows for including :

non-Catholics who wrongly claim to be “Christians”, through the idea of connection (coniunctio: this signifies that a certain imperfect communion exists in Christ, which accomplishes a “real union in the Holy Spirit“, §15),

— and those not even claiming to be Christians, through the idea of ordination (ordination: this signifies more or less that there exists a certain communion, yet imperfect, in the same God) 3 .

Finally, LG says that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church » (§8), instead of affirming that they are identical4.

All these affirmations dilute the boundaries of the Church, and also prepare the way for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue such as what was practiced after the Council.

Where does this constitution introduce bicephalism [= The condition of having two heads]  into the Church?5

LG, after having recalled that the pope “has full, supreme and universal power over the Church“, immediately adds that “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” (§22).  While the Church was until then a monarchy with the single supreme power, that of the pope, LG suddenly affirms a double supreme power, a two-headed Church.  Next to the pope, the college of bishops (including the pope) also has supreme power.

This change of doctrine was so significant that Pope Paul VI believed it necessary to intervene and draft a “nota explicativa prævia” (preliminary note of explanation) to join to the Constitution, where he mitigated this change: “so that the fullness of power belonging to the Roman Pontiff is not called into question […] 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.”

This note thus prevents the college alone from exercising supreme power in the Church, which is a condemned heresy, but it does not suppress “bicephalism”.  The new Code of canon law of 1983 ratifies this doctrine of double supreme power in its canon 336: “The college of bishops, whose head is the Supreme Pontiff and whose members […] is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church.”

Where does this Constitution present the principles of collegiality?

Other than the fact that LG attributes supreme power to the episcopal college, it also affirms that “consecration, together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the office of teaching and of governing” (§21) and that “one is constituted a member of the episcopal body in virtue of sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head and members of the body“, “The order of bishops” being “also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church” (§22).

Thus, LG suggests that the bishops already have a certain jurisdiction, at least over the universal Church, before receiving it from the Pope.  And the nota explicativa prævia does not correct this point.

On the contrary, the traditional doctrine, repeated again in 1958 by Pius XII 6, teaches that the jurisdiction over his own proper diocese comes to the bishop through the Pope, who gives him the power of jurisdiction really distinct from orders.  Moreover, the Pope, if he wants, can make the body of bishops participate in the supreme power of teaching and governing over the universal Church by uniting them in an ecumenical council, but only during the council7.

Where does this constitution present the principle of democracy and liturgical revolution in the Church?

Until Vatican II, the Church was considered essentially hierarchical, with a distinction of divine right between clerics, who alone hold the triple power (of orders, jurisdiction, and teaching), and the laity: “By divine institution, clerics in the Church are distinct from the laity” (1917 Code of Canon Law, c. 107).

LG begins by treating the “People of God” in general (chapter 2) before speaking of the hierarchy (chapter 3), as if it issued from it; it treats of the “common priesthood of the faithful” before speaking of the “ministerial priesthood“, as if there were two different forms of the same priesthood.

It is to forget that the hierarchy of the Church forms the faithful: Our Lord Jesus Christ formed a dozen Apostles who themselves founded the Church: “That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mt. 16:18).

It is also to forget that only the ministerial priest is a priest in the proper sense of the word.  Sacerdos (priest) comes from “sacra dans“: he who gives sacred things, and only those who have received the power of orders can do this; the baptized laity only have a power to receive these sacred things.

Without saying it openly, the door was opened for the invasion of the laity, men and women, into the governing posts of the Church (from parish liturgical committees to Roman dicasteries) and the liturgical revolution was given a doctrinal basis, in relegating the priest to the simple role of presider over the assembly.  And thus Paul VI signed this heretical definition of the new mass:  “The Lord’s Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.  For this reason, Christ’s promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: ‘Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst’.8

Are there other errors in LG?

At paragraph no. 29, this document opens the possibility of ordaining married deacons without requiring them to practice perfect continence, contrary to the use of the Church preserved in the West since the Apostles.  Paul VI will accomplish this in the motu proprio of 18 June 1967, Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, which expressly refers to this passage of LG.

To be continued (next time : Constitution Dei Verbum, on the sources of Revelation)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Three)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Three)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015

(continued, Part 3)

The Documents of the Council : Overview

What are the documents of the Council ?

