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November 2003 No. 55

The Errors of Vatican II



In Parts 1-5 of this continuing series, we have been discussing the "mentality" of the Second Vatican Council, both generally and in particular. In Part 6 we will concentrate on its doctrinal errors regarding 1) religious liberty and the role of moral conscience, and 2) the first part of a treatment on its interpretation of the meaning of the modern world (which we will conclude in Part 7).

11) Errors Concerning Religious Liberty and the Role of Moral Conscience

The announcement of a "right to religious freedom" that "has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, for this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and through reason itself": "This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right."  (Dignitatis Humanae §2) [hereafter abbreviated DH-Ed.]

This announcement is presented as being in agreement with the pre-conciliar magisterium. On the contrary, the documents of Popes Pius XII, Pius XI, and Leo XIII cited in a note in DH demonstrate that the right of the person to freely profess his faith, as invoked by those Popes, only concerns the profession of the true religion, thus of the Catholic Faith, and refers to the freedom of conscience of Christian souls, and not to a religious "liberty" simpliciter without further clarification and applying to all religions.

In DH §3, the following:

Further light is shed on the subject if one considers that the highest norm of human life is the divine law-eternal, objective and universal [the adjective "revealed" is missing -Ed.]-whereby God orders, directs and governs the entire universe and all the ways of the human community by a plan conceived in wisdom and love. Man has been made by God to participate in this law, with the result that, under the gentle disposition of divine Providence, he can come to perceive ever more fully the truth that is unchanging. Hence every man has the duty, and therefore the right, to seek the truth in matters religious, in order that he may with prudence form for himself right and true judgments of conscience, under use of all suitable means.

Truth, however, is to be sought after in a manner proper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature. The inquiry is to be free, carried on with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication, and dialogue. In the course of these, men explain to one another the truth they have discovered, or think they have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in the quest for truth.

This principle causes the truth "in matters religious" to be something that is "discovered," found by the conscientious individual via inquiry done with "others," through reciprocal "communication and dialogue." In this process of inquiry, "others" are not simply other Catholics, but others in general, all other men, no matter what their faith, who, significantly, have for their object the divine law, etc....placed by God in our hearts, the eternal law of natural morality, as do Deists. In fact, by including everyone, revealed Truth cannot be the object, and this revealed Truth is denied in toto by non-Christians and, in part, by heretics.

This doctrinal statement openly contradicts traditional teaching legislating that, for Catholics, in "religious matters" (and also in moral ones), God reveals the truth, and it is conserved in the deposit of the Faith safeguarded by the Magisterium. It is a truth that requires and necessitates the consent of our intellect and will, a consent possible with the determinant help of grace: the believer must recognize and accede to it. Thus, he cannot "find" it through his own efforts. The conciliar document does not speak of the Holy Spirit's help. Moreover, the conciliar document recommends communal inquiry with heretics, non-Christians and unbelievers!

Substituted for an objective and properly Catholic criterion of the truth "in matters religious" which is such because revealed by God, is the subjective criteria of truth that is of Protestant origin and typical of modern thought. Truth is then truth because it is "found" by individual conscience in his "inquiry" along with "others" as a result, then, of collective and individual inquiry. In Catholicism, this then opens the door to an eruption of an anomalous, individual "religiosity," a "religiosity" of inquiry of the "heart," human feeling, of "conscience," dialogue. Much in the way of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this is cloying, sugary.


An idea of "moral conscience" tainted by Pelagianism, viewed as the basis of the idea of "truth as inquiry," which in turn is founded on "religious liberty," defended by the Council.

Gaudium et Spes §l6 [hereafter abbreviated GS -Ed] reads:

In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor. In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more that a correct conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality.

What truth is this? In all likelihood, truth concerning religion and customs. Yet, wouldn't truth have to come from the infallible teaching of the Church, of Tradition? But, for the sure possession of the truth of faith and customs, established over the course of the centuries by the Magisterium, the Council substitutes "inquiry" into the truth as a general criterion of a general truth, something indeterminate. However, we know that this conforms to the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, which loves "inquiry," experience, novelty, and perpetual motion.

