My Catholic faith has been challenged very often, especially by atheists and protestants and I am very grateful for CF for strenthening my faith. But recently I have been confronted with “catholics” claiming Vatican II being a heresy.
They are pointing to a freemason conspiracy that infiltrated the Church, influencing the outcome of the papal election making it invalid and everything following from it including Vatican II.
I actually feel very challenged, so I was wondering if anyone here has experience on this issue and could give me some advice.
Vatican II was called by Pope John XXIII. Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, the magisterium has met in Council to deal with different issues facing the Church. Vatican II was a pastoral Council. There were no changes in the teachings of Christ that has been handed on intact from the time of Christ. The world that the Church faced had changed; a world that had endured two world wars, and was facing the threat of Communism as well as ever increasing secularism.
What is helpful is that the Documents that came out of Vatican II are available to the public. They are well worth reading.
This seems to me conflicting with Catholic dogma and actually, the whole identity of the Catholic Church. Lutheran Churches don’t trust the tradition, they always go back to the Scripture only (sola scriptura) while the Catholic Church trusts that God leads his Church and that is why Catholics trust what the tradition teaches, while Lutherans discard everything they can’t find in the scripture.
In the time of the Borgias (15th century) there was plenty of weird things going on regarding the electing of cardinals and popes. The word “nepotism” stems from there. (If you want to find weird things about medieval papacy, you can start investigating Lucrezia Borgia) To my understanding, the Catholic church claims that the papal office is always valid. Neither nepotism nor freemasonry could possibly prevent God from guiding his Church. Stating otherwise, IMHO, means you can no longer claim to be a Catholic.
Bit IANAC (I Am No A Catholic) so let’s wait and see if better replies arrive.
Another way of looking at it is simply that Catholic Tradition, what Christ taught the Apostles and handed down through the ages to each succeeding generation, is protected by the Holy Spirit. To claim anything less is to deny the power of God to protect what is His.
If the current pope is not pope, then who is? The line of succession to the papacy cannot be broken.
What can and has changed through time are customs (traditions) that are dependent on where people live as well as a deepening understanding of Christ’s teachings over time.
As a non catholic, in my simplistic terms, you have to decide if you are FOR the church or AGAINST the church. That’s what it boils down to. To protest against church teaching makes the person a protest-ant, just my personal opinion.
I know people like this and for a time, seriously considered their position. I now warn people to just stay away from them because what I did was very bad for my spiritual life; I became suspicious and fearful.
Overall, what someone else wrote helped me: those who think this way interpret the V2 documents in the same way that the modernists do and thus believe they contain heresy.
However, the goal of the Council was not to put forth anything new but to recast Church teachings in a way that modern thinkers could more easily understand, using new ways of thinking.
The Pope said before he signed the documents that *they must be interpreted in Light of Tradition, *and this is what the modernists refused to do, and it is also what the “radical Traditionalists” refuse to do.
As a result of this, what the radical Traditionalists are doing is setting up a straw-man argument. It’s easy enough to “win” if you misrepresent your opponent’s reasoning.
The “Freemason conspiracy” probably refers to the heresy of Modernism. See the syllabus of Errors for a condemnation of specific ideas of Modernism.
Vatican 2 refers to the documents promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. Interpreted correctly, they are in line with traditional Catholic teaching. Misinterpreted, they can be twisted into falling in line with Modernism.
The question for those people is “what platform do THEY stand on when they evaluate Catholicism?” If you say the last valid pope was Pius XII, well, he appointed the majority of bishops at Vatican II. Does that mean HE was masonic?
If you say the last valid Council was Vatican I, well many claimed that council was a discontinuity, disrupting from the Catholic heritage that went before it.
The problem with sedevacantists or like-minded folks is that they contradict each other. They quote from some document (often out of context) by a pope from many years ago, yet invariably ignore other documents by that same or earlier popes that don’t support their case.
Who has the authority, today, to decide which past documents are relevant to disprove, or show the heresy of Vatican II or Pope Paul VI? Well, the sedevacantists claim that authority! They say this specific document from many years ago is pertinent, and those other 99 documents don’t apply in this situation.
The sedevacantists (and perhaps many in the SSPX) are in effect Protestants. Essentially you have some Protestants who may say the Church was truly guided until the death of Peter, or perhaps the last apostle. You have others who say the Church was true until the 300s when the canon was agreed on. Then other Protestants accept Catholicism as valid until well into the Middle Ages, they accept much Catholic Tradition and the early councils.
Then you have other people (I call Protestants) who accept everything up until Vatican I. They called themselves Old Catholics. Then you have others who accept everything up to Pius X, or Pius XII. But they say Vatican II was ONLY a pastoral council, and that Pope Francis’ teachings are merely for his pontificate, or merely for the diocese of Rome, or somehow less binding or permanent than Pope Pius X. The SSPX websites describe “THIS pope”, in the sense that whatever he says is transitory, or only for the audience standing in front of him that day, as compared to earlier popes whose teachings are for all times and all people.
