In Part 1 of what
promises to be a lengthy serialization, we discussed the
"mentality" of the Second Vatican Council in
general. In this overview, we especially highlighted
its ambiguous nature as to the law, how at the outset
it presented itself to the world, and some general contradictions
and omissions in some of its texts.
In Part 2, we began
to summarize the errors ascribed to Vatican II in
particular, starting with a basic division of
its errors into those which are doctrinal and
those which are pastoral (recognizing that
such a distinction is not always well-demarcated). In
Part III we will concentrate on the doctrinal errors concerning:
1) the "Priesthood," 2)
the "Incarnation," "Redemption"
and the "Idea of Man," 3)the "Kingdom
Errors Concerning the "Priesthood"
Vatican II is inclined toward an erroneous idea
of the priesthood, reducing it to a function of the "people
of God," who are arbitrarily identified with the Church.
Lumen Gentium §13 [hereafter LG], reads:
...Hence it is that
the People of God is not only an assembly of various peoples,
but in itself is made up of different ranks. This diversity
among its members is either by reason of their duties-some
exercise the sacred ministry for the good of their brethren-or
is due to their condition and manner of life-many enter
the religious state and, intending to sanctify by the
narrower way, stimulate their brethren by their example....
Therefore, the "sacred
function" is conceived as an "order" of the
"People of God," a term that literally expresses
the idea of class, order, state, in itself and within the
larger entity. And in keeping with the progressive mentality
imposed during the Council, it also represents not only
a part, but also and above all, a function, the latter term
having no Latin equivalent. This "function" is
realized in different "offices" (Decree on the
Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis§§2,4
[hereafter PO]). It is an "office"
before being a "power." The priest is no longer
the "priest of God"; on the contrary, he is the
"priest of the people of God," which legitimates
him in his "function." This is contrary to the
entire tradition of the Church and her divine constitution.
is contrary to the historic truth of Tradition and the New
Testament that, from the outset, Our Lord established some
of His specific followers as ministers, as is stated in
However, the Lord
also appointed certain men as ministers, in order that
they might be united in one body in which "all the
members have not the same function" (Rom. 12:4).
These men were to hold in the community of the faithful
the sacred power of Order, that of offering sacrifice
and forgiving sins, and were to exercise the priestly
office publicly on behalf of men in the name of Christ....
The above-quoted text
seeks to legitimate attributing "power through orders"
to the need for the unity of the society of Christians by
making it substantively depend on the needs of an alleged
"community" or "People of God." But
Our Lord did not take His ministers from "the community
of Christians." On the contrary, He began by choosing
His ministers-the Apostles-and He formed them since, in
turn, they formed Christians. He chose His "ministers"
even before a "community of Christians" existed.
He did not form the Christian militia by beginning with
foot soldiers! He began with the officers, since they form
the foot soldiers.
As stated in Lumen Gentium (§10), Vatican II illicitly
equalizes the proper meaning of the "ministerial
priesthood" with that of the "common priesthood"
of the faithful:
Though they differ essentially and not only in degree,
the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial
priesthood are none the less ordered one to another; each
in its own proper way shares in the one priesthood of
Thus, the two forms
of the "one priesthood of Christ" are placed on
the same level. Nothing is said of "subordination,"
but rather, "reciprocal ordination." Thus, it
speaks of two evidently equal functions of "the one
priesthood of Christ." This parity, already in itself
contrary to the deposit of Faith, seems to hide a subordination
of the "ministerial" priesthood to the priesthood
of the faithful, since, for the Council, the faithful seem
to make up "the People of God," which has its
own meaning. In Vatican II, the priesthood is legitimated
by having a "function" within it. The difference
in essence and degree between the two priesthoods is never
explained: it remains at the level of a simple verbal statement.
The Second Vatican Council plays with a deficient definition
of "priest." Priests are defined, above all, in
terms of their being the bishops' "cooperators"
(PO §4). "Because it is joined with the episcopal
order the office of priests shares in the authority by which
Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body"
(PO §2; see also LG §28). Vatican II seems
to have wanted, so to speak, to compress the figure of the
priest into the "People of God," by erasing, to
the extent possible, his difference from the faithful, and
on the other hand, above all, by picturing his main quality
as that of being the bishop's subordinate "cooperator."
false assertion, contrary to all of Tradition as well as
to the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIII, ch. 1, Dz. 957) that,
among priestly "functions," the premier one is
preaching and not the celebration of the Holy Mass. PO
The People of God
is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the
living God, which is quite rightly sought from the mouth
of priests. For since nobody can be saved who has not
first believed, it is the first task of priests as co-workers
of the bishops to preach the gospel of god to all men.