But that is not all. Always conforming to the spirit of the age, this inquiry ought to be done in union "with other men" and thus also and above all with non-Catholics and non-Christians, with those who deny all or almost all of the truths taught by the Church. How can this type of inquiry arrive at positive results for the faith and believers, in as much as it must also be applied to "moral problems"? Henceforth, "Christians" and Catholics ought to resolve these "moral problems" ecumenically through dialogue, and not by applying the rules transmitted by their faith and morality. In effect, an entente "with other men is entrusted to the certitude of the existence of objective norms of morality" which can be generally found by all men of good will who are faithful to their moral conscience.

The absurdity of this thesis is obvious. For example, it is impossible to understand how a general moral norm for healthy family life might be found by Catholics, for whom the indissolubility of marriage is a dogma of the Faith, and by Protestants and the Orthodox who, on the contrary, deny it. Here we have not even included those allowing polygamy, concubinage, repudiation, and trial marriage. But, above all, what is important is the stated principle: the "objective norms" of morality no longer depend on Revelation, but on "moral conscience" which finds these objective norms of morality through inquiry done with "other men."

Naturally, GS §16 also refers to the law written by God in "man's heart," in the "objective norms" of morality, man will verify the truth of this law. However, it is not revealed Truth, but (dialoguing) conscience that causes the law to emerge from the depths of "the heart." Thus, conscience is the authority determining the end applied to moral norms: again, Rousseau's shadow emerges, the Savoyard Vicar's "profession of faith," a faith that is both Deist and Pelagian.

The conciliar text specifies that, when "right conscience" leads him, man moves away from "blind choice." But in order to resist the "blind choice" of the passions and temptations, mustn't man be aided by grace? That's what was always the Catholic truth, founded on Tradition and Scripture: without grace, without the help of the Holy Spirit, man does not come to observe either natural or revealed morality. But the Council makes no allusion to this grace. "Conformity" to "objective" norms of the moral law, placed in our hearts by God, now exclusively depends, for Catholics too, on "right" conscience, and therefore on the individual being plunged into his "search for the truth" along with everyone else. So, as with the Deists, it is in fact stated that "moral conscience" unites men above and beyond revealed religions. In fact, then, to a greater degree, isn't conscience represented in what is human, in these "human values" so dear to Vatican II's progressive wing? So, this amounts to asserting that we no longer possess the "truth," even the truth that ought to apply to practical moral questions. Thus, this arrives at asserting that we can no longer know the "truth," even that truth that applies in practical moral questions. Rather this truth must result from communal and communitarian effort involving each person's "conscience."


The principle, comprehensible only in terms" of non-Catholic ideas of conscience and truth, that states the necessity of granting "free exercise of religion in society" to all men, who are defined as individuals. At the same time, nothing must be done to "cause harm to the human person" so that the "just demands of public order" [a vague term] are safeguarded (DH §3). Also stated is that it is necessary to grant to "religious bodies" the right to public worship of the "numen supremum" (an expression that refers to the Supreme Being of the Deists and revolutionaries, of Robespierre).

For its sole generic limitation, this principle has always had "the just demands of public order" (DH §4). And finally, and most importantly, "[R]eligious bodies should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity" (DH §4).

According to the above stated idea, Catholicism is also defined as being one among "religious bodies," on a completely equal level with other groups. According to the Council, then, the result is that revealed Religion's "special virtue" is not to cause itself to occupy a position of absolute supremacy in relation to other religions, which are not revealed! This amounts to stating that all other religions have the same right to public worship as does Catholicism. This openly contradicts Proposition 78 of the Syllabus of Errors which condemned this right.

