Are Catholics Bound to Assent to Vatican II?


Just to make sure, OnePeterFive is a full-communion, non-bias (somewhat) website? Want to make sure.

You’ll hear it’s extreme right, rad trad, etc. just as you will hear that America mag and the National Catholic Reporter are far left borderline heretical.

Personally, I find it easier reading something when I know what the worldview is. I don’t assume that the actual things they write about are ‘biased’, I tend to think that they are being addressed because they are something that the ‘whatever media’ thinks is important.

If I find a lot of stuff that 1P5 is writing about is tradition, I think tradition is important to them. If I find a lot of what America or the Fishwrap is writing about is ‘Spirit of V2” and ‘progressive ideas’, I think that THOSE things are important to them.

Over time if I read both media (and others) consistently I get a feel for how what is important to them is expressed.

Then I can do my own research.

I can go back to the Bible, to all the various encyclicals and writings, and see what lines up with what the Church has consistently taught. That helps me decide if something is trustworthy, and to what degree.

You’ve heard of Sherlock Holmes, right? His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, modeled him on an incredible person who was logic personified (sorry Mr Spock). Sir Arthur’s himself was a typical hardheaded Victorian. Who to the end of his days believed in spiritualism, mediums. . . About as far from ‘logic’ as one could get.

So you could trust Sir Arthur to be a great and talented writer who could invent and solve incredible ‘logic’ puzzles, but who still could be gulled by ladies who insisted they had spirit guides and could contact the dead.

IOW, if you know what drives a particular media worldview, you can actually find them quite trustworthy in several particulars. Even the Fishwrap. LOL you can trust that they’ll be perfectly tolerant as long as you agree with them! So it’s very much, ‘know as much as you can’ and do your own checking’, and you’ll be fine.


Great explanation, multas gratias tibi ago :slight_smile:

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I thought so too. I’ve been thinking there must be a middle ground between Vigano’s idea of forgetting the Council and the hermeneutic of continuity. I think that article is it.


I could not agree with you more. An idea’s validity does not depend on the person who holds it. I get quite irritated by posts on CAF which dismiss opinions on the grounds that they appeared on such-and-such a site.

Regarding V2, Bishop Fellay, the former Superior General of SSPX, himself said that he endorses all the parts of V2 which do not contradict previous Church teaching. So even the SSPX does not reject V2 out of hand.

The problem with V2 is that it, and the Mass that emerged from it, aimed at making Catholicism seem more palatable to non Catholics. The use of ambiguous or watered down expressions has added layers of obscurity in an age which needs clarity. And those who actually want to introduce uncatholic ideas into the Church find V2 gives them plenty of comfort.


The “march of Modernism” is tied with industrialization.

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The question posed is nonsensical. Are Catholics bound to assent to Vatican II? Are Catholics bound to assent to the teachings of the Church? Are Catholics bound to assent to the Council of Trent? Are Catholics bound to assent to the Council of Nicea? The answers to all of these questions are the same, at least if one is Catholic.


The article clearly says one must assent to Vatican II.

It’s not so simple. Unlike other Councils, V2 contained the following statement:

“the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding.” (Lumen Gentium)


Pope Benedict XVI, writing as then Cardinal Ratzinger, on Vatican II:

“It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him, and that also with regard to its contents, Vatican II is in the strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their texts word for word in decisive points . . .

Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly also the two previous councils . . . It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called ‘traditionalism,’ also in its extreme forms. Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can exist only as an indivisible unity.

To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council. It is our fault if we have at times provided a pretext (to the ‘right’ and ‘left’ alike) to view Vatican II as a ‘break’ and an abandonment of the tradition. There is, instead, a continuity that allows neither a return to the past nor a flight forward, neither anachronistic longings nor unjustified impatience. We must remain faithful to the today of the Church, not the yesterday or tomorrow. And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them . . .

I see no future for a position that, out of principle, stubbornly renounces Vatican II. In fact in itself it is an illogical position. The point of departure for this tendency is, in fact, the strictest fidelity to the teaching particularly of Pius IX and Pius X and, still more fundamentally, of Vatican I and its definition of papal primacy. But why only popes up to Pius XII and not beyond? Is perhaps obedience to the Holy See divisible according to years or according to the nearness of a teaching to one’s own already-established convictions?"

Source: The Ratzinger Report, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1985, 28-29, 31.


Ambiguity is always a problem because if we leave room for misinterpretation, it is bound to come. However real problem is with things that can not be re-interpreted.

Nostra Aetate was written by a Priest who was later laicized and openly supported LGBT movement. That itself does not invalidate it, but it indeed is interesting. For example following passage from it:
“[Buddhism] teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.”

That phrase not only does say that higher help may come out of Buddhistic practice- that in itself can be interpreted correct way where God can extraordinarily help those outside the Church. However it clearly asserts Pelagianism when it claims one can attain supreme illumination or perfect liberation by their own efforts.

Now that in itself does not invalidate Vatican II. We are bound by everything Vatican II re-states (because we would by bind by it without Vatican II). It contains great things as well and it is indeed Ecumenical Council. Paul VI did say it was not infallible and therefore these things are not a “proof” that Church has erred nor anything of the sort. It does not justify Schism or denial of current hierarchy.

During Council of Constance, document Haec Sancta was released. It basically said that Popes < Councils. It was later rejected by subsequent Popes. Council of Chalcedon had canon that put Constantinople over other Eastern Patriarchates- Popes have rejected that. Even Ecumenical Councils can contain errors but thanks to infallibility of the Church those errors never get declared to be True by Papacy. Nostra Aetate has never been declared to be without error which is why here is no problem and perhaps subsequent Popes could revisit it and fix the confusion it breeds.


It would probably help clarify your confusion if you read the rest of the paragraph:

“Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.”

So Nostra Aetate doesn’t say that the Buddhist approach to illumination or liberation is correct, it simply says that there is, in a very broad way, something of the Truth of faith.


It does not say that there is approach- in fact such language is used for example for Hinduism (“men contemplate the divine mystery” or “They seek freedom”), as in your quote ("Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. "). This everything is about their attempt that falls short of Truth that is found within Catholic Church.

However when it speaks about Buddhism it uses different language. It says “it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able…”. Perhaps it is just sad choice of words, but it does explicitly say that Buddhism not only attempts for those things but it actually teaches a way by which men may do them.

Nooooooo!! At the close of the council the Pope said the council was not binding!!


It is the JOB of a council NOT to have a bad choice of words. They are supposed to clarify for the faithful, not muddy up the waters.


All it is doing is saying what Buddhism teaches - hence the use of the conditional term “may”. This is why is goes on to say, as I quoted above, The Catholic Church rejects nothing that it true and holy in these religions. The Pelagianist aspects are clearly not true and are thus rejected.


Straining at gnats aplenty… V2 must be accepted, not rejected. Similarly NO mass.

Has v2 been misenterpeted and used as a vehicle for promotion of nefarious goals? Yes. Truism…


Kind of. Read the article, Lateran Council was far from perfect either. Also this;

Well my point is that wording is ambiguous at best. I know with context one can come to conclusion that it isn’t probably what Council meant to teach. But “may” indicates a possibility and we know there is no such possibility.

Other religions may have truth and holy aspects to them. For example, telling their subjects they should be kind to their fellow man or insisting that there is a God and an after life.

However, it does not say that these religions are salvific. There is no truth of salvation in these other religions.

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