In 2003 / 2004, the first of the Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II study guides underwent a thorough evaluation by the censor librorum for the Archdiocese of Baltimore (an eminent theologian and professor at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary) as part of the process of securing an imprimatur. He went through the text with a fine-tooth comb and made a couple of recommendations for rewording certain sentences, not because they were misrepresentations of Catholic doctrine, but because they weren’t sufficiently clear and could therefore invite an erroneous interpretation.
The obvious didn’t occur to me until many years later; if this very same standard was applied to the conciliar text, as the previous post indicates, it would not qualify for an imprimatur.
The point is simply this:
It’s not enough for a given text, that purports to transmit the faith, to possess the mere possibility being interpreted in continuity with tradition; rather, it must transmit the doctrine of the faith whole and entire, with precision and clarity.
Surely this is not asking too much of an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, is it?
My comments will never get an Imprimatur but, personally, I’ve given up trying to use the Documents of Vatican II for anything. After 50 years, just talking about them creates division and angry discussions. The very fact that we must be TOLD that we should use “the hermeneutic of continuity” when interpreting is evidence all by itself that the Documents don’t do what documents from an ecumenical council should be expected to do: provide clarity on the Truths of the Faith.
So I just ignore them as if they never happened. I can’t think of a single good “fruit” from the Council or its documents. It makes worse everything it touches. There IS good doctrine there, probably more than not, but the documents say nothing true that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, earlier, and better.
Really. What is better as a consequence of the Council? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
No Imprimatur for me!
Well said, Terry.
“The documents say nothing true that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, earlier…”
While this comment will invite backlash from the “defend the conciliar text at all costs” crowd, it really refers to nothing more than the mission of the Council as understood by all concerned; i.e., there’s nothing controversial here.
This, I suppose is a matter of opinion, but one thing is certain: The confusion that reigns supreme today did not exist “earlier.”
A “Nihil Obstat” is still applied to the documents, esentially meaning: “Nothing obstructs” the use of them for teaching and instruction
Again I reference Bishop Nickless of Sioux City for an expert interpretation on “hermeneutic of continuity” vs. “ruptured continuity”:
@Samwise My point was that the very need to tell people that a “hermeneutic of continuity” is necessary for proper understanding of the Council texts speaks to the very issue of their undeniable ambiguities. Of what other Council’s documents was there the need to tell people how to understand them? It’s obvious that there IS a need to say that about the Documents of Vatican II.
I first read the principal Council documents shortly after they were first translated into English (the Abbot translation) and, as a cradle Catholic raised in the Church before the Council, I read them with a traditional mind. I was actually excited about the Council documents because they struck me as calls for Church renewal and personal holiness. What’s not to like there? I didn’t expect to see ambiguities, and I didn’t. So I do believe that the Council documents CAN and SHOULD be read as consistent with Tradition. Time, however, has proven me beyond naive
The relentless and unceasing controversies over the “authentic” interpretation of Vatican II, and 40 years after the end of the Council the apparent NEED to TELL people how they should be interpreted (“the hermeneutic of continuity”) seems to be PROOF that as documents, they are “flawed.” Hence my decision to largely ignore them because have yielded such bad “fruit.”
There have been other ecumenical councils that accomplished nothing of particular note and are of interest primarily to scholars. Vatican II, however, which purported to teach nothing new but, rather, to articulate the traditional Faith in new ways for new circumstances and with pastoral recommendations, has been a practical disaster by almost any standard of measurement. It supposedly taught nothing new but the response has been as if it reinvented the Church!
The Truth doesn’t need to be reinvented. It is undeniable that the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” does exactly that That we have to be told that these documents ARE in continuity with Tradition means that it is not obvious that they are. And that being the case, we should stop trying to put lipstick on that pig. I think we are better off ignoring them and, instead, seek to rebuild all that has been torn down. If there is to be a New Pentecost, it will not come about through desperate attempts to rescue the flawed documents of Vatican II. So I don’t encourage people to “read the documents,” or even the “new” Catechism.
As a traditional priest once said to me, “the new Catechism is good, assuming we needed a new Catechism.” If there was nothing new doctrinally in Vatican II, then the “old” Catechisms are more than sufficient, thank you. The new Catechism seems to be an excessively wordy exercise in proving that Vatican II is in continuity with all that went before. Vatican II documents are quoted more often than any other council’s sources. To me it protesteth too much. The Catechism of the Council of Trent says clearly what the new Catechism buries in tiresome and excessive “wordiness.” Read the section on the Mass in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and compare it with the corresponding text in the new Catechism. It’s actually shocking.
Time to rebuild and consign Vatican II to the category of a “failed Council.” Nice try, but nothing more.
I have quoted from sections of the catechism of Trent with little acceptance. It doesn’t seem like any council is accepted by this site…Speaking of trent, was it a “successful” council? Were heresies as grave as Luther’s teaching on justification solved and done away with?
Or go back to the Council of Chalcedon and the Monophysite heresy. Last I checked it is still alive and well in the Coptic Church…
V2 was the first ecumenical council called for a purpose other than confronting/correcting heresy and even prior to its opening a successful modernist conspiracy formed and it took controk of the council early on.
Owing to the errors in prudential judgment by the Popes and Prelates the Catholic Church threw its arms around a diseased and dying corpse of the world and the Church, in her human element,became diseased and corrupt by inviting the dying world inside the citadel.
Once we Catholics get a Traditionalist Pope who will repudiate and condemn V2, we will, finally, reach spiringtime.
Until then,it is the dead of winter
It is so encouraging to know one is not alone in thinking the documents of V2 should be used for something useful, like lavatory paper. There are times when I really hate the Church – not so much because of horrible evils and sins like the paedophilia scandals (horrible as they are), as because the Church seems dead set on sicking up its Traditional Faith, and requiring the unTraditional novelties to be accepted. Sorry, but the Church has superseded the Jewish People: Christ has fulfilled the Old Covenant, and it is now over, kaput, verboten, finished, past its sell-by date, dead, done with, superseded, a dead letter. The New Testament says so very clearly, and – odd as it may seem – the inspired authors of the NT may just possibly have had a slightly firmer grasp of God’s intentions than a bunch of uninspired theology graduates in mitres with a decidedly dodgy understanding of the Catholic Faith. “If an angel from Heaven”, or a Pope, or the S.C.D.F., or a cardinal, or the entire episcopate, or the whole Church, “were to preach another Gospel, let him [or them] be anathema”. Popes are not angels – if they contradict & betray the Faith, God have mercy on them, for they are abusing their Christ-given authority.