The documents of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated as they were by men entrusted with the governance of Christ’s Church, are worthy of a respectful hearing, and faithful submission where appropriate. Thus my (quasi-heroic) effort above to suppress a third yawn.
Nonetheless, as Dom Alcuin Reid advises in his incisive essay (link below), the practical significance of the Council for Catholics today must be placed in its proper perspective.
As the good Prior and renowned scholar points out, the Council “occupied itself with pastoral aims—principally how the Church could more effectively preach the Gospel in the modern age,” and therefore “defined no dogmas and decreed no anathemas, but outlined policies which were judged to be expedient at the time.”
As Reid himself avers, not everything “judged to be expedient” at the time of the Council has proven so with the benefit of hindsight. And as Dear Reader is likely to have noted, we are no longer living in the 1960s. What is expedient now is by no means solely determined by what the Council Fathers were dreaming in the Age of Aquarius.
And yet, Reid laments, we are now entering the sixth decade of a reign of terror in which faithful Catholics are routinely badgered by the Spector of a delusional super-dogmatic Council, whose concocted authority is the supposed source justifying an endless series of destructive acts meant to ravage the Church from within.
As this blog has previously noted, God cannot contradict himself, or authorize his representatives to do so. This means that any Council, no matter how dogmatic, must be “interpreted in a hermeneutic of continuity with the Church’s Tradition, including”—but not limited to—“the dogmatic definitions of the other twenty Ecumenical Councils of the Church.”
Attempts to dismantle Catholic Tradition in the name of the Council are thus doubly deceptive, since a) this was not the intent of the Council, and b) no Council intending to do so could possess the authority to do it.
Though the Church’s juridical structure is a practical necessity and (when rightly used) a sign of its authenticity, law and adjudication are means and not ends. Catholicity is defined by adhering to what the Church has believed everywhere and always. Attempts to enforce ideas or practices contrary to this rule cannot bind the well-formed conscience.
If “an angel of heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you,” St. Paul advises the Galatians, “let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).
If that “angel” is instead a polyester prelate, the anathema most certainly holds. But if said hireling attempts to disguise his diabolical intentions with appeals to the vapors of a Council hijacked by hippies in a previous century, the most fitting response may be one charitable yawn, followed by another.
And then: prayer and fasting.
Read Dom Alcuin Reid’s article here.