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


Preface

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.

Introduction

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)