Perspective: Vatican II in Retrospect…

Perspective: Vatican II in Retrospect…

St. Pius X said at the beginning of the twentieth century that the main cause of the loss of souls was religious ignorance, ignorance of the truths of the faith. Sadly, this ignorance is everywhere in the Church today and it is getting worse as the decline in priests and sound Catechetics continues pace.

One of the principal errors to have arisen from this ignorance in our times is the belief, in thought if not by open declaration, that the pope is not just sometimes infallible but rather at all times impeccable.

Therefore, no matter what the pope says or does in the exercise of his ordinary magisterium it is incumbent upon all to blindly obey him. A similarly erroneous thought is held with regard to the bishops.

How far this mistaken belief is from the teaching of the Church, however, is exemplified by St. Paul in Galatians 2: 11-13, who recounts how he “withstood Peter to his face because he was to be blamed.”


The above extract is taken from an article on Vatican II entitled: Fiddling While Rome Burns: Vatican II in Retrospect, by Martin Blackshaw, aka Catholic Truth blogger Athanasius, and was originally published in the March/April 2014 edition of  The Angelus.   It is re-printed here by kind permission of the Editor.  Martin’s article is quite lengthy but bloggers are encouraged to take the necessary time to check it out before sharing your thoughts.  Comments invited.  


Comments (86)

  • Athanasius


    I cannot add anything useful to your superb post except to say that there is a wisdom in those quotes that we rarely observe in the writings and discourses of today’s Churchmen. So you’re right about handing over to the Holy Ghost and Our Lady, the font and mediatrix respectively of divine wisdom.

    November 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm
  • Leo


    You wrote in the Angelus:

    “The faithful have the right and a duty to ask these questions of the shepherds entrusted by Our Lord with the care of their souls. Many indeed have asked but, alas, the response is usually silence or an unjust command of obedience to the Council.”

    That’s the situation exactly. In the absence of possible demonstration of continuity with the constant, universal Magisterium before the Council, argument from authority remains the last defence of the conciliar novelties, contradictions, ambiguities, and omissions.

    In the last twenty months, even the claim of continuity with Tradition appears to have been jettisoned. Now, you’ll like this folks. Not a lot. How about this for a defence of the Council?

    In his homily of April 16 2013 Pope Francis set a theme that has become rather familiar since. “Triumphalist” “restorationists”, and anyone objecting to novelties were obviously being put on warning:

    “The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit. But, after 50 years, have we done everything that the Holy Spirit told us in the Council? In the continuity of the growth of the Church that the Council was? No. We celebrate this anniversary, we make a monument, but do not bother. We do not want to change. And there is more: there are calls [voci, also ‘voices’] wanting to move back.”

    Hands up all “voci”.

    I suppose we are being told to get with the programme as our American friends say. Keep moving. There is nothing to see here. Take it from Pope Francis.

    “The Church has never been in better shape, and is experiencing a very positive moment” – Pope Francis addressing a group of priest, 16 September 2013

    Well,as Billy Boy Clinton would say, it all depends on what you by the word “positive”. It’s not the word that springs obviously to mind.

    The reality is that the Modernists, of whatever intent and degree of dissent from the Church’s pre-conciliar teaching, all claim Vatican II as their charter and programme. Catholics faithful to Tradition have had their case made for them.

    In an interview published in 1975, the influential liberal theologian Father Dominique Chenu OP was asked about the post-Conciliar turmoil:
    Question: “In your opinion, how should one see this whole upheaval? Is it the fault of the priests, the theologians, the faithful?
    Answer: “I see its cause in the Council itself, in the logic of its march and its dynamism.”
    – Jacques Duquesne interroge le Pere Chenu, p. 191

    “Upheaval” doesn’t exactly equate with continuity, as anyone with a reasonable grasp of reason will attest.

    “The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit” and “the Church has never been in better shape”. Really?

    The lay French philosopher and confidante of Pope Paul VI gave very unambiguous testimony on the Protestantisation of the Mass, as mentioned on a recent thread. He also obligingly offered the view that Vatican II proclaimed what Saint Pius X condemned as Modernist heresy, in 1906:

    “When I read the documents relative to the Modernism, as it was defined by Saint Pius X, and when I compare them to the documents of the II Vatican Council, I cannot help being bewildered. For what was condemned as heresy in 1906 was proclaimed as what is and should be from now on the doctrine and method of the Church. In other words, the modernists of 1906 were, somewhat, precursors to me. My masters were part of them. My parents taught me Modernism. How could Saint Pius X reject those that now seem to be my precursors?”
    – Portrait du Père Lagrange, Éditions Robert Laffont, Paris, 1992, pp. 55-56.

    Notice the very telling way in which the last sentenced is phrased. No obvious consideration of the possibility that the Modernists were the ones in error.

    How about the following from leading progressivist, Cardinal Franz Koenig of Vienna, promoter of conciliar Ostpolitik and Ecumenism, and widely held to be the elector of Pope John Paul II.

