WHETHER IT IS LICIT FOR A CATHOLIC TO QUESTION VATICAN II?
18 Luglio 2020
Dear Stilumcuriali, Giuseppe Pellegrino, whom you know not only for his work as a translator for Stilum Curiae but also for his memory of the renunciation of Benedict XVI, has sent us a reflection of contribution to the open discussion in these days on the lawfulness or otherwise of discussing Vatican Council II. Enjoy your reading.
Whether it is licit for a Catholic to question Vatican II?
Objection 1. It would seem that it is not licit for a Catholic to question the teaching of Vatican II. For every Catholic must accept the validity of the ecumenical councils, and Vatican II was the 21st ecumenical council. Therefore, the Council may not be questioned.
Objection 2. Further, the Council documents make abundant reference to the teaching of previous ecumenical councils as well as to papal documents and the writings of the Church Fathers and Doctors. Thus, to question the teaching of the Council is effectively to question the Tradition itself. But this is not licit for a Catholic. Therefore, the Council may not be questioned.
Objection 3. Further, the post-conciliar Magisterium has clarified points of contention in the interpretation of the council. Thus, by reading the documents of Vatican II in the context of these subsequent clarifications, a Catholic may know the sound doctrine of the Tradition of the Church. Therefore the correctly interpreted teaching of the Council – “the true Council” – may not be questioned.
Objection 4. Further, whatever doctrinal confusion or chaos may have ensued after the Council is distinct from the Council as such and per se. The remedy for such confusion and chaos is to correctly interpret the Council in continuity with the Tradition. But this means that the teaching of the Council is sound. Therefore, once again, the correctly interpreted teaching of the Council – “the true Council” – may not be questioned.
Sed contra, Professor Roberto De Mattei says, “We propose distinguishing carefully between the theological dimension that emerges from the documents and the more properly “factual” dimension that refers to historical events” (The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story, Loreto Publications, 2012, p. xviii). It is this factual dimension that will shed light on the present “state of exception” within the Church and thus enable an adequate remedy for the current unprecedented ecclesial crisis to be prescribed. Therefore, the factual dimension of the true intentions of those who called and steered the Council not only may but should be questioned by all true sons of the Church.
Respondeo, a clear distinction must be made between the discipline of theology and the discipline of history. It is clear that Vatican II fulfills all the theological requirements for a valid ecumenical council, and the Council Fathers made every apparent effort to show that their teaching was in continuity with the previous ecumenical councils as well as the Tradition of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. But if, in fact, from its inception the Council was called and convened with the sole purpose of deceiving the Church and introducing error and ambiguous teaching into the heart of the Church, then the matter at hand is a question of historical fact that must be examined with great attention so as to deliver a sound verdict on the essence of the Council.
As Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò writes: “[I]t is surprising that people persist in not wanting to investigate the root causes of the present crisis, limiting themselves to deploring the present excesses as if they were not the logical and inevitable consequence of a plan orchestrated decades ago.” It is this plan, this coup d’état that was realized at Vatican II, that must be examined in depth, so as to fully comprehend the historical context of the way in which the majority of good bishops were deceived and manipulated into approving the Council’s subversive texts.
Reply to Objection 1. The Council was indeed validly carried out according to canon law, but this only makes its destructive power all the more effective. Its validity was part of “the plan.” “From its origin it was made the object of a grave manipulation by a fifth column that penetrated into the very heart of the Church that perverted its purposes, as confirmed by the disastrous results that are before everyone’s eyes” (Abp. Viganò). Every aspect of its origin, preparation, execution, and implementation deserves to be questioned.
Reply to Objection 2. If the historical fact of such a malicious intention and “plan” by those who wrote the Council Documents can be known, then the diligent effort made by these same malicious men to quote the Tradition, the previous ecumenical councils, papal documents, and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church in order to mask their revolution only serves to magnify the extent of their fraud and deception.
Reply to Objection 3. Beginning with Paul VI himself, the post-conciliar Magisterium took great pains to address the “post-conciliar crisis” within the Church. The constant expending of effort to ensure that the Council be correctly interpreted and implemented was, we may say, a misdiagnosis of the problem. Although the post-conciliar popes seemed to be convinced that the remedy to the crisis could be found in the proper interpretation of the Council, they apparently did not understand that the Council was not the solution to the crisis, but rather its cause.
Reply to Objection 4. We can no longer pretend that what has happened after the Council, even to the point of worshipping idols in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the name of “Vatican II,” is unrelated to the historical unfolding of the “Council event” – “the true Council” in and of itself. As De Mattei says: “Something happened after the council as a consequence consistent with it….[T]he reconstruction of what happened between January 25, 1959, and December 8, 1965, is a necessary premise for serious reflection on Vatican II” (Ibid., p. xix).
By Giuseppe Pellegrino, H.E.D.
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