Is it possible for an ecumenical council of the Holy Roman Catholic Church to be a revolutionary act that deliberately uses its authority to launch a threefold attack – pastoral, disciplinary and liturgical – against faith and morals?
I know, the question is all but absurd, but it’s important nonetheless. So, let’s dive a little more deeply into the matter before moving on to the, dare I say, obvious answer.
First, let’s consider the nature of ecumenical councils.
In our day and age, most self-identified Catholics have little sense for the immense gravity of such councils. We’ve been lectured endlessly about the “pastoral” nature of Vatican II, leading many to believe that there is such a thing as a bona fide conciliar decree that the faithful can simply take or leave as they wish.
By contrast, according to Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, speaking during a 1988 visit to Chile, Vatican II “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 super dogma.”
As Ratzinger spoke, a 51-year-old Jesuit living in neighboring Argentina by the name of Jorge Bergoglio was roughly 25 years away from assuming the stage name “Pope Francis,” upon which he would lend fuel to the very cause that the cardinal was attempting to extinguish, saying:
You can be with the Church and therefore follow the Council, or you can not follow the Council or interpret it in your own way, as you want, and you are not with the Church.
Though it may come as a shock to members of the BXVI Fan Club, if indeed Vatican II is to be numbered among the ecumenical councils of the Church, the Bergoglian approach is by far the more Catholic. In other words, there is nothing “mere” nor “modest” about any ecumenical council.
According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, loosely but accurately translated from the Latin:
The decrees of a Council do not have the force of a definitive obligatory character about them unless they have been confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and promulgated at his order. (Can. 227)
Even the 1983 Conciliar Code (Can. 341 §1) states likewise. In other words, no matter how you slice it, this means that the decrees of Vatican II do have obligatory force, provided…
This brings us back to the question posed at the outset: Can an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church amount to a revolution against the faith?
Hold your fire just a little longer still while we consider the teaching found in the Roman Catechism:
This Spirit, first imparted to the Apostles, has by the infinite goodness of God always continued in the Church. And just as this one Church cannot err in faith or morals, since it is guided by the Holy Ghost; so, on the contrary, all other societies arrogating to themselves the name of church, must necessarily, because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral. (Catechism of the Council of Trent, aka Roman Catechism)
Do you believe this?
Before you answer, let’s be perfectly clear about what the Catechism is saying: The Holy Ghost prevents the Catholic Church from erring in faith and morals – period – and the divine guidance that makes this so is not limited only to those rare occasions when the bishops together with the pope, or the pope on his own, teaches infallibly.
Just to make sure we’re exceedingly clear, consider the words of Pope Pius XI who taught that the Church is endowed with “perfect and perpetual immunity from error and heresy” (cf Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, 22).
Get that? Error and heresy, not just that which is properly heretical.
So, now that we’ve gotten that straight, tell me, do you believe what the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches regarding the guidance of the Holy Ghost?
If so, then obviously any revolutionary attack against faith and morals couldn’t have possibly been an act of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, in fact, it must have been guided by the spirit of the devil!
But wait, there’s more.
You see, the ecumenical councils of the Church cannot possibly sanction a betrayal of faith and morals because, as noted, its texts are granted papal approval, and the pope himself is divinely protected from propagating such an attack.
As the First Vatican Council plainly teaches:
This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. (Pastor Aeternus)
In spite of so much clarity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (who is an oracle of divine revelation according to Michael “Unite-the-Cons” Matt) evidently does not believe the above quoted portion of the Roman Catechism.
Indeed, it was he who declared in a recent interview that the Second Vatican Council “deliberately used its authority to sanction a systematic betrayal of faith and morals, pursued through pastoral, disciplinary and liturgical means.”
In fairness, it must be pointed out that Viganò also said that Vatican II was “unlike all the other Ecumenical Councils,” but he stops well short of speaking the truth that Vatican II cannot be numbered among the so-called “other Ecumenical Councils,” much less does he undertake the simple task of connecting the dots in order to explain why it couldn’t possibly have been an act of the Holy Roman Catholic Church at all.
In any case, let us at least commend Archbishop Viganò for acknowledging that the teaching of Vatican II amounts to a betrayal of faith and morals.
Having recognized that, however, now what?
Thankfully, the First Vatican Council also teaches us how the gravest of dangers to the faith have always been remedied in the Church:
It was for this reason [that the Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians] that the bishops of the whole world, sometimes individually, sometimes gathered in synods, according to the long-established custom of the Churches and the pattern of ancient usage, referred to this Apostolic See those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing. (ibid.)
Isn’t it magnificent how the individual threads of Catholic teaching mesh together so sensibly, forming a tapestry of truth that is thoroughly resistant to any stain of error?
It makes perfect sense that in the See of Rome “the faith can know no failing.” After all, this See is governed by the Bishop of Rome who is the pope, he who is endowed in a particular way with the gift of truth and never-failing faith! And this is why we must always turn to Rome when the faith is endangered.
Does Archbishop Viganò know this and believe it?
In spite of his obvious confusion, or weakness, or both concerning so many other points, it seems that he does. You see, in this same interview, he lamented the liturgical attack on the faith that is the Novus Ordo Missae, about which he states:
The next Pope will have to restore all the liturgical books previous to the conciliar reform and banish from Catholic churches its unseemly parody, in whose realization notorious modernists and heretics collaborated.
So, he realizes that the dangers of which he speaks must be remedied by Rome, but why the next pope?
As I pointed out in a previous post, Archbishop Viganò, to his everlasting shame, continues to refer to Jorge Bergoglio as “Roman Pontiff” and “Vicar of Christ.”
Evidently, however, he doesn’t really believe it.
Why do I say this?
Because if he really does believe that Bergoglio is pope, he would be urging him to repair the damage suffered by the faith, now.
Archbishop Viganò, a closet sedevacantist?
Don’t laugh, he just might be.