Ambiguities in Vatican II

The Church is in a critical period. Many fear we are on the brink of a schism over the liturgy, morals, the way the Church relates to the secular world and other religions. Some Catholics blame Vatican II with sincerity. Below are two tables, the first table has a few general criticisms (on the left) with our responses (on the right). The second table provides a detailed critique of the council with our responses, point by point.

General criticisms Our contention
Vatican II was an unnecessary "pastoral" council, unlike the others 20 councils which were called to introduce a new dogma or to respond to a specific threat. The Holy Spirit knew about the upcoming persecution of Christians in the west, the tidal wave of the sexual revolution and other forces of darkness. Vatican II was a preparation for it. We agree there is a crisis but think we would be much worse off without Vatican II. The walls to protect the Church before Vatican II were like a fortress against foot soldiers of the middle ages, but could not defend against attacking planes that fly over walls. The Church Militant needs new strategies when its enemies (inside and out) have mass communication.
Popes after council are weak because they did not repudiate the council and they accepted an "old earth" theory. They made diplomatic and strategic errors. JPII removed the devil's advocate role, resulting in the canonization of marxist Oscar Romero.

JPII and Benedict were amazing popes even though modern cameras captured every little diplomatic mistake (unlike popes of old). The canonization process still intensly scrutinizes candidates. Oscar Romero is a target for left and right wing identity politics. Surely we can imagine an advocate for the poor who's not a marxist. (This is a separate issue from VII.) We have an article on creationism which is also a separate issue.

Note: Pope Francis is a problem for all serious Catholics following Vatican news. Pray for him. The silver lining of his ambiguities may be that when the persecution of Christians begins, secularists won't know "what type of Catholic we are", (1) "haters" who deny gender politics, or (2) the "open liberal type" who "include" everyone while singing Kumbaya. It may frustrate their attempts to uniformly persecute Catholics and provide us a little bit of cover in a time of great trial. God's permissive will may be in this.

The ambiguities of the documents were compromises with liberal progressives who were happy to have wiggle room where they could manipulate the future of the Church. Catholic lay people needed more Bible reading, more of the Holy Spirit, a deeper relationship with Jesus, encouragement to evangelize and defend the faith, natural and joyful sex within marriage, and the ability to hold bad bishops and priests accountable. Turning back the clock won't work. We need to trust the council process otherwise its open season on every other council. We don't think that the Holy Spirit stayed home when 4000 bishops showed up.
It didn't address the evils of communism The Vatican wanted to improve relations with the Orthodox Church at the council. They would likely not have attended if there was a unilateral condemnation of communism with no context. Much like Pious XII and the Nazis during world war II, careful diplomacy is necessary. Since the council, Orthodox relations have unthawed and a unification is within site. Paul VI explicitly repudiated Communism in his 1964 encyclical Ecclesiam Suam. JPII hastened the downfall of communism. The Vatican explictily refuted marxism in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and condemned liberation theology.
The liberal bubble that followed the council was either caused by, or was enabled by, the council Here's an analogy. In 1994, Windows 3.1 was amazing but could not scale any further. Windows 95 fixed that but was disorienting and needed ongoing code patches because hackers exploited its open architechture. Vatican II was an open architecture to adapt to mass communication and globally competing religions but "hackers" often exploit its vulnerabilities. What can we do?
  • Read the entire VII passage. Unhappy Catholics on both the left and the right pull quotes out of context, the way many protestants read the Bible when trying to justify an anti-Catholic interpretation.
  • Vatican II provided broad strokes for a reform. Papal letters, encyclicals, synods, etc. (linked below), clarify details and clear up misinterpretation. (virus patches)

Specific Vatican II criticisms (left column) with responses (right).

Specific charge of ambiguity in Vatican II documents Hermeneutic of continuity with tradition
Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes On the Church In the Modern World (GS): permeated with spirit of the “new Enlightenment.” That term doesn't appear in the document. Pope Benedict issued a clear refutation of the New Age and relativism.
Gaudium et Spes 22.2: affirms that by His Incarnation the Son of God “has united Himself in some fashion with every man,” extends the Incarnation to each one of us, thereby divinizing man. The next sentence explains. "He [Jesus] worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin." The statement to the left is pulling sentences out the context some Protestants study the Bible.

