Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Now Ask Yourself... But WHY?
"He's rolling back Vatican II!" And that's a bad thing?

An interesting article from the Washington Post. The headline says it all;

Papal Mystery: Is Benedict Downplaying Vatican II by Decrees?

As you can pretty much guess, it's a whine-fest. But hey... we all knew that was coming.

But here's what I want to ask --- what was the purpose of the Second Vatican Council? Seriously. I want someone to tell me. All I've heard was the standard party line about "a fresh breeze" and "bringing The Church into the modern world". Surely, there's got to be a better reason than that drivel.

And I know that many of you will give well thought-through answers. So in all fairness, let me specify my question with the following specifics; for the entire 2,000 year history of The Church, every Council was called forth to defend Holy Mother The Church. Examples include;

The Council of Nicea fought the heresy of Arianism.
The Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon fought the heresy of Nestorianism.
The Council of Trent fought the heresy of Protestantism.
The First Vatican Council fought the heresy of Rationalism.

And with all that said, the fruits of those councils are multiple and manifest. The Church always emerged stronger. And I think we all know what the fruits of Vatican II have shown themselves to be. Billion dollar pay-outs. Empty seminaries. Empty rectories. Empty convents. Empty pews. Empty faith.

The Church has been in a free-fall for 40 years. Time to be honest... Vatican II was the catalyst. So what heresy was Vatican II called forth to do battle with? Know what? There never was one. As I look upon the state of The Church present day, I sometimes get the distinct impression that the only thing Vatican II ever did battle with, was Catholicism.

Sure, things weren't picture perfect prior to 1962... but were they SO BAD that we needed a Church Council to fix things? At least back then, most Catholics actually went to Mass on a regular basis. Most Catholics actually went to Confession on a regular basis. The vast majority of Catholics actually believed in The Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Can the same be said present day? Sadly, no.

And as I've stated many a time on this blog, very little within the actual documents of the Second Vatican Council are binding on pain of sin (Lumen Gentium, and all that did was reiterate 2,000 years of Church teaching. Nothing new). The vast... and I mean VAST majority of V2 is quite honestly up for grabs.

But you know.... the more I think about it, the more I tend to look at the whole Vatican II question in a much bigger picture. By golly, I think I've answered my own question.

Sometimes in order to get healthier, you have to initially get sicker. Bring the disease to the surface so the doctors can treat it. Something about (as the Holy Bible puts it) pruning away the diseased limbs? Maybe, just maybe... in the grand scheme of things, Vatican II was suppose to happen so we could have Pope Benedict usher in a leaner, meaner, purer Catholicism.

All in God's good time. Right?


Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post. [Isn't it disconcerting that those who reject the Church are so eager to defend "Vatican II."]

The role of the most recent of the 21 ecumenical councils in the life of the Church is immensely important. It is vitally important to do as you did and distinguish doctrine from discipline.

Although it proposed no new doctrine, Vatican II was called by the pope, presided over by the pope and approved by the pope. But it's not surprising that the media does not know that the successor of St. Peter is only bound by conciliar teaching that he himself has approved when that teaching is de fide. The pope could revise and reformulate any of the conciliar decrees on his own.

But Vatican II was called during very turbulent times (after WWII, the Holocaust, the Cold War, Vietnam, massive urbanization, globalization, and migrations, Sexual revolution). Ironically, the modernists who want to make Vatican II the starting point for their revolution forget that the pastoral documents of Vatican II must be understood against this backdrop as addressing new issues. Of course, pastoral directives of Vatican II, like those of all ecumenical Council's of the Living one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, has its value, but that value is evaluated and interpreted by the successor of St. Peter.

That's why it would be wrong to elevate every word and document of Vatican II to the level of inspired Scripture.

Finally, what happened to Constantinople II? What about Lateran V? It is the apostolic teaching reaffirmed and explained by the Councils to which we must perpetually adhere.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I agree with just about everything you stated. But I still have to ask... what was the reason for the Council being called for in the first place?

(As I ask rhetorically) Was the real reason to discuss how The Church should act/react to the "modern world"? Was it to bring The Church in line with the modern world? Was it so The Church could/should embrace the modern world?

But I must admit... you're the first person to give me anything even resembling a straight answer.

Thanks, Bruce.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Book the Ratzinger Report, Our Pope said:

"Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has been clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly also the two previous councils. And that also applies to the so-called ‘progressivism,’ at least in its extreme forms…It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I and against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation."

..."as clearly expressed"... I think that's the part that is so CLEARLY missing--so many have included their own mis-interpretations--major and even minor abuses such as the holding of hands during the "Our Father."

But, my opinion is that V2 is under the direction of the Holy Spirit--Our Pope will be the doctor who will prune away the diseased limbs. Good Post.

3:30 PM  
Blogger code monkey said...

Actually, even back when Vatican II was called, Catholics recognized that it was unique precisely because there was no reason for a council to be called.
Probably if you look at historical documents (catholic newspapers and such), you'll find references to this unique feature.
I don't think anyone has known the why of Vatican II, except perhaps Pope John XXIII and as far as I know he was very forthcoming with his reasons.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

First Bruce... now you. Two well thought out responses in a row! Thanks guys!


THREE well thought out responses in a row!!! In just a few short hours, I've rcvd better answers than my couple of decades worth of asking the very same question to scores of Modernists priests.

But anyhow, Maureen... do you happen to know what Pope John said his reasons were? I've searched the 'net, and couldn't come up with any direct quotes.


8:02 PM  
Blogger Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

I haven't read the documents myself yet, though I've seen them cited a LOT in the CCC promulgated by JPII. I strongly suspect that II Vatican Council wasn't actually a catalyst or an excuse for the distortions we've had to deal with, but rather something the progressivists waved around to distract us, much like a stage magician's off hand, handkerchief, wand, or cape.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

James Akin has a blog about the TLM Database of people who want to help it get off the ground all over the world:


8:51 PM  
Blogger Athanasis Contra Mundum said...

Its past time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

10:03 PM  
Blogger rob clemenz @ saintsforsinners.com said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about the need to get sicker before you can truly get better. You nailed it.

3:41 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I think Fr. Rutler said it best: when Bl. John wanted to "throw the windows open", he wanted to let out some of the stuffiness, not let in a whirlwind. Fr. Rutler also has said that we will appreciate V2 when we see it as a council rather than the council.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

But was that his reason to call forth a council? If so, isn't that quite a bit of overkill?

And if that was his reason... how exactly does "throw open the windows" translate to change within The Church? A watering down... a lowering of the bar... acceptance of error?

5:02 AM  

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