What Vatican II really did was attempt to grant a full sharing in the jurisdiction of the Church to any and all religious ministers of any sort. It threw jurisdiction to the four winds, and is itself what reaps the whirlwind. An "element of sanctification and of truth" must be some Church or hierarchical Church representative with the capacity and authority and jurisdiction to rule, teach, govern, and convey Grace unto sanctification, and they are therefore an integral component of the Church, such that the Church is incomplete without them. And it makes these lawful ecclesiastical authorities out there to be not in any way answerable to the Vatican leader, since they still convey Grace while remaining "outside" the confines or boundaries of their new so-called "Catholic Church."
Now of course, we know that it is intrinsically impossible for any sort of heretic or pagan or member of any other religion to be in any way a means of God's Grace or a holder of any sort of Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Though the Vatican II fathers attempted to impart these qualities to the heretics and pagans of all sorts, the heretics and pagans themselves are incapable of receiving them. What became of these qualities, then?
In my first installment last week, I laid the groundwork of how the Vatican II schema Lumen Gentium set up a new institution.Therefore, let us go back to Lumen Gentium itself. While allowing clergy who do not answer to the Vatican leadership to be nevertheless juridical and hierarchical members of God's Holy Catholic Church, this document itself names no specific groups or religions or heresies embraced by any such. It merely throws jurisdiction to the winds, leaving it to later documents to attempt to assign them specifically to the various brands of non-Catholics.
Lumen Gentium also has the distinction of being the very first such document of Vatican II, the only previous documents released the previous year merely having set up "committees" to do whatever. Though it is clear that the intent of the Vatican II fathers (or at least those who drafted this document along with those that followed) was patently heretical, might not their words, contained in this document Lumen Gentium, admit to another interpretation? A non-heretical one? If so, where can we turn for one?
There is an answer to this, as it turns out. When John XXIII first convened the council, he stated that it was to be only "pastoral" in nature, thus addressing disciplinary and administrative details only, never once any dogmas or doctrines. Is that what came of it? Paul VI himself after the close of Vatican II affirms that very thing:
"Some ask what authority - what theological qualification - the Council has attached to its teachings, knowing that it has avoided solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church's infallible teaching authority." Therefore, the apparent "heresy" of Lumen Gentium is not meant to have anything to do with any dogma or doctrine of the Church. Is there a disciplinary manner in which it can be understood?
There is such an answer. Go back and read the Lumen Gentium paragraph 8 carefully and the answer presents itself quite readily. There are two entities spoken of therein, one which is the Mystical Body of Christ spoken of throughout the first 7 paragraphs of Lumen Gentium and even the first sentence of paragraph 8. The other is what they call a "Catholic Church," by which they evidently mean the visible structures of their Vatican institution. Since the Mystical Body must itself always BE visible structures, this can only be a reference to a brand new structure which Lumen Gentium is speaking into existence.
What happens when a "second" is spoken of when such cannot be truly separated from the first? I believe that what this does is create a new organization. The interior, spiritual, Mystical Body of Christ will always and necessarily have its exterior visible and civil and legal and structural aspects. Therefore what you really have is two such exterior, visible organizations, one which is in every aspect, including domain, identical to the interior spiritual subsisting Mystical Body of Christ, and the other, a new organization within a portion of which subsists a portion of that Mystical Body.
A good illustration could come from a word in my wife's dialect and a fact from nature (from which the word comes). That word (I don't know the spelling) is pronounced "Llunoo." It refers to certain animals (insects, snakes) who shed their skin whole and crawl out of it, leaving it behind. The Llunoo is that skin which is left behind from the creature. It retains much of the shape of the creature but the creature no longer lives in it (though it may still continue stuck to them for a time) This same word is also used in her dialect to refer to the covers of a bed one has risen out of but not fixed, thus still showing the form of the person once sleeping there.
"You left your llunoo," is how one would remind another that they "forgot to make their bed."
An important point to note from this detail of nature is that the creature, in shedding its skin (leaving it as a llunoo) does not emerge skinless, but has a new skin (albeit very soft and green) which can then gradually harden and firm up into its new skin. The new organization is very like a llunoo of the Church, and with the animal having left it there is nothing of substance to prop up its form. Likewise, the "skin" of the Church (real Church) today being soft and green is like the factual reduction of the Church to its utter barest miminum of Divinely ordained structure.
So much of what the Church has for structure, the Curia, the Cardinalate, the worldwide mapping of territorial "dioceses" and "Archdioceses," Monsignors, Canon Law, and so forth were all created by the Church over her history, and are now stripped from her as Jesus Christ's seamless garment was stripped from Him at the crucifixion. It is clear that the V-2 "fathers" intended that their new llunoo would inherit all those trimmings and trappings along with its echo of those structures which the soft and green Church still retains, namely legitimate bishops to whom legitimate priests answer, and under them the religious and lay Faithful.
