Risk analysis of Vatican II
Jack P. Oostveen
Scientific and Practicing Civil Engineer
Emeritus Ass. Professor on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering
Emeritus Guest Professor on Problem Solving Theory and Training
Version d.d. 21.09.2016
Assessment of Risks
References from 'Vatican II, the intrinsic risks for failures and clarity of the interpretation.'
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. ...
... And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me.
Luke 22: 31-32, 34
This contribution to the ongoing international discussion on the Second Vatican Council summarizes an extensive engineering risk analysis and offers a risk-relationship-diagram. For a proper understanding of the term ‘risk’ regarding a Council, see reference 01.
This analysis focuses mainly on the remarkable statements about the Council by Pope Benedict XVI, -now Pope-Emeritus- during the last year of his Pontificate (2012). These statements appear to be the first time that such criticism concerning the Council has been published by the Magisterium including: (1) the lack of a specific problem to resolve, (2) the expectation to shape the future world, (3) the failed analysis of the vague expressions 'today's world', 'modern era' or 'modern world', (4) the renewed understanding of States as a result of developments of a philosophical thought only and (5) speaking of other religions solely in a positive way. Pope Benedict XVI in his preface to the book 'Joseph Ratzinger, Zur Lehre des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils', very clearly draw attention to failures of Vatican II1, 2. That he should write such statements as reigning Pontiff is unprecedented, very significant and of grave concern.
This contribution continues the discussion begun in the essay 'Vatican II, the intrinsic risks for failures and clarity of the interpretation'3. While that essay was largely focused on the recognition of risks (reference 01), the present risk-relationship-diagram depicts the logical coherence and relationships of these risks and their distinct manifestations in a wider perspective of the Council by taking into account the requirement for all Council Fathers to collaborate graciously according the intention of the Holly Spirit as an act of free will. Evidently disgracing the Holy Spirit affects the Council’s documents negatively. Therefore besides a general reference to this essay, a number of specific references taken from this essay and partly re-edit can be found at the end of this article (page 7 to page 11).
This risk-relationship-diagram reveals the underlying causes of the problems in the later interpretation of Vatican II and its documents as well as the conflicting situation that bears its origine from the contradictional interpretations. It employs general characterizations to describe the phenomena of Vatican II and the Bishops’ participation therein.
The intention of this article and analysis is to enhance general understanding of the phenomenon of Vatican II. This analysis is designed to be an instrument to assist those interested in improving the interpretation of Vatican II, thereby clarifying what measures should be taken. A deeper examination into the root causes of this phenomenon will increase the likelihood of an effective approach to addressing the current problems.
May this contribution serve the purposes of the Year of Mercy, especially the proposal to ask for Mercy for the Church with regard to the majority of the Council Fathers who, by calling themselves the Subjects and Protagonists of the Council as well as by rejecting the documents preparatory to the Council demonstrably denied the inspiration by the Holy Spirit, and seem in fact to have placed themselves above the Holy Spirit (reference 05)
According to the risk-relationship-diagram (figure 1), three risks - marked in blue at the top of the diagram (risk A) - can be determined from the Convocation of the Council, while another risk - marked in yellow at the left side of the diagram (risk B) - can be found in the Council Fathers themselves.
As Pope Benedict XVI (2012) reported, “The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve.” He adds, “John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programs. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly.”
From this source two intrinsic risks can be distinguished among the individual Council Fathers:
First, risk A1, “no specific problem has been defined” leads to a risk for blindness for the Holy Spirit (reference 02 ).
Second, risk A2, “only a pastoral objective left” leads to a risk for blindness for the fullness of the work of the Holy Spirit (reference 03).
The source of risk A3 was also identified by Pope Benedict XVI (2012), “this point touches on the real expectations of the Council. The Church, which during the Baroque era was still shaping the world, had from the nineteenth century onwards visibly entered into a negative relationship with the modern era, which had only then properly begun. 'Did it have to remain so?' 'Could the Church not take a positive step into the new era?’ " (reference 04 ).
Such 'shaping of the world' therefore is only a fruit of the sanctification of men and can never be a purpose of the Church in itself. Evidently, such expectation is creating a risk for blindness to the Truth due to prejudice that affects al kind of particular risks for failures by ambiguities.
Logically, 'shaping of the world' cannot be a purpose of Church and evidently not by a Council when the objective of the Church is the sanctification of every person by baptizing him or her in the name of the Holy Trinity. However, when the vast majority of a population, including those in power, practice the Faith as has been the case throughout much of European history, this state of affairs could be interpreted as 'the Church exercising its influence.'
The source of risk B was the arrogance of the Council Fathers (C2), as reported by Pope Benedict XVI (February 2013)4, “The Bishops said: no, let’s not do that. We are bishops, we ourselves are the subject of the Synod; we do not simply want to approve what has already done, but we ourselves want to be the subject, the protagonists of the Council” (reference 05 ).
