Catholic Candle note: Sedevacantism is wrong and Catholic Candle is not sedevacantist. In fact, we published a nine-part series setting out the errors of sedevacantism (and also why it is wrong to believe that former Pope Benedict XVI continues to be pope).
A reader would be mistaken to believe that the article below gives any support to sedevacantism. This article simply shows that Vatican II’s teachings, because they are new, cannot be Catholic and must be rejected. In this way, Vatican II’s teachings are like any other erroneous teachings of a pope or bishops. See, e.g., Pope John XXII’s denial (in the 14th century) of a doctrine that the Church has always taught infallibly (although this denial did not prevent him from being pope).
The First Vatican Council infallibly teaches that new teachings are not the proper subject matter for the guidance of the Holy Ghost:
For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.
Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, Sess. 4, ch.4, #6 (emphasis added).
The Council of Trent Catechism teaches:
[The Catholic Church’s] doctrines are neither novel nor of recent origin, but were delivered, of old, by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the world. Hence, no one can, for a moment, doubt that the impious opinions which heresy invents, opposed, as they are, to the doctrines taught by the Church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, are very different from the faith of the true Church.
Council of Trent Catechism, under Creed: Apostolicity (emphasis added).
are so foreign to Catholicism that St. Thomas Aquinas defines
heretics as follows:
A heretic is someone who devises or follows
false or new
IIa IIae, Q.11, a.1 Sed
(emphasis added). Notice St. Thomas does not say “false and
new opinions”. The newness of a doctrine is already
sufficient reason to reject it.
The Second Council of Nicea, in 787 AD, condemned doctrinal innovators and rejected all innovations, with these words:
[W]e declare that we defend free from any innovations all the written and unwritten ecclesiastical traditions that have been entrusted to us. â€¦ Therefore, all those who â€¦ devise innovations or who spurn anything entrusted to the Church â€¦, we order that they be suspended if they are bishops or clerics, and excommunicated if they are monks or lay people.
Pope St. Pius X describes modernists in terms of their break with tradition and their embrace of novel doctrines:
[T]hey pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in whichthey are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the Holy and Apostolic Traditions.
Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Â¶13, quoting from the encyclical Singulari nos of Pope Gregory XVI, June 25, 1834 (emphasis added).
It is clear that the Holy Ghost is not promised as a guide for the teaching of new doctrines. Further, the Catholic Church has always taught that Her doctrines are not new. Rather, the Catholic Church condemns new doctrines and considers them heresy.
Having seen above that the Catholic Church rejects new doctrines and certainly does not teach them infallibly, we next look at whether Vatican II’s teachings are new. If they are, then they cannot be infallible and must be rejected. Below, we set forth the testimony of the hierarchy that the teachings of Vatican II are new. (This is merely one “level” of proof among many, showing that we must reject the teachings of Vatican II.)
[W]hat constitutes the substantial “novelty” of the Second Vatican Council, in line with the legislative tradition of the Church, especially in regard to ecclesiology, constitutes likewise the “novelty” of the new Code [of canon law].
Among the elements which characterize the true and genuine image of the Church, we should emphasize especially the following: the doctrine in which the Church is presented as the People of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 2), and authority as a service (cf. ibid., no. 3); the doctrine in which the Church is seen as a “communion”, and which, therefore, determines the relations which should exist between the particular Churches and the universal Church, and between collegiality and the primacy; the doctrine, moreover, according to which all the members of the People of God, in the way suited to each of them, participate in the threefold office of Christ: priestly, prophetic and kingly. With this teaching there is also linked that which concerns the duties and rights of the faithful, and particularly of the laity; and finally, the Church's commitment to ecumenism. â€¦
[T]he Second Vatican Council has â€¦ elements both old and new, and the new consists precisely in the elements which we have enumerated â€¦.