    “O.R. 18 December 1971. Cardinal Konig said when presenting the Instruction on dialogue to the press that: ‘Dialogue puts the partners in an equal footing. The Catholic is not considered as possessing all the truth, but as someone who has faith and is looking for that truth with others, both believers and non-believers.’” I.C.I., No. 322, 15 October 1968, p.20
    – Iota Unum, footnote 17, p . 355

    That particular statement only echoes the infamous statement of Father Edward Schillebeeckx, peritus to the Dutch Episcopate at the Council, who claimed that:

    “…the Roman Catholic Church officially abandoned her monopoly over the Christian religion at Vatican Council II.”
    – Introduction to Cinco Problemas que Desafiam a Igreja Hoje, São Paulo: Herder, 1970, pp. 26-27)

    Continuity? I don’t think so.

    “The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit” and “the Church has never been in better shape”. Really?

    Apologists for the Council have tried to blame the devastation and apostasy of the conciliar era on the general agnosticism, materialism and hedonism than that had engulfed First and Second World countries since the early sixties. The expression “tsunami of secularism” has also been pitched in. All of which brings irony to rather exalted levels considering “the fact that the Council opened itself widely to the contemporary world” (Pope John Paul II, Dominum et Vificantem) and Pope Paul VI declared at the closing of the Council that “we too, we more than anyone else, subscribe to the cult of man.” (quoted in Athanasius’ Angelus article).

    One cannot with any passing resemblance of reason accept and laud the Council, and then separate out the fruits of the Council, which left absolutely nothing of the Church’s life untouched.

    On October 17, 1978, the newly-elected Pope John Paul II said:

    “We consider it our primary duty to be that of promoting, with prudent but encouraging action, the most exact fulfillment of the norms and directives of the Council. Above all we must favor the development of Conciliar attitudes. First one must be in harmony with the Council. One must put into effect what was started in its documents; and what was ‘implicit’ should be made explicit in the light of the experiments that followed and in the light of new and emerging circumstances.”

    Continuity? I don’t think so.

    Just less than a year after his elevation, Pope John Paul II set out his guiding principles of his 27 year pontificate in his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis:

    “Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council…” #3

    In Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in 1988, Pope John Paul II even admitted:
    “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.”

    Continuity? I don’t think so.

    “The Catechism was also indispensable (i.e., as well as the 1983 Code of Canon Law), in order that all the richness of the teaching of the Church following the Second Vatican Council could be preserved in a new synthesis and be given a new direction.” – Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, London, Jonathen Cape, 1994, p. 164

    Just consider that there are 806 citations from Vatican II, a number which amounts on average to one citation every three-and-a-half paragraphs throughout the 2,865 paragraphs of the Catechism.

    So how exactly does this “new synthesis” and “new direction” equate with the constant, universal Magisterium of the Church? Can anyone point to one single authoritative, magisterial explanation?

    Remarkably, Pope John Paul II actually recognised the bitter evil fruits of the Modernist revolution without ever linking it to the Council.

    “Christians today to a great extent feel themselves lost, confused, perplexed,” and “are tempted by atheism, agnosticism, a vaguely moralistic illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without definite dogmas and without objective morality” (L’Osservatore Romano, Feb. 7, 1981).

    “The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit” and “the Church has never been in better shape”. Really?

    Taking just one example of the fruits of the Council, many will agree that among the most scandalous landmarks of the conciliar desert are the Assisi Abominations, I,II, and III. The toxic, syncretic, relativistic, “spirit of Assisi” links right back to Dignitatis Humanae, one of the most contentious, and still unexplained documents of the Council. There can be no doubt Pope John Paul II saw it as a visible manifestation of the Council’s teaching, not a misinterpretation.

    Two months after the first Assisi scandal, in a speech to the Curia, the Pope said:

    “The day of Assisi, showing the Catholic Church holding hands with our brothers of other religions, was a visible express of [the] statements of the Second Vatican Council.”

    “The event of Assisi” he said, “can thus be considered as a visible illustration, an exegesis of events, a catechesis intelligible to all, of what is presupposed and signified by the commitments to ecumenism and to the inter-religious dialogue which was recommended and promoted by the Second Vatican Council.”

    The Pope also asked his Cardinals to “keep always alive the spirit of Assisi as a motive of hope for the future.”

    Can it be denied that first two Assisi scandals were obvious ways in which Pope John Paul II implemented his 1978 pledge to “favour the development of Conciliar attitudes” and to make what was “implicit” in Vatican II’s documents “explicit”.

    As I said, that’s just one particular scandalous example. Athanasius has summarised the whole crisis and the major elements of the crisis for all those of good will, in his Angelus article.

    Now at this point, before reading the next few lines, it might be an idea for anyone holding any glass or sharp implements to put them down.

    “The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit” and “the Church has never been in better shape”, but according to one particular Dutch Bishop, there is plenty more to come. Believe it or not.

    Bishop Jan Hendricks, auxiliary bishop of the Haarlem-Amsterdam diocese attended the Dutch Bishops’ ad limina meeting with Pope Francis last December. Following the meeting he stated that the pope said implementation of Vatican II is only half complete. “We have been implementing the council only half-way,” Hendriks recalled from the pope’s words. “Half of the work has still to be done.”

    Does anyone suggest that the last eleven months have rendered that statement incredible?