This hubris of the bishops lead them to lose sight of the true inspiration of the Council -- the Holy Spirit, the true Subject and Protagonist of the Council. This disregard for the original preparation for the Council may have blinded the participants to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Such an attitude might even be considered a rejection of the Holy Spirit on the part of a majority of the Council Fathers, whereas a gracious collaboration concerning the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is required.
Risk A1 (reference 02) is the most serious risk identified, due to the ambiguity involved in the Council's lack of a well-defined problem to resolve.
This lack of purpose in the Convocation was confusing to the modernist and liberal movement, condemned by so many Popes as far back as the 19th century. Despite the fact that many measures and barriers against modernism by these Popes had been taken, this problem was still present in underground networks of clerics and academics.
The supporters of modernism involved with the Council (C1a) made that risk manifest by rejecting the Church from before the Council ideologically and proliferating this liberal ideology by manipulating the Council Fathers (C2a), also by using the press media (reference 10).
Risk B (reference 05) became manifest by the Council Fathers' rejection of the preparatory work(C1a+C2a); this occurred through the manipulation of the supporters of risk A1 (C1a) (reference 02 & reference 05). While such rejecting of the preparatory documents can objectively be considered as a legal act, it is also an act of free will. Therefore, the motivation and intention by which this act had been made, is determining its actual status. Obviously, this rejection was on one hand a result of arrogance of the manipulated Council Fathers (C2a) as mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI, while on the other hand it was the ideological rejection of the Church from before the Council by the manipulating Council Fathers (C1a). Then, as a result of risk A1 and risk B, risks A2 and A3 (reference 03 and reference 04) could not be prevented. Apparently, a number of the Council Fathers could resist that manipulation!.
Risk A2 (reference 03) can be regarded as vaving be accepted passively by group C2a; as a direct consequence of the influence of the group C1a who also actively generated this risk. Therefore, those generating risk A2 are the same as those generating risk A1 and A3, i.e. the liberals supporting the interpretation of the Council’s documents by the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture'. The majority of the Council Fathers who rejected the preparatory work and accepted risk A2 were neo-conservatives (C2a). They were less able to resist due to their ambiguous relationship with the supporters of the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture' (C1a) as demonstrated by their rejection of the preparatory documents. These relationships also blocked a clear view of the Truth.
Risk A3 (reference 04) coincided with risk A2, the results of which can be observed through a number of events of which this diagram showed only a few examples.
Most of these risks were a result of ambiguities in the documents inserted in order to hide the true intentions of the liberals as well as contradictory compromises to neutralize the hidden intentions.
The first example (A3a) (reference 06 ) discussed is the failed analysis of the concepts 'new era', the 'modern world' or the 'today’s world'. This failure touches the core of the Council’s pastoral objective, how to understand the ‘aggiornamento’. Correcting this failed analysis will affect the interpretation of all the Council’s documents and will reveal the influence of modernism on the development of the risks discussed.
The second example (A3b) (reference 07 ) argues that the actual interreligious disputes are based on a document that represents a one sided half Truth. And because only Truth can resolve a problem, these discussions will only exacerbate this situation. Pope Benedict XVI expounds on this in his Regensburg lecture (September 2006).
A third example (A3c) is the indifferentism due to a lack of a clear distinction between the wounded and restored human dignity in the Dignitatis Humanae by which (1) both the good and the bad will of man might be considered as having equal rights and (2) making an ambiguity of the expression ‘right of religious freedom’ by using this expression for both the absolute right of religious freedom regarding the true Religion in the first section of DH-2 and the relative right to exercise an act of free will regarding false religions as far as such could be tolerated in the second section of DH-2.
A fourth example (A3d) can be recognized by the wide spread liturgical misuses due to the type of changes of the reformed expression of the ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’ (reference 08 ).
It is striking by these examples of risk A3, how the removal of the distinction between the wounded and wonderfully restored human dignity from the daily priestly prayer of the Offertory coincide with the lack of the same distinction regarding the Dignitatis Humanae, giving that document an indifferentist flavour. This removal has been argued by the needs of modern men, and therefore is an example of the failed analysis. And factualy this is the same argument behind the one-sided Truth in Nostra Aetate.
The Council’s documents (E) are the result of several forces at work:
A liberal minority (C1a) that generated risk A1, A2 and A3;
A majority of Council Fathers (C2a) that fell for risk B due to the manipulation by the supporters of risk A1;
A conservative minority (C3a) that resisted risk B.
Considering all these forces at work in the Council, a thorough collaboration regarding the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would have been required, which maintained a balance between the guidance of the Spirit and man’s free will.
Albeit a distinction has to be considered regarding the different ways in which the majority of the Council Fathers acquiesced to risk B, objectively the rejection of the preparatory work, which also was inspired by the Holy Spirit, cannot be regarded as true collaboration by this vast majority (C2a).