This is a grave doctrinal deviation because it gives error the same rights as the one revealed Truth, thus making the difference between truth and error, as well as the difference between light and darkness, disappear for believers. The meaning of the Church's constant teaching was that there is practical tolerance of false religions, who are understood to be in a position necessarily juridically inferior relative to the one Revealed Religion. This tolerance originated from reasons traceable to social peace and public order, and had the reservation that such worship would not include any immoral elements. And in fact the Pope, in his States and throughout Christendom, always tolerated Jewish worship, protecting it against possible over-zealousness, opposition, and attempts to persecute it: but this was a matter of tolerating an error, not of papal recognition of the same freedom of expression accorded to the authentic, revealed truth.


By unjustly including the Church's parity with "religious bodies," that is, of equalizing Catholicism with false "religions," the Council came to the logical conclusion that the religious liberty which by right belongs to the Catholic Church is only a "particular case of religious liberty" which must be indiscriminately extended to all "religious bodies."

This conclusion results in the phrase: "The Church also claims freedom for herself in her character as a society of men who have the right to live in society in accordance with the precepts of the Christian faith" (DH §13). This sentence seems to be from a letter of Pius XI (Firmissimam Constantium, March 28, 1937, A.A.S., 29 [1937], p.196). But in it, the Pope prevents himself from making an ad hominem argument on the subject of those States that deny the Church even the right to exist, with the Pope wanting the Church to be justly recognized like all other legitimate organizations and associations.

But Vatican II transforms this request for minimal and preliminary freedom into a fundamental principle of the Church's civil rights, as if it only requests a general type of freedom, as if she were simply an association comparable to other associations existing within the State (Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885, Leo XIII, Acta, vol. V, p.118).

This is a grave doctrinal error that the Popes always condemned, since it misapprehends the Church's superior nature, i.e., that of its being the perfect society, as well as its necessary primacy over all other societies, in themselves imperfect, that works in a subordinate way to procure the temporal common good for the "political community." Moreover, on the historical level, this also amounts to an unbelievable regression: after nearly two millennia, in the middle of the 20th century, the hierarchy asks that the Church, even in countries where she is recognized as the sole State religion, be reduced to the status of simply a "licit religion." Furthermore, the hierarchy accepts the designation of the Church as a cult permitted alongside all the others, as it was at the time of the Edict of Constantine, which put an end to the persecutions (313 AD).


The false statement that "freedom of the Church," as we have discussed herein, is "the fundamental principle in what concerns the relations between the Church and governments and the whole civil order" (DH §13).

The statement is erroneous because the fundamental principle of the public right of the Church has always been that the State has the duty of recognizing the social kingdom of Christ (Leo XIII, Immortale Dei; St. Pius X, Lettre sur le Sillon, Aug. 29, 1910). "For He must reign..." (I Cor. 15:25), in the relations between the State and the Church, and is at the heart of society itself. With and since Vatican II, the hierarchy has allowed this principle to be forgotten. This has resulted in the State illegitimately reducing the aid it must give the Church by only recognizing her freedom and independence in a reductive way so that all that remains is a single negative aspect of non-interference. Whereas, on the contrary, the Church has an equal right to positive aid, which consists of supporting her in every possible way.


12) Errors in the Interpretation of the Meaning of the Contemporary World

In GS §3, the Council alleges that contemporary man agonizingly questions his role and meaning, and the meaning of the major problems of the day:

Though mankind today is struck with wonder at its own discoveries and its power, it often raises anxious questions about the current trend of the world, about the place and role of man in the universe, about the meaning of its individual and collective strivings, and about the ultimate destiny of reality and of humanity.

These ideas are reprised elsewhere, for example, in GS §10:

Nevertheless, in the face of the modern development of the world, more and more people are raising the most basic questions or recognizing them with a new sharpness: what is man? What is this sense of sorrow, of evil, of death, which continues to exist despite so much progress? What is the purpose of these victories, purchased at so high a cost? What can man offer to society, what can he expect from it? What follows this earthly life?

