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The Second Vatican Council - An Unwritten Story Paperback – December 8, 2012
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Among the most powerful quotes are those by Bishop Rudolph Graber of Regensburg Germany who said effectively that the changes to the Church were not incidental or passing but about the "whole thing" meaning the very nature of the church as a Supernatural Institution founded by Christ. Another quote called the Council a shift from a "theocentric" (God centered) to an "anthropocentric" (man centered) view of reality. Again, one Bishop at the end of the first session (end of 1962) said the two contending parties of Bishops and theologians (both minorities) were the Roman and Thomistic and the anti Roman and anti Thomistic. The anti Roman and anti Thomistic side won out to a significant degree, because they were better organized and more motivated, but one commentator said about this, that abandoning Thomist Theology and Philosophy meant abandoning the precise language of the Church. It is very clear to me, that the ambiguities of the Council's wording and the many and often conflicting interpretations have been continually evident in the past 50 years.
Certain Cardinals, Bishops and theologians speak for themselves and prominent figures like Cardinal Suenens, Fr. Rahner and Fr. Congar clearly intended the radical changes to the church and her liturgy, without however, foreseeing the profound consequences evident in the great confusion among clergy and laity in our present day.
The split in the Council leaders is reflected in the split in the Church today between the 'liberal' Catholics and the 'traditional or conservative' Catholics; I would also argue it resulted in the split of the Democratic political party, in that the last party platform in 2008, which included gay marriage and abortion, was anti God (as noted by Archbishop Vigano, Papal Nuncio to the U.S.), but in my experience many Democrats seemed not to know or not to care.
De Mattei's book also includes some quotes from various diaries of Council figures such as Cardinal de Lubac who was somewhat 'progressive' at the beginning but later expressed grave criticism of the Council's results. Pope Paul VI after the Council asked Cardinal Charles Journet, Jesuit Swiss theologian, what he thought of the results of the Council and he answered "tragic".
Really a great and highly informative book but it might be unsettling to a traditional/conservative Catholic, especially one who believed there was a real unanimity among the Council Fathers and that it would produce positive results. The extensive footnotes are on the whole valuable but sometimes overwhelming to a non scholar like me. I think Roberto de Mattei is a great historian who is on the traditional side of the Church but his objectivity is clear and he lets the Council participants and commentators speak for themselves and they speak 'volumes'.
As a history, this work doesn't provide any sort of in-depth theological analysis of the Council's pronouncements, but it does make eminently clear that the men who produced the Second Vatican Council were modernists to the core and that the Council they foisted upon the Church reflected the revolutionary heterodoxy and disloyalty of their hearts. That minority of Catholic bishops and theologians who secretly hated the Church managed to hijack the Council and produce a series of authoritative (if not "dogmatic") documents that undermined the ancient beliefs and orientation of the Church. Amidst all the provocative and dramatic facts this book relates, that is the salient kernel one must take away. Loyal churchmen, such as Cardinal Sir and Pope Benedict XVI, have come up with the theory of the "hermeneutic of continuity" in order to give the Vatican II documents the most consistent, if tortured, interpretations that can explain away their contradictions with ancient Catholic dogma. This book, however, demolishes that well-intentioned but transparent lie.
As a supplement to that one, extremely important point, the background material is fascinating. The author shows how a good many important churchmen, such as Gerardo de Proenca of Brazil, were prophetic in naming and denouncing the enemies of the Church but were ignored by the modernist Popes John XXIII and Paul VI. De Mattei explains how the majority of bishops were men who were orthodox in sentiment but who changed their principles with every prevailing wind, no matter how heretical. The majority of the world's bishops came into the council demanding a condemnation of Communism but left Rome after voting with the modernists almost to a man. A good many spoke out in debate against the innovations of the Council's progressive puppet masters, but when it came time to vote almost always voted with the progressive line. I had previously thought there was something suspicious about this mysterious tendency, especially considering that IBM voting machines were utilized (see Vatican II: last of the councils) but de Mattei shows that the bishops, being good papalators, voted the way their believed Paul VI wanted them to vote.
In addition to the supine character of Catholic bishops, to which the steadfast courage of Archbishops Lefebvre and Castro de Mayer are presented as sterling contrasts, the author documents the naivety and heterodoxy of Paul VI, who was found to have passed sensitive documents on to the Soviet government when he worked in the Secretariat of State. Indeed, the Pope was a modernist and communist sympathizer through and through. His speeches reek of humanistic man-worship and rejection of the supernatural. However, in an encouraging display of Christ's promise to protect the Church from the gates of Hell, even this modernist Pope was compelled by the Holy Spirit to courageously defend orthodoxy in Humane Vitae when all the pressures of the world had combined with the Pope's own intense desire to overthrow Tradition. Nevertheless, when bishops and priests and nuns openly rejected Catholicism and permitted wolves to devour the flock with impunity, the authorities of the Church did nothing, and continue to do nothing, which is the best proof that all that has happened to the Church since the Council was not an unexpected occurrence but a planned and directed conspiracy of subversion.
What this book doesn't really answer is how such a minority of anti-Catholic clerics managed to enter the Church and thrive in its bosom for decades and generations, even under the condemnations of Pius X and the scrutiny of Pius XII. I suppose the answer to that isn't really knowable, in strictly human terms. Only the demonic can sustain such a conspiracy across so many years and cultures for so long for such a malevolent goal. What we do know is that the spiritual sons of the Vatican II conspirators are enshrined in Rome and are attempting to perpetrate- using the same tactics as their fathers used at Vatican II- a crime infinitely more monstrous at the upcoming Synod on the Family: that of officially denying Christ's clear teaching on marriage and instituting Church-sanctioned bigamy. Sister Lucia of Fatima prophesied that the final battle between Satan and the Church would be over the issue of the family. Perhaps this is that time.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. As a history it is meticulous, but it also excels in its learned exposition of the context and theological implications of what happened at the Council. Good churchmen, aware of the monstrous conspiracy at the heart of the Council, try to tell us that there's nothing to see at Vatican II, hoping that the ignorant masses will not inquire too deeply into the scandalous subject and that it will just be forgotten in time. But embarrassing incidents tend to resurface eventually, especially for the Church, which will never lack enemies. To wit, one can point to the Reformation era, when the Protestants unearthed obscure 800 year old incidents to attack the doctrines of Catholicism. Best to face the issue head on and admit that Communist- inspired or directed operatives managed to infiltrate the Church in the 20th century and wreak chaos. Therefore, the merely pastoral directives of the Council should be disregarded where they conflict with Tradition. It's incredibly scandalous and embarrassing but it doesn't undermine any of the Church's claims or charisms. We don't need to forget Vatican II, just reject it.