Is Vatican II infallible?


#1

I was recently reading “The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita: A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of The Catholic Church” by John Vennari and published by TAN books when I came across the following paragraphs. When I read it, I was surprised, yet quite relieved considering the indisputable break with tradition/Tradition that the Council brought with it. Well, here it is. Tell me what you think:

The Status of the Vatican II Documents

*For years, Catholics have labored under the mistaken notion that they must accept the pastoral Council, Vatican II, with the same assent of faith that they owe to dogmatic Councils. This, however, is not the case.

The Council Fathers repeatedly referred to Vatican II as a pastoral Council, a Council which dealt not with defining the Faith, but with implementing it.

The fact that Vatican II is inferior to a dogmatic Council is confirmed by the testimony of Council Father, Bishop Thomas Morris, which at his request was not unsealed until after his death:

“I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement on doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council documents as tentative and liable to be reformed.”

At the close of Vatican II, the bishops asked the Council’s Secretary General, Archbishop Pericle Felici, for that which theologians call the “theological note” of the Council, that is, the doctrinal “weight” of Vatican II’s teachings. Felici replied:

“We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic definitions in the past; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations.”

After the close of Vatican II, Paul VI gave this explanation:

“There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: Given the Council’s pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility…”

In other words, unlike a dogmatic Council, Vatican II does not demand an unqualified assent of faith.

Vatican II’s verbose and ambiguous statements are not on a par with dogmatic pronouncements. Hence, Vatican II’s novelties are not unconditionally binding on the faithful. Catholics may “make reservations” and even resist any teachings from the Council that would conflict with the perennial Magisterium of the centuries.*


#2

Following is the description of the book from the Tan Books web site:

"The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita. The author quotes the actual Masonic document, which both Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) and Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) asked to be published. This document describes the Masons’ diabolical strategy to destroy the Church by infecting her leaders with Liberal ideas. Tells how they do not desire a masonic Pope, but rather a Pope infected with their ideas. Touches on Liberalism, the French Revolution, Freemasonry, Ecumenism, Modernism, the modernist conspiracy at Vatican II, and much more! An eye-opening book that every Catholic must read! 50 pgs, PB "
tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/547/keywords/permanent,instruction,alta,vendita/

So, this is a book purportedly containing original Masonic documents which describe a plan for destroying the Catholic Church.
You found a section written by the Freemasons reportedly quoting some bishop who wrote that Catholics don’t have to believe VII because it’s "pastoral?"
Um, let me see:
Dogmatic Constitution on Devine Revelaion Dei Verbum.
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium
The other two main documents of the council,Sacrosanctum Concilium and Gaudium et Spes along with the dogmatics are promulgated by the pope. It was a Catholic Church Council. The Magesterium in conjunction with the Supreme Pontiff promulgated documents.
Like all councils before it, VII did NOT teach anything new or change any prior dogma or doctrine.
You asked what we think. I think it’s Official Church Teaching.
I also think that if you want to claim otherwise, you need a better source than the Freemasons to do it.


#3

[quote=Strider]You found a section written by the Freemasons reportedly quoting some bishop who wrote that Catholics don’t have to believe VII because it’s “pastoral?”…I also think that if you want to claim otherwise, you need a better source than the Freemasons to do it.
[/quote]

No, the section from which I quote is by John Vennari and after the Masonic writings. Also, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI both called it “pastoral.”


#4

What statements in the Vatican II documents is specifically infallible?
We all know that not every jot and tittle is meant to be infallible.
It is all authoritative, but how do we know that a particular statement is mean to be infallible so that the final word is spoken on an issue.
Typically, we knew what was infallible and what wasn’t through the list of anathemas.
As Vatican II was a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one, i don’t think it made any infallible statements.
However, it is of the highest ecclesiastical authority. We can’t just toss something aside if we don’t like it.


#5

I sure hope that Gaudium et Spes and Nostrae Aetate aren’t infallible.


#6

[quote=JSmitty2005]No, the section from which I quote is by John Vennari and after the Masonic writings. Also, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI both called it “pastoral.”
[/quote]

That doesn’t change the titles, or authority, of the two dogmatic constitutions.