In this way they carry out the Lord's command: "Go
into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature"
(Mk. 16:15), and thus set up and increase the People of
On the contrary, in
the first place, the priest is defined by "the power
to consecrate, offer, and dispense... the Body and Blood"
of Christ and, in the second place, by "the power to
remit or retain sins" (Trent, op.cit). Preaching
is not necessary to the definition of the
priest. One need only think of the great saints whose mission
was realized above all by their ministry of confession,
e.g., St. Leopold of Padua or St. Padre Pio.
Vatican II devalues ecclesiastical celibacy (PO § 16):
Perfect and perpetual
continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven was recommended
by Christ the Lord (Mt. 19:12). It has been freely accepted
and laudably observed by many Christians down through
the centuries as well as in our own time, and has always
been highly esteemed in a special way by the Church as
a feature of priestly life. For it is at once a sign of
pastoral charity and an incentive to it as well as being
in a special way a source of spiritual fruitfulness in
the world. It is true that it is not demanded of the priesthood
by its nature. This is clear from the practices of the
primitive Church and the tradition of the Eastern Churches
where in addition to those-including all bishops-who choose
from the gift of grace to preserve celibacy, there are
also many excellent married priests.
That ecclesiastic celibacy
"is not demanded of the priesthood by its nature"
is false because it is contrary to all of Catholic Tradition,
which has interpreted it in this sense because of Christ's
"recommendation" in Matthew 19:12. St. Paul confirms
to us that the early Church had the same opinion. He exalts
virtuous celibacy, considering it to be the best state for
"giving things to the Lord" equally for men and
women (I Cor. 7:1, 29ff., 32ff.). To say that celibacy is
not necessary to the nature of the priesthood only means
that a married man could become a priest by keeping the
juridical state of marriage but not its usage, i.e.,
by separating himself from his wife. In no way does
this mean that priests can be married and have children,
like the ministers of heretics and schismatics. In I Timothy
3:2 and Titus 1:6, St. Paul writes that, among other things,
whoever wishes to become a bishop "must have only one
wife." This has always been interpreted as saying that
it is necessary for priests and bishops not to be remarried
The Second Vatican Council repeatedly refers to the priest
as the "president of the assembly," as if such
a definition were essential to the priest's "function"
in the Holy Mass. Sacrosanctum Concilium (§33) and
LG (§26) refer to the "holy presidence of the
For it is by the apostolic herald of the Gospel that the
People of God is called together and gathered so that all
who belong to this people, sanctified as they are by the
Holy Spirit, may offer themselves a "living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God" (Rom. 12:1). [PO (§2)]
Therefore the Eucharistic celebration is the center of
the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides.
Hence priests teach the faithful to offer the divine victim
to God the Father in the sacrifice of the Mass and with
the victim to make an offering of their whole life...(PO,
5) Errors Concerning the "Incarnation,"
"Redemption/ and the "Idea of Man"
Vatican II is imbued
with an erroneous conception of the "Incarnation."
In fact, this error
asserts that, by His Incarnation, the Son of God somehow
unites Himself to all men (Gaudium et Spes, §22 [hereafter
GS]), as if the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity,
by incarnating Himself into a real man, into an individual
having existed historically, was united by this to all other
men; and as if each man, solely by the fact of being human,
of having been born, finds himself united to Christ without
knowing it. By this, the idea of the Holy Church
is that it is no longer the "Mystical Body of Christ"
and, therefore, no longer the Holy Church of those who believe
in Christ and are baptized. Therefore, the "People
of God" which is the Church (of Christ) tends to coincide
simply with humanity itself.
II is inspired with an erroneous concept of the "Redemption."
