Parts 1-6 of this continuing series, we have been discussing
the "mentality" of the Second Vatican Council,
generally and in particular. In Part 7 we will concentrate
on its doctrinal errors regarding 1) the concluding
part of a treatment on its interpretation of the meaning
of the modern world, 2) bad pastoral policy in a
range of issues.
in the Interpretation • of the Meaning of the Contemporary
expressed in Inter Mirifica §5, the Council expresses
an appreciation of the "right to information"
on the basis of a Utopian evaluation of its advantages:
an open and timely revelation of events and affairs provides
individuals with a grasp of them which is sustained and
considerably detailed. As a result, men can actively contribute
to the common good and all can more easily foster the
development of the whole civic community.
experience has demonstrated that none of this corresponds
to the reality. The daily bombardment of all types of news
by the mass media has absolutely not produced in the mass
of individuals a "grasp of [events] which is sustained
and considerably detailed" and capable of favoring
their contribution to "the common good" and to
progress. On the contrary, it has produced a sort of mental
saturation and, therefore, a general tendency to a weakened
ability to discern, to really understand the meaning
of facts, which in general are forgotten as quickly
as they are consumed. In fact, at the time of the Council
it was already obvious that the planetary information circus
was a factory for producing nothingness.
optimistic evaluation of man is described in nearly every
article of Gaudium et Spes, as if man's intelligence
and will were not wounded by original sin. This evaluation
is obviously very far from reality because it again proposes
a Utopian and non-Christian idea of man who is good by nature,
of a human species naturaliter filled with the best
only by his inner forces, the man of GS (§§4-11)
seems plunged into the exercise of employing his will and
intellect to scrutinize himself and the signs of the times,
to understand and conquer nature through a positive realization
of his "dignity," his "rights," limited,
at best, by "contradictions" provided by social
development. Nothing is ever said about him in terms of
his having any basic tendency toward evil, which
obscures his judgment and diverts his will, so that, without
the help of grace ("without Me you can do nothing"
Qn. 15:5]), neither clear judgment nor right will is possible.
If this is not expressed, it is because the supernatural
is completely excluded from the "humanism" extolled
by Vatican II. The Council's optimism presents us with a
cloying image, rhetorical and false, of man and his aspirations.
The following passage, from GS §9, proves this point:
and societies thirst for a full and free life worthy of
man-one in which they can subject to their own welfare
all that the modern world can offer them so abundantly.
In addition, nations try harder every day to bring about
a kind of universal community.
an edifying image, so "politically correct" regarding
individual and social claims generically proclaimed in the
name of "the rights of man," neglects reality.
Actually, the more "full and free life" (a generic
expression) that persons and groups have, the more they
continue to thirst for power, domination and pleasure, the
more they thirst to impose themselves, to launch wrongs,
and to avenge wrongs suffered, whether real or imagined.
Moreover, from a Catholic point of view, has this portrait
of life drawn according to "the dignity of man"
satisfied his claims, above all the material ones, or has
it satisfied the claims of a life that wishes, above all,
to do everything according to God's will and our Lord's
teachings, a life that consequently leads, in the world's
eyes, to being neither "full" nor "free"
but is so in God's eyes?
expressed in GS §61, the optimistic vision of man
led the Council to present a definition of universal man
or "the whole person" which is not Catholic:
it remains each man's duty to preserve a view of the whole
human person in which the values of intellect, will, conscience
and fraternity are pre-eminent. These values are all rooted
in God the Creator and have been wonderfully restored
and elevated in Christ.
a logical point of view, this is an incoherent portrait,
because intelligence, will, and conscience are faculties
of man, rather than values, whereas fraternity can only
be a value. Nevertheless, they are all placed on the same
level. But as for charity, the Christian value par excellence,
where is it? Where are humility, obedience, the spirit
of sacrifice, the desire to please God in everything? Asserted
again is that Jesus came "to elevate man," "curing"
all of his imperfect qualities, whereas He was incarnated
not to exalt our qualities, but to cure our infirmities,
so that we might be able to be cured of these by believing
in Him: "...For I came not to call the just, but sinners"
(Mk. 2: 17).