It is clear that the strategy employed by the small minority of liberals (C1a) and expressed by Father Schillebeexks in the Dutch magazin ‘De Bazuin’ (February 1965):“We will express it in a diplomatic way, but after the Council we will draw out the implicit conclusions” is nothing else then a betrayal to the Council. Evidently this has made a lot of victims among Council Fathers (C2a) falling by the manipulation of the liberals (C1a).
The small minority of conservative Council Fathers (C3a) who did not fall for risk B and resisted the influence by the supporters of risk of A1, are the only ones who objectively can be considered to be in full collaboration with the Holy Spirit. However, as a small minority, they could only influence the text of the documents by weakening the camouflaged intentions of the liberal minority that was often supported by the manipulated majority. This was often accomplished only by accepting contradictory compromises.
Furthermore, it is evident that Blessed Pope Paul VI (D1a) interjected the Council by adding Nota Preavia to the third chapter of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium to prevent this chapter from future false interpretations. Factually this is the first corrective measure regarding Vatican II that has been issued by a Pope. And as reported by Pope Benedict XV in his address to the Roman clergy, 14 February 2013, Blessed Pope Paul VI (D1a) also interjected the procedure to prevent the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum from an heretical view. Blessed Pope Paul VI urged the prevention of the approval of a text on Scripture that was strongly influenced by a spirit that considers the, “Scripture as complete, everything is found there; consequently there is no need for Tradition, and so the Magisterium has nothing to say” (reference 10).
The same forces at work inside the Council in the 1960's continue to guide the interpretation of its documents (F): liberals (C1b), neo-conservatives (C2b) and conservatives (C3b), as well as the post-conciliar Popes (D1b, D2 & D3). Just like the Fathers during the Council a graciously collaboration regarding the intention of the Holy Spirit is also required to interpret the Council. Hereby all post-conciliar Popes have presented the Council as a matter of continuity, condemning the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture (A2). It is within this context that Blessed Pope Paul VI (D1b) issued his condemnation in 1972 (reference 09). While the Encyclicals Mysterium Fidei and Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI are specific examples of continuity, factually the Encyclicals of Saint Pope John Paul II (D2) and Pope Benedict XVI (D3) are corrective measures to address the failure due to the widespread hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture (C1b+C2b).
Nonetheless, the liberals (C1b) continue to wage an aggressive campaign -- with the support of the global mass media (reference 10 ) -- to continue to interpret the Council’s documents in accordance with the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture throughout the Church like expressed by Father Schillebeexks (reference 11 ). By betraying Blessed Pope Paul VI’s good will, liberal advisers and specialists have seemed to succeed in these efforts during the first few years after the Council. Their successes have included:
Infiltrating the Curia during the post-Council reform by Pope Paul VI (1972; reference 08)
Influencing the reform of the Liturgy (reference 08)
Abolishing measures implemented by a number of pre-conciliar Popes to protect the Church against modernism (risk A1)
The reformed expression 'lex orandi, lex credendi' of the Roman Liturgy introduced the concept of 'old-lost-liturgical-uses' in order to remove the organically-developed liturgal items that did not conform to the modernist view (risk A1).
They (C1b) effectively blocked any discussion 5: “... the false and erroneous interpretation of Vatican II ..... being one trend of the modern theology that vituperates as anti-conciliar anyone who departs from their monopoly-line of the Council's interpretation.”
They also falsely appealed (reference 12) to the 'Spirit of the Council' to eliminate the unwished influence of Blessed Pope Paul VI (D1a) and the conservatives (C3a), a well as to extrapolate their liberal views that could not be managed to introduce into the Council documents.
Through these manipulations, liberals (C1b) very nearly succeeded in altering the Church’s whole outlook. However, apparently, such attitude cannot be considered as being enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Hereby the neoconservative (C2b) resistance against modernism was rendered ineffective by the lack of paths still open to tradition. Their only one remaining path to the tradition was the Council (risk A2).
Fortunately, things were slowly improving. First in 1972, Blessed Pope Paul VI (D1b) condemned the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture' and warned the faithful for the 'smoke of satan' at work among his collaborators (ref. 10), which helped some neoconservatives (C2b) gain some momentum. There were also measures initiated by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and implemented by Saint Pope John Paul II (D2) and the 'Reform of the reform' movement, which afforded young priests the opportunity to study the richness of the Faith. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI’s (D3) address to the Curia in 2005 and the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007 opened the door to a more authentic celebration of the Faith and has found much support among the youth.
Finally, more corrective measures are needed to avert the failure of Vatican II, including:
Most importantly is a request for Mercy to the Holy Spirit for the Church regarding the majority of Council Fathers who disgrace the Holy Spirit by calling themselves the subject and protagonists of the Council (reference 05).
A clarity of interpretation of Vatican II according the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ (reference 13)
An examination of the failed analysis of the concept 'today’s world', with regard to its consequences for a true understanding of all Council documents (reference 06 and reference 07).