    With all respect due to the Vicar of Christ, the Church and countless souls would benefit greatly if somehow, by the grace of God, the second half programme of novus ordo revolution was halted, and Pope Francis took to heart the words of one of his illustrious predecessors:

    “The sacred pastors are not the inventors and composers of the Gospel, but merely the authorized guardians and preachers divinely established. Wherefore, we ourselves, and all bishops with us, can and must repeat the words of Jesus Christ: “My teaching is not my own, but his who sent me” (John 7:16)….
    “Therefore, we are not teachers of a doctrine born of the human mind, but we are in conscience bound to embrace and follow the doctrine which Christ Our Lord taught and which He solemnly commanded His Apostles and their successors to teach (Matthew 28:19-20).” – Pope Pius XII, Encyclical, Ad Sinarum Gentem, 1954

    November 22, 2014 at 12:22 am
    • Michaela


      “Well, as Billy Boy Clinton would say, it all depends on what you by the word “positive”. It’s not the word that springs obviously to mind.”

      Exactly! You have hit the nail on the head there. Your superb post is once again thoroughly documented with excellent quotes that leave us in no doubt about the truth of the matter. It was chilling to read the Dutch bishop’s comment from Pope Francis saying that the implementation of Vatican II “is only half complete”. That is truly scary. I’ve never heard that before and I agree with you that the second half of the novus ordo revolution should be halted, but will it? We’ll find out at next year’s second part of the Synod on the Family.

      November 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm
  • Athanasius


    Another excellent post confirming once again the absolutely in-your-face evidence that Vatican II reform has no links whatever with the Church’s past, right down to the phenomenon of the Modernist Popes speaking of “the Spirit” in a way that is not Catholic. They sound like Pentecostal pastors. If it doesn’t chime with Sacred Tradition just claim that it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. How presumptuous!

    It seems they’ve forgotten that there is no contradiction in the Holy Ghost. So, we may ask, what “Spirit” is truly behind the Second Vatican Catastrophe?

    November 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm
    • editor


      “…Modernist Popes speaking of “the Spirit” in a way that is not Catholic. They sound like Pentecostal pastors. If it doesn’t chime with Sacred Tradition just claim that it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. How presumptuous!”

      Absolutely on the button. I always think of this reference to “the Spirit” at work in the Church as totally Protestant. Well said. Knew if we kept you long enough, you’d say something sensible!

      November 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm
  • Athanasius


    Your patience has borne fruit, Athanasius has said something sensible!! Hehe!

    November 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm
    • damselofthefaith

      LOL. You’re my favorite poster on here, Athanasius. Always knowledgeable and know exactly how to say it like it is. Keep it up!

      November 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm
      • Michaela

        Damsel of the Faith,

        Whilst I agree that Athanasius’s posts are excellent, and I salute him for that, I find the comments on this blog to be of the highest possible standard from all the regulars and I would be hard pressed to name a “favourite”. They’re a marvellous team.

        November 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm
      • Athanasius


        I don’t think DOTF meant to imply that other comments on this blog are somehow inferior to mine. I took from her post that my style of writing appeals more to her.

        As it happens, I like the way Leo writes. But that doesn’t mean I consider other contributors to be inferior. I enjoy all the comments posted, except those of the trolls of course. But I have preferences based on writing style, that’s a normal human trait.

        Besides all that, I paid good money to have DOTF place those favourable comments about me, so back off!!

        November 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm
      • editor


        Oh he is, is he? Athanasius? Your favourite poster? Really? Have you NO idea how to scale the pay heights here? Now, no use in back-peddling at this late stage. You’ll only make things worse. Remember the old saying “letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in”…

        Listen, DOTF, the last thing I want to do is insult you but it IS on my list 😀

        November 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm
      • Athanasius


        Talking of scaling the pay heights. Any chance of moving me up to the living wage??

        November 22, 2014 at 11:12 pm
    • Michaela



      November 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm
      • Michaela


        My “LOL” comment was a response to your reply to editor about a sensible comment at last! I’d hate you to think it was because you’re Damsel’s favourite blogger!

        November 22, 2014 at 8:25 pm
  • Athanasius


    Thank you for that very kind and encouraging comment. God bless you.

    November 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm
    • editor


      DOTF has sunk to the bottom of the pay scale – some pal you turned out to be! 😀

      November 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm
      • Athanasius


        That still keeps her a few levels above me!

        “…some pal you turned out to be!” Said Caesar to Brutus. Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

        November 22, 2014 at 11:20 pm
      • damselofthefaith

        Now wait a minute, everyone. 😀

        No fighting! And no money involved! I love everyone here, of course. lol Or I wouldn’t be here. I see some strong Catholics around here.

        What nonsense is that? You are a million times above me, Athanasius!

        *mumbles* My goodness is every touchy or what! Ah well, I’ll stand by what I said about Athanasius, BUT doesn’t mean everyone else is inferior to him. 😀

        November 22, 2014 at 11:33 pm
  • Athanasius


    I’m quite sure there will be no fight. Too many smiley faces for that! If I knew how to post them I’d stick a couple of dozen up myself, except when responding to Michaela and Editor. They would get the wee faces with the sticky out tongue!!

    November 23, 2014 at 12:16 am
    • damselofthefaith

      😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

      November 23, 2014 at 1:29 am
      • Athanasius


        Good one!

