Was Vatican II a success?

While I am not a great fan of Remnant Magazine, they have a column that addresses something I have been thinking about for some time. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals? Basically, the goals were reform and renewal. While things were changed, were they truly reformed, or just changed. Was the Church tired and worn out and in need of renewal, or were the theologians just tired and worn out.

The Remnant lists the goals as follows:

According to the decree Pesbyterorum Ordinis: 12, the Council had three principle goals:

  1. internal renovation of the Church;
  1. spreading the Gospel in the world;
  1. dialog with the world.

Pope Paul VI later stated there were four goals:

  1. self examination that would enable the Church to discover what “she thinks of herself;”
  1. reform;
  1. the reunification of Christianity;
  1. “building a bridge” to the contemporary world.

remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2005-1130-cullen-v2.htm

For me, at the time, Vatican II was a “solution” in search of a “problem”. For years the liberal theologians had been decrying the problems they perceived in the Church. Yet, for most of us in the pews though, things were going very well. The Churches were full, our families were and continued to be fully Catholic. Some priests were agitating for change, but most seemed happy to be orthodox and secure in their faith. Seminaries and Convents were full with new vocations. My diocese in Oklahoma had just finished building a seminary to handle the great numbers of vocations to the priesthood.

I understand the world was changing, and it is possible the Church may have had people and priests leaving in droves even if Vatican II had never occurred, but I can’t think of any other institution that has suffered as much or as long as my Church has.

I am interested if other people have this nagging feeling that Vatican II caused more problems than it solved. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals, or fail?

[quote=SnorterLuster]While I am not a great fan of Remnant Magazine, they have a column that addresses something I have been thinking about for some time. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals? Basically, the goals were reform and renewal. While things were changed, were they truly reformed, or just changed. Was the Church tired and worn out and in need of renewal, or were the theologians just tired and worn out.

The Remnant lists the goals as follows:

For me, at the time, Vatican II was a “solution” in search of a “problem”. For years the liberal theologians had been decrying the problems they perceived in the Church. Yet, for most of us in the pews though, things were going very well. The Churches were full, our families were and continued to be fully Catholic. Some priests were agitating for change, but most seemed happy to be orthodox and secure in their faith. Seminaries and Convents were full with new vocations. My diocese in Oklahoma had just finished building a seminary to handle the great numbers of vocations to the priesthood.

I understand the world was changing, and it is possible the Church may have had people and priests leaving in droves even if Vatican II had never occurred, but I can’t think of any other institution that has suffered as much or as long as my Church has.

I am interested if other people have this nagging feeling that Vatican II caused more problems than it solved. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals, or fail?
[/quote]

Any time there has been a council, there has been upheaval. And in the history of the Church, 40 years is like five minutes ago. I think the goals of the Council will be fufilled. I think the “spirit” of Vatican II, however, is experiencing it’s death rattle.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]Any time there has been a council, there has been upheaval. And in the history of the Church, 40 years is like five minutes ago. I think the goals of the Council will be fufilled. I think the “spirit” of Vatican II, however, is experiencing it’s death rattle.
[/quote]

You are correct in all of the above, but my question is orientated more to the stated goals of Vatican II. While upheaval is normal after previous councils, VII was to be a “pastoral” council. It would stand to reason then that the result would be a greater faith and understanding of the average Joe in the pew. I don’t think that is what happened.

As an example, before VII, my parish had a full church. The people participated in the mass as we used the “dialogue” mass in Latin. The parishioners came on time and left on time. There were, of course cliques and factions in the parish; however, each faction seemed to function as a ad hoc group and not as something formal. Our school was staffed with Sisters and daily attendance at Mass was mandatory for students. Overall, a typical Catholic parish. It seemed everyone showed up 5 minutes before Mass, and the parking lot was empty 10 minutes after Mass.

After Vatican II, attendance at Mass probably fell by 1/3. Many started coming late and leaving early. The cliques and factions took over the committees and organizations in the parish and fued incessently with each other. The school is now administered by a lay principal, there are no Sisters left, and even religion classes are voluntary. The students are “allowed” to attend Mass once a month.

Based on my experience only, the Church is doing a worse job of helping individuals to their salvation. Since Vatican II, it seems that we are doing less to help people to their salvation. Before Vatican II, the emphasis was on our individual, immortal soul. We were expected to not sin, and when we did, get to confession as soon as possible. The liturgy was designed to turn us inward to reflect on how we, as individuals, can join Jesus in his sacrifice and join Him in heaven.

I am sure I am not explaining what I feel adequately, but my perspective is that when I die, I will be judged for my actions–not for the community I belonged to.

[quote=SnorterLuster]You are correct in all of the above, but my question is orientated more to the stated goals of Vatican II. While upheaval is normal after previous councils, VII was to be a “pastoral” council. It would stand to reason then that the result would be a greater faith and understanding of the average Joe in the pew. I don’t think that is what happened.