An examination of expression in the reformed liturgy of the content of 'lex orandi, lex credendi' in contrast with that of the Roman Liturgy, in the light of the influence of the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture'. This with the objective of returning to the authentic content of 'lex orandi, lex credendi' (reference 08)
An examination of the failed analysis of the concept 'today’s world', with regard to its consequences for a true understanding of the one-sided argumeall Council documents (reference 06).
When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.John 21:15-17
Pope Benedict XIV (2012), Preface of 'Joseph Ratzinger, Zur Lehre des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils.' Erster Teilband, (Joseph Ratzinger. Gesammelte Schriften 7/1), re-edited by Mgr. Gerard Ludwig Müller und der 'Institut Papst Benedikt XVI', Regensburg, ISBN 978-3-451-34124-3, Herder Verlag, Freiburg 2012. [English translation by Radio Vatican:
Pope Benedict XVI (2013), the address to the Parish Priests and Clergy of the Rome Diocese, 14th February 2013 [http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia.html]
'The Second Vatican Council, a Counterpoint for History Council', Archbishop Agostino Marchetto (2010), ISBN 978-1-58966-196-7, page 682 (on 'Situation in the last ten years')
The Holy Father or an Ecumenical Council are infallible, when they pronounce on Faith or Morals a definitive statement (dogma) which must be accepted by every Catholic, or when they present an infallible teaching on Faith and Morals of the Ordinary Magisterium.
So any Council presents both, infallible and fallible teachings. Apparently, Vatican II did not even want to pronounce any new dogma.
Thus, in case of Vatican II the Council documents contain infallible teaching insofar it concerns the infallible matters of Faith and Morals of the Ordinary Magisterium, and fallible teachings insofar it concerns analyses and matters at the level of the changing reality of the modern world. Precisely, because of these fallible teachings the Council carries the risk of imperfect analysis and characterizations at this underlying changing reality of the modern world, and thereby also the risk of incorrect decisions as to the implementation of the Depositum Fidei with all consequences regarding the resulting effects. Some examples of this has been diagnosized from some recent statements by Pope Benedict XVI [Pope Benedict XIV (2012), Preface of 'Joseph Ratzinger, Zur Lehre des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils.' Erster Teilband, (Joseph Ratzinger. Gesammelte Schriften 7/1)]
Suggesting that all aspects of a Council are infallible, due to the Magisterial provisions on issues of Faith and Morals, is absurd. It is equivalent to say that, despite the fact that there may be some fallible teachings, anything resulting from any Council should be infallible and undisputable through and through, and as such has to be considered as a dogma in itself. This unprecedented line of thinking obviously imposes a tremendous risk: fallible decissions may come to be considered as infallible. The Council, in this absurd scenario, is above reproach, as it were deified. This is undermining the status of the true infallibility by the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Council when they pronounce on Faith or Morals a definitive statement (dogma). In fact it makes a mockery of it.
Therefore, for a proper understanding of expressions like failed and risks for failures regarding a risk analysis of a Council, the following definitions are useful to consider (these come from the professional engineering discipline of failure analysis):
The Ultimate Limit State (ULS) is a type of failure mode where the total functioning of a system has been destroyed. This type of failure is unrecoverable.
The Serviceability Limit State (SLS) is a type of failure mode where one or more distinct elements of a system do not function sufficiently. This kind of failure can be resolved by taking appropriate corrective measures.
When considering a Council an Ultimate Limit State failure mode or “collapse by heresy” cannot exist, especially regarding the infallibility of Depositum Fidei and the supernatural protection by the Holy Spirit. Even if Council documents contain a lot of ambiguities, the Holy Spirit, is preventing the Council from absolute heresy and guarantees that the total result can always be interpreted in accordance with the fullness of the Depositum Fidei and Tradition.
All Council Fathers are required to collaborate graciously concerning the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by an act of free will. Apparently, if a number of individual Council Fathers are lacking such gracious collaboration, the Holy Spirit still respects that free will, but at the sme time He will reject these Council Fathers from His inspiration and hit them by blindness. If all Council Fathers collaborated graciously as described above, there would be no ambiguous texts. However, as this was not the case, those who lacked this ‘gracious collaboration’ introduced ambiguities into texts, often reflecting some contradictory compromise. In some cases the degree of compromise produced documents that cannot serve, unambiguously, the proper interpretation of the Council with regard to the convoked objectives. ,b>Evidently, these ambiguities and contradictory text phrases cannot come from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Truth.
On one hand this can be considered as a Serviceability Limit State failure mode at which the Holy Spirit is respecting the free will of man, while on the other hand the Holy Spirit is protecting the Council supernaturally from the Ultimate Limit State failure mode by preventing it from absolute heresies, just by these ambiguous and contradictory texts phrases. This is what makes the Serviceability Limit State failure mode resolvable by addressing appropriate corrective measures in gracious collaboration with the Holy Spirit, and finally into a successful Council.