Lumen Gentium §7 says:
In the human nature
united to himself, the son of God, by overcoming death
through his own death and resurrection, redeemed man and
changed him into a new creation. For by communicating
his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body
those brothers of his who are called together from every
Here, the Redemption
is incorrectly represented. "Redemption" is the
possibility given all men through the Incarnation and by
the sacrifice of the Cross of Our Lord to be saved, a possibility
lost forever if one does not become or if one doesn't want
to become sincerely Catholic, except in the case of invincible
ignorance (with only God knowing the number of these cases)
in which grace acts through the intermediary of baptism
of desire. In this changed conception of the Redemption,
it is seen as already realized for each man from the moment
when it is declared that man has been transformed "into
a new creation," not because he has become Catholic
with the help of the Holy Spirit and guided by actual grace,
but strictly by the fact of the Incarnation's advent and
of Christ's "death and resurrection." This is
the theory known as that of "anonymous Christianity,"
already presented by Maurice Blondel and developed by Henri
de Lubac and, in particular, Karl Rahner. It is a very grave
doctrinal error because it declares personal justification
as being already realized for every man without any participation
of his will or free choice and, so, without any need of
his conversion, faith, baptism or works. Redemption is guaranteed
to all, as if sanctifying grace were ontologically present
in each man just because he is man. This false doctrine
denies original sin because our Faith teaches that, by the
inheritance of original sin with which they come into the
world, men do not possess grace at birth.
There is present in Vatican II an unjustified and non-Catholic
exaltation of man just because he is man.
In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh
that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam,
the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ
the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation
of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals
man to himself and brings light to his most high calling.
It is no wonder, then, that all the truths mentioned so
far should find in him their source and their most perfect
embodiment (G,S §22).
He who is the "image of the invisible God" (Col.
1 : 15), is himself the perfect man who has restored in
the children of Adam that likeness to God which had been
disfigured ever since the first sin. Human nature, by
the very fact that is was assumed, not absorbed, in him,
has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare.
For, by his incarnation, he, the son of God, has in a
certain way united himself with each man. He worked with
human hands, he thought with a human mind. He acted with
a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of
the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like
to us in all things except sin (GS§7).
What is affirmed in
G/5"§22 is that Christ, having been incarnated, "fully
reveals man to himself and brings light to his most high
calling," elevated human nature to a "dignity
beyond compare." This makes it sound as if our Lord
did not come to save us from sin and eternal damnation,
but to make us fully conscious of the unequaled dignity
naturally inherent in us.
This assertion of the
Second Vatican Council openly contradicts the Church's constant
teaching according to which Jesus came into the world to
save man, not to exalt him.
Christ came to make man conscious of the fact that he is
a sinner vowed to eternal damnation if he does not repent
and convert to Him. There is no question in the mission
of Christ of having him discover his "dignity beyond
compare" in the meaning of Gaudium et Spes.
The obvious theological error contained in Gaudium et
Spes (§24) which states, "...if man is the only
creature on earth God has wanted for its own sake, man can
fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of
himself," as if man possesses such value in himself
that it would cause God to create him.
Here we put our finger
on the man-centered turn taken by Vatican II. It is an obviously
absurd assertion and incompatible with the idea of divine
creation from nothing, which is a dogma of the Faith. The
perennial teaching of the Church is that the infinitely
just God created all things, including man, "for Himself,"
for His own glory, and not because of any intrinsically-possessed
value rendering him independent of God (Who made man).
Such a doctrinal deviation also alters the exact meaning
necessary to define Creation. Moreover, it alters the true
meaning that is necessary to attribute to the commandments
of loving our neighbors as ourselves (for the love of God),
and of considering all men as brothers. In the Council's
changed definition, these commandments are no longer justified
by the love of God, Who wants from us this charity toward
our neighbor (since we are all sinners), and because of
the fact that we all descend from Him, God the Father. Rather,
this Council document asserts that these commandments are
justified by a superior dignity accorded man because he
The Church has never
denied man's superior dignity in relation to other creatures,
which belongs to him because God created him in His image
and likeness. But this dignity lost its sublime character
because of original sin, which stripped man of this likeness.
Thus, it is by sanctifying grace that man is supernaturally
able to know and love God and to enjoy the Beatific Vision.
In the Catholic meaning, the dignity of man cannot be considered
as an ontological characteristic [i.e., a characteristic
of being-Ed.]that imposes respect for all choices,
because this dignity depends on right will turned toward
the Good and is therefore a relative and not
an absolute value.
Vatican II includes an erroneous concept of equality among
men founded on its false idea of the Redemption discussed
All men are endowed with a rational soul and are created
in God's image; they have the same nature and origin, and
being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling
and destiny; there is here basic equality between all men
and it must be given ever greater recognition (GS§29).