Decree Unitatis Redintegratio On Ecumenism 3.4: considers “separated Churches and Communities,” notwithstanding their “deficiencies,” to be true and proper “means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church”

Pope John XXIII opened the council with "I want to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in." If we want to influence someone we have to start with what we have in common. Saint Paul did this with the Greek philosophers (Acts 17:23). Evangelicals often have the Grace of the Holy Spirit moving in their communities and have much better Bible literacy in the pews than Catholics, even though there is much misunderstood theology.

Gaudium et Spes 24.3: affirms that “man is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself,” as if the purpose that guided the creation of man could have been something other than the celebration of the Glory of God and of God as the ultimate end of all things.

The passage is footnoted with a reference to 2 Cor 15 "And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them."

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium: presented as “a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race,” without mention of the supernatural end of the Church, that is the salvation of souls, the one thing that justifies her existence.

The next sentence says "it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission." Two paragraphs later it goes into the story of redemption "By His obedience He brought about redemption." We should not read VII documents the way protestants read the Bible, pulling a passages out of context.

Definition of the Church given by Lumen Gentium 8.2 and 15, Unitatis Redintegratio 3 and UR 15.1: The Church of Christ “subsists” in the Catholic Church and “many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward Catholic unity.”

Extends the concept of the Church of Christ to also include all the heretics and schismatics, implies the negation of the dogma of the unicity of the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church (the one and only true Church of Christ) for salvation.

In 2007 the CDF Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church said "subsistence means this perduring historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic church, in which the church of Christ is concretely found on this earth."

It would be a heresy to say that there are no elements of sanctification and truth found outside the Church's visible structures. Otherwise Aquinas would have had to ignore Aristotle and St. Paul would have taken a different strategy in Acts 7:23. Also notice the word "visible" indicating that the Church is both visible and invisible.

A pre Vatican II stance undermines our ability to Evangelize. An Anglican friend who eventually converted to the Catholic faith told us that for 30 years he had no idea that someone could "become" Catholic. Augustine considered Donatists his brothers. The heresy was overcome by dialog, respecting the dignity of the persons who had some false notions.

Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation Dei Verbum  11.2: “the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.” The expression “without error” can in fact be interpreted as referring only to the “truth” revealed “for our salvation” [nostrae salutis causa]; that is, only regarding religious and moral precepts only.


Salvation is the lens through which God inspired Scripture. God expresses Truth through different genres, which was St. Augustine's proposition. Proper hermeneutics is critical. We condemned Galileo because we misread scripture ("the earth is immovable" 1 Chron 16:30, etc.) The Church did not correctly identify the genre of the Truth that God was using. This is a real danger as we engage with scientists on questions about the age of the earth in Genesis etc. If a husband says "your eyes are like the stars", that is truth for the sake of winning the love of his wife. It would be inappropriate for the wife to reply "no, they are protoplasm, your analogy is not true!"  

The 1998 amendment to Canon Law, Ad Tuendam Fidem, says “the absence of error in the inspired sacred texts ... require the assent of theological faith by all members of the faithful. Thus, whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy...” (Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei 11).

The concept of Tradition is never expressly defined; its relationship with Scripture is not made clear (DV 9), nor its relationship with the Tradition of the “Eastern Churches” (Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum 1). In addition, there appears a concept of a “live” or “living tradition” (DV 8) which is nebulous and ambiguous, since, “it lends itself to introducing every sort of novelty into the Church, even the most contradictory, as expressions of her life.”

Tradition is to be understood as it's always been understood. The document strongly defends Tradition (10.2).

The opposite of a "living tradition" is a "dead tradition". The Church is still on a pilgrimage and she can define dogma such as the "Immaculate Conception" and perhaps in the future the "Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces". She has the authority and responsibility to respond to modern challenges and adapt accordingly and to define doctrine.

The new definition of episcopal collegiality in LG 22 “The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles … is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff” (LG 22.2).