§5 presents an evaluation of the historical process,
viewed as being in progress, as one tending toward the unity
of the human species, through which, finally, nations will
itself speeds along on so rapid a course that an individual
person can scarcely keep abreast of it. The destiny of
the human community has become all of a piece, where once
the various groups of men had a kind of private history
of their own: Thus, the human race has passed from a rather
static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary
one. In consequence, there has arisen a new series of
problems, a series as numerous as can be, calling for
efforts of analysis and synthesis.
the facts confirm Vatican II's "philosophy of history"
thesis? Today they would seem to do so. However, it is necessary
to make the following points:
Socioeconomic unity of the human species was already in
the process of being formed thanks to the development of
science, technology, economy, and the convergence of mass
culture. Today, that development seems to have resulted
in a type of global economic model represented by the "world
market," that is capitalism in its worst form, the
ultraliberal and speculative type, an economic and financial
monster that no State can any longer restrain or control.
Once the Communist Utopia disappeared, the global political
form of this process was consolidated into democracy, mass
democracy based on the "rights of man," corrupted
and corrupting, which weighs heavily on our shoulders and
is the enemy of all Christian truths, realities and teachings.
Therefore, the point is that this is an artificial process,
jointly advanced by human greed pushed to its extreme, by
the power politics of certain nations, and by the Church's
adherence to the ideas of the century's Zeitgeist, and
not born of the people's own desire, nor by objective political
and economic exigencies.
This process, with all of its evils, was still embryonic
at the beginning of the 1960's, when the dualism of democracy
and communism dominated the scene with their frontal opposition
provided by "blocs." If the Council had condemned
this process, it is practically certain that it would not
have attained the quantitative and qualitative depth and
breadth that we witness today. In fact, the Catholic hierarchy's
adherence to this process has favored its advancement. That
is, the Catholic hierarchy's "ecumenical" activity
has powerfully contributed to the "unification"
of the human species, so that today the "conciliar"
Church has become one of the factors converging to
maintain that artificial "unity" of the human
In reality, there is no such unity, and this is
demonstrated by the fact that Islam, which has become rich
thanks to oil, has been allowed, after many centuries, to
resume its offensive on a worldwide scale through its massive
penetration into all countries and in particular into European
countries, where it has set up numerous and strong colonies,
cohesive and aggressive. Thus, the political dualism of
"blocs" has resurged but in a more cunning form.
The enemy is now inside the walls, and without declaring
war. On the contrary, it is there under the banner of peace,
unity, brotherhood, in a word, the "rights of man."
Islam, which combines religion and politics, is constitutionally
impermeable to all forms of democracy, and sees the conquest
of the entire world for Allah and Mohammed as one of its
"religious" tasks. In view of that, as never before,
the human species, "unified" by peace, material
progress, and democracy, is a race open to Islamic conquest.
(And this critique even excludes, given the ambiguous quality
of Russia's support for "democracy," an unforeseen
return of Communism).
The question of the impossibility of a "separate
history" for each nation. This might appear to be valid
but in reality is, above all, unacceptable from a Catholic
point of view for the simple reason that the Church had
and has as its premier task that of caring for all Catholic
nations and societies, and of defending their individuality,
as much on the level of principles as on the political one,
in the strict sense of the term. Therefore, the Church should
not shrink from being concerned that the history of Catholic
nations should be, to the extent possible, "separate"
from the rest of the world that is largely hostile to them.
That is to say: to keep and defend national Catholic individuality
requires a recognition of the right of a "separate"
history, a right that God, all powerful, has always guaranteed-to
give an example-to ancient Israel, so small and fragile
as it was, as long as it faithfully observed His commandments.
