Many of you have probably already read Rorate Caeli’s Blog about Padre Pietro Leone’s quick summary of the problems with Vatican II. As you know, I respect him so much after studying his Opus Magnus “The Roman Rite, the New and the Old”. So I would like to just summarize what he says so that we can use these simple points in the very hot button discussion on Vatican II.
Before we get into this, we all know that if you question Vatican II, right away you are accused of going against the Church’s Magisterium and against the Holy Spirit. But again, Pope John XXIII specifically state at the very beginning, that this council was not to be dogmatic, but pastoral. Pastoral means how the Church could better work in world and in its various ministries.
Don Pietro begins by reminding us that one of the office of the Church is to teach Catholic doctrine. That consist in what Jesus taught, the Deposit of faith that the Apostles passed on and the 2000 year traditions passed on to us in its un-changed form. This office of teaching is called Munus Docendi. And this is what is meant by TRADITION.
Catholic doctrine is immutable, it can never be changed. What can be done is to further clarify and come up with a deeper understanding without any change.
Pope Benedict said that the Vatican II documents need to be understood in the light of tradition or “Hermeneutic of Continuity”. Many times he stated that there was a false “spirit of Vatican II”. What he meant was that many bishops, priests and religious interpreted the documents in a false way and changed things in the Church in ways that the Council never intended.
So, what Padre Pietro is saying in this article is that this proves that there are problems with the teachings of Vatican II because they are so misunderstood and misinterpreted. Now we again remind ourselves of the truth; the office of teaching of the Church is to clarify, not confuse.
He finds that the confusion comes from the mixture of Catholic belief with Modernism and non-Catholic beliefs. This influence came from the “periti” and other heterodox members of the Council. And although there is a certain continuity of Tradition in the council, the discontinuity is what makes up the serious problem that can not be overlooked.
He brings up the example of rector of a seminary who buys bread from an expensive bakery that is far away. But the bread is always good. To save time and money, he decides to buy bread from a closer and less expensive bakery. But the problem is that some of the bread is and some is not poisonous and it is very hard to find out which ones are and which ones are not because they look so much alike. Only some of the seminarians are poisoned, not all because, not all of the bread is poisonous. So should you go back to the good expensive bakery, or let some die? But when it comes to doctrine, it is so much more serious because it means death to souls.
So he concludes that Vatican II failed in its teaching and pastoral purpose, because it did not make Catholic doctrine clearer nor increase the depths of it understanding. The documents are confusing in the Catholic and non-Catholic sense.
He suggest that we treat Vatican II the same way the Council treated tradition; with silence. “And we shall call this silence the ‘Hermeneutic of Forgetfulness’.” Rorate Caeli
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.