Actually, the profound metaphysical question "What is man?" hadn't been posed by almost anyone at that time. Communism and its left wing allies (in all of their colors) were attacking on all fronts, the models being the Soviet Union, Mao's China, and Cuba. Marxism raged in the universities, the schools, and throughout the culture. Emerging subcultures, typified by the "hippy" drug subculture, were suffused with hedonism as well as consumerism. Thus, the revolutionary spirit birthed in the US and Europe by the large student movements of 1966-68 and beyond came into being less than three years after the close of the Council, their model being the 1966 Chinese Red Guards. The problem of man would now have to be viewed and resolved in the light of revolutionary utopianism. Man had to be seen as a product of his environment and of history. Marxism's revolutionary praxis replaced existing structures by creating the new man, liberated from all of his faults and all contradictions. Even those who looked to define man according to his individuality, by reverting to the fluid and imprecise categories of existentialism and psychoanalysis, always ended up by finding the solution to the problem of Man in Marxism, and therefore, in social revolution. That was the then-dominant "humanism."

Today, the 1960's of the 20th century are unanimously recognized as the years during which finally launched women's liberation and "sexual liberation." Its subversive force was at the time felt mainly in the politico-economic arena as well as in that of morals. These were the years of the "student movement" and of the organized and systematic "confrontation" of the principle of authority in all its forms. The storm was already brewing when Vatican II began, and it was at our doors when it ended. But the Council seemed immune to it. What, in fact, did GS say about youth?

A change in attitudes and in human structures frequently calls accepted values into question. This is especially true of young people, who have grown impatient on more than one occasion, and indeed become rebels in their distress. Aware of their own influence in the life of society, they want to assume a role in it sooner. As a result, parents and educators frequently experience greater difficulties day by day in discharging their tasks.

The institutions, laws and modes of thinking and feeling as handed down from previous generations do not always seem to be well adapted to the contemporary state of affairs. Hence arises an upheaval in the manner and even the norms of behavior. (§7)

Less than three years afterward, it could be well observed just how the young masses searched "to take responsibility."

In order to protect youth from the seduction of the world, the Council could have begun by condemning the dominant false doctrines of existentialism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, etc. Rather than do so, it abandoned the distinction between Nature and Grace by explicating and proffering a new "social" and "human" religion that was, therefore, necessarily open to all of the world's "values," including those belonging to the revolutionaries' "humanism." By referring to the "men who are truly new and artisans of a new humanity," believers in the "values" of progress, liberty, and Man (GS§§30,39J, the Council contributed to the revolutionary overthrow that began to manifest itself a little later. At the same time, it ridiculed the optimism and triumphalism that this same revolution articulated in its celebration of Man and the World. Yet, the Council contributed to this overthrow by demolishing the rampart of the Church's eternal doctrine and sane, healthy shepherding to the extent that many Catholics and non-Catholics saw the Council as a component of the revolutionary movement. In the broadest meaning of the term, "opposition" involved, pervaded and overthrew an important sector within Catholicism, beginning with the Church hierarchy itself.


GS §4 makes the following stupefying statement on man:

Today, the human race is passing through a new stage of its history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true social and cultural transformation, one which has repercussions on man's religious life as well. As happens in any crisis of growth, this transformation has brought serious difficulties in its wake. Thus while man extends his power in every direction, he does not always succeed in subjecting it to his own welfare. Striving to penetrate farther into the deeper recesses of his own mind, he frequently appears more unsure of himself. Gradually and more precisely he lays bare the laws of society (leges vitae socialis) [emphasis added] only to be paralyzed by uncertainty about the direction to give it.

One would like to know to which laws it is referring.  "Social life" in the last half of the 20th century evolved in a more hedonistic and anti-Christian way, thanks to great progress in science, technology, and thus in the development of unprecedented material well-being. We must say that all of these came about following the "progressive discovery" of the "laws of social life," until then little known. Must one suppose that they were also little known to the Church's Magisterium over the course of the centuries? Since the Council praised development, progress, and "humanity's achievements" (Lumen Gentium §36; GS §§4,34,39, etc.), and was only disturbed by whatever concerned humanity's unity and its achievements in the realm of "human rights" (GS §4), are these then what was enshrined and made flesh in the "laws" so gradually discovered? Are these the laws and values that would, in and of themselves, constitute the "laws of social life," all of them conceived in complete opposition to the social Kingdom of Christ?