It would seem that the Serviceability Limit State failure mode has been reached due to Council Fathers disgracing the Holy Spirit and being the source of the ambiguities and contradictory text phrases in the Council documents by which these texts are open for false interpretations and incorrect (pastoral) measures to be implemented. The phenomenon of failing interpretations is factually proving the existence of the Serviceability Limit State failure mode.
On one hand, the more Council Fathers disgrace the Holy Spirit through their free will, the more risks on blindness among the Council Fathers appears and the more ambiguities are present in the Council Documents as well as the greater the risk that the convoked objectives of the Council cannot be achieved. On the other hand as long as these ambiguities have not been addressed well by appropriate corrective measures, the convoked objective(s) of a Council cannot be achieved.
Thus the term “risk for failure of Vatican II” means here the risk for a Serviceability Limit State failure mode, by which the Council documents lack the service for clear understanding of the documents due to ambiguity as a source for incorrect interpretation by which potentially incorrect measures can be taken and the convoked objective, the New Evangelisation, fails.
Pope Benedict XVI (2012) wrote, “The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve.” He adds, “John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programs. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly.”
January 1959, Saint Pope John XXIII announced a Council to resolve a specific problem. Then, December 1961, by the Convocation to the Bishops he stated that the Holy Spirit already resolved that specific problem and so the Council could benefit it. Then the objective of the Council changed into a pastoral one, the ‘Agiornamento’.
However, it is still possible that the observed specific problem could be a symptom of a larger predicament. It is easy to comprehend how circumstances might alter the appearance of this symptom, or even how a different perspective could make it as though the symptom had disappeared, despite the reality of the underlying larger predicament continued existence.
In this case, it is possible that the symptom that was considered a specific problem in 1959 had become invisible in 1961 due to the enthusiasm following the announcement of the Council, while due to the lack of an intensive problem analysis, the specific problem could not be acknowledged and the Council could not focus on resolving it. Subsequently, such problem continued to proliferate during the Council and became a risk for blindness for the Holy Spirit by individual Council Fathers.
Hereto, the modernism was already identified, condemned and suppressed by pre-conciliar Popes since the early 19th century. However, because Saint Pope John XXIII did not identify the modernism as a specific concern, the Council was unable to effectively address it. Though, this is also the reason why previous popes did not convoke a Council to address this issue.
Pope Benedict XVI (2012) wrote, “The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve.” He adds, “John XXIII had convoked the Council without indicating to it any specific problems or programs. This was the greatness and at the same time the difficulty of the task that was set before the ecclesial assembly.”
Convoking a pastoral Council without a specific problem to resolve means that the work of the Holy Spirit becomes the objective of the Council. Usually, the Council is an instrument through which the Holy Spirit resolves specific dogmatic and/or disciplinary problems. Therefore calling the pastorate the objective of the Council reverses the relationship between the Council and the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the Church and the sanctification of man. This might lead to a risk for blindness by individual Council Fathers for the fullness of the work of the Holy Spirit by disregarding the work of the Holy Spirit as restricted to the specific results of the Pastoral Council. Consequently, the work of the Holy Spirit that does not fit the Pastoral Council’s restricted view will be rejected.
Because a “normal” Council is an instrument to resolve Church-wide doctrinal and/or disciplinary problems, another risk might arise here. The work of the Holy Spirit, considered restricted by the results of the Pastoral Council, is then threatened as a false orthopraxis considered s absolute comparable to results of a “normal” Council that has resolved doctrinal and disciplinary problems.
This risk for failure has become manifest by the hermeneutic of the rupture and discontinuity which can be recognized by the rejection of the pre-Vatican II Church.
Pope Benedict XVI (2012) wrote, “This point touches on the real expectations of the Council. The Church, which during the Baroque era was still shaping the world, had from the nineteenth century onwards visibly entered into a negative relationship with the modern era, which had only then properly begun. 'Did it have to remain so?' 'Could the Church not take a positive step into the new era?”
Through this statement Pope Benedict XVI addresses the optimistic expectation which arose from the solutions proposed in Saint John XIII’s Convocation. Pope Benedict XVI indicates that the expectation of the Council was expressed through questions like “Did it have to remain so?” and “Could the Church not take a positive step into the new era?”
Because a negative response to such questions would contradict the general expectations of the Council, a great effort was put forth to be able to give a positive one. However, the response should have been more nuanced than “Yes” or “No”.
These questions demonstrate intrinsic risks for blindness by individual Council Fathers for the Truth by revealing a bias towards the terms “new era”, “modern world” and “today's world”. This creates an extremely skewed interpretation of the facts.