The Council promulgated 16 documents :

— 4 Constitutions (documents of essentially doctrinal content, the first two being qualified as « dogmatic », the fourth as « pastoral ») :

* Lumen Gentium (LG) : the Church.

* Dei Verbum (DV) : Divine Revelation.

* Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) : the liturgy.

* Gaudium et Spes (GS) : the Church in the contemporary world.

— 9 Decrees (texts of the practical order and concrete application) :

* Christus Dominus (CD) : the pastoral duty of bishops.

* Presbyterorum Ordinis (PO) : the ministry and life of priests.

* Perfectæ Caritatis (PC) : the renovation and adaptation of religious life.

* Optatam totius Ecclesiæ Renovationem (OT) : the formation of priests.

* Apostolicam Actuositatem (AA) : the apostolate of the laity.

* Ad Gentes (AG) : the missionary activity of the Church.

* Orientalium Ecclesiarum (OE) : the Eastern Catholic Churches.

* Unitatis redintegratio (UR) : ecumenism.

* Inter Mirifica (IM) : the mass media.

— 3 Declarations  (texts addressed to all men) :

* Dignitatis Humanæ (DH) : religious liberty.

* Nostra Aætate (NA) : the relations with non-Christian religions.

* Gravissimum Educationis Momentum (GE) : Christian education.

Where did these texts come from ?

Before the Council an important preparation was in place.  About twenty preparatory schemas were released.  But the majority of the schemas were rejected by the Council fathers because they were judged too tainted with traditional doctrine1.  Thus the texts could be developed beginning with the schemas that adopted « the forms of inquiry and literary formulation of modern thought2, » as Pope John XXIII demanded.

Is this teaching complete ?

The teaching is extensive : the edition of the Acts of the Council by Centurion comprises more than 700 pages.  However, it lacks a key document : a text condemning the current errors imperiling the faith, as all the preceding councils have done.  There was even a schema prepared for a “dogmatic Constitution to preserve the faith intact”3, but it was rejected with the others.

Pope John XXIII called for “the medicine of mercy rather than the weapons of severity ; and, she thinks she meets today’s needs by explaining the validity of her doctrine more fully rather than by condemning.”4  Nevertheless, the « good pope John » recognized that « there are…false doctrines, opinions, or dangers to be avoided and dispersed 5. »  Among these false doctrines, there was the « new theology » condemned, among others, by the schema of the « dogmatic Constitution on the deposit of the faith, » and that one finds in a great part of the texts promulgated by the Council and the Conciliar Church 6.

(To be continued)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Two)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part Two)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015

Introduction (continued)

Insofar as popes and bishops spoke at the Council, should not one then obey and accept Vatican II?

The council Fathers decided to adopt “forms of inquiry and literary formulation of modern thought”1, i.e., the “new theology”2 founded on modern philosophy. Now, this philosophy is subjective: truth does not come from outside; it comes, at least in part, from the knowing subject. But if truth does not come from outside, the hierarchy cannot impose it: so, the Council inaugurated a new type of magisterium, a living and dialoging magisterium that has lost its binding aspect.

Why did the council Fathers adopt this new theology?

Since they wanted to adapt the teaching of the Church to the modern world, they had to find a way to modify this teaching. The solution was to adopt modern subjectivist philosophy, according to which, as we have said, truth comes, at least in part, from the knowing subject. And consequently it evolves with it. What was true yesterday (e.g., that the Church cannot adopt religious liberty) is not true today3.

So, thanks to this new theology, one could perform an updating of the Church and reconcile it with the modern world.

Are there calculated ambiguities in the Council?

Father Schillebeeckx himself affirms this in the Dutch review De Bazuin (23 January 1965)4:

A theologian of the doctrinal commission—to whom, already during the second session, I had expressed my disappointment in the face of the minimalism on papal collegiality—responded to me, to calm me down: “We will explain it in a diplomatic way, but after the Council we will draw the implicit conclusions.”

Were there external influences on the Council?

The power of the media exerted a very strong influence. It was the fear of this influence which made Pius XI and Pius XII abandon their projects to reconvene a council to pursue the work interrupted by the First Vatican Council.

There was also a more discreet but nonetheless real influence due to the more or less secret agreements with the Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Communists, and Freemasons5.

—With the Orthodox and the Communists: For inviting Orthodox observers to the Council, John XXIII committed to not condemn communism6.

