Catholic Candle reminder: All Catholics have a duty to continually study the Catholic Faith their entire lives. This involves more than spiritual reading to use in meditation and prayer (although that is very important too).
We must study Catholic doctrine and the refutation of the principal errors against our Faith and Catholic morals. Catholic Candle attempts to help you do this. Therefore, we suggest you read articles such as the one below, even if you are already convinced of its conclusion, to help you to more thoroughly understand, and to better teach and defend, Catholic Faith and morals.
In view of conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so.March 6, 1964 declaration of the Council’s Theological Commission, repeated by the Council's General Secretary on Nov. 16, 1964 (emphasis added).
[T]he sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent, ... most strictly forbidding that any persons henceforth presume to believe, preach, or teach, otherwise than as by this present decree is defined and declared: ... If anyone saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.Session Six, January 13, 1547, Decree On Justification, Proem., and Canon I.Here is the longer declaration:Whereas there is, at this time, not without the shipwreck of many souls, and grievous detriment to the unity of the Church, a certain erroneous doctrine disseminated touching Justification; the sacred and holy, oecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, -- the most reverend lords, Giammaria del Monte, bishop of Palaestrina, and Marcellus of the title of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, priest, cardinals of the holy Roman Church, and legates apostolic a latere, presiding therein, in the name of our most holy father and lord in Christ, Paul III., by the providence of God, Pope, purposes, unto the praise and glory of Almighty God, the tranquillizing of the Church, and the salvation of souls, to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and sound doctrine touching the said Justification; which (doctrine) the sun of justice, Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, taught, which the apostles transmitted, and which the Catholic Church, the Holy Ghost reminding her thereof, has always retained; most strictly forbidding that any henceforth presume to believe, preach, or teach, otherwise than as by this present decree is defined and declared.If anyone saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.(Emphasis added).Here is an example how the First Vatican Council plainly showed the infallibility of one of its teachings:[W]e teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when,
- in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
- in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,
- he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church,he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.First Vatican Council, Session Four Chapter Four (emphasis added).This infallible declaration of the First Vatican Council shows how clearly a pope or a Church council must manifest his/its infallibility if the Church is thereby binding all Catholics to profess the particular doctrine.
The contrast in the language of Vatican II shows it is not speaking infallibly.Because of the gravity of denying such infallible teachings, the councils anathematized (condemned) anyone who denied such teaching. By contrast, Vatican II specifically avoided condemning anyone.Pope John XXIII declared that Vatican II would condemn no one, stating:The Church has always opposed ... errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.Pope John XXIII’s Opening Speech to the Council, October 11, 1962 (emphasis added).Council Father, Bishop Rudolf Graber, declared that the Second Vatican “Council ... refrained from ... anathemas ... [in contrast to what] previous Church assemblies have done”.Athanasius and the Church of Our Times, Rudolf Graber, Van Duren (publisher), London, 1974, p.66 (emphasis added). Here is the longer quote:Since the Council was aiming primarily at a pastoral orientation and hence refrained from making dogmatically binding statements or disassociating itself, as previous Church assemblies have done, from errors and false doctrines by means of clear anathemas, many questions took on an opalescent ambivalence which provided a certain amount of justification for those who speak of the spirit of the Council.(Emphasis added.)All Church councils before Vatican II clearly indicated when they taught infallibly, as reason and justice require. Vatican II never showed it taught infallibly. Thus, reason and justice require that Vatican II’s teachings are not infallible.
2. Vatican II was (deliberately) made ambiguous and contradictory and so cannot be infallible.No one is able to accept contradictory (i.e., opposite) teachings because the human mind cannot hold opposites about the same thing at the same time. For example, no one can hold that the same man is both dead and not dead at the same time.No one is able to accept ambiguous teaching, i.e., teaching without one clear meaning, because the human mind cannot hold a statement without knowing which meaning the statement has.Vatican II is full of such contradictory and ambiguous teachings, which are often called “time bombs” (viz., statements quietly inserted into the council’s documents, which the modernists later “detonated” when they were ready to use these statements to cause harm). To see hundreds of these “time bombs” in one key Vatican II document, read Lumen Gentium Annotated, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, © 2013.Lumen Gentium Annotated is available at: scribd.com/doc/158994906 (free) & at Amazon.com (sold at cost).Not only do the contradictions and ambiguities of Vatican II’s “time bombs” refute that Vatican II taught infallibly, but Vatican II participants admit that they knowingly inserted these “time bombs”.