Pope John Paul II, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983 (emphasis added).
quoted above, Pope John Paul II specifically identified key doctrines
of Vatican II as novelties. Among the chief
novel teachings of Vatican II (and which are contained in the 1983
code of canon law), he lists:
the Church, the universal sacrament
of salvation [meaning everyone goes to heaven] is shown to be the
People of God and its hierarchical
constitution to be founded on the College of Bishops together with
its head. Pope
John Paul II, Sacrae
Disciplinae Leges, January
We have other warnings that the conciliar doctrines are novelties, (for which the Holy Ghost was not promised). Pope John Paul II admitted the council’s novelties in these words:
Indeed, the extent and depth of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council call for a renewed commitment to deeper study in order to reveal clearly the Council's continuity with Tradition, especially in points of doctrine which, perhaps because they are new, have not yet been well understood by some sections of the Church.
Ecclesia Dei, (1988), Â¶5b.
The pope is calling for deeper study because 23 years after the council, he acknowledges that Vatican II’s continuity with Sacred Tradition is still not shown (nor can it be)!
In the first year of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI said:
[W]ith the Second Vatican Council, the time came when broad new thinking was required.
December 22, 2005 Christmas address (emphasis added).
Before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger taught:
If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text [of the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus. ... Let us be content to say that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents, on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789 [by the Masonic French Revolution].
Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, translator, Sr. Mary Frances McCarthy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press 1987), pp. 381-382; French edition: Les Principes de la Theologie Catholique - Esquisse et Materiaux, Paris: Tequi, 1982, pp. 426-427 (emphasis added; bracketed words added; parenthetical words are in the original).
Note: Obviously, whatever is the opposite (that is, the “countersyllabus”) of the Catholic Church’s prior teaching, must be a novel teaching which the Church did not previously teach. Yet this is how Pope Benedict XVI described some of the main teachings of Vatican II! Thus, clearly, Vatican II’s teachings contain novelties (which are therefore false).
The new position adopted by the Church with regard to the realities of this earth is henceforth well known by everyone .... [T]he Church agrees to recognize the new principle to be put into practice .... [T]he Church agrees to recognize the world as â€˜self-sufficient’; she does not seek to make the world an instrument for her religious ends ....
August 24, 1969 Declaration of Pope Paul VI, L’Osservatore Romano; (emphasis added).
Further, Pope Paul VI also referred to the “newness” of the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council, in a general audience on January 12, 1966.
Other members of the hierarchy have also made clear statements concerning the novelty and rupture of the teachings of Vatican II.
Near the close of the council, Cardinal Congar stated:
What is new in this teaching [regarding religious liberty] in relation to the doctrine of Leo XIII and even of Pius XII, although the movement was already beginning to make itself felt, is the determination of the basis peculiar to this liberty, which is sought not in the objective truth of moral or religious good, but in the ontological quality of the human person.
Congar, in the Bulletin Etudes et Documents of June 15, 1965, as quoted in I Accuse the Council, Archbishop Lefebvre, p. 27, Angelus Press, 2009 (emphasis added; bracketed words added).
Yves Cardinal Congar was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in recognition for Cardinal Congar’s lifelong dedication to the conciliar revolution. Cardinal Congar likened Vatican II to the triumph of the communists in Russia, calling Vatican II the “October Revolution” in the Church. Yves Congar, The Council Day by Day: Second Session p. 215, (1964).
By this parallel, Cardinal Congar is telling us that Vatican II was an overthrow of the established order in the Catholic Church. Note that, by making this particular comparison, Cardinal Congar saw fit to compare Vatican II to the triumph of the anti-God communists in Russia!
Cardinal Suenens compared Vatican II to a different anti-God revolution. He made the same parallel as Cardinal Ratzinger did (quoted above), comparing Vatican II to the anti-God, Masonic French Revolution, saying that Vatican II was the “1789” in the Church. Quoted in the Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, Pt., 5, by Fr. M. Gaudron, SSPX.
In all three of the cardinals’ comparisons of Vatican II with a communist or Masonic revolution, it is clear that they are stating that Vatican II’s teaching is revolutionary, and thus it is new and false.
We have seen that the Holy Ghost is not promised for the teaching of new doctrines. Further, the Catholic Church has always taught that Her doctrines are not new and cannot change. Rather, the Catholic Church condemns new doctrines and considers them heresy.
We have also seen that Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI (as well as some cardinals), have all stated that Vatican II’s doctrines are new. Therefore, Vatican II’s teachings cannot be infallible (and further, they must be rejected because they are new and heretical).