Stop Blaming Vatican II

To be fair, this isn’t really something new. The West has consistently lessened required penitential practices over the centuries of the Church’s two millenia (for better or worse). There’s a discussion on this progressive laxity and some proposed reasons for it here from Cardinal Lepicier’s treatise on indulgences (written in 1895):

Start on page 344 of the book (368 of the browser viewer), paragraph 7 and continue a couple pages:

Also, customarily, the East tends to set a high bar, but then is more flexible with it while the West tends to instead set a strict low bar which binds gravely. Each approach certainly has its merits.

Public recitation of the Office ‘with the people’ (cum populo) was, for the most part, a minority practice after the 15th century in the Latin Church. The post-VII reform of the Office was actually criticised as being insufficient in restoring the communal nature that characterised the Office from the Apostolic era to the early Medieval period.

Think of what the Jews must have felt when they were told their 613 commandments weren’t necessary!

It’s hard to argue with that! You’re correct, I shouldn’t assume that certain Catholics aren’t fasting privately. But I am still concerned with the Church’s lack of emphesis on fasting. A lot of rad trads don’t even know about some of the fasting periods.

Sometimes, in our human weakness, that’s exactly what we need.

Yes, this certainly goes farther back than Vatican II. I would consider the changes made during/after the 16th century to be modernism from their own era. The main reason I’m not a radtrad is that, to them, tradition means nothing older than the Council of Trent. Today’s traditionalism is yesterday’s modernism.


The video didn’t address anything with regards to the actual issues and problems facing the criticisms of Vatican II. It was a straw man defense of how the world’s/Church’s problems aren’t the sole result of Vatican II. Well no kidding… lol

He does mention that one problem isn’t the documents themselves, but how some of the clergy interpreted said documents. Yet, he just makes that statement in passing and then quickly moves on.

Unfortunately his view is prevalent among many Catholics. It’s the same “correlation & causation” argument that is always given in response to any criticism aimed at VII.


I didn’t become Catholic until well after Vatican II, after my confirmation one of the elder women parishioners was telling me that after Vatican II many Catholics no longer attended mass because they no longer felt they were forced to. She said those who remained did so because they wanted to.

The obligation to attend Mass has not changed. Nobody was ever “forced”, but the obligation has always been there in the Latin Church.


Thanks for that informative citation.


We can talk about fasting and other devotions that are not as prevalent as they were.

But, from what I’ve seen, it’s much more basic. There are only a few Holy Days of Obligation left. However, pre Covid, our parish, which has 6 Masses each Saturday/Sunday only needs three to cover Holy days. Confessions are not widely attended.

I think the question isn’t why the hierarchy doesn’t impose more devotions, it’s why the laity doesn’t even participate in the basics.


Very well done-thank you. Vat II didn’t precipitate the radical changes which took place in our world-and that also negatively affected members of our Church including leaders and teachers- but rather anticipated that upheaval if anything. It may take centuries but ultimately the council will be vindicated and increasingly appreciated as we come to observe and understand its good fruit. The Holy Spirit knows. :grinning:

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Confession might be more popular if it weren’t offered from 3:41-3:54PM every other Saturday in the janitor’s closet.

I’m exaggerating, of course, but the Church hasn’t done a good job of promoting or offering confession. I live within walking distance of three Catholic churches, and I need to drive out of town to get to Confession at a reasonable time.


Have you complained? Just curious.

I live in a suburb, and am around ten/fifteen minutes from four parishes. They have the traditional Saturdays, but also add some weekday evenings. And, of course, by appointment.

I always see the same people. Now, the pre-Easter and pre-Christmas services where there are 20-30 priests are “well” attended, but by no means the whole parish.

Oh my goodness. I have a feeling I’ll be stealing and sharing this frequently on CAF. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting it!

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I think that along with Vatican II, there was concurrently a sea change in the communities that American Catholics lived in. Highways dividing urban neighborhoods, white flight, suburbanization, women joining the workforce in greater numbers were happening all at the same time as Vatican II. Catholics lived outside the “Catholic ghetto” (as I have heard it referred to on CAF forum) for the first time, so along with the changes of Vatican II, it also became less convenient to pop over to church (on foot) for daily Mass, etc, nor were your neighbors all Catholic.
So, in a nutshell, loss of a Catholic culture in general due to standard of living changes, which were compounded by the changes of Vatican II. At least that’s my understanding of that period.

A documented psychological phenomenon comes to mind wherein the more challenging you make something, the more people think it must be worth the challenge and will actually do it – and the less challenging you make something, the less people think it’s worth doing at all, and they lose interest entirely.

Maybe there’s a genuine, at least in part, causal relationship between the hierarchy asking less of people… and people deciding that if the church is so cheap, she must not be worth anything at all, and walking away.

I’m sure there’s been lots going on over the years, and there’s lots going on now.

But setting a high bar can inspire many people to meet it, or at least think it’s worth trying for.

Whereas set the bar too low, and most people will collectively wonder what the point is, and not bother.


And yet, for some reason, people weren’t getting that message After Vatican II.
Hmmm, I wonder why…
Of course, these misunderstandings have NOTHING to do with Vatican II.

No, it’s just that VII was invoked as the rationale behind what happened afterward (even though most of the changes had little basis in VII).

Yes, but the changes of Vatican II emboldened wild and crazy clerics to make wild and crazy changes, because the documents of Vatican II are too vague.
The vagueness of the Vatican II documents themselves are the problem. Too many choices.

“…the critique of ambiguity in the documents of Vatican II is not some canard invented and bandied about by traditionalist Catholic bloggers, but was in fact a substantial charge made against many conciliar documents by the Council Fathers themselves. It was, and remains, a legitimate criticism of the documents of the Second Vatican Council that must be taken seriously since the Council Fathers themselves took it so seriously.”


I think the documents were vague by design, to allow what was already happening.

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You’re on to his core point about the decline in Mass attendance occurring in a much larger socio-cultural context.

The priest shortage became an ugly, self-perpetuating cycle. Fewer priests, parish “consolidations,” fewer people attending Mass, therefore fewer priests . . .

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