        November 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm
  • Leo

    Athanasius and Editor

    I agree completely that all the talk we hear of “the Spirit” nowadays does indeed “sound like Pentecostal pastors”, and gives the impression of being “totally Protestant”. It is yet one more conciliar novelty, which has undoubtedly been given traction by the mania for false ecumenism. On that particular subject, it’s worth noting that Pope Francis’ longstanding very friendly and public relations with the late “bishop” Tony Palmer, evangelical pastors (at least one of whom happens to possess his very own private jet), and various pentecostal groups is in rather stark contrast to his utterances about Catholics who “count rosaries”, seek “doctrinal security”, live in a state of grace, and hold the faith of the Martyrs.

    To be honest, my first thought when hearing talk of “the Spirit” is always the question, “now what Spirit is that?” I have no intention of boosting their visitor numbers by clicking on their website without a very good cause, but I have no reason to doubt that the ultra-Modernist ACP still claims that “full acceptance that the Spirit speaks through all people” is needed so that “the breadth of the Spirit will flow more freely.” When dealing with Modernists the question is hardly unreasonable.

    It is certainly a question that springs to mind, when reading the following in your Angelus article, Athanasius:

    “Quite how this ‘pastoral’ Council, declared to be non-doctrinal and non-infallible, came to impose a new ecclesiology, a new liturgy, a new Code of Canon Law, a new Catechism and a new orientation centered on the ‘dignity of the human person’ rather than on baptism in Christ through His Church, is a mystery known only to the Almighty.God knows, it has been a whirlwind of evolution which for forty years has sown confusion in the true
    Church of Our Lord. It has eroded authority, suppressed dogmatic teaching, disrupted unity, left many Catholics bewildered, broken many hearts and resulted in mass apostasy from the faith. There simply is no more diplomatic a way to put it. And now Pope Francis seems to be focussing on even more radical changes that will see greater deterioration take place.”

    I’ve written here before that to consider what has happened in the Church over the last fifty years as the work of the Holy Ghost strikes me as being, objectively speaking, gross blasphemy.

    The late Father John Hardon SJ, who was not a “traditionalist” believed that it “is not in the best tradition of Christian prudence” that “we should just allow the Pentecostal movement to go on and then see what happens”. He also stated his belief that “latter-day Pentecostalism is in the same essential stream with Gnosticism, Montanism, and Illuminism”. In the interest of full disclosure, Father Hardon did also appear to believe at the time (1971) in “authentic renewal in the Spirit inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council”.

    The following words of the first Vatican Council’s document, Pastor Aeternus need constant repetition in these days of diabolical disorientation (They will be familiar to those who have read Athanasius’s Angelus article):

    “For the Holy Spirit 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.” -Pastor Aeternus, chap. 4

    Those words certainly serve as valuable magisterial counterweight to all the conciliar Pentacostalism that is wafting about. As to the correct Catholic understanding of the role of the Holy Ghost, Cardinal Manning explains:

    “this office of the Holy Ghost consists in the following operations: first, in the original illumination and revelation…; secondly, in the preservation of that which was revealed, or, in the other words, in the prolongation of the light of truth by which the Church in the beginning was illuminated; thirdly, in assisting the Church to conceive, with greater fullness, explicitness, and clearness, the original truth in all its relations; fourthly, in defining that truth in words, and in the creation of a sacred terminology, which becomes a permanent tradition and a perpetual expression of the original revelation; and lastly, in the perpetual enunciation and proposition of the same immutable truth in every age.” – Cardinal Henry Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, Burns, Oates: London, 1909.

    The final clause clearly sets out the Holy Ghost’s role in combatting Modernism.

    I can’t avoid the thought that talk of “the Spirit” is just one more tactic used by Modernists to dodge around immutable truth and dogma, and inflict novelty. And most definitely linked to that thought is the almost guaranteed certainty that those who nowadays frequently use the term “the Spirit” have an undisguised antipathy for Thomism. Frankly, it would be more than a bit surprising to find Pope Francis a strong admirer of Thomism (those who disagree might care to read or re-read Evangelii Gaudium). No such remark was ever made about the pre-Conciliar Popes.

    Pope Saint Pius X identified Thomism as the remedy against Modernism, in Pascendi. Also, “We admonish professors to bear well in mind that they cannot set aside Saint Thomas especially in metaphysical questions, without grave disadvantage.” (Pascendi, #45)

    Pope Pius XI describe Thomism as the “Christian, Catholic Roman philosophy” and “as innumerable documents of every kind attest, the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own” (Studiorum Ducem) and made clear that “no Doctor of the Church is so terrifying and formidable to modernists and other enemies of the Catholic faith as Aquinas.” ( Apostolic letter, Officorum Omnium)

    As is obvious from the above, Thomism is one of the main weapons against the deadly New Theology that has caused devastation to the Church since the middle of the last century. And what “spirit”, we may ask, was driving that New Theology?


    The home page looks great, Editor. Many thanks to webmaster and all the team.

    November 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm
    • editor


      “I can’t avoid the thought that talk of “the Spirit” is just one more tactic used by Modernists to dodge around immutable truth and dogma, and inflict novelty”

      Exactly. Invoke “the Spirit” and quell all criticism. It’s worked incredibly well down the road at the Institute of Useful Idiots.