#7

It would seem that before we can have this conversation, we need to have a conversation on what is infallible first. Some seem to have some major problems understanding that it isn’t just limited to things spoken ex-cathedra.

Since we probably won’t be having that conversation I’d like to point out that if I say that we are going to limit our discussion to Vatican II being infallible and we expand the scope, we expanded the scope no matter what I said at the beginning of our discussion. Has anyone stopped to think about that? Yes, the pope said it was going to be a pastoral council. Some dogmatic things obviously came up (i.e. Lumen Gentium) Yes, while it didn’t define anything new, it was dogmatic. To say that it talked about dogma but wasn’t infallible is, well, stretching at best which is what Mr. Vennari, et. al. like to say. If one actually tries reading the Catholic Enclopedia on infallibility, ecclesiastical disciplines, the pope they will see how the Church viewed this matter way back in the pre-Vatican II days. It might be wise to read the actual Church teachings rather than Mr. Vennari’s probably schismatic take on the situation.


#8

[quote=bear06]It might be wise to read the actual Church teachings rather than Mr. Vennari’s probably schismatic take on the situation.
[/quote]

From what I understand, TAN does not publish any “schismatic” materials, only traditional ones.


#9

[quote=JSmitty2005]From what I understand, TAN does not publish any “schismatic” materials, only traditional ones.
[/quote]

Except for the classics books by saints, I would be extremely careful what I bought or read from TAN. They’ve an agenda and it isn’t fidelity to the magisterium of the Church (unless one believes that magisterium ceased with the death of HH Pope Pius XII).


#10

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Except for the classics books by saints, I would be extremely careful what I bought or read from TAN. They’ve an agenda and it isn’t fidelity to the magisterium of the Church (unless one believes that magisterium ceased with the death of HH Pope Pius XII).
[/quote]

I disagree.


#11

[quote=JSmitty2005]I disagree.
[/quote]

Well, the CCC isn’t on offer, but lots of books warning about the Council ARE. That tells me plenty.


#12

Vatican II was an ecumenical council of the Church and just as well all ecumenical councils of the Church it is protected from error by the Holy Spirit and teaches infallibly.

As bear06 was alluding to, the Church does not just teach infallibly when the pope speaks ex-cathedra.

The Church teaches infallibly when the Magisterium teaches in union with the pope on things that have been held since the beginning. This can be done though an ecumenical council, which Vatican II was.

As for TAN, I would listen to JKirkLVNV as much of their newer stuff is problematic and possibly schismatic in nature. In any manner, nothing produced by TAN is infallible as they are not the Church, they are merely a private publishing house.


#13

[quote=JSmitty2005]No, the section from which I quote is by John Vennari and after the Masonic writings. Also, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI both called it “pastoral.”
[/quote]

It’s pastoral, true - but so are all Ecumenical Councils. Unless it is a duistinguishing mark of infallible teaching that it is un-pastoral :slight_smile:

Even if its documents are not all infallible - and they are not, with exceptions in this or that passage of this or that document - it still comes to with very high authority: that of the bishops of the Church world-wide united with the Pope, no less.

“Not infallible” in no way equals “lacking authority” - infallibility is simply a mark of one exercise of the authority to teach in the Church.

BTW, it’s not enough to be “traditional” - unless following tradition is the same as fidelity to the deposit of faith. And it is not; for “fidelity”, and “being traditional”, are two entirely different ideas, which may - or may not - be the same thing in practice.
[list]
*]Mat 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind;
*]Mat 13:48 when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad.
*]Mat 13:49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous,
*]Mat 13:50 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
*]Mat 13:51 “Have you understood all this?” They said to him, “Yes.”
*]Mat 13:52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
[/list]- and this can be applied to the Church’s life, and to the teaching of Christ within the Church. The old has its place in the Church; many people have no problem in remembering that - what they sometimes forget, is that the new also has a place. And that is certainly true of Vatican II.


#14

jsmitty2005 wrote:

From what I understand, TAN does not publish any “schismatic” materials, only traditional ones.