This is not new, and the balance of the cardinals (with the Pope) is particularly important when there is a pope who is not very good or strong. Paul VI himself overrode all of the Cardinals with Humane Vitae, and hopefully current cardinals can talk sense to Pope Francis.

In the Decree On Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae (DH), a concept of “religious liberty” is affirmed which does not seem to distinguish itself from the secular concept of the same, which is the fruit of the idea of tolerance, the origins of which are in Deism and the Enlightenment.


Coercion and forcing people to assimilate the gospel would simply not work in the age of modern communications. The Holy Spirit knew there would be a worse exodus from the Church if we clung to this. Going forward, the Catholic Church must "propose" rather than "impose" the Truth. It must share the Gospel with compelling reasons to believe rather than adopting a "shut up and believe!" attitude, which devastated the Canadian Quebec Church.
Notifications in the Appendix to LG:  “Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding.”) But in fact there are not dogmatic definitions in any conciliar document on “matters of faith and morals.” However the apologists of the Council claim it exudes a new type of “infallibility”, somehow implicit in the same pastoral nature of the documents. But this is impossible because the dogmatic character of a pronouncement of the extraordinary Magisterium must result from certain, comprehensible and traditional signs and cannot be “implicit”.

The Cardinal McCarrick issue has been exposed by Catholic lay people who are taking responsibility for the Church in the wake of the failure of Bishops Conferences. Michael Voris, Lifesite and Taylor Marshall all have popular YouTube Channels. This website, CatholicBridge.com is a result of the new Evangelization by lay Catholics. We are lay people living our Vatican II calling as the priestly people of God.

Note: Cardinal McCarrick and 44% of abuse case priests were educated and/or ordained before Vatican II.

Sacrosanctum Concilium On the Sacred Liturgy (SC 47, 48, 106), Holy Mass as “a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten” and a “memorial” in place of a propitiatory sacrifice (which obtains mercy [propitiatio] before God for our sins). Article 106 describes “the paschal mystery” (a new, obscure, and unusual name for the Holy Mass) in this way: it is the day of the week when “Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place so that, by hearing the word of God and taking part in the Eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, the resurrection and the glorification of the Lord Jesus, and may thank God who has begotten them again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto a living hope (1 Pet 1:3)” (SC 106). This manner of speaking seems to present the Holy mass essentially as a memorial and as a “sacrifice of praise” for the Resurrection, in the manner of the Protestants.

Furthermore, the definition of the Holy Mass in SC makes no mention of the dogma of transubstantiation or of the nature of the Holy Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice. Does this not fall into the specific error solemnly condemned  by Pius VI in 1794, when he exposed the heresies of the Jansenists, declaring that their definition of the Holy Mass, precisely because of its silence on transubstantiation, was “pernicious, unfaithful to the exposition of Catholic truth on the dogma of transubstantiation, and favorable to the heretics”(DS 1529/2629)?

The Sacrosanctum Concilium was about the presentation of the Mass. Critics of the council rightly state that V2 was not to defend against heresy, so there is no need to defend the doctrine of transubstantiation. The definition is not changed. The documents are clearly transubstantial: “Christ is always present ... especially under the Eucharistic species ... at the table of the Lord's body;... due care being taken to preserve their substance (a theological term)... receive the Lord's body..." Protestant theologians would strongly disagree that the document represents their views.  The SC 6 says "... by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation ..." This is a definition of a "propitiatory sacrifice"

Liberal forces have tried to hijack the Mass and natually there were mistakes in the implementation of Vatican II because the devil hates the mass and nothing in the world is more important than than mass, literally! Pope Benedict reaffirmed the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our faith. JPII and Benedict began the reform of the reform. Benedict corrected liturgical abuses in the Redemptionis Sacramentum.

The SC says nothing about most of the complaints (communion in the hand, Priest facing congregation, etc.)

Regarding Pious VI Auctorem fidei in 1794, the only place we can find this is on sites that condemn Vatican II which seem to be copied from one another. We would be glad to see a reputable copy of the document. Jansenism discouraged frequent reception of communion because they said most Catholics are unworthy. Bringing it up here, seems like a disingenuous association with heresy that is orthogonal to the discussion.