These rights guaranteed by God require the recognition of
the right to build a society that conforms to the
principles of Christianity: The Council never discussed
that right, rather, it opted for a "pluralist"
society (GS§75) Gravissimus Educationis §6.7).
Bad Pastoral Policy in the Reform of the Sacred
the recommendation of prudence in the reform of the Sacred
Liturgy given in Sacrosanctum Concilium §23:
sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way be open
for legitimate progress, a careful investigation [a process
that takes a lot of time-Ed] is always to
be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised....
There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church
genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be
taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow
organically from forms already existing,
order is given in §25: "The liturgical books are to
be revised as soon as possible...."
SC §§27 is found the exhortation to prefer the communal
celebration of rites to individual or private celebration:
is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their
specific nature, make provision for communal celebration
involving the presence and active participation of the faithful,
this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, as far
as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private.
hostility of Luther against "private Masses" resonates
in this devaluation of "individual and quasi-private"
numerous articles that encourage adapting the Roman Rite
(by means of experimentation and creativity) to the vernacular
languages, to modern mentalities and cultures (and thus
to the spirit of the world), to national and local usages,
or which revive archaic forms of these: Sacrosanctum
Concilium §§24, 36:2-3, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 50, 53,
54, 63, 65, 66, 67, 77, 79, 90, 101, 119, 120, 128, etc.
invitation to multiply the occasions on which Communion
under both kinds may be granted (SC55):
dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council
of Trent remaining intact, communion under both kinds
may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to
clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases
to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance,
to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination,
to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious
profession, and to the newly baptized in a Mass following
extension of permission for concelebration, a liturgical
practice formerly reserved to certain particularly solemn
ceremonies (especially priestly ordinations) and which necessitates
further theological investigation (see Denzinger 3928, May
23, 1957); together with the order to draw up a new rite
of concelebration (SC §§57, 58).
mitigation of the absolute ban on the communicatio in
sacris with the "Orthodox" or "Eastern"
schismatics (Orientalium Ecclesiarum §§26-29) and
with the "separated brethren" in general (Unitatis
Law forbids any common worship (communicatio in sacris)
which would damage the unity of the Church, or involve
formal acceptance of falsehood or the danger of deviation
in the faith, of scandal, or of indifferentism. At the
same time, pastoral experience clearly shows that with
respect to our Eastern brethren there should and can be
taken into consideration various circumstances affecting
individuals, wherein the unity of the Church is not jeopardized
nor are intolerable risks involved, but in which salvation
itself and the spiritual profit of souls are urgently
in view of special circumstances of time, place, and personage,
the Catholic Church has often adopted and now adopts a
milder policy, offering to all the means of salvation
and an example of charity among Christians through participation
in the sacraments and in other sacred functions and objects....
certain special circumstances, such as in prayer services
"for unity" and during ecumenical gatherings,
it is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics should
join in prayer with their separated brethren. (UR §8)
are given the permission to set up the rules for "concelebration"
in their Dioceses (SC §57:1,2 and 2,1). "Rules
concerning concelebration within a diocese are under the
control of the bishop."
OE §20: The Holy Feast of Easter can be celebrated
on the same Sunday as the "Orthodox" schismatics
celebrate it: "Until such time as all Christians are
agreed on a fixed day for the celebration of Easter, with
a view meantime to promoting unity among the Christians
of the same area or nation, it is left to the patriarchs
or supreme authorities of a place to come to an agreement
by the unanimous consent and combined counsel of those affected
to celebrate the feast of Easter on the same Sunday."
OE§15: "If any separated Eastern Christian
should, under the guidance of the grace of the Holy Spirit,
join himself to the unity of Catholics, no more should be
required of him than what a bare profession of the Catholic
Bad Pastoral Policy in the Study and Teaching
rather than the Holy See are granted control over the translations
of the Holy Bible into the vernacular (SC §36:4; Dei
is ordered that the reading of the Bible during the liturgy
be "more abundant, more various, more adaptable,"
and that all the faithful have a broad direct contact ("broad
access") with the Holy text (SC§§35, 51; D7§§22, 25).