In the 1950's, there was absolutely no trace of that "hesitation" evoked above. In the West, the development of "social life" would demonstrate a clear tendency to orient itself toward consumer society in all of its forms.  Behind the revolutionary slogans, the masses were also pressured to participate in materialism's banquet, predicted as being sumptuous as never before. For those who well remember that era, the following sentence, from GS §4, rings totally false: "Marked by a situation so complex..., anxiety took hold [of many of our contemporaries] and they questioned themselves regarding the evolution of the world with a mixture of hope and anxiety." The only real fear, the only authentic anxiety in the West, was provoked by Communism due to China's and the Soviet Unions' powerful military presence, as well as their subversive activity on the world scale. These two powers utilized national Communist parties to hold specific countries (for example, Italy) hostage through permanent blackmail threatening civil war, prevented only-as most believed-by the military presence of NATO and the US.

GS §11 expresses the relativist perspective that claims to seek to "purify" the world's values in order to link them to Christ:

The People of God believes that it is led by the Lord's Spirit, who fills the earth. Motivated by this faith, it labors to decipher authentic signs of God's presence and purpose in the happenings, needs and desires in which this People has a part along with other men of our age. For faith throws a new light on everything, manifests God's design for man's total vocation, and thus directs the mind to solutions which are fully human.

This Council, first of all, wishes to assess in this light those values which are most highly prized today, and to relate them to their divine source. For insofar as they stem from endowments conferred by God on man, these values are exceedingly good. Yet they are often wrenched from their rightful function by the taint in man's heart, and hence stand in need of purification.

What "values" are invoked here? It's easy to see they are indicated in G/S"§39. Here again, the Council wants us to believe that we shall find them "purified" in the Kingdom of God, and that they I are "the dignity of man, fraternal unity, and liberty" which must serve "universal progress in human and Christian freedom" (LG §36). But it is necessary to comment:

1) These laicist values are said to be "exceedingly good." The purely lay ideal of progress, which includes the idea of humanity's "education" through "reason alone" and exalts worldly happiness and earthly well being, is totally anti-Christian and cannot be "exceedingly good." Nor can "human dignity," "universal brotherhood," and "liberty" be "exceedingly good" since they are the French Revolution's well-known triad. Therefore, under the banner of the "rights of man," they signal Deism's and Illuminism-Masonry's philosophy of rationalism, which inspired the famous Charter of Rights based on "Immortal Principles."

2) The same text that asserts that these values are "good," although "deflected from the rightful order," is the result of an equivocation and relativism that has spread widely among liberal Catholics as well as among their modernist and neo-modernist counterparts. It is well known that these values, as was said about the French Revolution, "apply Christianity's ideas which, however, await their application and are not recognized as such before that application" (Romano Amerio, Iota Unum). Actually, laicist-driven fraternity, equality and liberty are a distortion of their Catholic equivalents because they derive from a vision of the world based solely on man, seen as being exempt from the stain of original sin, and, so, superior, exalted, and proud.   Consequently, these values are opposed in themselves to the equivalent Catholic ones, which they negate and attack in every way. This does not even include a discussion of the ideal of progress which, in concept and meaning, is alien to Catholicism. Actually:

a) Christian freedom is interior and comes from faith in Christ (Jn. 8:31-32). It has nothing to do with freedom of the individual, who makes every choice in terms of absolute self-determination, in the absence of all law and constraint. This is the basis of contemporary democracy and the "rights of man." And it is precisely to this laicist liberty-value that the Council continually referred.

b) From the Christian point of view, brotherhood among all men is authentically felt because all men come from God the Father, Creator. It presupposes belief in the Blessed Trinity and is nourished by love of neighbor loved for the love of God, not for man's alleged "dignity." This means that we are connected, each of us to the other, because we are tainted by original sin and are all sinners.

c) Therefore, Catholic brotherhood has nothing in common with the political type of brotherhood based on the ideology of egalitarianism, which spread through the world beginning with the American and French revolutions, and which is also the foundation of contemporary democracy. This is why it is legitimate to judge laicist equality as the reigning political value. Oppositely, Catholic equality has always been our equality as sinners before God, and of Christians before the promises of our Lord, thanks to which they are made potential "co-heirs" of the Kingdom (Eph. 3:6).