New competence given to the Bishops’ Conferences in liturgical matters, including the faculty of experimenting new forms of worship (SC 22 § 2, 39, 40); Sacrosanctum Concilium has introduced the principle of adaptation of the rite to the character and traditions of various peoples, to their language, music, arts (SC 37, 38, 39, 40, 90, 119) as well as through the simplification of the rite itself, which is desired to be shorter and clearer (SC 21, 34, 65-70, 77, 79, 90). many consider this principle to be the real cause of the current liturgical chaos.

While the SC was used by some liberals as an excuse to introduce novelties and nuttiness into some liturgical celebrations, there was nothing nutty in the document.

None of the common complaints against the modern liturgy are in the VII documents, ALL of which were signed off by Bishop Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX. No priest facing the congregation, communion on the hand, girl alter servers, etc. The SC was no more the cause of abuses than guns are the cause of murders. We have an in depth discussion of the Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary Mass.

Sacrosanctum Concilium decrees: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved (servetur) in the Latin rites” (SC, 36 § 1). But it also consents that “the limits of [the mother tongue’s] employment may be extended” according to the norms and cases determined by the Council itself (SC 36 § 2). The Council gives Bishops’ Conferences a “full competence” regarding the introduction of the vernacular into worship (SC 22 § 2, 40, 54). There are numerous cases in which the Council conceded the possibility of the partial or total use of the mother tongue: SC 63

Archbishop Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, voted for the Sacrosanctum Concilium, in fact he voted for all Vatican II documents.  Almost no Catholic lay people or those we evangelize understand Latin. Before Vatican II almost no one went for Communion at an 11am Mass because they had had breakfast. Parishioners prayed their Rosaries during the entire Mass because they didn't understand. Thank God Tridentine Masses are much more reverent now than they were 60 years ago. Pope Benedict overrode Bishops who tried to prevent faithful congregations from using the Extraortinary (Tridentine) Mass. He issued a document to clean up abuses of the Ordinary Mass and created a new English Translation of the Ordinary Mass that was more formal and magestic.

The demotion of the priest from “priest of God” to “priest of the People of God”, as if the legitimation of the priesthood depended on the People of God, Also, the “common priesthood of the faithful” (LG 10.2), which are conceived of as “interrelated” [ad invicem ordinantur]

Our Lord, at the beginning, “has established ministers among his faithful”.(Conciliar Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum Ordinis, PO 2.2). On the contrary, the Gospels attest that Our Lord did not begin to build his Church choosing men from “among his faithful” in general: He built it working with those He had chosen and prepared as priests; that is, with the Apostles.

On Holy Thursday, the priest washes the feet of the laity. The Church is the mystical body of Christ, made up of the people of God. The priesthood is based on the Levitical priesthood which was at the service of the people of God. The priesthood right now is a disaster and 44% of abuse cases were by priests educated or ordained before Vatican II. We dislike the term clericalism because it's being used to avoid the homosexual crisis in the priesthood. But this attitude that the priest is above the people, and historically above the law, is not biblical and is one of the biggest reasons for the huge disaster we have in the Church right now.

The PO doesn't say "established ministers from among his faithful. It says "established ministers among his faithful."

Pope Benedict was the first pope in history to issue a document specifically on homosexuality in the priesthood even though it had been a problem from long before Vatican II.

...ecclesiastical celibacy “it is indeed not demanded of by the very nature of the priesthood,” justifying this assertion with an altogether unique interpretation of the thought of Saint Paul (PO 16.1); the infiltration of ideas contrary to the Tradition of the Church, namely, that among the “functions” of the priesthood, the first place ought to be given to preaching (“proclaiming the Gospel of God to all” PO 4.1), even though the Council of Trent has affirmed that what characterizes the priesthood in the first place is “the power to consecrate, offer and dispense the Body and Blood of Christ” and secondly “the power to forgive or not forgive sins.”

