Modernism in Vatican II - Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation - Dei Verbum
A response

Specific charge against Vatican II documents Hermeneutic of continuity with tradition

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).

Dei Verbum: 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 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.

Charges of Modernism in specific Vatican II documents:

Critics of the council have tried to map individual sentences or parts of the documents to this heresy but in context the documents do not represent, or yield, to the heresy. These are detailed in the articles below.

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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