“The unique historical contribution of the Second Vatican Council consists in this: the universal call to holiness, a call we have to take seriously.” – Assessment recently offered by a man who shall be identified shortly.
The quote above hardly represents an original thought. Rather, it is a well-worn claim that is often put forth by neo-conservative types who are finding it increasingly difficult to avoid acknowledging the grave errors of Vatican II, and yet are determined to remain in the good graces of conciliar Rome, the gatekeepers of so-called “full communion,” and the various goodies that go along with it.
As such, these persons evidently feel compelled to find something, anything, praiseworthy in the conciliar text, as if it offers at least one morsel of valuable treasure that had somehow managed to escape discovery until the awakening of the 1960s.
For many, the universal call to holiness found in Lumen Gentium serves as the go-to citation for this purpose, the one that proves beyond all doubt that the Council – in spite of any alleged ambiguities and the necessity of applying a tortured hermeneutic to its text in order to render it even marginally Catholic – is surely just what the likes of John Paul the Great Ecumenist told us, a great gift of the Holy Spirit!
As for the claim that the Council’s universal call to holiness is a “unique historical contribution” to the children of the Church; this would come as a great surprise to our first pope, St. Peter, who wrote to the faithful “dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” the following words of exhortation:
Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ, As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance: But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13-16)
That the Council’s universal call to holiness is a unique historical contribution would also be news to St. Paul, who wrote:
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Furthermore, such a claim would come as a complete shock to Moses and the children of Israel to whom God said:
Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy because I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 20:7)
Lastly, one shudders to imagine how such a claim – on the part of a Catholic, no less – strikes Our Lord Jesus Christ, who said:
Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
And perhaps most ironic of all is the fact that this dubious claim might even invite the laughter of the authors of Lumen Gentium themselves, who under the heading “Universal Call to Holiness” cited this very same verse, writing:
The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and everyone of His disciples of every condition. He Himself stands as the author and consumator of this holiness of life: “Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Lumen Gentium 40)
So much for the universal call to holiness being “the unique historical contribution of the Second Vatican Council.”
All of this only goes to show just how desperate certain persons are to avoid incurring the cost that one must pay for plainly warning the unsuspecting that Vatican Council II was, and remains, a work of the Devil that offers an array of deadly poison, albeit often shrouded in the pious sounding language of Catholic doctrine.
So, who is the author of this oft-repeated claim?
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in his recently published book-length interview, Christus Vincit – a book that, at present, I have only read roughly halfway.
My impression of the book thus far is that it is very much like the conciliar text itself – an admixture of Catholic truth, ambiguity and error. Unlike the Council, however, one gets the unmistakable sense that its authors, Bishop Schneider and his interlocutor, Diane Montagna, are of genuine good will, each one wishing to make their own unique historical contribution to the Church in this time of crisis.
I’ll have more to say on how close, or not, they’ve come to making that contribution once I’ve finished reading.