The Bragging Testimony of Fr. ChenuFr. Marie-Dominique Chenu was an influential French “expert” at Vatican II. After the council, he wrote a book explaining how the experts deliberately inserted ambiguities and contradictions into the council’s documents. In his book, he recounted one particular example of this nefarious practice:The gossip is that the experts directed the Council; indeed, this is not so wrong. I recall a minuscule but revealing episode. While the Decree on the Laymen [Apostolicam actuositatem] was being discussed, I noticed that it still had a paragraph entirely permeated with the notion of a ‘mandate’ given to laymen by the Hierarchy, inspired by a dualist conception — the Church on one side and the world on the other. I met with another French expert and we agreed that this was bad.But that paragraph had already been discussed and adopted by the commission. It was impossible, therefore, to change it. So, we wrote a text to be added that corrected it. It was a second paragraph that said more or less the opposite of the preceding one. The first in a certain way affirmed dualism. But the second stated that the action of the Church must go beyond it.The French Bishops presented our new text as their own, and it was adopted.Marie-Dominique Chenu, Jacques Duchesne interroge le Pere Chenu, Paris: Centurion, 1975, p. 17.
The Testimony of Cardinal KasperCardinal Walter Kasper admitted that contradictions and ambiguities are “in many places” in Vatican II’s teaching. Here are his words:In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, [and] open the door to a selective reception in either direction.L'Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013 (emphasis added), also found here: http://www.christianorder.com/editorials/editorials_2015/editorials_augsep15.htmlBecause (as was said above) no one is obliged to accept contradictory or ambiguous teaching, no one is obliged to accept Vatican II’s teaching because it is not clear and decisive, as is necessary for any infallible statement.
3. Vatican II is full of doctrinal novelties and it is impossible for any novelties to be infallible.New doctrines are heresy and are false.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).For more declarations of the Catholic Church that Her teachings are not new, go to this link: ../faith/new-doctrines-are-heresy.htmlIt is impossible for any new doctrine to be infallible Catholic teaching because the Church may only teach what Christ handed down through the Apostles.Any of Vatican II’s teachings which are not part of Catholic Tradition are new and so cannot be infallible.Below, we set forth the testimony of the hierarchy that the teachings of Vatican II are new.
The Testimony of Pope John Paul 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. ...[T]he Second Vatican Council has ... elements both old and new, and the new consists precisely in the elements which we have enumerated ....Pope John Paul II, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983 (emphasis added).Pope John Paul II also 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), ¶5.b.
The Testimony of Pope Benedict XVI: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).Obviously, whatever “counters” the Catholic Church’s prior teaching, must be a new teaching which the Church did not previously teach. Yet (former) Pope Benedict XVI described some of the main teachings of Vatican II as countering the Church’s prior teaching! Thus, clearly, Vatican II’s new teachings could not be infallible.
The Testimony of Pope Paul VI: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 ‘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.
Statements Made by other Members of the HierarchyOther 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).Pope John Paul II appointed Yves Congar as a cardinal to recognize 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.By this parallel, Cardinal Congar is telling us that Vatican II overthrew the established order in the Catholic Church. Further, by making this particular parallel, Cardinal Congar saw fit to compare Vatican II to the triumph of the anti-God communists in Russia!Yves Congar, The Council Day by Day: Second Session p. 215, (1964).Cardinal Suenens compared Vatican II to a different anti-God revolution. He made the same parallel as (former) Pope Benedict XVI did (quoted above), between Vatican II and the anti-God, Masonic French Revolution, saying that Vatican II was 1789 in the Church.Quoted in the Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, Pt., 5, by Fr. M. Gaudron, SSPX, posted here: www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=show_article&article_id=2640.By comparing Vatican II with a communist or Masonic revolution, all three of these cardinals are stating that Vatican II’s teaching is revolutionary, new, and therefore fallible.
Conclusion Regarding the Non-Infallibility of Vatican II’s Teachings based on their NewnessThe Catholic Church may only hand down the doctrines She received from the Apostles. The Catholic Church has always condemned new doctrines as heresy.Pope John Paul II, (former) Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Paul VI (as well as some cardinals), have all stated that Vatican II teaches new doctrines. They are correct that Vatican II’s teachings are new, as is obvious when comparing those teachings to the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. See, e.g., the hundreds of new teachings contained in one of the key Vatican II documents, Lumen Gentium. Lumen Gentium Annotated, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, © 2013(comparing these new council teachings to the opposite teachings of the Catholic Church’s Fathers, Doctors, and popes).See, Lumen Gentium Annotated is available at: scribd.com/doc/158994906 (free) & at Amazon.com (sold at cost).Because Vatican II’s teachings are new, they are fallible and the Church condemns them as heresy.
4. Even the council fathers and popes during and after Vatican II knew that Vatican II is not infallible.The popes and other members of the hierarchy not only considered Vatican II’s teachings to be new but also not infallible.