The Church has always
taught that men are equal before God, but certainly not
because she believes that all men are already objectively
joined to and already saved by the Incarnation as the above
quote announces. The conception of the notion of "equality"
in Vatican II is hardly orthodox, but this conception becomes
the basis of the dignity of the person. The Council then
uses this "dignity of the person" to defend a
Protestant notion of "religious liberty" because
it is based on freedom of conscience, that is, on individual
opinion in matters of faith and not on the Catholic principle
Vatican II devalues the effect of Original Sin and thereby
obscures the notion of "Original Sin." In its
Article 22, Gaudium et Spes states:
He who is the "image
of the invisible God" (Col. 1: 15), is himself the
perfect man who has restored in the children of Adam that
likeness to God which had been disfigured ever since the
This, however, is not
the Catholic Church's doctrine. On the contrary, she has
always taught that after original sin, Adam and his descendants
lost this likeness. It was hardly a simple "alteration."
To declare that this likeness was conserved, although imperfectly,
amounts to opening the way to a heterodox conception of
the Incarnation already treated above.
6) Errors Concerning the Kingdom of God"
The mentality of the Second Vatican Council alters the traditional
notion of the "expansion" or "growth"
of the Kingdom of God on earth by the visible Church. In
fact, this "expansion" or "growth" is
entrusted to the "People of God" and is described
in LG §13:
The one People of God is accordingly present in all the
nations of the earth, since its citizens, who are taken
from all nations, are of a kingdom whose nature is not
earthly but heavenly. All the faithful scattered throughout
the world are in communion with each other in the Holy
Spirit so that "he who dwells in Rome knows those
in most distant parts to be his members." Since the
kingdom of Christ is not of this world (cf. Jn. 18:36),
the Church or People of God which establishes this kingdom
does not take away anything from the temporal welfare
of any people. Rather she fosters and takes to herself,
insofar as they are good, the abilities, the resources
and customs of peoples. In so taking them to herself she
purifies, strengthens and elevates them — This character
of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift
from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic ceaselessly
and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity
and all its goods under Christ the Head in the unity of
There is an alien element
introduced here, represented by the "temporal welfare
of any people" as an elevated and ennobled integral
part of the "People of God" and, therefore, of
the Kingdom of God which is realized on earth. This is an
ambiguous and unacceptable notion because this "temporal
welfare" is built not only on "customs" but
also on "resources," that is, a people's material
goods. This is an absurd idea that results in a naturalist
vision of the Kingdom of God.
As a consequence of
the two previous errors identified above, Vatican II inspires
a collectivist vision of the Kingdom of God. In fact, from
LG §13 it follows that the collective individuality
of each people, with its "temporal welfare," becomes
a member as such-as a value in and of itself-of the "People
of God," so that it comes to be "introduced"
into the Kingdom which is realized in this world.
The Second Vatican Council incorrectly defines the contribution
of the lay faithful in the "expansion" of the
Kingdom of God on earth "so that the world might be
imbued by the spirit of Christ." The value placed on
the word "imbued" is very far from the true notion
of "conversion." Above all, this contribution
of the lay faithful is inevitably and wrongly meant to be
in service of material progress, following the example of
secular culture, which must make "human and Christian
freedom" advance in the entire world:
...The faithful must,
then, recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering
of the whole of creation to the praise of God. Even by
the secular activity they must aid one another to greater
holiness of life, so that the world may be filled with
the spirit of Christ and may the more effectively attain
its destiny in justice, in love and peace. The laity enjoy
a principle role in the universal fulfillment of this
task. Therefore, by their competence in secular disciplines
and by their activity, interiorly raised up by grace,
let them work earnestly in order that created goods may
serve the utility of all men according to the plan of
the creator and the light of his word. May these goods
be more suitably distributed among all men and in their
own way may they be conducive to universal progress of
the Church, will Christ increasingly illuminate the whole
of human society with his saving light. (LG §36)
So, the naturalism
treated immediately above is now admixed with another alien
element represented by the lay myth of progress, with its
constant exaltation of work, technology, "civil"
culture, egalitarianism, and (human and Christian) freedom,
which this effectively means.
There is in Vatican II an unbelievable assertion regarding
the Holy Ghost:
by his resurrection and given all authority in heaven
and on earth (Acts 2:36; Mt. 28: 18) Christ is now at
work in the hearts of men by the power of his Spirit;
not only does he arouse in them a desire for the world
to come but he quickens, purifies, and strengthens the
generous aspirations of mankind to make life more humane
and conquer the earth for this purpose.