This order is contrary to all preceding teaching which,
as against Protestants and Jansenists, always surrounded
this reading of the Bible with prudence because of the notorious
difficulty of many of the passages of the Old and New Testaments,
in all cases entrusting them to the mediation of the liturgy,
catechesis and preaching (Dz 1429, Clement XI in the condemnation
of Quesnel, 1507, and Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei).
directive to translate the Holy Scriptures in collaboration
with "the separated brethren" (DF§22): "And
if, given the opportunity and the approval of Church authority,
these translations are produced in cooperation with the
separated brethren as well, all Christians will be able
to use them."
Dei Verbum §25, the order to "compose editions
of the sacred Scriptures, provided with suitable footnotes,
[which] should be prepared also for the use of non- Christians
and adapted to their situation."
UR §9, the directive to "meet with the separated
brethren for discussion of theological problems-where each
can treat with the other on an equal footing-provided that
those who take part in them are truly competent and have
the approval of the bishops."
GS §62, the directive to employ the findings of
secular sciences in pastoral care:
recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy
raise new questions which influence life and demand new
theological investigations.... In pastoral care, appropriate
use must be made not only of theological principles, but
also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially
of psychology and sociology. Thus the faithful can be brought
to live the faith in a more thorough and mature way.
Bad Pastoral Policy in the Formation of Religious,
Seminarians, Priests and in the Episcopal Office
Perfectae Caritatis §21 it is affirmed:
adaptation and renewal of the religious life includes both
the constant return to the sources of all Christian life
and to the original spirit of the institutes and their adaptation
to the changed conditions of our time.
at one and the same time there is to be both a return to
"the original spirit" of the religious Institutes
and, "their adaptation to the changed conditions of
our time," which today are those of a secularized world,
a laicist culture, etc. Can the spirit breathe in
two opposite directions, one good and the other bad, at
the same time?
Perfectae Caritatis §3:
manner of living, praying and working should be suitably
adapted everywhere, but especially in mission territories,
to the modern physical and psychological circumstances of
the members and also, as required by the nature of each
institute, to the necessities of the apostolate, the demands
of culture, and social and economic circumstances....According
to the same criteria let the manner of governing the institutes
also be examined. Therefore let constitutions, directories,
custom books, books of prayers and ceremonies and such like
be suitably re-edited and, obsolete laws being suppressed,
be adapted to the decrees of this sacred synod.
practice, as anyone can see, this is on the order of bringing
about a blank slate, of erasing the past.
principles articulated above and other similar directives
must be also applied to institutes dedicated to the contemplative
life (PC §7):
their manner of living should be revised according to the
principles and criteria of adaptation and renewal mentioned
above. However their withdrawal from the world and the exercises
proper to the contemplative life should be preserved with
the utmost care.
members of the "lay religious life" are equally
"urged...to adjust their way of life to modern needs"
Superiors of Religious Orders "should govern those
who submit to them as sons of God, respecting their human
dignity. In this way they make it easier for them to subordinate
their wills" (PC §14). And if, in certain cases, those
submitting do not wish to do so voluntarily, what should
the "superiors" do?
