Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exorcise the Spirit of Vatican II


Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA recently denounced "false interpretations" of the Second Vatican Council.

His Excellency favors what's known in the conciliar Church as the hermeneutics (i.e. interpretation) of continuity, which means interpreting the texts and directives of the Second Vatican Council in light of the constant teaching and practice of the Catholic Church.

The prevailing alternative, Bp. Nickless writes, is the "hermeneutics of discontinuity," which is a radical rupture and departure from what the Church has always said and taught.

Basing his remarks on what Pope Benedict said in
his Christmas address to the Roman Curia in December 2005, Bp. Nickless observes that the discontinuous interpretation treats the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church as two different churches, warning that "the so-called 'spirit' of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work."

The rebuttal he urges on what he views as the false interpretation of the Council made by extreme liberals is obedience to Vatican II.

Mainstream conservative Catholics are no doubt glad to have a Bishop asserting what they've been saying for decades. Since the 1960s, the bishops one normally hears from are so-called progressives, individuals whose novelties the media loves to spotlight and quote. The conservative folks are not accustomed to being given much of a hearing.

For my part I'm certainly glad a Bishop finally made a headline for defying the
Puff the Magic Dragon Church of the decrepit liberals who are still mired in a stale 1960s mindset.

Granted Bp. Nickless' good intentions, I respectfully submit that His Excellency falls short in his arguments against the liberals.

The reason is that even the "conservative" interpretation of Vatican II violates what Catholic prelates are obliged to do -- i.e. hold to the truths of the Catholic Faith "in the same meaning and in the same explanation" as the Church always taught. The modern notion of
collegiality that took wing after the Council, for example, is a profound rupture with the past. The "hermeneutic of continuity" line of reasoning -- no matter how well-intentioned -- is simply another form of Modernism with a superficially conservative veneer.

The Catholic Faith is an infallible guide for reaching Heaven. Adhere to it, and you will attain Heaven. Abandon it, add to it, take away from it, undermine it, modify it, and you risk losing Eternal Happiness.

The Oath Against Modernism
Given by His Holiness Pope St. Pius X
September 1, 1910

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I N. firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (cf. Rom. 1:19-20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our Creator and Lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact - one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history - the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way. I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God...

Further reading:

How Are Catholics to Respond to the Present Crisis in the Church?

Two Interpretations of Vatican II: Myth or Reality? (PDF document)


Patti Petersen said...

I could not agree with you more, Sean. The liberals (progressivists) ride their "Puff the Magic Dragon" in search of the unholy grail of a one-world religion, which is NOT the religion of Christ. Modernism in whatever guise it presents itself, liberal or conservative, is the great enemy of the Church and of souls. Unfortunately, it is an amorphous error and extremely we see from the comments of Bishop Nickless. When well-meaning prelates can't see the error, the Church and souls are greatly endangered.

Anonymous said...


Absolutely spot on! It is indeed good news that bishops are now coming out and speaking the truth about the (false) spirit of the Council, bishop Nickless is only the latest in a series of such positive public statements by prelates, but there remains the question of the orthodoxy of the Council itself.

As you rightly point out, we have such contradictions as Collegiality, Religious Freedom, Religious Liberty and ecumenism, all of which are inherent in the documents of Vatican II against the prior condemnation of the Church. I can't see the CDF being able to justy these dodgy doctrines in the name of a "hermeneutic of continuity." But will they agree to rid the Church of these dangerous novelties? I'm not holding my breath.

Sean said...

Dear Mr. Contra Mundum,

Thank you for your contribution. I limited myself to the example of collegiality, but I did give thought to listing the other errors from the council you mentioned: religious liberty, non-conversion ecumenism (aka ecumaniacalism). Owing to time constraints (i.e. work once again interfered with my leisure), I opted to restrict myself to the one for which I could readily provide a link to a reliable article. I appreciate you bringing up the additional errors in the comments section.