Considering that there are so many past and current threads regarding Vatican II, its authority, whether or not it’s infallible, which parts of it we need to obey, etc., I think it’s high time to clear things up once and for all.
All councils have doctrinal and pastoral aspects, so it’s not correct to say that Vatican II was merely pastoral. Vatican II didn’t solemnly define any dogma, true, but that’s only because it didn’t intend to teach infallibly BY THE USUAL NORMS OF EXTRAORDINARY MAGISTERIUM. Instead, it chose to use the ordinary and universal Magisterium, which isn’t as definitive or formal but is just as infallible.
I’d like to add that Vatican II did indeed definitively settle some doctrinal issues and/or proclaim doctrines (not in the same solemn manner as a dogma, mind you, but in a solemn manner nevertheless):
*]The subdiaconate isn’t a sacrament but only a sacramental.
*]Consecration to the episcopate isn’t a new sacrament but rather the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders.
*]It cleared up the fact that the Council of Trent didn’t declare that Scripture and Tradition were 2 separate sources but rather 2 parts of the same source.
*]The details of religious liberty in relation to the state were defined solemnly and definitively.
*]The Blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of the Church and is properly understood as a member of the Church.
*]Lumen Gentium Chapter 25 provides the watershed understanding of the doctrine of infallibility and completes the work that Vatican I wasn’t able to deal with in 1870 and which Pius XII dealt with partially in Humani Generis. There is no more comprehensive explication and defense of the Magisterium in any other magisterial document.
*]The ecumenical movement — understood as the desire and work to bring about Christian unity under the headship of the Vicar of Christ and WITHOUT sacrificing doctrine (unlike abuses of ecumenism, which, sadly, have been way too common over the years) — is initiated and fostered by the Holy Spirit. As such, it is our duty as Catholic Christians, to help bring about this unity of Christian persons, this unity of Christendom. This duty and dedication to bringing about unity is part of the Christian life and can manifest itself through prayer and/or action.[/LIST]