"Hello, I am Vatican II"
"No, I am Vatican II"
"I am Vatican"
Just like the old television game show, "To Tell the Truth", we have
three different views of Vatican II. And just like that game show, only one
can be the correct one.
According to the most popular, and most publicized, view, Vatican II was
a break with the old and stagnant traditions of the Church. That one need
not follow Church teaching if they feel there are sufficient reasons not to
do so. That Vatican II democratized the Church, so that the will of the
'people of God' is the will of God. As Call To Action says:
"Call To Action is an organization of Catholics based on the teaching of the
universal church in the second half of the 20th Century. It is a response to
the challenge of the Second Vatican Council, held between 1962 and 1965, for
all members to 'scrutinize the signs of the times' and respond in the light
of the gospel. The council provided a wake-up call for lay Catholics who had
tended to defer initiatives entirely to the clergy."
"Call to Action (CTA), launched in 1979, is an independent, non-profit
organization of over 16,000 laity, religious and clergy who believe the
Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just in its appointed
leaders. We believe the entire Catholic church has the obligation of reading
the signs of the times, responding to the needs of the world, and taking
initiative in programs of peace and justice.
- We believe the church should be a model of openness on all levels
- theologians and Catholic insitutions should be free in their search for the
- laity and clergy should be consulted in the formulation of church doctrine
and discipline, especially on human sexuality issues"
The other view of Vatican II is that it's an invalid Council of the
Church. They oppose Call To Action's stance, and seeing it as an attack on
the Church, see it as anathema. Essentially, they accept the above view of
However, the third view is one not often heard, or followed. As Vatican
II itself points out.
"Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod
gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the
Gospel to every creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light
brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. Since the Church is in
Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely
knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now
to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its
own inner nature and universal mission. This it intends to do following
faithfully the teaching of previous councils. The present-day conditions of
the world add greater urgency to this work of the Church so that all men,
joined more closely today by various social, technical and cultural ties,
might also attain fuller unity in Christ."(Vatican II; Lumen Gentium,
Rather than just a Council for "the teaching of the universal Church in
the second half of the 20th Century", Vatican II followed "faithfully the
teaching of previous councils", not just the second half of this century. As
Pope John XXIII said at the opening of Vatican II:
"The greatest concern of the ecumenical council is this: that the sacred
deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more
Yet we hear that the "laity and clergy should be consulted in the
formulation of church doctrine and discipline, especially on human sexuality
issues" Hardly what Pope John XXIII taught.
We read from the Curran statement (sent to the NY Times, July 30, 1968):
"It is common teaching in the Church that Catholics may dissent from
authoritative, non-infallible teachings of the Magesterium, when sufficient
reasons for doing so exist."
Yet, Vatican II teaches;
"This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special
way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not
speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his
supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him
are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will... And this
is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of
bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and
teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a
definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his
definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are
justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of
the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no
approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment."
(Vatican II; Lumen Gentium, Chap 3; The Church is Hierarchal, #25)
So obviously, Vatican II doesn't teach that faithful Catholics are free to
dissent from authoritative teachings of the Magisterium. Not even
non-infallible ones. In fact, by their own admission, Vatican II figures
very little in the make up make up of Call To Action.
In their list of founding documents, the only Vatican II document sited is
Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World), and they distort that as
"Hence this Second Vatican Council, having probed more profoundly into
the mystery of the Church, now addresses itself without hesitation, not only
to the sons of the Church and to all who invoke the name of Christ, but to
the whole of humanity. For the council yearns to explain to everyone how it
conceives of the presence and activity of the Church in the world of today...
The council brings to mankind light kindled from the Gospel, and puts at its
disposal those saving resources which the Church herself, under the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, receives from her Founder. For the human person deserves
to be preserved; human society deserves to be renewed. Hence the focal point
of our total presentation will be man himself, whole and entire, body and
soul, heart and conscience, mind and will." (Gaudium et Spes; Preface)
Vatican II, then begins by proclaiming the mission of the Church, how that
Church is set up and organized, how it worships, etc. then ends how THAT
Church is to go out into the world as a light to that world. But Call To
Action says no, that all of Vatican II is to be rejected and that Gaudium et
Spes says that the Church is to change to suit the world.
In short, Vatican II was a Pastoral Council called to ready the Church for
times where advancements in science, technology, etc. could (and would) out-pace
our ability to answer the morality of those advancements. Rather than
rejecting all that went before, Vatican II embraced all the previous Councils
and teachings of the Church.
But the fact Vatican II is neglected in groups like Call to Action shouldn't come
as a surprise. The rest of their 'founding documents' don't even mention any
other Council of the Church:
"Rosemary Radford Ruether: Church as Community Talk given at Wisconsin
Call To Action meeting, May 1998
Edwina Gateley: Rediscovering and Claiming the Feminine Soul Reprint
excerpted from one of Edwina's tapes, March 1994
Chung Hyun-Kyung: Welcome the Spirit: Hear Her Cries Talk given at World
Council of Churches Assembly in Canberra, Australia, February 1991
Miriam Therese MacGillis: Living the New Story An interview with Miriam
Therese MacGillis which appeared in In Context - a Quarterly of Humane
Sustainable Culture, February, 1991
Matthew Fox: Creation Spirituality: Renewing Ourselves, Our Planet, and Our
Church First talk given by Matthew Fox after his year of silence imposed by
the Vatican - presented at a special Call To Action Conference focusing on
Creation Spirituality in February, 1990
Charles Curran: Catholic Ethics in Tension: Sexuality and Social Justice
Talk given at Call To Action conference, November 1987
Rembert Weakland, OSB: Living the Gospel in an Affluent Society Talk given
at Call To Action conference, November 1986
Rosemary Ruether: Crises and Challenges of Catholicism Today Talk given at
Call To Action Conference, November, 1985
Bryan Hehir: American Catholics and Public Policy Talk given at Call To
Action Conference, November 1984
Gregory Baum: The Church Since Vatican II: Prophetic Sign of Hope Talk
given at Call To Action Conference, November 1982
Hans Kung: The Church From Above and the Church from Below Talk given at
Call To Action Conference, November 1981
Bill Callahan: Alive and Believing for the 1980's Talk given at a special
Call To Action gathering, April 1980"
A virtual who's who of dissent. A 'new' man-made magisterium for a new
Vatican II didn't make being a Catholic easier, rather, it made it
harder. No longer would the Church hold our hands, we had to stand on our
In 1950 there were approximately 60,000 priests in the U.S. with another 25,000
seminarians preparing for the priesthood. 75% of married Catholics attended Mass every Sunday, 50% received
Communion at least once a month. 85% of single Catholics went to Mass every
Sunday and 50% received Communion at least once a month. And college
educated Catholics were the most faithful of all. Today, thanks to the
'spirit of Vatican II' (which we have seen has nothing in common with Vatican
II) these numbers are dangerously low. Such that we hear about new
innovations and entertainments to entice people to Mass, talk of making
anyone a priest, or doing away with the priesthood.
Vatican II, the REAL Vatican II, was a blessing for the Church. A Council
arming the faithful Catholic to stand firm in faith amidst the storms of a
dark and turbulent world. Enabling the world to be illumined by the light of
truth, the light of Christ instead of being overcome by the darkness of death
When the Church, that is us, finally see behind the facade and embrace the
real Vatican II, then the world and the Church will experience a golden age,
shining brightly with the light of Christ.
Pax Christi, Pat