      I’m also very interested in your comments about Fr John Hardon SJ – I’ve never quite known what to make of him. I’m disappointed to read his statement about the Holy Spirit-authentic renewal-Vatican II… words that should never appear in the same sentence unless accompanied by “NOT”!

      I note your comment about the ACP website but I do occasionally visit to see what they’re up to now. I haven’t managed to do so for a while but will check them out before the next edition of our newsletter, to see if there’s more shockers for our “When Irish Eyes are NOT smiling” dossier.

      Thank you for your kind praise of the new website. I’ll be passing it all on to webmaster. I mean, you think I’m looking for praise? You think anyone would ever say a kind word to me, in recognition of my hard work, good looks and downright sanctity of life? Or am I destined to offer up your jibes and insults? See if I care…
      😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

      November 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm
  • Leo

    “If the Church were not divine this Council (Vatican II) would have buried it.” – Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, 30 days, September 1993, p. 50.


    The report about the Dutch bishops’ ad limina meeting last December was carried in one of those Modernists cheerleading rags, so I hope people will understand my decision to not include a link, and in so doing limit their view numbers.

    The statement about the implementation of Vatican II being “only half complete” should be a strong contender for some “did he really say that” award. What exactly is left of Catholics’ patrimony, the patrimony held and passed on by our forbearers through “dungeon, fire and sword”, that hasn’t been attacked and pillaged by the Modernists? The liturgy, the Divine Office, Church architecture, the canonisations process, the rite of exorcism, the seminaries, religious life, schools, colleges, catechesis, prayers and devotions, to name some of the more obvious atrocities. You are quite correct, Michaela to mention the two part Synod, as it is beyond reasonable debate that the revolutionaries are now coming for Doctrine.

    As Cardinal Suenens (“Vatican II was the French Revolution in the Church”) rather obligingly and informatively explained “one could make an astonishing list for propositions taught yesterday, and the day before in Rome, as the only acceptable ones, and which were eliminated by the Conciliar Fathers”( Interview I.C.I 15/5/69).Once again, Catholics faithful to Tradition have their case made for them.

    Does anyone else here find the uncontained hubris of the Modernists offensive and revealing in equal measure? We know where pride comes from.

    It is a rather obvious remark to question how a pastoral council of fifty years ago, which consciously and deliberately “opened itself widely to the contemporary world” (Pope John Paul II, Dominum et Vificantem) has anything useful to contribute to the salvation of souls today. That “contemporary world” was the era of Kennedy, Khruschev, McMillan, De Gualle, before moon landings, colour TV, and commonplace foreign holidays, before the demonic deluge of pornography, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and widespread divorce amongst Catholics.

    To question the current relevance of a pastoral Council held before most of today’s Catholic were born, is justified on grounds of reason alone, even for anyone ignorant of the errors, novelties, ambiguities and omissions in the documents of the Council, and even for anyone ignorant of the fact that the Council quite deliberately and shamefully refused to condemn the greatest secular evil in history, Communism, which at that time was casting its menace in all four corners of the globe.

    Evidence on the pastoral nature of the Council, and on the fact that it defined no new dogma has been provided on this blog many times. That evidence is reinforced by the words of two Doctors of the Church, words which might have been written with the novel and exceptional Vatican II in mind.

    St. Robert Bellarmine SJ, pointed out that, “Only by the words of the general Council do we know whether the fathers of that council intended to engage their prerogative infallibility” (De Conciliis, I, 17) while it is a matter of fact that Vatican II was in marked contrast with the norm as it is set out in the following statement of St. Francis De Sales:

    “For what are the principal causes why general Councils assembled, save to put down and cast out the heretics, the Schismatics, the Scandalizer, as wolves from the sheepfold? As that first Assembly was held in Jerusalem to resist those who belong to the heresy of the Pharisees” – The Catholic Controversy, Burns & Oats, London, 1886, pg. 218.

    The following words of Father Vincent McNabb OP, written in happier and more secure times for Catholic souls, should counter much of the overplaying propaganda of the conciliar “French Revolution” madness and the Modernist desire to portray 1962 as some sort of year zero for the Church:

    “Neither the Pope nor General Councils are ends in themselves; they are relative entities. They look towards the Church.” – Infallibility (London, 1927), Sheed and Ward, p. 53.

    “If there have been antipopes still more have there been anti-councils. If papal actions must be distinguished into official, semi-official, and personal, equally so must the acts of councils.” – ibid, p. 78.

    “By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matt. 7:15-17)

    What the Church has experienced over the last five decades must surely represent the parable of the mustard seed in reverse. What was flourishing, vigorous, visible and secure, has, thanks large to the herbicide of Modernism, been reduced to what appears to be wasteland overrun by weeds and covered by poisonous waste.