As an example, before VII, my parish had a full church. The people participated in the mass as we used the “dialogue” mass in Latin. The parishioners came on time and left on time. There were, of course cliques and factions in the parish; however, each faction seemed to function as a ad hoc group and not as something formal. Our school was staffed with Sisters and daily attendance at Mass was mandatory for students. Overall, a typical Catholic parish. It seemed everyone showed up 5 minutes before Mass, and the parking lot was empty 10 minutes after Mass.

After Vatican II, attendance at Mass probably fell by 1/3. Many started coming late and leaving early. The cliques and factions took over the committees and organizations in the parish and fued incessently with each other. The school is now administered by a lay principal, there are no Sisters left, and even religion classes are voluntary. The students are “allowed” to attend Mass once a month.

Based on my experience only, the Church is doing a worse job of helping individuals to their salvation. Since Vatican II, it seems that we are doing less to help people to their salvation. Before Vatican II, the emphasis was on our individual, immortal soul. We were expected to not sin, and when we did, get to confession as soon as possible. The liturgy was designed to turn us inward to reflect on how we, as individuals, can join Jesus in his sacrifice and join Him in heaven.

I am sure I am not explaining what I feel adequately, but my perspective is that when I die, I will be judged for my actions–not for the community I belonged to.
[/quote]

I agree with you in terms of the symptoms. I don’t believe that it has anything to do with the Council. If the Council had not been held, I still think you would see the things you mention. It was the 60’s/70’s errosion of the social norms that went before, IMHO. I think of it as a wave, a tsunami, that hasn’t finished even yet, ie., the materialistic 80’s/90’s. More and more people will see the spiritual bankruptcy plaguing our society and will turn away from it, searching for something else (some did that in the 60s and wound up in ashrams, which they latter left), and, I think, return to the Church. I think that’s what John Paul II meant by the “springtime.”

I just don’t think you can second guess the Holy Spirit.
As far as I’m concerned Vatican II was a great success.
There are a lot of “what ifs” that come to mind,
If there hadn’t been a Vatican II would we ever have had a non-Italian Pope?

[quote=SnorterLuster]While I am not a great fan of Remnant Magazine, they have a column that addresses something I have been thinking about for some time. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals? Basically, the goals were reform and renewal. While things were changed, were they truly reformed, or just changed. Was the Church tired and worn out and in need of renewal, or were the theologians just tired and worn out.

The Remnant lists the goals as follows:

For me, at the time, Vatican II was a “solution” in search of a “problem”. For years the liberal theologians had been decrying the problems they perceived in the Church. Yet, for most of us in the pews though, things were going very well. The Churches were full, our families were and continued to be fully Catholic. Some priests were agitating for change, but most seemed happy to be orthodox and secure in their faith. Seminaries and Convents were full with new vocations. My diocese in Oklahoma had just finished building a seminary to handle the great numbers of vocations to the priesthood.

I understand the world was changing, and it is possible the Church may have had people and priests leaving in droves even if Vatican II had never occurred, but I can’t think of any other institution that has suffered as much or as long as my Church has.

I am interested if other people have this nagging feeling that Vatican II caused more problems than it solved. Did Vatican II fulfill its goals, or fail?
[/quote]

The letter of Vatican Council II was and is an unqualified success. Those who feel the Church was not in need of reform and renewal are either in denial or they simply don’t understand.

The actual implementation of Vatican Council II (done at a particularly septic period in recent history) on the other hand has been problematic at best, disastrous at worst, depending on individual situations.

Under the guise of the “Spirit of Vatican II” several lamentable situations have been spawned including:

  • A whole new generation of liturgical abuses.

  • The practical loss in many locations of pious devotions such as Eucharistic Adoration.

  • A loss of the sacred.

  • Catechetics that went from perhaps the overly rote to absolute garbage, or in many cases none at all.

  • A loss of reverence and support for religious vocations.

  • A loss of respect for clergy and the religious.

  • Whack-job reactionary “traditionalists” who do nothing but inadvertantly support the “Spirit of Vatican IIers” with their devisive antics.

[quote=AltarMan]The letter of Vatican Council II was and is an unqualified success. Those who feel the Church was not in need of reform and renewal are either in denial or they simply don’t understand.

The actual implementation of Vatican Council II (done at a particularly septic period in recent history) on the other hand has been problematic at best, disastrous at worst, depending on individual situations.

Under the guise of the “Spirit of Vatican II” several lamentable situations have been spawned including:

  • A whole new generation of liturgical abuses.

  • The practical loss in many locations of pious devotions such as Eucharistic Adoration.

  • A loss of the sacred.