The text seem to say
that, by the fact itself of our longing for future glory,
the Holy Spirit also breathes into us the longing for earthly
happiness, evoked by the expression "make life more
Incomprehensibly, Vatican II states that "the Paschal
Mystery elevates human activity to its perfection."
In Gaudium et Spes
(§38) the Holy Eucharist is defined as follows:
...Christ left to
his followers a pledge of this hope and food for the journey
in the sacrament of faith, in which natural elements,
the fruits of mans cultivation, are changed into the glorified
Body and Blood, a supper of brotherly fellowship and a
foretaste of the heavenly banquet.
The Second Vatican
Council does not mention "transubstantiation"
and it introduces a Protestant idea of the Mass.
According to Vatican
II, how does the "Paschal Mystery" elevate human
activity to perfection? -Answer: by the fact that what is
changed "into the glorified Body and Blood" are
"natural elements" obviously refined by
man. In cultivating the earth, man's activity produces
the bread and wine which are then "changed" into
the Body and Blood. Such a relationship insinuates the false
idea of participation-whatever it might be-of man's activity
in the conversion (more exactly, the "transubstantiation")
of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ by the
priest. This idea is also found in the "Eucharistic
Liturgy" of the Novus Ordo Mass:
You are blessed,
Lord, God of the universe: by your goodness we have received
this bread, fruit of the earth and of men's work: we present
it to you in order for it to become for us the nourishment
of eternal life.
Vatican II is guilty
of the deadly Article 39 in Gaudium et Spes which in
the conclusion of its third chapter titled "Man's Activity
in the Universe" (GS §§33-39), proposes a final
perversion of the idea of the Kingdom of God taught by the
Church. This Chapter III contains the outline of the idea
of the collective salvation of humanity, and also that all
of God's creation was made for man. This is achieved by
misinterpreting Romans 8:21 to say that "all of creation,"
created by God to serve man, will equally obtain eternal
We know neither the
moment of the consummation of the earth and of man nor
the way the universe will be transformed. The form of
this world, distorted by sin, is passing away and we are
taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new
earth in which righteousness dwells, whose happiness will
fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the
hearts of men. Then with death conquered the sons of God
will be raised in Christ and what was sown in weakness
and dishonor will put on the imperishable: charity and
its works will remain and all of creation, which God made
for man, will be set free from its bondage to decay (LG
Article 39 continues with another strange idea:
We have been warned, of course, that it profits man nothing
if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.
Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth,
the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it
is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing
in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although
we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly
from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress
is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as
it can continue to the better ordering of human society.
This appears to mean
that the "new earth" is already present in the
"present earth," since "the body of the new
human family grows [here], foreshadowing in some way the
age which is to come." Take note that the prefiguring
of the Kingdom of God is not given by the Church
Militant (which is the orthodox teaching), but by the growth
of "the body of a new family." And this growth
of the body of a new human family is calculated on universal
progress, universal fraternity, and to human and Christian
freedom (LG§§13,36; GS §§30,34,38). This is to say,
the Kingdom of God which is partially realized is this world,
is no longer made up of the Church Militant, but of humanity.
Humanity is the subject which brings about the Kingdom,
and which will enter it one day en masse. In fact,
Article 39 of LG concludes:
When we have spread
on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise-human
dignity, brotherly communion, and freedom-according to
the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find
them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of
sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents
to his Father and eternal and universal kingdom "of
truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom
of justice, love and peace." Here on earth the kingdom
is mysteriously present; when the Lord comes it will enter
into its perfection.
This is a naturalistic,
millenarian vision that calls for the religion of Humanity.
It is completely foreign to anything the Catholic Church
has ever taught. It is the complete antithesis to the exclusively
supernatural reality of the Kingdom of God and of the consummation
of the end of time which has been revealed to us by Our
Lord and always maintained by the Church.
Translated by Suzanne
M. Rini and edited by Fr. Kenneth Novak. All quotes from
Vatican Council II and post-Conciliar documents are taken
from Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar
Documents, Harry J. Costello and Rev. Austin Flannery,
O.P. (Costello Publishing Co., Inc., 1975). All Scripture
references are from the Douay-Rheims Bible (TAN
Books and Publishers).
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)
2003 Volume XXVI, Number 5