    Here is the testimony, from all of thirty years ago, of a witness who despite everything, never managed to shake free of his filial attachment to the Council, even going so far as to blame the media for the disaster, as recently as twenty months ago:

    “Certainly the results of Vatican II seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Pope Paul VI. Expected was a new Catholic unity, and instead we have been exposed to dissension which, to use the words of Pope Paul VI, seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, and instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence that has developed for the most part precisely under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result, therefore, seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavourable for the Church.”
    -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, December 24, 1984, L’Osservatore Romano

    And yet, as previously posted, we are told by Pope Francis that “the Church has never been in better shape, and is experiencing a very positive moment”(Address a group of priest, 16 September 2013) and “half of the work (of the Council) has still to be done” (as reported by Bishop Henricks of Haalem-Amsterdam last December). What that “work” involves should exercise the minds and concern of every faithful Catholic. No doubt a significant part of it will be undertaken over the next twelve months.

    Rather than implementation, many faithful Catholics will be praying for a quiet private burial. The Second Council of Constantinople, held in 553, was described in 1934, by renowned historian Monsignor Philip Hughes as “the strangest of all the general councils” (A History of the Church, vol. 1: The Church and the World in Which the Church Was Founded ,1934; London: Sheed and Ward, 1979, p. 282). That particular superlative has surely changed address since. The present diabolical disorientation may be unprecedented but Catholics should always draw reassurance from the Church’s past.

    Rather than constant talk of illusory renewal and New Springtime, the words of a previous Pope and Doctor of the Church bear repetition; words which, by the grace of God, will precede the long overdue work of restoration and return to Tradition.

    “Yet still we have done as you desired, making no mention of this synod.”
    -From Pope St. Gregory the Great, Letter to Constantius, Bishop of Milan (Letters IV.39)

    “Yet, as Vatican II has proven to be, Constantinople II was an unmitigated disaster, and was recognized as such by a great many contemporary observers. Neo-Catholics who condemn traditionalist critics of Vatican II ought to become familiar with this ill-starred council….” The Great Façade, Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods

    Those quotes are contained in the following link:

    November 24, 2014 at 10:34 pm
  • Athanasius


    Just read this in a Zenit report:

    “…All the services the Church does help us “to get that light,” he said. “A service without this light is not good.”

    Although the Pontiff reminded faithful that over the centuries, the Church wanted to have its own light, he decried, “She was wrong.”

    Recalling the widow in today’s Gospel and how she was unknown, humble, and focused on her lost spouse, he stressed the Church must likewise be focused on her Spouse: Christ, the Eucharist.

    “The great virtue of the Church,” he said, “must not shine on its own, but to shine the light that comes from her spouse…”

    These words were spoken by Pope Francis during today’s morning Mass sermon at Casa Santa Marta. Absolutely unbelievable! This is Pope Francis actually stating that the Church has been wrong for centuries, which is the same as saying that he is wiser and more blessed than his sainted pre-Vatican II predecessors. Things just get worse for the Church every time this Pontiff opens his mouth. It’s like reading the sermons of a riddler just trying to figure out what he’s talking about.

    What exactly does he mean when he says the Church was trying to shine on its own, without its spouse. What is this double speak coming from the mouth of a Roman Pontiff?

    The entire short sermon can be read at Zenit:

    November 25, 2014 at 12:07 am
    • damselofthefaith

      The Church shines BECAUSE She belongs to Her Spouse. She shows forth the Glory of God.

      As I say, every time the Pope opens his mouth, an atomic bomb falls on the Church. Quite literally, it would seem…

      November 25, 2014 at 1:22 am
    • editor


      I’ve only got seconds, literally, at my disposal right now, so will read the entire homily later, but suffice to say that for a pontiff to fall into the elementary error of separating Christ from His Church, is beyond belief. I have avoided posting any articles which might leave us open to the charge of schism, or a schismatic mentality, but this one from The Remnant is so thoroughly documented from Fathers, Canonists, Saints and Doctors of the Church that a few days ago I considered posting it as a separate thread. I think – time being short in the CT office right now, and the latest bombshell quote from Pope Francis which you quote here – that it might suffice to comment on it on this thread.

      For the record, however, our policy is unaffected by anything written in the linked article – we recognise the election of Pope Francis as valid unless and until those with authority to do so formally announce otherwise, and we accept his papal authority when defending Catholic Tradition or making other legitimate pronouncements. As with his predecessors since Vatican II, we reject everything that contradicts Catholic Tradition, including his latest separation of Christ from His Church.

      November 25, 2014 at 10:17 am
  • Athanasius


    I read that Remnant article with interest but consider it to amount to little more than the articulation of a theory that will never be put to the test. For this reason, I think it is a bit of a waste of column inches.

    Church condemnation of heretical Popes in the past, and there have been one or two, has always been decreed posthumously by a Papal successor. There is no example in Tradition of a Pope being deposed by a Council during his lifetime.

    Besides that obvious obstacle, the article presupposes a Catholic hierarchy which is united in doctrinal orthodoxy and unanimously scandalised by the Pope’s heterodoxy, which is definitely not the case in the Church right now. The fact is that a majority of prelates are as questionable as Pope Francis and his conciliar predecessors.

    This passage from my Angelus article sums up the approach that must be taken with these deviant authorities, always in charity and with respect for the office they hold of course:

    “Commenting on this Scripture passage (St. Paul’s correction of Peter), St.Thomas Aquinas writes: “There being an imminent danger to the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith…” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 33, a. 4). St. Robert Bellarmine concurs with St. Thomas in this matter and distinguishes for us between legitimate resistance and forbidden judgment. He writes: “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses the soul or who disturbs civil order, or, above all who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these are acts proper to a superior” (De Romano Pontifice, lib. 2, chap. 29, in Opera Omnia [Paris: Pedone Lauriel, 1871], vol. I, p. 418).”

