What People Are Asking
Is Vatican II Heretical or
a Manifestation of the Holy Spirit?
Since Mr Guimarães wrote some excellent books on Vatican II, I am hoping you can provide me with a clarification on the authority of the Vatican II documents.
Some say that Paul VI at the close of the Council used ordinary magisterial infallible authority and imposed - not proposed - the Vatican II documents on the Church Universal.
Others say it would be impossible for a True Pope to impose these documents because of the heresy, error and inconsistency in them.
Who is correct? What do we say to those who believe what happened at Vatican II was the work of the Holy Ghost at least as far as the documents are concerned?
I am inclined to think that it is blasphemy.
Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us
In the book In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, Mr. Guimarães analyzes the contradiction you point out from a perspective a little different than yours. He studies not the question of the Council being infallible or heretical, but of it being dogmatic-infallible or pastoral.
A dogmatic council?
1. In the Vatican II documents, there are grounds for those who defend that the Council was dogmatic and infallible. Actually, this is the text Paul VI used to promulgate each of the 16 approved documents:
“We, by the apostolic power entrusted to us by Christ, together with the venerable Fathers, in the Holy Spirit approve it, decree it and enact it. And we order that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the greater glory of God.” (Murky Waters, pp.153-154)
This formula is similar to those the Pontiffs use when they want to define an infallible doctrine. Here is what a good author says about when a Pope uses his infallibility:
“In solemn definitions, the Holy Pontiffs use a number of verbs to make their intention unmistakable: ‘We promulgate, decree, define, declare, proclaim’ etc. In other cases, while such verbs may be absent, the circumstances surrounding the document will show that there was a will to define. This is what happens when the Pope imposes on the whole Church the acceptance of a formula of faith.” (A.V. Xavier da Silveira, "What is the authority of the pontifical and conciliar documents?", Catolicismo, October, 1967) (p. 153, note 57).
Therefore, if one considers only the formula of the promulgation of the documents, he may defend that Paul VI wanted to make those documents infallible.
Or a pastoral one?
2. On the other hand, in the opening speech of the Council John XXIII declared that it did not intend to deal with dogmatic-infallible matters. He said:
“The salient point of this Council is not … discussing one or other article of the fundamental doctrine of the Church, repeating and proclaiming the teaching of the ancient and modern Fathers and theologians … There would be no need of a Council for that. … One is the substance of the ancient doctrine, the deposit of Faith, and another is the formulation encasting it; and this is what we must … take very much into account, measuring everything in the forms and proportions of a predominantly pastoral magisterium” (p. 148).
So, one sees that John XXIII expressed the general intention that the Council should not be doctrinal but pastoral.
Also Paul VI, through the Secretary General of the Council, issued an official note on the theological qualification of text of the Constitution Lumen gentium about the Church, which reads:
“Taking into account conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the Council Vatican II, this Sacred Synod intends to issue in matters of Faith and Morals only the definitions it openly declares as such.” (p. 155)
Since none of the documents of Vatican II explicitly states the intention to define matters of Faith and Morals, one can defend that the Council was merely pastoral.
An intentional ambiguity to achieve strategic goals
3. One concludes, therefore, that there was ambiguity in the theological qualification of Vatican II documents. A person can say whatever he wants - that the Council was dogmatic or pastoral - and base his argument on these quoted texts.
4. This double emphases - at times dogmatic, at times pastoral - given to the Council on different occasions seems calculated for a purpose. It allowed progressivists to use both arguments to defeat the conservative opposition during the Council and to impose their progressivist victories on Catholic public opinion in the post-conciliar period. This is what In the Murky Waters proves on pp. 157-189.
The best way to oppose Vatican II
5. Now, in response to your question, we can say that:
A. It is not easy to prove that there is explicit heresy in the texts of Vatican II. Certainly they open the doors to certain heresies, such as that of universal salvation, which became quite clear in the aftermath of the Council.
B. Nor is it easy to say that Vatican II is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, because the latter never speaks ambiguously, and Vatican II was ambiguous in almost all of its teachings.
C. The best and most practical way to combat the Council is not to try to find a particular heresy in its documents, but to show the bad fruits it produced. If we prove that it is a bad tree, we should then apply the command of Our Lord: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt 7:19; Luke 3:9).
We hope that these considerations will answer your questions and help you see the reality clearer.
TIA correspondence desk.
Posted July 1, 2010
Related Topics of Interest
Vatican II Approved what the Syllabus and Pascendi Condemned
Vatican II Broke with the Magisterium
Gaudium et Spes Is a "Counter-Syllabus"
Vatican II Closed the Constantine Era of the Church
The Church's Rigor against Heresies
Consequences of Vatican II
|Related Works of Interest|
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