  • Catechetics that went from perhaps the overly rote to absolute garbage, or in many cases none at all.

  • A loss of reverence and support for religious vocations.

  • A loss of respect for clergy and the religious.

  • Whack-job reactionary “traditionalists” who do nothing but inadvertantly support the “Spirit of Vatican IIers” with their devisive antics.
    [/quote]

Ah, Altar Man, we could never pass you off as a diplomat, but you increasingly give voice to the very things I think. Spot on.

[quote=Joe Gloor]I just don’t think you can second guess the Holy Spirit.
As far as I’m concerned Vatican II was a great success.
There are a lot of “what ifs” that come to mind,
If there hadn’t been a Vatican II would we ever have had a non-Italian Pope?
[/quote]

What utter differenvce does that make?

[quote=AltarMan]The letter of Vatican Council II was and is an unqualified success. Those who feel the Church was not in need of reform and renewal are either in denial or they simply don’t understand.

The actual implementation of Vatican Council II (done at a particularly septic period in recent history) on the other hand has been problematic at best, disastrous at worst, depending on individual situations.

Under the guise of the “Spirit of Vatican II” several lamentable situations have been spawned including:

  • A whole new generation of liturgical abuses.

  • The practical loss in many locations of pious devotions such as Eucharistic Adoration.

  • A loss of the sacred.

  • Catechetics that went from perhaps the overly rote to absolute garbage, or in many cases none at all.

  • A loss of reverence and support for religious vocations.

  • A loss of respect for clergy and the religious.

  • Whack-job reactionary “traditionalists” who do nothing but inadvertantly support the “Spirit of Vatican IIers” with their devisive antics.
    [/quote]

I’m in absolute agreement on this entire post…its almost an outline of what we need to focus on in terms of correction of the very misguided “spirit” of Vatican II …back to what Vatican II was really all about.

Out of much chaos can come much good. Catechetics pre-Vatican II was WAY overly rote. Out of all the questioning & discussions of “reform”…MANY good things have happened…including the fruits of this very site, EWTN, the GOOD RCIA process (where it occurs)…mainly, the engagement of an informed laity loyal to the Magisterium. A wonderful resurgence of young orthodox men and women seeking vocations, etc.

About the time simultaneously to the start of Vatican II, our current cultural degradation was really just starting to rear its ugly head. I remember tons of accusations about how closed, out of date, head in the sand Catholic practice was accused of being.

Vatican II took the world head-on and defended all of its teachings head-on to contemporary society. Yes there have been lots of boneheads co-opting what the THOUGHT Vatican II taught and they’ve been trying to twist the Church to their way of thinking. But they’ve lost. AND the Church has more clarity in its teaching than ever AND is engaged with this sad culture in a very direct way.

We’ve all been blessed as a result. And our children even more so.

And in the history of the Church, 40 years is like five minutes ago.

This is so true and is one of the main problems with the Remnant crowd. They want what they want when they want it and they have an “I’m going to take my toys and go home” attitude when they don’t get it. Using their line of logic, had they lived in the day, they would have had to consider the Council of Trent a failure too since it took 100 years to implement that Mass.

…Against this, Ratzinger has been critical of what he calls “claptrap and pastoral infantilism” — “the degradation of liturgy to the level of a parish tea party and the intelligibility of the popular newspaper.”

    If the project of "Gaudium et Spes" is taken to mean "accommodating the         practice of the faith to the culture of modernity," then I think that         the project has been problematic in pastoral terms...

ewtn.com/library/CHISTORY/zben16vat2.HTMTracey Rowland on the Pope’s Interpretation of the Council

[quote=AltarMan]Those who feel the Church was not in need of reform and renewal are either in denial or they simply don’t understand.
[/quote]

I deny that I am in denial :), but I do believe that I don’t understand. From my own point of view, and my personal observations, the Church seemed to be doing fine. The pews were full, new parishes started, we had almost a glut of priests and sisters. We may not have understood the underlying theology, but we understood sin and we were obedient. To some, we may have obeyed for the wrong reasons, but the point is we obeyed. Sorta like imperfect contrition, not as good as perfect contrition, but it would keep us out of hell.

The letter of Vatican Council II was and is an unqualified success.

If the letter of Vatican II is a success but the implementation is the failure you say it is, then Vatican II is a failure. It reminds me of the Constitution of the USSR. Wonderful document that wrote out all the freedom that a citizen could want–problem was the implementation by the Politboro.

Vatican II was a legitimate council and I believe it was called because the 20th century had just experienced two world wars and it looked like there would be another when the council was called. Sadly, many people took advantage of the council to use it as a battlecry to drop 2000 years of tradition. As JKirkLVNV said a few posts ago this council took place only a few minutes ago in the life of the Church and her real teachings will become more clear as time goes by.

I say bring back the traditional mass. This new crowd have just bought in a fake mass.