The tradition of celibate Catholic priests is Canon Law, not dogma, which means it is not set in stone, and could change. The married priesthood is not unbiblical per se (i.e., Peter was married). However, there is much scriptural and historical evidence supporting a celibate priesthood.

The Church has the authority to change this discipline and also allow in priests from other rites who are married.

 

“People of God” instead of “Mystical Body of Christ” (LG 8-13), a definition that exchanges the “people of God” mentioned in 1 Peter 2:10 for the whole Church, whereas this verse – according to the traditional and received interpretation – concerns a simple attribution of praise given by St. Peter to  the faithful who converted from Paganism (“At one time you were no people and now you are the people of God”). Furthermore, it leads to a “democratic” and “communitarian” vision of the Church itself, a concept entirely extraneous to the Catholic Tradition and closer instead to the Protestant way of thinking. In fact, this concept includes in the notion of “people”, and thus in an unusual “communitarian” perspective, also the Hierarchy, whose members are also considered “members” of the “people of God” (LG 13) and only by that title do they seem to participate, together with the “people”, in the Mystical Body of Christ. This new and unique notion of the “people of God” has been superimposed over the orthodox understanding of the “Mystical Body”, in which now the faithful would participate through the collective entity represented by the “People of God.”

The LG clearly has talks about the mystical people of God "called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body."

There is nothing wrong with calling Christians the "People of God. That is what we are.

It seems surprising that a lay Catholic with a PHD, writing against the Magisterium of the Catholic Church would be criticizing a council which encourages the laity to take their rightfully priestly place. Yes the laity have an important place, thank God.

The introduction of:

  1. Feminism (Gaudium et Spes 29, 52, 60)
  2. Public sex education (Declaration On Christian Education Gravissimum educationis, GE 1), justly condemned by the preceding popes (Pius XI and Pius XII) because it is immoral and corrupting, to be left to the prudent and private appraisal of parents and teachers;
  3. Marriage: Elevation of the “communion of life and love” where procreation and education of children appears as “the ultimate crown” [fastigium] of this “communion” and not the exclusive end for which it exists (GS 48).
  1. It would be disingenuous to assert that the dignity of the personhood of women was fully recognized prior to Vatican II. We encourage reading of those passages, in light of Pope Benedict's amazing letter to the Bishops of the world on authentic feminism and Paul VI's Humane Vitae. They clarify any misreading of the passages that attempt to associate Vatican II with women's ordination, abortion or contraception, etc.
  2. God invented sex and the devil claimed it partly because of the Church's inability to talk sensibly about it. We welcome John Paul II's Theology of the Body and Paul VI's "Humane Vitae". Better for Catholic Education with parents and Bishop's involvement, than leave it to secular authorities who have an agenda.
  3. Why propose that procreation is the "exclusive end" of marriage? That would be like saying, in the marriage of Christ to his Church, the "exclusive" end would be to evangelize others, not to experience the joy of communion. Vatican II rightly places procreation where it belongs as the most important thing, not the "exclusive thing".
Nostra Aetate. “nonetheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men” (NA 2.3) and, inviting Catholics to “recognize, preserve, and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men (NA 2.3)! This Declaration (but also LG 16: “along with us they adore the one and merciful God [nobiscum Deum adorant unicum et misericordem]”)

It would be heretical to assert that there is no truth outside the Church. Although their understanding of God is full of errors, it is nevertheless the "same God". The monotheistic religions have an entry point to discuss Jesus the Saviour. This criticism of Islam is clear in the address. This clarifies any ambiguity.

Pope Benedict XVI's Regensberg Address after which a nun was martyred by Muslim violence remains on the Vatican website. There is a prudent diplomatic footnote showing "respect" for Islam as a major world religion. It is always a good idea to respect one's opponent.

Nostra Aetate. Towards the Jews, it seems to believe that Christ has already reconciled Christians and Jews, simply ignoring the fact that Judaism has not converted and remains hostile to Christ, maintaining its false temporal messianic hope. This supposed conciliation renders uncertain the theology of the substitution, which involves, as we know, the radical and obvious substitution of Christianity for Judaism, as the only true revealed religion (NA 4).