In the Catholic meaning, equality, fraternity and liberty are, above all, religious values, founded on revealed Truth. The same values, such as the world defines and understands them are, above all, political, the fruits of the Deism and rationalism of the Enlightenment, and of a world willfully hostile to the Catholic Faith. Therefore, the Council's desire "to purify" these values appears to be stripped of all meaning. How should they be "purified?" In order to be in harmony with ageless teaching, the Council would have had to condemn them because of their opposition to their authentic Christian meaning. In reality, there was no "purification." As we have seen, there was only the bastardization of the Church's doctrine through its adapting these values of the world. And that was done as a result of adopting the false idea of man, his "dignity," his "vocation," all of these taken from a doctrinally erroneous idea of the Incarnation and Redemption. It was an idea of man that, rather than being "purified" of its laicist origin, introduced "humanism" born of revolutionary ideas into the Church's doctrine.

GS §41 expresses the unjustified evaluation of the "rights of man" and of struggles on their behalf, already going on at the time of the Council:

Modern man is on the road to a more thorough development of his own personality, and to a growing discovery and vindication of his own rights—Therefore, by virtue of the gospel committed to her, the Church proclaims the rights of man. She acknowledges and greatly esteems the dynamic movements of today by which these rights are everywhere fostered. Yet these movements must be penetrated by the spirit of the gospel and protected against any kind of false autonomy. For we are tempted to think that our personal rights are fully ensured only when we are exempt from every requirement of divine law. But this way lies not the maintenance of the dignity of the human person, but its annihilation.

We know that the "rights of man" are not the same as "natural rights," which the Holy Church has always conceded. Actually, natural rights come from God, but the "rights of man" are based on the (non-Catholic) idea of the self-sufficiency and intrinsic perfection of Man as man and is commensurate with the rejection of the dogma of original sin.

"Human nature is governed by two laws: natural law and custom. Natural law is contained in the Holy Scriptures and in the Gospel" (Deer. Grat). The basic precept of natural law or natural rights is "do good and avoid evil" (Summa Theologica, II-II, Q;94, Art.2). This is an ethical precept of divine origin, perfectly understood and integrated by right reason, and posited as the basis for obeying the Ten Commandments. It is also the basis of all juridical and natural relationships. As well, individual rights or law ought always to have for their object "what is just" (ST, II-II, Q.57, Art.l); just according to the moral order established by the eternal and divine law of God, confirmed by revelation and Church teaching and not configured to man's personal opinions and desires.

On the contrary, the "rights of man" are "affirmed" by their subject (Man) as universal claims supporting the acquisition and enjoyment of all that the subject (again, Man) desires because he believes it conforms to his individual dignity, seen as being morally and intellectually self-sufficient and capable, of itself, of determining what is just and good. These rights even include the right "to happiness," sanctioned by the US Declaration of Independence. Because of these things, the claim to these rights is often manifested in extreme, subversive and even violent ways because, in reality, they express the will to power and the drive for individual and mass domination which particularly characterize our era's type of barbarism and corruption.

How did the Council "impregnate" the movement for the rights of man with the spirit of the Gospel? Did it do so by reaffirming the teaching of the Church on law and natural law and rights? Certainly not. On the contrary, it sought to give the "rights of man" a Catholic ideological platform built on the false doctrine, already cited here, of the dignity of the extremely elevated and sublime rights of man. These are said to result from Christ's union with each man by virtue of the Incarnation and Redemption which has already been produced in every man, as expressed in GS §41:

But only God, who created man to His own image and ransomed him from sin, provides a fully adequate answer to these questions. This He does through what He has revealed in Christ His Son, who became man. Whoever follows after Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man.