In the future, you may have people who say the Church was true, up through Pope Francis, but not those men who came after him.
Catholicism is based on Scripture, Tradition, and the Living Magisterium. What magisterium are the people you are talking to relying on?
Trust the current magisterium. I think there is a reason people have reacted the way they did recently in history. The Church didn’t envision the liturgy to become what it has in many parish Churches. Music like “Gather us In” was not envisioned by the 2nd Vatican Council, I don’t even think the Council wanted to do away with Mass ad orientem. Much of what we are seeing in the liturgy is because of what happened in the 70s and 80s. The sexual revolution of the 70s, the hippy movement, leaked into the Church. This radical individualism growing in the world leaked into the Church. This is why the liturgy in many Churches is the way it is. Not because Vatican II demanded clown masses.
It can be difficult to understand for people who weren’t born before Vatican II, like myself. From my study I have found out that the Mass before Vatican II was problematic. First many Churches would only do the low Mass, there was no idea of progressive solemnity etc. One thing that was lacking was the sanctification of the people. The two purposes of liturgy are the worship of God and the Sanctification of people. The Mass prior to Vatican II was to much on the worship of God side and in some ways lacked the sanctification of people. I don’t have time to go into the details, but if you read up on the history of the liturgy and Vatican II especially paying attention to the developments immediately before Vatican II, you will understand that the developments are VERY good, but as with most councils we don’t understand it and don’t do a good job of implementing this vision. I think with time the vision of Vatican II will come about but very slowly.
Being a seminarian I’m surrounded by the future Pastors of the Church, and maybe God willing some future bishops. From what I see, the majority of the guys I’m surrounded by are guys who are loyal to Church teachings, and faithful to Christ. I truly believe the young generation of priests (priest ordained in the last few years and now in seminary) will help heal the horrible implementation of Vatican II.
Vatican II was needed by the Church and it said many good things. Than the 70s happened and the Church went through a difficult time in many ways. We are still seeing the results today, but I think it will slowly begin to change for the good.
to put it simply, I think many people mistakenly connect bad liturgy to Vatican II, this is in error, but some of these people take it to far and become schismatic.
Jesus gave Charge to Peter and his successors to hand on the faith and protect it. Those at Vatican II are direct successors of Peter and the apostles, so even if I thought I knew more than the Church I would follow her faithfully. It’s the way Christ intended.
I think a great example of faithfulness to the Church is Jerome. Many protestants will use him to support their 7 less books. Jerome disagreed with the eventual canon of the Church When he was commissioned to translate the bible he included those 7 books, not because he was in full agreement with the Church, rather he was a loyal son of the Church and did as she asked.
My advice is to avoid those promoting conspiracy theories.
It’s impossible to argue against a conspiracy theory. Even if you have a very rational, well thought out explanation, they can always fall back on “Well, it’s a conspiracy and was covered up.” Arguing with them is like trying to nail jello to the wall.
The Holy Spirit would be doing a pretty poor job if the identifiable pope and the vast majority of the bishops and priests (and laity) of the world were actually secretly and undetectably transferred from the real Catholic Church to some sort of anti-Church after 1962.
There have been some horrible times for the Church in it’s past, even many heretical bishops. Just because there are bishops who aren’t completely faithful to the Church the Holy Spirit still guides it.
As much as I prefer to follow pre VII teachings and pretend that VII never happened, some of the conspiracy nuts that form the ranks of sedevacant-ists really get on my nerves.
Ask them if they think the holocaust really happened, or if the sun is the center of the solar system, and I’ll bet you get another telling glimpse into their way of thinking.
Don’t put too much stock into these people! They may have read more books than you (or me) but that don’t make 'em smart!! They are wrong. You know that, because the truth does not need to be explained away with convoluted theories and dubious proof.
Those “catholics” run into some series logical problems with that line of thinking. If the Church can officially teach error (which they claim it did at V2), then how can they know it didn’t also teach error at any other time in history? Maybe the Church’s teaching at the Council of Trent were heretical? Then Luther might have been right about sola fide. Or maybe the Council of Nicaea was teaching heresy when it declared Jesus to be consubstantial with the Father (i.e. God). Then Arius might have been right when he taught Jesus was merely a creature. You see, the Church is empowered to speak with the authority of Christ (Lk 10:16), not individual Christians (this is the major error of Protestantism and makes these "c"atholics Protestants). It is the Church, not you or I, that decides what is or what isn’t heresy. She cannot error, Christ Himself promised that (Matt 16:18).
If that isn’t enough assurance for you, ask these "c"atholics to provide evidence of the freemason plot and evidence that even if such a plot existed (it didn’t) it would invalidate a papal election (it wouldn’t).