We have an article on Jewish/Catholic relations. The comments to the left are indicative of the "double blindedness" between Catholics and the Jewish world. Replacement theology is plain bad theology.

The Church may distinguish its position towards other religions as an institution and a diplomatic entity without limiting the "people of God" to witness to others their salvation in Jesus.

Followers of Hinduism “contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust” (NA 2.2).

Buddhism, “in its various forms [it] realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination” (NA 2.2). ...

It would be heretical to assert that there is no truth outside the Church. Eastern religions have many good willed people seeking Truth who have not been authentically exposed to the Truth of Jesus. For how many futile years did the Spaniards try to evangelize the Aztecs before Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared. One of the factors in the 9 million conversions was the Aztec symbolism on the Tilma. Our Lady apparently had no trouble connecting the Truth of the Gospel to aspects of truth in the Aztec religion. We doubt she would use evil symbols on the Tilma. This is not syncretism. It's evangelization using symbols that the people understand.

A notion of truth influenced by the subjectivism of modern thought, therefore incompatible with the idea itself of a revealed truth.

a. In Dei Verbum, in the conclusion of the discourse on the “comprehension” of the truths of the faith as an “understanding which grows,” it states: “For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of the divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her” (DV 8.2).

b. This idea of “truth as a quest for truth”, that in fact replaces the truth one is questioning about, is the basis of the principle of “dialogue.”

This critique conflates the quest for Truth with the Evangelization of the world through dialogue. It falsely asserts that VII is proposing we examine other religions in our quest for Truth. The discussion of the quest for Truth is not in the same document as the discussion about other religions.

We have an article on what Catholics think about punishment.

The Inaugural Allocution of John XXIII on October 11, 1962, which surely contributed to directing the Council in the anomalous direction which it then took. And these are:

“Now however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to use the medicine of mercy more than that of severity. This demands that she comes to encounter the needs of today showing the validity of her teaching rather than renewing condemnations.”

“studied and espoused through the forms of investigation and the literary formulation of modern thought,” since “on the one hand there is the substance of the ancient doctrine of the depositum fidei, and on the other hand there is the formulation of its outer layer [rivestimento or coating]: and it is of this outer layer that one must – with patience if necessary – take great note, measuring everything in the forms and proportions of a magisterium with a prevailing pastoral character” (a concept re-proposed in GS 62 and in UR 6).

The enunciation of the unity of the human race as the true goal of the Church, with such unity even considered as a “necessary foundation” so that the “earthly city” may become ever more like the “celestial city” attribution of this improper purpose to the Church in LG 1 (see above, n. 5).

There is the type of tradition that contributes to the doctrine of the Church, and the type of tradition regarding how the faith is presented to the world. The first is unchangeable. The latter needs to adapt with the realities of the world.

The walls to protect the Church before Vatican II were like a fortress city which could defend against foot soldiers of the middle ages, but could not defend against attacking planes that fly over walls in the new millennium. The Church Militant needs new strategies when enemies of the Church (inside and out) have mass communication networks at their disposal. Yes its dangerous and scary to take a new strategy, without changing the truth of the Gospel.

St. Faustina was shown hell, but she was also shown God's mercy. There will be constant balance and tension between the two. Obviously, Pope Francis has gone too far on the "pastoral side". But the Church pre Vatican II was not prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, it was way too fundamentalist and incapable of credible dialogue with the outside world. Circling the wagons is not the approach.

Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI said the council must be read is in the light of tradition, interpreted with a "hermeneutics of continuity". They also issued many documents which clarified misreadings and abuses of Vatican II. We understand that Liberal theologians sometimes cite Vatican II and have had discussions with them on the Unam Sactum, Liberation Theology, Lumen Gentium, and relativism.

Partial list of Vatican documents clarifying misunderstandings and abuses of Vatican II

Growing up in Canada, we learned the Imperial system of measurement (pounds, inches, feet). In our late teens Canada turned metric. It was disorienting and even though we learned the metric system, it still feels foreign to us. Vatican II is like that for many.

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Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.
Amen