cloister should be maintained in the case of nuns engaged
exclusively in the contemplative life. However, it must
be adjusted to conditions of time and place and obsolete
practices suppressed. This should be done after due consultation
with the monasteries in question. (PC §16)
here is the article which sanctioned the Zeitgeists irruption
in the convents and monasteries:
and renewal depend greatly on the education of religious....In
order that the adaptation of religious life to the needs
of our time may not be merely external and that those
employed by rule in the active apostolate may be equal
to their task, religious must be given suitable instruction,
depending on their intellectual capacity and personal
talent, in the currents and attitudes of sentiment and
thought prevalent in social life today...Religious should
strive during the whole course of their lives to perfect
the culture they have received in matters spiritual and
in arts and sciences. Likewise, superiors must, as far
as this is possible, obtain for them the opportunity,
equipment and time to do this. (PC §18)
Council favors conferences or councils of major superiors,
established by the Holy See. These can contribute very much
to achieve the purpose of each institute; to encourage more
effective cooperation for the welfare of the Church; to
ensure a more just distribution of ministers of the Gospel
in a given area; and finally to conduct affairs of interest
to all religious. Suitable coordination and cooperation
with episcopal conferences should be established with regard
to the exercise of the apostolate. Similar conferences should
also be established for secular institutes. (PC §23)
the proper use of the media of social communications which
are available to audiences of different cultural backgrounds
and ages calls for instruction proper to their needs, programs
which are suitable for the purpose-especially where they
are designed for young people-should be encouraged, increased
in numbers and organized according to Christian moral principles.
This should be done in Catholic schools at every level,
in seminaries and in lay apostolate groups. (Inter Mirifica
only general laws can be made where there exists a wide
variety of nations and regions, a special "program
of priestly training" is to be undertaken by each country
or rite. It must be set up by the episcopal conferences,
revised from time to time and approved by the Apostolic
See. In this way will the universal laws be adapted to the
particular circumstances of the times and localities so
that the priestly training will always be in tune with the
pastoral needs of those regions in which the ministry is
to be exercised. (Optatam Totius §1)
fact, this rule removed the Holy See from the actual "program"
of priestly formation: the Holy See is constrained to take
note of the substance approved by the Episcopal Conferences.
The principle, reiterated in Article 2 of the Decree, is
that "all priestly formation... will... be adapted
to the particular circumstances of the times and localities...."
entire pastoral activity of fostering vocations" should
be aware that "...no opportune aids are to be overlooked
which modern psychological and sociological research has
light" (OT §2).
psychology believes neither in the existence of the soul
and the spirit nor conscience and reduces them to one of
the body's biological functions. Sociology's "scientific"
claim is purely descriptive and it deeply questions nothing.
The reality is that both of these "sciences" were
in fashion at the time of the Council and this is why they
have made their mark on the "new theologians."
undertaken by the students should be so arranged that they
can easily continue them elsewhere should they choose a
different state of life. (OT §3)
seminaries, the "norms of Christian education are to
be religiously observed and properly complemented by the
newer findings of sound psychology and pedagogy" (OT
§11 ; also see OT §20).
modern pedagogy to the principles of Catholicism is, at
the very least, debatable.
beginning specifically ecclesiastical subjects, seminarians
should be equipped with that humanistic and scientific
training which young men in their own countries are wont
to have as a foundation for higher studies. (OT §13)
students enter the seminary because they want to become
priests and not to become cultivated persons in terms of
the world. Doesn't the profane culture actually present
an obstacle to vocation? Shouldn't it be that the seminarians
not be the ones to adapt themselves to this culture, but
that the culture ought to be adapted to them to the extent
possible whenever the opportunity arises, and in carefully
the teaching of philosophy in the seminary, it would also
be necessary to keep in mind modern philosophical currents:
net result should be that the students, correctly understanding
the characteristics of the contemporary mind, will be
duly prepared for dialogue with men of their time. The
history of philosophy should be so taught that the students,
while reaching the ultimate principles of the various
systems, will hold on to what is proven to be true therein
and will be able to detect the roots of errors and to
refute them. (OT §15)
erroneous organization of this pastoral teaching results
from two considerations:
Knowledge of modern thought is not required
in view of the goal of more readily converting souls to
Christ, but rather for the purpose of "dialogue."
Seminaries ought to have a "good understanding of the
mentality of their century," separating its good from
the bad, in order to be able to better appreciate the good
therein. This is why, in matters concerning philosophy,
they should able to distinguish within the different philosophical
systems "what is true" from what is false, and
even to "detect the roots of error and to refute them."