It is meant for there to be one bishop ruling them all, and also (in a weaker sense) that he should be ruling from the city of Rome, but the Church does not cease being the Church when either of these details is not present, as in after the death of each pope, or for the second, when the papacy was variously located in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Avignon. Obviously, these features will also return as the presently "green" skin of the Church gradually firms up.
So, they have defined into existence a new organization, their "llunoo," so to speak. Who are the members of this llunoo and how is it structured? This is answered right in the very same sentence which describes this new "Catholic Church" as being "governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him." So, by their acceptance of this decree, the man who was Peter and all those men who chose to go with him by signing this document are made the charter members of this new organization.
They therefore all accepted new offices in a new organization. Often, the taking of a new office constitutes a tacit resignation from one's former office, though there would be exceptions in cases where a person could perform double duty, wearing two hats, so to speak. So at that point, every Church prelate had two offices where before they had one. They still had their former office as Pope, Cardinal, or Bishop in the Church (Mystical Body), and now they each also had a roughly equivalent office in this new organization they had all jointly defined into existence.
Many of them sadly devoted all of their further work to the duties of the new organization instead of their Apostolic duties formerly placed upon them, and there does come a point after some arbitrary period of time after which such a gross dereliction of duty constitutes an official (though still tacit) resignation from their former offices. Such ex-clerics, AWOL from their real duties, are the ones who gave us the rest of Vatican II, the Novus Ordo, the Commuicatio in Sacris with all manner of unbelievers, and the whole pro-communist and pro-leftist agenda.
For those who went in this sad direction, Lumen Gentium was itself their joint resignation letter. In this one official act of theirs, they have quit the Church and absolved themselves of any Apostolic mission. What do they care if no one converts anymore? It's not their job to make or help anyone convert. There is no need for any of us to "judge" them, we need merely and humbly take them at their word in this and recognize the situation in all obedience.
But this is only part of what happened. Legally, Lumen Gentium itself is only a partial resignation, assigning them new offices but not removing them from their former offices. There were some few who continued to serve in their former offices, and as such were not AWOL and not derelict in their Apostolic mission. As the duties of their new conciliar office gradually diverged from the duties of their Apostolic office, these few faithful bishops gave first priority to the obligations of their Apostolic office, or at the very least, devoted some limited time still to those responsibilities of their Apostolic office no longer overlapped by their new duties.
It is these few bishops, and their lawful successors, who have continued the Apostolic Succession as Jesus Christ commanded, and in full visible union with Him and His Church. They (and the faithful priests attached to them) ARE the Church hierarchical. In my book, I have written of some of them in detail, especially those who have managed to arrange for successors, namely Archbishops Thuc and Lefebvre, and Bishops de Castro-Meyer and Mendez. But there were others, such as Sigaud and Van Zuylen, who also served though not producing any episcopal successors.
Returning again to that same passage in Lumen Gentium one also sees their Apostolic mission being officially affirmed and ecclesiastical jurisdiction being awarded to them.
Even though the Schismatic East Orthodox and Protestants for whom it was all intended could not be recipients of the Church's ecclesiastical jurisdiction owing to their adherence to heresy, no such impediment applies to faithful priests and bishops who posses valid orders and profess and teach the wholeness of the Catholic Faith.
Those "elements of sanctification and truth" it speaks of can be none other than our faithful bishops and priests, possessing therefore full lawful jurisdiction. They are, jointly and collectively, the regular and lawful means that Sanctifying Grace unto salvation enters the world and comes to all who receive it. It is even their very service in the same Church that (as the document also states) "impells them towards Catholic unity" with each other. This is so despite the disagreements that currently exist among them, between the SSPX bishops and the sedevacantist bishops, between the Mendez bishop and the Catholic Thuc bishops, between the Indultarian bishop and the non-indultarian bishops, and so forth.
This would therefore be the only possible Catholic interpretation of Lumen Gentium. It has always been possible within the realm of discipline to create a new organization, to declare oneselves all members of it, and even to resign through dereliction one office by turning all of one's attentions to a new office. And it is equally possible to grant a blanket recognition to all valid and Catholic clerics, regardless of their relationship to any such new organization or other status.
Next time someone claims that the SSPX or other traditional bishops have no jurisdiction or faculties or deputation or lawfulness to dispense the Sacraments and act in the name of the Church (as appropriate to their particular ecclesiastical rank as priests or bishops), point them to Vatican II itself, their new "highest law" which as shown above thus overrides and invalidates all "lower" attempts at suspending or excommunicating anyone for merely keeping and continuing to propagate and sustain the authentic Catholic Faith and Church.
So, November 22, 1964, the day after Lumen Gentium was promulgated, where is the Church? It is with all of those few faithful bishops who continued in their former Apostolic offices, and not with those many who abandoned their former offices. What does that make the Vatican institution on that day and ever since? Just another human-made organization, one that humans made and humans can destroy, and which humans can modify to their twisted little heart's content. And thus we have seen over the past 40 years or so since the promulgating of Lumen Gentium in 1964.