    What this passage illustrates perfectly, I believe, is the duty of Catholics at all levels in the Church to know their faith and to defend it with holy zeal, even if that means challenging a superior and resisting his dangerous ideas. If everyone did that today then there would be no crisis in the Church.

    My own point of view as regards the conciliar Popes is that one day, when the Church is fully restored, a future Pope, quite possibly at the head of a Council, will review each of their Pontificates and will roundly condemn their Modernist errors and the great harm they have done to the Church, including Pope Benedict XVI who was by no means a sound Traditional Pope as some of the more naive like to believe. It should be recalled, for example, that Benedict held (and still holds) the heretical belief that Church and State should be separate. Nowhere near as destructive as Francis, he was nevertheless part of the problem because he was/is a liberal. He also ran away from the Papacy when things became difficult for him. He wasn’t forced out, he bowed out and thereby opened the way for this present disastrous Papacy.

    This brings me to another question that may well arise in future, which is the canonical legitimacy of Francis’ election. Given the secrecy surrounding the conclave, it is difficult for the faithful to know what really went on there. Suffice it to say that Benedict laid down some very stringent rules as to what the Cardinals could and could not do during that conclave. One of those rules, binding under pain of excommunication, was that factions were forbidden to collude in the election of a candidate of their choice. This raises the very pertinent question of how we could have ended up with so diametrically opposite a Pope to Benedict. I mean, is it possible that the Cardinals in conclave felt unanimously inspired to elect Bergoglio knowing his reputation as an extreme liberal? And did they just decide to ignore the fact that as a Jesuit, he was forbidden by the rule of his Order to accept the Papacy?

    Regardless of these strange goings-on, we have to accept Francis as Pope and pray for him. But we also have a duty before God to resist his innovations and dangerous ideas, lest we incur the guilt of sin by silence or consent. This Pope is dangerous, no doubt about that, but he is Pope. Our Lord’s test of all of us, right up to the Cardinals, is how much we know our faith and how prepared we are to risk all in its defence. It is clear that many are lost to those considerations today; the papolatrists, the willfully ignorant, the indifferent and the careerists. That’s why Our Lord has permitted so great a trial, to expose the general laxity at all levels. He is still in charge of His Church and He will end this punishment when sufficient numbers begin at last to open their eyes, not to mention their ears.

    November 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm
    • Confitebor Domino

      One of those rules, binding under pain of excommunication, was that factions were forbidden to collude in the election of a candidate of their choice. 

      Just yesterday Fr Ray Blake drew our attention to an allegation that just such a lobby for Bergoglio was involved. I’ll give you one guess who is said to have organized it. Yes, your right – Cormac Murphy-O’Connor! Now I’ve no idea whether it’s true or not, but it would go along way to explaining how we ended up with such an extremist after just five ballots. (1)

      In an earlier post Fr Blake came up with the intriguing suggestion that the cardinals elected Bergoglio because they figured that compared to him they (or at least some of them) would appear to be paragons of orthodoxy! (2)


      November 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm
      • Athanasius


        It’s very difficult to say what went on in that conclave, but I have to say that I’m having the hardest time believing that a unanimous number of Cardinals just happened to vote for so controversial a candidate as Cardinal Bergoglio. If they did, knowing what the knew about his time in Argentina, then we would have to conclude that the College of Cardinals is in serious, serious trouble.

        November 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm
    • editor


      “…the article presupposes a Catholic hierarchy which is united in doctrinal orthodoxy and unanimously scandalised by the Pope’s heterodoxy, which is definitely not the case in the Church right now. The fact is that a majority of prelates are as questionable as Pope Francis and his conciliar predecessors.”

      Correct. And, in my haste, I omitted “posthumously” from my statement that “we recognise the election of Pope Francis as valid unless and until those with authority to do so formally announce otherwise [which will be after his death]” .

      It goes without saying that I agree with you that the duty of every Catholic to thoroughly know and be able to explain the Faith, is greater than ever. But there, I said it anyway!

      November 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Leo


    I was going to say that those words of Pope Francis are indeed shocking, but the scandalous shock element, as we all know, has long since departed from this papacy. There is now a certain night follows day inevitability to the increasing catalogue of seriously disturbing papal statements which would have been utterly inconceivable before the Council. Chances are there will be something else by the end of the week.

    At this stage it is stretching credibility beyond reason for anyone to put forward the spur of the moment, confused thinking excuse, or that old favourite the botched translation: once or twice maybe, but not when this is becoming a continuous stream of utterances which are virtually guaranteed to trouble any faithful, knowledgeable Catholic.

    On a purely natural level, lack of clarity of expression is totally unacceptable in any profession, indeed in everyday life. It is taken for granted as an elementary skill of any half educated child, let alone a Pope.

    Not all, apparently, are having difficulty understanding the messages. The following might be worthy of a mental note, for future reference.