Pope Benedict XVI reported on February 14, 2013 in his address to the Parish Priests and Clergy of the Rome Diocese, “The Bishops said, ‘No, let’s not do that. We are bishops, we ourselves are the subject of the Synod; we do not simply want to approve what has already done, but we ourselves want to be the subject, the protagonists of the Council.’”
Such overreach is alarming and leads to the following questions:
(1) is a gracious collaboration concerning the inspiration of the Holy Spirit required for all Council Fathers as an act of free will.?
(2) Are the Bishops the true protagonists of the Council, or is the Holy Spirit the true Protagonist of the Council who wonderfully acts through the Council Fathers and the Pope while respecting their free will?
Then the majority of the Council Fathers put three years work by the preparatory committes that also has to be considered as inspired by the Holy Spirit in the dustbin, partly motivated by this arrogance and partly by an ideological rejection of the Church from before the Council. Saint Pope John XXIII confirmed this rejection despite he wrote in his convocation about this work: “We then instituted the different preparatory' organizations to which we entrusted the arduous task of drawing up the doctrinal and disciplinary projects, which we intend to submit to the Council. We finally have the joy of announcing that this intense work of study, to which the cardinals, bishops, prelates, theologians, canonists, and experts from all over the world have given their valuable contribution, is now nearing its end.”
By this arrogance the 'majority of the Council Fathers' has placed themselves above the Holy Spirit by which they had created a risk for a blindness by pride by individual Council Fathers that became manifest by ignoring the preparatory work. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit honours the free will of man regardless of his status. Therefore on one hand He tolerated the 'spirit of that majority of the Council Fathers' that had rejected his work, but on the other hand He rejected them from his inspiration, limiting His inspiration to a “minority” of Council Fathers only, which might have neutralized the schismatic nature of the 'spirit of a majority of the Council Fathers' to save the Council from a total collapse according the ULS-failure mode.
Finally, it is the so-called 'watered-down' texts together with the contradictory compromises that were accepted by the Council Fathers and the Pope. Yet the inspiration of the Holy Spirit might still have an impact on these diluted elements of the Council, especially with regards to the contradictory compromises to assure continuity
Pope Benedict XVI (2012) wrote, “Behind the vague expression 'today’s world' lies the question of the relationship with the modern era. To clarify this, it would have been necessary to define more clearly the essential features that constitute the modern era. 'Schema XIII' did not succeed in doing this. Although the Pastoral Constitution expressed many important elements for an understanding of the 'modern world' and made significant contributions to the question of Christian ethics, it failed to offer substantial clarification on this point.” He added, “Unexpectedly, the encounter with the great themes of the modern epoch did not happen in the great Pastoral Constitution, but instead in two minor documents, whose importance has only gradually come to light in the context of the reception of the Council.”
Thus, His Holiness confirmed the failure of the analysis of the modern world found in Gaudium et Spes, Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate:
Logically, a thorough analysis is either right or wrong. If that analysis fails for even some of the Council documents, then that same analysis may be expected to have failed for all of them. This failed analysis manifests a blindness for Truth by individual Council Fathers that even affects the pastoral goal of the Council, how to interpret the ‘agiornamento’.
The following quote reveals how taking a physician’s point of view exposes the problems of a failed analysis of the Council:
A physician has to make a diagnosis of his patient's physical problems to discover the type of illness. Such an act is in fact a fallible act of problem solving at the level of the changing world. Thereafter, the physician has to decide what the best medicine is to restore the patient’s health and then he prescribes this medicine to his patient.
In doing this, he is in fact searching for the best solution at the level of truth. Although such search for the truth would be in full accordance with the diagnosis, if the diagnosis - analysis - have failed, certainly such a medicine is presenting a high risk and worsening the patient’s condition and may even cause his death.
And so a new problem has been appeared: how self-sufficient will the physician be, will he be able to acknowledge his imperfection by recognize his failed diagnosis or not?
Such can also happen to the Church, if it refuses to recognize the failed analysis on the level of the changing reality and the consequent search on the level of the Depositum Fidei as an incorrect search in potency. These kind of failures have affected the Council’s documents as well as many pastoral and liturgical measures. Without appropriate corrective measures these failures cannot be resolved and will harm the Church more and more.
Pope Benedict XVI (2012) wrote: “In the process of active reception, a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance wards religion, both internally and externally.”
He could not have expressed himself more clearly about Nostra Aetate. Reflecting the tendency to not speak negatively about religion, this document expresses only a positive view, presenting a one-sided argument. Therefore, this document manifests a clear blindness for the Truth by individual Council Fathers and cannot be used properly in any decision-making process without an extremely high risk of false measures. Obviously an accurate interpretation of this Council document by appropriate corrective measures can only be made after a complete and thorough examination regarding the fullness of the Depositum Fidei and the Tradition...
According the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy have the same lex orandi, lex credendi. Thus regarding the lex orandi, lex credendi of the Roman Liturgy both Liturgical forms expresses the Depositum Fidei in distinguished manner, whereby the Ordinary Form would be set up as a reformed expression of the Extraordinary Form.