—With the Jews: Jewish leaders secretly received, at the Community Center of Peace at Strasbourg during the winter of 1962-1963, Father Congar O.P., sent by Cardinal Bea in the name of John XXIII, on the brink of the Council, to ask what the Jews expected from the Catholic Church7; Cardinal Bea himself secretly visited the Jewish American Committee at New York, 31 March 1963, with the same aim8.

—With the Protestants and Freemasons: In September 1961 Cardinal Bea secretly met in Milan the pastor Willem A. Visser’t Hooft, secretary general of the Ecumenical Council of Churches (very masonic organization of Protestant origin). Later, 22 July 1965, the same Ecumenical Council of Churches published the list of its seven requirements regarding religious liberty: all of them were satisfied by the Council in the document Dignitatis humanæ9.

[End of the introduction]

(Catechism to be continued)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part One)

Little catechism of the Second Vatican Council (Part One)

by Fr. Pierre-Marie, O.P.

Dominican in Avrillé

From Le Sel de la terre 93, Summer 2015


Vatican II is not a council like the others. This council, which was held in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in four sessions from 1962 until 1965 under the pontificates of Popes John XIII (1958-1963) and Paul VI (1963-1978), was the occasion, if not the principal cause, of the gravest crisis the Church has known in its history.

The studies concerning this council are numerous, but often voluminous and very technical.  We have thought that it would be useful to provide for Catholics of good will a relatively short text, explaining what Vatican II declared and what is unacceptable for Catholics who want to remain faithful to the traditional infallible teaching of the Church.

After a brief introduction on the authority of the council, we will briefly analyze each of the 16 documents, presenting them in a thematic order.


The authority of the Second Vatican Council

What is an ecumenical council?

An ecumenical council is an assembly of bishops of the entire world convoked by the pope, who conducts its meetings (called “sessions”), whether directly or via legates, and who approves the texts, so that they have a binding value for the whole Church. There have been in the history of the Church twenty ecumenical councils since the Council of Nicaea in 325 until the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Is Vatican II a council like the others?

Vatican II is an atypical council because the popes who convoked and conducted it, John XXIII and Paul VI, declared that it was not a dogmatic council, like all the preceding councils, but a pastoral council.  In other words, its aim was not to define doctrine against errors, but to perform an updating (aggiornamento) of this doctrine to adapt it to the thinking of our contemporaries.

Does Vatican II contain infallible teachings?

Here again, differently than all the preceding ecumenical councils, the Second Vatican Council does not contain any infallible teaching.  For a council to be infallible, it must pronounce solemn judgments, which this council refused to do.

Even if it is not infallible, can it not be admitted that Vatican II was assisted by the Holy Ghost?

Our Lord Jesus Christ promised the assistance of the Holy Ghost for the transmission of Revelation: “the Paraclete the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and suggest unto you all things whatsoever I shall say to you.” (Jn 14:26) [Rheims version].

But, without renouncing the transmission of Revelation, the Council proposed the aggiornamento of the Church, i.e., its adaptation to the modern world, notably by introducing into the Church “the best expressed values of two centuries of ‘liberal’ culture”10, and by working to “smooth the way toward unity of mankind.”11.

Why cannot the Holy Ghost aid the Church in acquiring the values of liberal culture, once purified and corrected12?

Liberalism is an error condemned by two centuries of teaching from the Magisterium of the Church.  Such a condemnation is infallible in virtue of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

As the Holy Ghost cannot contradict Himself, He cannot assist the council fathers in making these values of liberalism enter into the Church.

Why cannot the Holy Ghost aid the Church in working toward the unity of mankind?

The Church was founded to save souls and unite them to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  In so doing, the Church works indirectly for peace, propagating charity in souls: “Seek therefore first the Kingdom of God, and the justice of him [the union to Our Lord Jesus Christ by grace]: and all these things [including peace] shall be given you besides.” (Mt. 6:33) [Rheims version].

But today Freemasonry seeks to reshape the unity of mankind (“globalism”) by human means and by positively excluding Our Lord Jesus Christ in virtue of “secularism”.

As was especially seen after the Council (with the secularization of the States and inter-religious meetings), the men of the Church collaborate in this work by means of religious liberty, ecumenism, and inter-religious dialogue. The Holy Ghost cannot assist the Church in working toward an end that is not Her own.

(To be continued)