Then, mate, you have a lot yet to understand:

Thomas A. Nelson is/was a member of the schismatic and spurious chivalric “Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem” commonly known as “O.S.J.”:

Extracts from files:

  1. See post at Catholic Answers: re: False Traditionalists and the Indult Mass[/font]http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=1128333&postcount=30

  2. “Note: The Publisher in 1971 and present seller of The Great Sacrilege is Thomas A. Nelson O.S.J., of TAN Books and Publishers.”

  3. The Great Sacrilege by Fr. James F. Wathen, O.S.J., Tan Books and Publishers, 1971. (Note: Tan is owned by the OSJite, Thomas A. Nelson.)”

  4. Some of Fr. Wathen’s contentions include:

Fr. James Wathen, OSJ states:"The ‘New Mass’ does not involve Papal Infallibility.The Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI is null and void.The Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum of Pope St. Pius V is still in effect.The ‘Tridentine Mass’ is the only Mass of the Latin Rite.The ‘New Mass’ is illegal.The ‘New Mass’ is immoral.The ‘New Mass’ is not Catholic.The ‘New Mass’ - if we believe the Council of Trent and official documents of the Church - is no Mass at all.The ‘New Mass’ is THE GREAT SACRILEGE."http://jloughnan.tripod.com/bbosj.htm

  1. “According to “The Publisher’s Preface,” which was written by Mr. Thomas A. Nelson, The Great Sacrilege was the “first full-fledged discussion of the new Mass to appear” after the promulgation of the new Missale Romanum by Pope Paul VI on April 3, 1969.”

“A Theological Critique OF Rev. James F. Wathen, O.S.J’s *THE GREAT SACRILEGE *BASED ON THE TEACHINGS OF THE SACRED MAGISTERIUM, THE DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH, THE CANONIZED SAINTS, AND OTHER APPROVED PRE-VATICAN II THEOLOGIANS” by Bro. Alexis Bugnolo
http://www.geocities.com/~ymjcath/CathLink/offline/wathen.html

I hope and pray that Mr Nelson HAS quit the O.S.J. and reverted to Holy Mother Church! The O.S.J. HAS undergone a schism within its adherents; the current Chaplain is a Thucite “Bishop” (?) Anthony Chadwick. You might be unaware that the Vatican has issued at least two declarations that it will not recognize Thucite “consecrations.”


#15

It seems that there are recurring themes in the apologetics forum, chief among them evolution and the Second Vatican Council :p. As stated before, there were contents within the council documents that were infallible, but there were no new definitions that were put forth as infallible. Despite assertions by both HH John XXIII and HH Paul VI that the Council was pastoral, given that it was done with the Pontiff in association with the Synod of Bishops, it likely falls under the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

Of course, what many of these conflicts boil down to in the end was the obrogation of the Tridentine Ordo. Was it legal? I think it was a grey area, and relied more on legality than prudence. But given that the Indult for the Mass allows a Catholic to attend, it shouldn’t be an issue for most.

If however you’re like myself, who favors the celebration of an even earlier version of the Tridentine Mass, say the 1888 1904, 1955 etc., such discussions can be considered sour grapes. I do not question the validity or licitness of the official Pauline Mass as describe in the Novus Ordo.

However you feel about the Council, those questions of faith and morals that were promulgated should probably be viewed as infallible. However, in terms of the liturgy, being a matter of discipline cannot be viewed thus. Those of us that do not like it, must simply continue our communion and pray that a future Pontiff deems it wise to reinstitute it.

Regards,
John


#16

[quote]However you feel about the Council, those questions of faith and morals that were promulgated should probably be viewed as infallible.

Amen.

However, in terms of the liturgy, being a matter of discipline cannot be viewed thus. Those of us that do not like it, must simply continue our communion and pray that a future Pontiff deems it wise to reinstitute it.