The Testimony of Pope Paul VIPope Paul VI, who presided over three of the council’s four sessions, denied clearly and repeatedly that the teachings of Vatican II are infallible.For example, Pope Paul VI stated shortly after the close of Vatican II:In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility.Pope Paul VI, “After the Council: New Tasks”, The Pope Speaks, vol. 11 (Winter, 1966), p.154.When concluding the council, Pope Paul VI plainly denied that Vatican II ever taught infallibly:Today we are concluding the Second Vatican Council. ... But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.Address during the last general meeting of the Second Vatican Council, December 7, 1965; Acts of the Apostolic See, #58; http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651207_epilogo-concilio_en.html (emphasis added).Pope Paul VI again highlighted the non-infallible, non-definitive character of Vatican II in a general audience in 1966:There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document.Pope Paul VI, General Audience, 12 January 1966, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/audiences/1966/documents/hf_p-vi_aud_19660112_it.html (emphasis added).
The Testimony of (former) Pope Benedict XVI(Former) Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, also stated that Vatican II was not infallible:[T]here is a mentality of narrow views that isolates Vatican II .... There are many accounts of it, which give the impression that from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. ... The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.Address to the Chilean Episcopal Conference, Santiago, Chile, July 13, 1988, http://sagradatradicion.blogspot.com/2009/03/alocucion-los-obispos-en-chile-1988.html (Spanish).
The Testimony of Pope John XXIIIPope John XXIII explained:The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church, [but to study and expound doctrine] through methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought.Pope John XXIII’s Opening Speech to the Council, The Documents of Vatican II, Abbott (general editor), p.715 (bracketed words in the original).
The Testimony of Various Cardinals and BishopsBelow, is the testimony of all council fathers whose testimony we could find, unanimously denying that Vatican II ever taught infallibly.
The Testimony of John Cardinal Heenan of England[The Second Vatican Council] deliberately limited its own objectives. There were to be no specific definitions. Its purpose from the first was pastoral renewal within the Church and a fresh approach to the outside.Council and Clergy, John Cardinal Heenan, London, 1966, p.7 (emphasis added; bracketed words added).
The Testimony of Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, on Sept. 9, 1964:We must also restate that this ecumenical Council, as the sovereign pontiff John XXIII has stated many times, has no intention to pronounce itself on ... doctrinal issues; but its specific goal consists in giving to the pastoral zeal of the Church a new boost, so that it becomes more active and more fruitful in the dioceses, in parishes and in all mission territories, and also among all religious families and lay associations.
The Testimony of Cardinal BiffiIn his 2007 autobiographical work, Cardinal Biffi stated that:John XXIII aspired after a council that ... avoided formulating definitive teachings that would be obligatory for all. And in fact, this original indication was continually followed.Giacomo Biffi, Memorie e digressioni di un Italiano Cardinale (Sienna, 2007).
The Testimony of Cardinal Felici, through Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre[A]t the end of the [council] sessions, we asked Cardinal Felici [the Council’s General Secretary], “Can you not give us what the theologians call the “‘theological note’ of the Council?” He replied, “We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.An Open Letter to Confused Catholics, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Ch. 14, entitled “Vatican II is the French Revolution in the Church”, p. 107 (bracketed words in the original).
The Testimony of Bishop B.C. Butler of EnglandNot all teachings emanating from a pope or Ecumenical Council are infallible. There is no single proposition of Vatican II — except where it is citing previous infallible definitions — which is in itself infallible.The Tablet, (England) Nov. 25, 1967, p.1220 (emphasis added).Here is Bishop Butler again: “Vatican II gave us no new dogmatic definitions....”The Tablet, March 2, 1968, p.199.
The Testimony of Bishop Rudolf GraberSince the Council was aiming primarily at a pastoral orientation and hence refrained from making dogmatically binding statements or disassociating itself, as previous Church assemblies have done, from errors and false doctrines by means of clear anathemas, many questions took on an opalescent ambivalence which provided a certain amount of justification for those who speak of the spirit of the Council.Athanasius and the Church of Our Times, Rudolf Graber, Van Duren (publisher), London, 1974, p.66 (emphasis added).
The Testimony of Bishop Thomas MorrisI was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and likely to be reformed.Catholic World News, as quoted in its January 22, 1997 edition online.
Conclusion to this entire articleVatican II is not infallible because:
- God does not “trick” us. The Holy Ghost would not allow any infallible teachings which were unreasonable and unjust, as would be any infallible teaching which we could not clearly recognize as such.
- Vatican II was (deliberately) made ambiguous and contradictory and cannot be infallible because the human mind cannot hold opposites about the same thing at the same time and also cannot hold a statement which is ambiguous and so whose infallible meaning cannot be discerned.
- Vatican II cannot be infallible because its teachings are new (and new teachings cannot be infallible).
- The popes and council fathers repeatedly assure us that Vatican II is not infallible.