Therefore, the mission given to ordinary seminarians is
beyond their capacity. Given their real capacity and limitations,
it would not be easy for them to refute the errors of modern
philosophy, which is a complex of ideas inimical to all
of Christianity's fundamental truths. To do that, one would
have to have a highly speculative intellect and a broad
cultural background, which is not the case for everyone.
Moreover, in philosophy, error is often connected to truths
articulated in an appropriate and even intellectually fascinating
way. Its refutation would have to be entrusted to the overall
plan of instruction and to the instructors and not left
to the still weak seminarians, in the name of some absurd
notion of personal freedom.
being the case, note in the above quoted section of Optatam
Totius the New Theology's perverse intentions, marked
by its affection for modern thought, which it wanted to
enter the seminaries, where it has been nominally preserved,
in order to corrupt the traditional Thomist formation of
since doctrinal training ought to tend not to a mere communication
of ideas but to a true and intimate formation of the students,
teaching methods are to be revised both as regards lectures,
discussions, and seminars and also the development of study
on the part of the students, whether done privately or in
small groups. (OT §17)
amounts to accusing all previous pedagogy of being just
"notional." Is this accusation legitimate? We
do not believe it is the least bit legitimate. It is a typical
accusation of those who are preparing to revolutionize the
basis of a didactic method. Otherwise, this accusation,
classic in the milieu of dominant modern pedagogy, revolves
around experience and reform, the declared enemy of the
exercise of systematic knowledge.
should hold in high honor that just freedom which is due
to everyone in the earthly city. They must willingly listen
to the laity, consider their desires in a fraternal spirit,
recognize their experience and competence in the different
areas of human activity, so that together with them they
will be able to recognize the signs of the times. While
trying the spirits to see if they be of God. ..priests should
uncover with a sense of faith, acknowledge with joy and
foster with diligence the various humble and exalted charisms
of the laity. Among the other gifts of God, which are found
in abundance among the laity, those are worthy of special
mention by which not a few of the laity are attracted to
a higher spiritual life. (Presbyterorum Ordinis §9)
today's world, roiling in a great transformational process,
"priests' constrained by so many obligations of their
office, certainly have reason to wonder how they can coordinate
and balance their interior life with feverish outward activity."
This notion is reprised in PO §22: "The ministers
of the Church and sometimes the faithful themselves feel
like strangers in this world, anxiously looking for the
ways and words with which to communicate with it."
assessments and judgments do not correspond to reality.
In the second half of the 1950's, there began to be anxiety
over a reduction in vocations, the emerging dechristianization
of society, and modernist tendencies which again began to
spread among the clergy. There was a certain malaise as
luke warmness became generalized, the tacit formation of
an opinion, but only amongst a minority, that pushed towards
a relaxation of vigilance against the world and openness
to it. But the existential type of anxiety, again in fashion
after the Second World War, was only felt by the "new
theologians," of uncertain faith, under the ascendancy
of contemporary thought and the seductions of the world.
But no one, especially among the faithful, felt any need,
for example, for a liturgical reform, certainly not one
that was as radical as that imposed by a minority of destroyers,
with the complicity of the then-reigning pope, John XXIII.
No one felt the anguished need for an "adaptation"
or "opening" to the world.
on by charity, [priests] develop new approaches and methods
for the greater good of the Church. With enthusiasm and
courage, let [them] propose new projects and strive
to satisfy the needs of their flocks. (PO§15)
their friendly and brotherly dealings with one another and
with other men, priests are able to learn and appreciate
human values and esteem created goods as gifts of God"
(PO §17). But relations between the faithful and priests
are not, nor can they be, "amicable and fraternal,"
as if they were relationships of equals to equals! It is
to the priest, who has the privilege of performing the consecration
of the sacred Host, that the faithful confess their sins
and that God with the priest as intermediary absolves them.
The faithful certainly cannot see the priest as their equal.