Therefore, without questioning the validity of both Liturgical Forms of the Roman Liturgy a comparison and discussion about both distinguished expressions of the lex orandi, lex credendi with regard to the Depositum Fidei might be legally. Obviously, such comparative study of the Collects of the Roman Missals can be found by L.Pristas (2013), “The Collects of the Roman Missals, a comparative study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons before and after the Second Vatican Council”, Boomsbury T&T Clark, ISBN 978-0-567-03384-0] whereas she mentioned a policy change by Dumas “The Church universal of the present day becomes Church of our time and objective expressions present-day precepts or customs has become the subjective expression present-day needs”.
Evidently, a misinterpretation due to the failed analysis of the modern time and today’s world is at work according the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture. Such kind of ideological background has also been observed by Fiedrowicz (2012) [“Die überlieferte Messe – Geschichte – Gestalt – Thelogie”: 2. aktualisierte Auflage, Carthusianus Verlag, ISBN 978-3-941862-12-8, p.230] as he reported, referring to various authors, that the reformed lex orandi, lex credendi has weakened or even showing a disappearance of number of topics belonging to the Depositum Fidei: ‘... the prayers of the classic Rite contain and preserve many thoughts that have weakened or disappeared completely in the revised version, although they belongs to the Catholic faith -the Depositum Fidei - include: (1) the renunciation of earthly and (2) the desire for the eternal, (3) the sovereignty of Christ over the world and society, (4) the fight against heresy and schism, (5) the conversion of unbelievers, (6) the need to return to the Catholic Church and the pure truth; (7) earnings (8) wonders (9) appearances of the saints (10) God's wrath against sin, and (11) the possibility of eternal damnation.’
Precisely due to the interactive working of the law of lex orandi, lex credendi whereas the lex orandi of the reformed Liturgy has been released from a strict form of rubrics, such drastic and very consistent changes on at least eleven topics of the Depositum Fidei in the reformed lex credendi of the Roman Liturgy has paved the road of practicing misuses at the actual lex orandi. Hereby the weakening and disappearance of elements of the Depositum Fidei from the (daily) prayers of the H. Mass seems to function as a kind of self-censorship to let these elements disappear from the faithful’s mind systematically.
Another example of this phenomenon can be found at the first part of the second Offertory prayer of the Extraordinary Form ‘O God, Who wonderfully formed the dignity of human nature, and more wonderfully restored it.‘ This part of that prayer has been removed from the Sacred Liturgy with the liturgical reform of 1970 while this prayer is expressing the fullness of the doctrine of Faith very well. This prayer is expressing that due to the first Sin by Adam the Human Dignity of all mankind -so wonderfully made by God- has been wounded and that God has restored the Human Dignity more wonderfully through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ by His Crucifixion and that we can participate in it only through the water of the Baptism and the wine of His Blood as he is the Door to Heaven. This part of the prayer has simply been removed without any replacement.
Why might this reference to the wounded Human Dignity regarding the mankind outside the Church has to disappear from the daily prayers by the priests in the reformed expression of the lex orandi, lex credendi?
Why, for what reason would this fundamental witness of Faith has to be exchanged by a malformed expression in the reformed Roman Liturgy?
The way the reformed expression of Lex Credendi, Lex Orandi deviated from the Council document Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Tradition looks like an ideological blindness of the reformers by which the reform is subjected to a failure due to a blindness for the Truth?
Pope Benedict XVI twice condemned the hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity and emphasized the importance of the hermeneutic of renewal and reform in continuity. He first spoke of it in his 2005 Christmas address and subsequently in the preface of the book on his work regarding Vatican II in 2012. This condemnation can be traced back to an address by Blessed Pope Paul VI to the Curia on June 23, 1972, “... an emergency which We cannot and must not keep hidden: in the first place a false and erroneous interpretation of the Council, which would want to break with the tradition, even as regards the doctrine, an interpretation which goes so far that the pre-conciliar Church is rejected and one is allowed to consider a 'new' church, as it were reinvented from the inside, as regards the constitution of the Church, her dogma, custom and law.”
This is a clear description of the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture. Notably, in the same week on June 29th 1972 Blessed Pope Paul VI also stated in his homily, “... from some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”
Furthermore, Blessed Pope Paul VI observed in 1966, thus shortly after the Council’s closing, “It would not be the truth for anybody to imagine that the Vatican Council II represented any kind of break, interruption, or 'liberation' from the teaching of the Church, or that it authorized or promoted any kind of accommodation or conformism with the mentality of our times, in its negative or ephemeral aspects.”
Thus the liberal hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity has been condemned explicitly by both Blessed Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI.
In his address of February 14, 2013, on the subject of Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI alluded to the existence of two Councils: the real Council and the shadow–council of the mass media. The shadow-council reported on the real Council subjectively and with a strong bias in the rupture and discontinuity, which strongly influenced the way the real Council has been received.
