What do you think the state of the Church would be if there was no Second Vatican Council?


Just curious on how you think the Church would look. Would it be in worse shape or better? Just hypothetically speaking.


I don’t know what things would be like in the Americas and Europe, but I don’t think the Church would be growing as fast as it currently is in Africa and Asia without Vatican II (or at least without the vernacular mass).

However, I really think you are opening a can of worms with this question.

God Bless


Smaller than it presently is.

V2 is a result of V1 which occurred only to comfort a papacy that was demoralized from the loss of the Papal States and the temporal power they granted.

I wish neither happened.


Better I guess…


I’m just curious, particularly about the responses of those who are posting to this thread:

How many documents of the Second Vatican Council have you read? I’m mostly thinking of the sixteen most important decrees.

  • None
  • 1-3
  • 4-6
  • 6-10
  • 10+

0 voters


Read it in it’s entirety while I was weighing becoming catholic. But the documentation isn’t any more important than the perception of the council.

Doctrinally, it doesn’t “do” much. It’s a pastoral icing over the hardness of V1s papal infallibility and the final death-blow to the hope of Catholic councilarism being a source of unity.


I wouldn’t agree with that at all… Unitatis Redintegratio, along with other documents, is the reason, IMO, Catholics can even be ecumenical at all in todays day and age- it was a crucial clarification regarding ecumenism…


Me as well. It explained much.

For sure, VII went into much more specifics on that .


The question seems to demonize VII - a dangerous conclusion (“seems to” I wrote).

As long as we are daydreaming, better to ask what the Church would be like if VII had been properly and faithfully implemented.

For a little perspective: there was no VII in the first 400 years when close to half of the Bishops adhered to the heresy of Arianism.


Interesting. As I read it, the question was remarkably neutral, as if the Church could be either better off or worse off, by either a little or a lot, or just breaking even.


I’ve read all the documents. Vatican II is mostly banal. But there is no denying it was a a catalyst for a lot of experimentation and other nonsense that really did a lot of damage–the results are empty seminaries, empty monasteries and convents, empty pews and a loss of Catholic identity in general.

I don’t think we’d be living in a golden era by any means without it, but I think the decline would be a lot less sharp and the Church would be even more credible and attractive to those of good will–and more hated by those who are not.


Vatican II has been a great blessing for the church. Certainly there has been fall out. It was a major change and I view it like shacking a fruit tree, where you loose some of the fruit that is not attached well. Now there have been many other changes, i.e., the sexual revolution, advancements in science and the global economy that have had their effects. My faith is that the Holy Spirit is in charge and He plotted the best possible course for the church.


Unfortunately, Vatican II has been a total failure, no matter where the blame is placed. If we look at the purpose or objective of each document, in every case the opposite happened.


Church: understanding of the most basic truths about the Church were thrown into confusion (CDF has had to intervene at least four times to clarify the “Catholicism 101” doctrine that the Catholic Church alone is still the sole Church of Christ) and rather than being treated as a necessary “sacrament of salvation” salvation became generally presumed to be found everywhere.

Modern World: the nature of man has been thrown into more confusion than ever and society is less Christian in its public life.

Liturgy–belief in the real presence and understanding of the meaning of Mass has plummeted, liturgical abuses went way up, and Mass attendance and participation on Sundays has plummeted (not to mention vocations to the priesthood).

Revelation: at least in my experience, the Scriptures are treated more like error riddled human writings by clergy and laity than prior.


Education: once solid Catholic institutions have mostly been completely secularized

Other religions: there have been excesses into indifferentism, an increase in hostile sects, with little common goals being achieved (society has gotten even more secular and anti-religion).

Religious Freedom: instead of the true doctrine of religions freedom found in the declaration and catechism, instead what was spread and implemented in once Catholic countries was the false version condemned so often that makes relative conscience supreme, and separates the truth about God and man from public life.


Laity: the faithful are just as, if not more divided between their private faith and what they think society should be shaped like (just look at polls on issues like same-sex marriage).