The post vatican II church does not honour God the way he wants to be worshipped.

May Archbishop Lefebvre rest in peace and be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

He most certainly was not disbodient.

I don’t ever wish to be more Catholic than the Catholic Church.

[quote=tradcatmel]I say bring back the traditional mass. This new crowd have just bought in a fake mass. By saying that the Pauline Mass is a “fake mass,” you’ve uttered heresy. Several popes and Trent said that it was impossible for the Church to promulgat a defective Mass. This touches on an issue of faith and morals. I urge you to abjure this heresy and come back to the heart of the Church.
The post vatican II church does not honour God the way he wants to be worshipped. While I agree that the “spirit of Vatican II” is largely bogus, how do you know that the Church doesn’t honor God the way He wants to be worshipped? What do you cite to prove this?

May Archbishop Lefebvre rest in peace and be enjoying the Beatific Vision. Amen

He most certainly was not disbodient.
[/quote]

He was disobedient, he reneged on a document that he signed that would have dealt with the whole situation, by his action in ordaining the four bishops he excommunicated himself, and he was, in fact, schismatic. It is a fantasy to say otherwise.

[quote=Michael C]I don’t ever wish to be more Catholic than the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

Ya got that right!
In my time of the Happy Catholic Churches, I always knew that She was the Rock of Christ. I didn’t like what was going on with those who ran with the “Spirit of Vatican II” but I looked into an “Independent Catholic” church and couldn’t do it. My church is Christ’s Church and I never wanted to be seperated from Her.

As for the original question, YES! Vatican II was a great success! How could it be anything but? Nothing will bring down our Church.

If nothing else, it showed us what we don’t want to be. We are adjusting, we are experimenting but in the end, it was the right thing to do.

Now if everyone would be as open minded to kneeling and genuflecting as handholding and Orans, we can all be happy.

[quote=SnorterLuster]I deny that I am in denial :), but I do believe that I don’t understand. From my own point of view, and my personal observations, the Church seemed to be doing fine. The pews were full, new parishes started, we had almost a glut of priests and sisters. We may not have understood the underlying theology, but we understood sin and we were obedient. To some, we may have obeyed for the wrong reasons, but the point is we obeyed. Sorta like imperfect contrition, not as good as perfect contrition, but it would keep us out of hell.

If the letter of Vatican II is a success but the implementation is the failure you say it is, then Vatican II is a failure. It reminds me of the Constitution of the USSR. Wonderful document that wrote out all the freedom that a citizen could want–problem was the implementation by the Politboro.
[/quote]

I think the question you have not asked yourself and truly pondered is what would have happened to the Church (in at least the USA) had VC2 never taken place?

The very areas that got slammed – Mass attendance, support for clerical/religious vocations and yes, obedience, would have been hit even harder by the toxic pressures of secular life. Ripping through the celebration of the vaunted Tridentine Mass in the shortest time possible would not only have continued, it would have accelerated across the USA as the “burn baby burn” culture took hold.

On the other side of the coin, the Church would have been hammered again by not realizing the true fruits of VC2 – things like RCIA, improved biblical scholarship and improved (finally!) catechesis.

To suggest the Church would have remained in “1955 condition” through the septic 1960’s-1970’s and the apathetic 1980’s-90’s had VC2 not taken place is not only incorrect, it also diverts the focusing on helping the Church today.

VC2 was a success. In many cases even the implementation of VC2 was well done. To suggest VC2 was a failure largely because of inept diocesan/parish leadership is disingenuous at best.

I read the constitution of the Church and love how it starts with 'Christ is the light of the world" and I especially enjoyed what I read about the domestic Church.

[quote=Joe Gloor]I just don’t think you can second guess the Holy Spirit.
As far as I’m concerned Vatican II was a great success.
There are a lot of “what ifs” that come to mind,
If there hadn’t been a Vatican II would we ever have had a non-Italian Pope?
[/quote]

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I fail to see how, given that the pronouncements of the Council were pastoral rather than dogmatic (despite intimations because of document names), and none were promulgated ex cathedra, how questioning the Council, either in causes or effects, could be construed as questioning the Holy Spirit.

As far as the hypothetical loss of a non-Italian pope…who cares? I very much loved John Paul II for a great many of his actions, but I’d hate to think that a notion of ethnic equal opportunity would be a primary factor in selecting a Holy Father. Has this happened in the past? Undoubtedly. Should selecting non-Italians occur as some kind of atonement. Mother Mary, I pray not.

I very much think that Vatican II, if it had been conducted as conceived by John XXIII, had been executed thus, it would’ve done a great deal of good for the Church. That, and my objections to the Council being said, I remain in communion with Rome and hold to the traditions of Holy Mother Church. That is enough. :slight_smile:

Regards,
John

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