And in fact, they always reserve for the priests, to whom
they even often go for advice concerning important material
questions, a respect that they would never have for an equal.
Otherwise, what "human values" is the priest warned
to learn to respect? All of them? All of this mythology
about progress, democracy, freedom that is so abundantly
spread throughout the Council's documents?
the documents of the Magisterium and me works of the "best
theologians, whose science is recognized," priests
must recognize "human culture" and the "sacred
sciences" since these "currently progress and
are being renewed." For them, these are the "best
preparation for dialogue with their contemporaries"
these "sacred sciences" which are progressing
and being renewed, what is really desired is to rubber stamp
the New Theology's point of view, which presents the inventions
and wild imaginings of the exegeses of Protestant theology
as "discoveries," and which were condemned by
Church authority at the last Council.
revolutionization of the diocese, which s no longer "the
charge or the district whose head is the Bishop" (Encyclopedic
du droit [Milan: 1964], XII, "Diocese").
Rather, a diocese is just "a portion of the people
of God which is entrusted to a bishop to be shepherded by
him with the cooperation of the presbytery" (Christus
Dominus §11). This refiguration of the diocese also
demands "a proper determination of the boundaries of
dioceses and a distribution of clergy and resources that
is reasonable and in keeping with the needs of the apostolate"
and therefore "with prudence" but also "quam
primum" meaning "as soon as possible"
is a revolution because the revision of dioceses
ought then take place "by dividing, dismembering or
uniting them, or by changing their boundaries, or by determining
a better place for the episcopal see or, finally, especially
in the case of dioceses having larger cities, by providing
them with a new internal organization" (CD §22).
Council unleashed a veritable whirlwind on the dioceses
because it wanted to change everything in a basic way and
as rapidly as possible: territory, episcopal sees, internal
organization. The new diocese, "a portion of the people
of God," must be born immediately, with no consideration
for the old one.
the exercise of his ministry, the bishop must teach how
it is necessary to respect, in addition to traditional values-for
example, family values-lay values which are "the human
person with his freedom and bodily life, the family and
its unity and stability, the procreation and education of
children, civil society with its laws and professions, labor
and leisure, the arts and technical inventions, poverty
and affluence" (CD §12). Moreover, conforming to the
directives given by Pope John XXIII in the encyclical Pacem
in Terr is, bishops must "set forth the ways by
which are to be answered the most serious questions concerning
the ownership, increase, and just distribution of material
goods, peace and war, and brotherly relations among all
applying Pope John XXIII's directives, the Council did not
hesitate to state that one of the bishops' duties (who,
by vocation, should, above all, be pastors of souls), is
to teach (those who govern) how to resolve the basic
problems of modern nations! This is pure dilettantism and
a politicization of the bishops' office. And, of course,
bishops should "present Christian doctrine in a way
adapted to the needs of the moment" and "to ask
for and promote dialogue with all men" (CD §3). To
this end (CD §16), a bishop ought "to order his life
in a way that corresponds to the needs of his times."
It is well to reflect upon this statement which is mysterious
enough: what exactly does it mean? Too, in order "to
well recognize the needs of the faithful in the social milieu
in which they live," the bishop ought to resort to
"proper methods, particularly sociological inquiry"
(CD §13). The Council had a real fixation on sociology:
(in Article 17 of the decree Christus Dominum) even
advocating installation of "pastoral social services"
charged with "social and religious investigation"
while sacred pastors devote themselves to the spiritual
care of their flock, they also in fact have regard for
their social and civil progress and prosperity. According
to the nature of their office and as behooves bishops,
they collaborate actively with public authorities for
this purpose and advocate obedience to just laws and reverence
for legitimately constituted authorities. (CD §19)
bishop as artisan of our material well being? Is this the
goal for which bishops, the Apostles' successors, are consecrated?
by Suzanne M. Rini and edited by Miss Anne Stinnett and
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) or the Vatican web site. 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)
2004 Volume XXVII, Number 1