But wasn't it revealed that those who follow our Lord by faith and works receive the "power to be made the sons of God" (Jn. 1:12)? Now we are told that, on the contrary, "whoever follows after Christ...becomes himself more of a man"! Isn't this an inversion doctrine?

Note well that the Council did not at all combat the false idea of the superior dignity of man just because he is man (which derives from the equally false idea of his perfection and intrinsic self-sufficiency) . Rather, it reinforced this false idea by ascribing to every man objective and anonymous redemption by Christ. Because of this, it is not the movement for the "rights of man" that is under the influence of the spirit of the Gospel; rather, it is the spirit of the Gospel as interpreted by the progressive wing of the Council that has become imbued with the subversive, revolutionary spirit of the movement for the "rights of man."


An evaluation and appreciation of culture, identified, in short, by a neo-Illuminist, scientist idea, popular at the time, which included the exaltation of the "conquest of the cosmos." Having adopted this outlook, the Council was led, at the outset, to praise mass culture as evocative of a "new humanism." This cultural revisionism is defined in GS §53:

The word "culture" in its general sense indicates all those factors by which man refines and unfolds his manifold spiritual and bodily qualities. It means his effort to bring the world itself under his control by his knowledge and his labor. It includes the fact that by improving customs and institutions he renders social life more human both within the family and in the civic community. Finally, it is a feature of culture that throughout the course of time man expresses, communicates, and conserves in his works great spiritual experiences and desires, so that these may be of advantage to the progress of many, even of the whole human family.


GS §54 finds the Council affirming, with satisfaction, the development of "a more universal form of human culture, one which will promote and express the unity of the human race to the degree that it preserves the particular features of the different cultures." This allegedly provides us with "evidence of the birth of a new humanism," raised to the level of being our currently assigned mission, namely, that "we build a better world based upon truth and justice" (GS §55).

One can hardly imagine an evaluation more erroneous or more far removed from the reality contained therein: to see "mass culture" as the bearer of a new humanism, whose characteristic mark was to consign our customs to a return of barbarism that destroyed all true culture, and bring us to the sad domination of whatever is "politically correct" at any given moment.

And behold the bad shepherding that resulted. For shouldn't Catholics be opposed to this laicist culture (envisioned, it must be said, according to its worst features), already completely developed after the Council? What about Catholics' supernaturally based world vision? In no way did the Council uphold the Catholic vision. In fact, GS §56 states the actual mission:

[H]uman culture must evolve today in such a way that it can develop the whole human person harmoniously and at the same time assist men in those duties which all men, especially Christians, are called to fulfill in the fraternal unity of the one human family.

"Culture" exists for the "person," for "man's dignity," and not for God's glory. "Culture" is anthropocentric. And Catholics ought to open themselves to this culture, cooperate with it. They have the "the obligation to work with all men for the construction of a more human world" (GS §57). They ought to fight for a "human culture favorable to personal dignity and free from any discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, nation, of religion, or social condition" (GS §60}. This is the type of culture programmed by the UN and its institutions, and whose characteristics necessarily mandate the disappearance of the entire idea of Catholic culture.

According to the Council, there has to be the attempt to construct "a human person in his totality," who must be educated by a "universal culture." Consequently, all collective cultural activity must be impregnated with "the Christian and human spirit" (GS §61). This is expressed throughout the Council's documents: as we have seen, LG §36 affirms that the lay faithful ought to cooperate "in universal progress in human and Christian freedom." What is human is placed on the same level as what is Christian, and even above it, because collaboration in the dialogue with the world-now the main mission-has its basis in human values, to which Catholic values must adapt themselves. The decree on the apostolate of the laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem §27) verifies that cooperation with non-Catholics is proclaimed by "common human values," which ought, therefore, to unite men beyond religions. Thus, it also wants to affirm the religion of humanity.



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)

November 2003 Volume XXVI, Number 11

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