    Pope Pius VI had some very forceful words on the subject of attempts to introduce ambiguity into doctrinal discussions. 220 years ago he exposed the errors of the false council of Pistoia by means of the papal bull, Auctorem Fidei. It included the following words:

    “Whenever it becomes necessary to expose statements that disguise some suspected error or danger under the veil of ambiguity, one must denounce the perverse meaning under which the error opposed to Catholic truth is camouflaged.”

    On the matter raised by the Pope’s words at issue here, it’s nothing more than stating the obvious that the human element of the Church is weak and flawed. A passing familiarity with the New Testament is enough to make the point. There have been tares amongst the good grain from the beginning.

    Hilaire Belloc once made the essential point in typically forceful terms:

    “Any purely human institution run by such a group of knaves, fools, and cutthroats wouldn’t have lasted a fortnight.”

    Cardinal Consalvi’s famous quip to Napoleon along the same lines must surely have given the Emperor cause for thought.

    Whatever his intentions, the Pope’s language and lack of clarity, as reported by Zenit, must surely besmirch the holy and sacral marks of the Church in the minds of many. The image portrayed of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, is one of another worldly collective, offering some “service”. Blurring the distinction between the supernatural and the natural is of course one of the main hallmarks of Modernism.

    The Catechism of the Council of Trent deals with the Holy mark of the Church in Part 1, Chapter X, Question XIV. It states:

    “She is also to be called holy, because, as the body, she is united to her holy head, Christ the Lord (Ephes. Iv. 15, sq.), the fountain of all holiness, from whom are diffused the graces of the Holy Spirit, and the riches of the divine bounty.”

    It hardly takes much exercising of the mind to be reminded, by the Pope’s words, of another reprehensible conciliar novelty, that derived from Luther’s principle of the “sinning” Church, simultaneously just and a sinner. From the notion of “sinning” Church, it is a short skip to the concept of Ecclesia semper reformanda (Church always to be reformed). The modernists have of course been merrily putting that to music for five decades. What does anyone consider to be the basis for the objectionable “apologies” programme implemented by Pope John Paul II if not this “sinning” Church?

    Anyone who has Romano Amerio classic analysis of the Council, Iota Unum should find pages 127 and 128 of assistance when reading the Zenit report.

    “In the Summa Theologica, III, q.8,a.3 ad secundum, and the Catechism of the Council of Trent, in the section on the creed, it is explained how the sins, of the baptised do not prejudice the holiness of the Church, but this remains nonetheless a complex notion which only a rigorous distinction can render clear. A definite distinction must be drawn between the natural element, and the supernatural element which produces the new creature; between the subjective and the objective element; between the historical element and the suprahistorical element which operates within it.”

    The Church is of course holy because Christ is the Head of the Church. The Church is holy because She is the sole ark of salvation, the exclusive mediator of salvific graces through Her sacraments. She is wholly because under the guidance and protection of the Holy Ghost, She has constantly taught the truth in matters of faith and morals.

    Individual members of teaching and learning Church may be flawed, but not Her doctrine.

    “…those who belong to the Church will find themselves preaching a doctrine which is better than their own deeds.” (p. 128)

    Pope Francis isn’t the first Pope to cause confusion.

    “Paul VI conceded to the Church’s critics the fact that ‘the history of the Church has many long pages that are not at all edifying’ but he did not distinguish clearly enough between the objective holiness of the Church and the subjective holiness of its members. In another address he put it in these terms: ‘ The Church ought to be holy and good, it ought to be as Christ intended and designed it to be, and sometimes we see that it is not worthy of the title.’ It would seem that the Pope is turning an objective note of the Church into a subjective one…It is not Christians who make the Church holy, but the Church that makes them holy.” (p 128)

    I’ll close with the words of Pope Gregory XVI from his 1832 encyclical, Mirari Vos, yet one more magisterial example of what Catholics are now missing. I’m sure, Athanasius, that you will agree that this short encyclical is a must read for anyone seeking a stand up, robust, crystal clear setting out of Catholic teaching, and correct reading of the “signs of the times”.

    “But since, to use the words of the Fathers of the Council of Trent, it is certain that the Church was instructed by Christ and His Apostles, and that the Holy Ghost never fails, by daily assistance, to teach us all truth, it is the height of absurdity and outrage towards it to pretend that a restoration and regeneration have become necessary to secure its existence and its progress; as if it could be believed that it was thus subject either to faintness, darkness or other alterations of this kind. And what do these innovators seek, except to give new foundations to an institution which would thereby be only man’s work, and realize what Saint Cyprian cannot sufficiently detest, by rendering the Church human, from all divine that it is?” Mirari Vos, #11

    November 26, 2014 at 1:10 am
    • editor


      “It is not Christians who make the Church holy, but the Church that makes them holy.” (p 128)”

      In a nutshell!

      Thanks for yet another brilliant post, Leo, packed with unanswerable quotes from impeccable sources. Your closing quote – from Mirari Vos # 11 – is superb and should have closed down Vatican II after the opening session. If only!

      November 26, 2014 at 9:35 am
  • Athanasius


    I’ll second what Editor has written. Your post, once again, sums it up in a nutshell. Why can’t the authorities in the Church see these things? Truly, a “diabolical disorientation”.

    November 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

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