Dave’s put together some interesting stuff on this issue.

itsjustdave1988.blogspot.com/2005/04/are-ecclesiastical-disciplines.html
[/quote]


#17

Dave’s put together some interesting stuff on this issue.

itsjustdave1988.blogspot.com/2005/04/are-ecclesiastical-disciplines.html

An interesting article to be sure, and I do not take exception with disciplinary infallibility, either in the positive or the negative, simply the manner in which it is used to overemphasize the legitimacy of the reformed liturgy. And certainly, with response to the noted entry in the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1909, we must recognize that in the case of liturgical reformation and by extension abuse, it could not be considered to be anywhere near as pronounced at the time of the writing. With the exception of some small revisions in rubrics, or the additions of prayers (such as the St. Michael’s Prayer added by HH Leo XIII) the liturgy had remained nearly constant for over a millennia, and typified for nearly half that length.

As I stated in my previous post, I do not denounce the Pauline Mass when properly observed, nor do I deny the authority of the Church, as the sole guardian of the liturgy. I simply question the prudence of doing so, as is our right and duty as Catholics. I sincerely believe that HH John XXIII and his successor were men faced with shepherding Christ’s Church in one of the most socially tumultous times in history, and that both men were pragmatic to the point of being given to modernism. Sadly, in a Church so vast, where infallibility does not extend to anyone subject to the Seat of Peter, where authority has been meted out to lesser men, I believe we as a Church found that there lies just a hairsbreadth between progressiveness and permissiveness.

In terms of conciliar authority, if we are to hold the affirmations of ecumenical councils as being binding under the ordinary magisterium of the Church, then we would do well to remember the affirmation of the Second Council of Nicaea:

“Let everything that conflicts with ecclesiastical tradition and teaching, and that has been innovated and done contrary to the examples outlined by the saints and the venerable Fathers, or that shall hereafter at any time be done in such a fashion, be anathema.”

Such an example may be found in the words of Peter Damian, Saint and Doctor of the Church, who wrote: “It is unlawful to alter the established customs of the Church…remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.”

Nonetheless, I adibe and hope for a return to a greater tradition.

Regards,
John


#18

A futile discussion. Catholics are bound to receive the teaching of the magisterium. The Decrees of the Council are not only the view of the bishops, our teachers, but are approved by the Pope and as such we must accept them and adapt our conduct to them as best we can. “He who hears you, hears me.” THAT is an article of faith.

Get with it, guys.

Verbum


#19

What specifically came out of Vatican II that folks find to be in error? Just bullet item it out and we can knock that around.


#20

[quote=StCsDavid]What specifically came out of Vatican II that folks find to be in error? Just bullet item it out and we can knock that around.
[/quote]

I still take some issue with the notion that the promulgations of the Council were protected by infallibility, either through de fide definitions or through any means of magisterium. It cannot be through extraordinary magisterium, as nothing new was defined, and the proclamations made in opening and closing of the sessions made it clear that no new definitions would be made. The Council even went so far as to say that infallibility would only apply where explicitly stated.

I don’t see much of a case for ordinary magisterium, as there was nothing not in contention or novelty that meets the requirements established by the First Vatican Council, namely universality of belief for the history of the Church.

And certainly not simple authoritarian magisterium, as this must be derived from Sacred Tradition, and the notion that anything of the Deposit of Faith was not derived in totality from the teaching of the apostles. This very notion was condemned by Pope St. Pius X.

When you get right down to it, you can’t escape the conflict over liturgy. It’s like two art lovers arguing over which artist’s work should be shown on the gallery wall. One artist is classical, ancient, opulent but to some detached. The other, a little brighter perhaps, more open to wider audience. But this is only because it requires no discipline. That’s what the Pauline Mass is like for me. It’s like seeing a Warhol painting. You can enjoy it for a brief time, long enough to ponder its mysteries. Then you leave and forget all about it. When I attend an Indult Mass, I don’t leave thinking, “Whew…fulfilled that Sunday obligation.” I feel connected, not just to Christ, which is the point of the Blessed Sacrament, but to the Church through observing the same Mass that billions have celebrated for centuries.

Yes, sometimes it’s important to keep up with the times. But sometimes, its equally important to not change, to do things the same way to honor those that have come before. That’s just my opinion, something you’re welcome to disregard in its entirety. And that’ll be my last word on the topic. Thanks.

Regards,
John


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