Ecumenism: most non-Catholic communities have gotten farther away from the Catholic Church in their doctrine (especially with regards to morality, gender issues, and sacramental practice), and instead religious indifferentism and irenicism has spread more in the Catholic Church

Missions: the urgency of seeking conversions for the salvation of souls has too often been suppressed and replaced with merely spreading social development

Religious: most of the convents and monasteries emptied and many of those left turned to un- or non-Christian activities (weird cosmic evolution stuff, reiki, or just plain secular social work).

Eastern Churches: see above re Constitution on the Church and decree on ecumenism

Communications: dissenting publications multiplied

Bishops: most bishops seem to act more like careerist middle management, and less like vicars of Christ than ever–the handling of the scandals is exhibit A.

Priests/Training: vocations fell, priests leaving multiplied, priests promoting their own opinions and doing their own thing in the liturgy went way up, discipline became lax, not to mention the scandals…


All things considered, I honestly don’t know think there’d be much of a difference. There’d still be a relatively large amount of abuses in American Churches, modernist thinking in the populace, vocational crisises. It would just happen differently. Much of these issues I would specifically trace back to the revolution of thought left behind by the World Wars so really I just think we would have maybe less evangelization and different manifestations of these issues.

Just a different scapegoat to blame for our modern issues.


That is true. What did Vatican 1 do really besides papal infallibility? If I remember correctly it was actually cut short because of the invasion of Rome and although talks to move it were discussed it was never formally disbanded until I think John XXlll announced Vatican 2. Yes it was de facto disbanded in 1870 after a little more than a year but de jury it was never actually closed de jury until John XXlll announced Vatican 2. I often wonder what Vatican 1 would have done had it not had to disband. The new liturgical movement was already alive at this time.


The largest problem, as I see it, is that the human being does not see herself/himself as a part of a group anymore but only as an individual with rights but no obligations. “I, me, mine, my” are more important words than “we” and “us”. All relations in groups are on the individual´s own terms and can be terminated when “I” want to. A very ego-centric society is not going to last very long at all. This is not a IIVC question but comes from secular society mentality and therefor everyone in the society are affected by it whether we like it or not.


It’s not the Council itself or even the Mass of Paul Vl. I notice and even talk to more orthodox younger priests. Believe it or not I think priests under 40 are much more orthodox than priests over 65.
I have heard some confusions over the liturgy in the 60s and 70s led many sacrilege to occur. I remember one priest telling me when he was a kid his priest on Maundy Thursday instead of doing the washing of feet would do this weird thing where ministers would rub holy ointment on parishioners hands. I had never heard of this before but the priest I discussed this with was telling me he went to this mass later on while in the seminary and had to bite his tongue because he realized such a sacrilege was occurring and noone was aware of it. Has anyone heard of this kind of ritual on Maundy Thursday ? He only brought it up because I was telling him how much I couldn’t stand this past years being a guitar mass.


We read parts of the most important documents when I was in RCIA. I am working my way through them and all other Church documents. :smiley: There is a lot to read…


Sound like it was a communal Anointing of the Sick.


The main things on the agenda it did accomplish were to address certain errors of the time on the relationship between faith and reason (which it did in Dei Filius) and the Church, which it did partially with the constitution on the papacy (the infallibility definition was also related to the faith and reason issues and the jurisdictional articles were also related to errors promoted by certain civil powers at the time). With regard to the Church, there would have also been a document on the episcopacy and on other groups within the Church as well. With regard to the episcopacy, Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium pretty much just lifts from Vatican I’s preparatory documents on this topic.

The other things on the agenda included a document on church/state relations, a code of canon law, a revision of the breviary, and a new short catechism. These things were taken up by subsequent Popes who happened to be bishops at Vatican I. Leo XIII issued many documents on church/state relations (and his encyclical Satis Cognitum, on the Church, addresses some of the themes the Council had planned to address). St. Pius X revised the breviary, began the work on the code of canon law (ultimately promulgated by Benedict XV), and partially realized the plan for a new short catechism (his catechism never really reached a universal audience). As I mentioned, Vatican II finished up what little was left.

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