Pope Benedict XVI stated, “It was obvious that the media would take the side of those who seemed to them more closely allied with their world ...” and shortly thereafter mentioning “... born from a vision of the Council detached from its proper key, that of faith. And the same applies to the question of Scripture: Scripture is a book, it is historical, to be treated historically and only historically, and so on.”
Remarkably, while Pope Benedict XVI put on the one hand the responsibility for the false portrayal of the real Council on the shadow-council. On the other hand he also referenced a direct intervention by the Blessed Pope Paul VI, who urged the prevention of the approval of a text on Scripture that was strongly influenced by a spirit that considers the, “Scripture as complete, everything is found there; consequently there is no need for Tradition, and so the Magisterium has nothing to say”
The text that Blessed Pope Paul VI prevented was not the responsibility of any shadow-council. Here a false spirit was at work in the “real” Council trying to influence the text of the Council’s documents to prepare it for interpretations after the Council opposing the Faith. Blessed Pope Paul VI also intervened in the work of this 'spirit of the vast majority of the Council Fathers' by adding Nota Praevia to the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.
Blessed Pope Paul VI’s action proves that such effort to render Council documents ambiguous also concerns dogmatic subjects in the Dogmatic Constituttions and such cannot be the responsibility of the so-called shadow-council by the mass media. These two cases confirms Father Schillebeexks in the Dutch magazin ‘De Bazuin’ (February 1965):“We will express it in a diplomatic way, but after the Council we will draw out the implicit conclusions” and makes clearly manifest that the unidentified problem has proliferated during the Council continuously influencing the texts of the Council’s documents.
The double standard by which the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are punished by the Congregation of Religious for partaking in discussions about the interpretation of Vatican II and their way of Church life is confusing the faithful.
Did not the Holy Spirit work in the Church before Vatican II? The Holy Spirit influenced the Church equally before and after the Council. What may be discussed in pursuit of Truth? Should a part of the Truth be excluded from Church life? Are some faithful excluded from these discussions, while others are unrestricted?
Despite this double standard regarding the interpretation of Vatican II, faithful priests and laity, have a right to discuss the documents of Vatican II. The Holy See should provide any necessary clarity on these matters. This would not only benefit the faithful but would alleviate confusion regarding the Council. A document clarifying the interpretation of Vatican II has been provided to the Congregation for Doctrine of Faith and can be found here: – see correspondence with the CDF [http://www.ecclesiadei.nl/docs/CDF.pdf]
This example of double standards is demonstrating that the spirit of the hermeneutic of discontinuity that rejects the Church of before Vatican II is still alive today and even in the Curia according the complaint by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1972.
Why should the Faithful appeal to the 'spirit of the Council' instead of the Holy Spirit to interpret the documents of Vatican II?
The 'spirit of the Council' has to be distinguished from the Holy Spirit because no common identity between these “Spirits” is exists.
What could be achieved by appealing to the 'spirit of the Council?'
The German Dominican Pesch (1993) defines the 'spirit of the Council' as the 'spirit that prevailed among the vast majority of the Council Fathers (Pesch, Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil, 1993 - 3rd actualized edition of 2010, p. 160). Therefore, this 'spirit of the Council' excludes the Pope as well as a part of the Council Fathers.
Therefore Pesch’s appeal to the 'spirit of the Council' to interpret the Council's documents factually means interpreting the Council without the Pope and a part of the Council Fathers. This approach is schismatic in nature and should be categorically rejected.
In order to examine the Council documents with genuine, pastoral discernment, one must distinguish among:
Statements (I) concerning the characterization at the level of the changing reality of the modern world in the light of Faith, which are fallible and imperfect;
Statements (II) at the level of the Depositum Fidei which are infallible;
Statements (III) concerning the implementation of Depositum Fidei which (IIIa) might have been explored insufficiently or (IIIb) might be based on incorrect characterizations of the level of the changing reality of the modern world but leaving Depositum Fidei intact.
While Statement (II) affects the infallibility of the Depositum Fidei itself, Statements (I) and (III) do not at all. They may have failed and are therefore subject to critical discussions. – see correspondence with the CDF [http://www.ecclesiadei.nl/docs/CDF.pdf]
Any blocking of discussion of statements (I) and (III) seems to declare them as infallible; an act which renders a pastoral statement a false dogmatic and fundamentalist orthopraxis.
The need for clarity is exemplified by the double standard of the Congregation of Religious towards the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. They have been punished for and blocked from this debate. This blockage was motivated by an ideology that rejects the Church-life from before Vatican II and thus rejects the Holy Spirit at work in the living Tradition. This ideology is not receptive to any discussion that 'departs from their monopoly-line of the Council's interpretation' because it might unmask this false ideology.
The continued punishment of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate stands in full contrast to the spirit of the Year of Mercy