"The Spirit of Vatican II"
In 1870, the First Vatican Council ("Vatican I") was interrupted when Masonic revolutionaries invaded Rome and forced the unification and centralization of Italy. There followed in the next decades the Mexican Revolution, the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima about Russia spreading its errors throughout the world, the Russian Revolution, World Wars I and II, the end of European monarchies, the Spanish Civil War, and other tumultuous upheavals that shook the social order and proved that the enemies of Christ were quite busy and very powerful.
Popes Pius XI and Pius XII considered convening a second Vatican Council in order to address these issues -- especially Communism -- but both shied away from it, knowing that the enemies Pope Pius X had warned about could "hijack" their efforts. Cardinal Billot warned Pius XI that such a Council could be "maneuvered by the Church's worst enemies, the Modernists" who were already preparing a revolution in the Church, "a new 1789."
In 1959, however, less than three months after his rise to the papacy as the successor of Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII -- "the Good Pope," as the media dubbed him -- told the world that he wanted to convene an Ecumenical Council. Unlike all other such Councils which were convened to combat heresy or to clarify dogma, this Council was called because Pope John XXIII wanted "to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in." The Council he convened, called the Second Vatican Council or "Vatican II," was opened by him on 11 October 1962 and in his opening address to this Council, he scoffed at the "prophets of gloom and doom" who were mindful of the Church's enemies -- but, blessedly, set the tone for the Council with these words:
“The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.”
“For this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.”
In other words, this Council wasn't about dogma and doctrine themselves; it was pastoral in nature -- i.e., it was about how dogma and doctrine were to be presented and handed down.
For an entire two years before the Council, preparations were made; commissions worked diligently to produce seventy-two outlines and orders of business called "schemata" -- but in the very first general session of Vatican II, those schemata were thrown out, an act that served as a clear signal that those who worried about the Council being "hijacked" were right.
By the time the Council was formally closed by Pope Paul VI on 8 December 1965, the following sixteen documents had been produced (links go to the documents at the Vatican website and will open in new browser windows).
The Sixteen Documents of Vatican II
The Four Constitutions:
Dei Verbum On Revelation
Lumen Gentium On the Church
Sacrosanctum Concilium On the sacred liturgy
Gaudium et Spes On the Church in the modern world
The Three Declarations:
Gravissimum Educationis On Christian education
Nostra Aetate On relations with Non-Christian Religions
Dignitatis Humanae On religious freedom
The Nine Decrees:
Ad Gentes On mission work
Presbyterorum Ordinis On the ministry and life of priests
Apostolicam Actuositatem On the laity
Optatam Totius On priestly training
Perfectae Caritatis On adaptation and renewal of religious life 13.
Christus Dominus On the pastoral office of Bishops
Unitatis Redintegratio On ecumenism
Orientalium Ecclesiarum On Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite
Inter Mirifica On the media of social communications
These documents -- which I urge you to read -- are very ambiguously written, i.e., one can, with some difficulty in areas, read them with Catholic eyes and claim they support the Holy Faith -- or one can read them with the eyes of a Modernist and claim they support revolution. It is a matter of debate among traditional Catholics as to whether any teach -- or even can teach -- outright error. Some traditionalists work very hard to read them as perfectly Catholic, seeing the ambiguities as simply that: ambiguities which must be read in the light of Tradition. Others believe that positive error is contained in them. All agree, though, that no solemn definitions that a Catholic must accept de fide (as an article of the Faith) were promulgated. That this is true is supported by papal statements regarding the Council's intent (such as the opening address) and in the fact that none of the documents are marked by the language used in infallible definitions.
No matter the case as to the exact nature of the documents in themselves and how they may have been intended to have been read, it is a fact that the ambiguities have been exploited in a revolutionary way. This revolutionary attitude -- called "the spirit of Vatican II" by conservatives and traditionalists -- has swept through the human element of the Church, leaving destruction and confusion in its wake. How often are Catholics told that "since Vatican II, the Church no longer teaches/practices/believes" various aspects of Catholic doctrine? How often are we told this even by priests, Bishops and Cardinals?
The leftist (including the "neo-conservative") media aid the revolution by constantly reporting on Church affairs in a self-serving and/or simply ignorant way. If the New York Times reports that "'the Catholic Church' says X," then in the average layman's mind "the Church" most definitely now teaches "X," even if there are no official documents even remotely attempting to exercise any level of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Magisterium. If a Cardinal or Pope expresses his personal opinion Y, we are told that "the Church" or "the Vatican" now teaches Y. And people believe it. At work here are the same tactics that have, in a mere forty years, transformed Western culture from one that, for example, saw active homosexuality as a grave sin that one doesn't talk about unecessarily around children, to a normal "lifestyle choice" that should be celebrated, paraded through our city streets, and described to kindergartners. It is simply the power of the media and of popular culture, allowed to spread their errors with little resistance from undisciplined Bishops.
Part One of this series can be found here.
From our friends at www.fisheaters.org