Vatican II

Dear friends,

I was reading the Art Sippo debate on Vatican II’s infallibility and Shawn McElhinney’s commentary on it, and I am SO confused. Humanae Vitae, at the end of paragraph 7, said that the “Second Vatican Council taught with the **highest **authority in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today.” The decree on religious liberty said “We DECLARE…” There are two **Dogmatic **Constitutions from the Council. And yet we have Cardinals from the Council saying the new teachings must be taken with “reservation”, and Pope Paul saying there were **no **extraordinary teachings from his Council. They say it was the “ordinary universal magisterium” that was employed. But that doesn’t make sense; theological manuals say *that * organ of infallibility is used when all the bishops are dispersed around the world but teach one thing in common. “Extraordinary magisterium” means the authority of Councils. Or are we to say that not everything from Trent was infallible. I AM SO CONFUSED. I don’t want to discuss in there were new teachings at Vatican II. I want to know if there was a whole new system or levels of authority used by this unusual Council

[side note for those who read the debate: when Paul VI says that the Council’s authority cannot be called into doubt, he could have simply meant its authority to teach, not necessarily anything taught, could not be called into question. So Sippo used a faulty argumet there, although Paul VI is frustratingly ambiguous it seems]

“Frustratingly ambiguous”. That could be applied to the whole of Vatican II.

Welcome to the club!

The Pope will worry about that.

I know. Benedict XVI in Light of the World, 2010, pp. 94-96 said: “And not even a Pope can offer an alternative definition of a Church? A. No. He has no authority over that. The Second Vatican Council is binding on him.”

So it must be infallible!

But plenty of bishops said that they didn’t intend to define anything at the Council. So if their intention to define is missing, what does that mean?? weird

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit