What is the " Spirit of Vatican II"?


So what is it?


A mid-1960’s American baby boomer interpretation that says “do what makes you feel good, it’s all in the Spirit of Vatican II”. (and yep - I’m a boomer)

Seriously? I think it’s hogwash. What has happened to the Church in the past 40+ years is not what those holy men intended in that Council.



I thought so. I’m not always sure what to believe today. One person says one thing and another says this. I think that the Vatican II is a great council which had benevolent intentions. The liberalism in the Church is terrible. Liberalism is worse than all the heresies combined. Do you agree?


It’s the spirit of both aggiornamento and ressourcement.


The Spirit of Vatican II is a catch all phrase that anyone and everyone uses to make their points, usually they wayyyyy off the mark and do not understand the purpose of Vatican II nor have they read and understand the Vatican II documents.


If they are off, the what was the purpose of Vatican II?


According to paragraph one of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the key document of the council, the aim of the Council is four part:

  1. To impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful
  2. To adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change
  3. To foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ
  4. To strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the church.

As a religion teacher, I have taught my students that what all of this means is that Vatican II is a paradox. It was the opening of a window that brought in the wind of change but at the same time allowed the old to stay. It was the post reformation church (Trent) and, in some cases, the medieval church, coming to grips with the twentieth century, a time of more technological advancements, scientific discoveries and political upheavals than at any other time in world history as evidenced by the birth of the Atomic Age, two world wars, space travel, rapid communication through telephone and television, the understanding of DNA, the advent of personal computers, Communism, wide spread Atheism and the Civil Rights Movement, just to mention a few. The documents of Vatican II are extremely prophetic in nature, especially Gaudium et Spes, proof that the council was indeed guided by the Holy Spirit.

The way the Council went about implementing the changes and restructuring the old was through renewing the old, i.e., The Permanent Diaconate, the reforming or modernization of the old, i.e., the Sacred Liturgy, and Ecumenism i.e., the need for evangelization.

As Basil Pennington says in his book The Monks of Athos, “The new code for this Church that was happily becoming aware of the fact that it is a people of every tribe and tongue and nation – and must be that and rejoice in it and respect it – Her new code could only be very generic, trace out only the broadest and most fundamental lines of community structure and life.”

As a former Army Ranger, I can best describe Vatican II in military terms; the church improvised, adapted and overcame. It preserved the language of the church, Latin, while at the same time allowing the liturgy to be prayed in the indigenous language of the people. It maintained the beauty of the Gregorian Chant while at the same time allowing folk and indigenous music into the celebration. It allowed the church to breathe the fresh air while at the same time blowing the dust off of its shelves and mantle. Just as the priest turned around to face his congregation, so did the church turn around to face the dawn of a new millennia. Vatican II brought the church full circle back to its beginning at Pentecost by allowing the Holy Spirit to move through the midst of all those gathered and fill them with the same burning desire that filled the twelve Apostles and Our Blessed Mother.


This is a beautiful summary.:slight_smile:


Thank you


The only time I have heard this term before is that 2 good Catholic men were asked to leave the deaconate program in our doicese and the reason they were given is that they were not embracing the spirit of Vatican II. I know they both knew the Vatican II documents very well and didn’t disagreed with any of it.

They had defended the true Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the perpetual virginity of Mary within class because the instructor disagreed with these doctrinal truths and taught his disagreement.


Code-word for liberalism


I think that the worst thing that happened to Vatican II was that it happened to coincide with the hippie movement. And that some of the people who were part of that movement bled into the catholic church and became the reformers. VII was never meant to deny the beliefs of the church, or become a vehicle for liberalism, or let people re-create the church in their own images. But that’s what happened.

What I think is that people are sick of that stuff though. They’re sick of the relativism and liberalism and people in the church not willing to stand for the things the church has stood for for 2000 years. People come to the church to be catholic because it has maintained for 2000 years. Because the church has a very clear, set theology and is willing to defend it. They don’t want wishy washy liberal/hippie **** about feeling good and loving nature and that Jesus was just a nice guy. People want the clear theology the church has taught for 2000 years, from people willing to stand for it.


In the book "Going, Teach . . . " a Commentary on the Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae of John Paul II, Angelo Cardinal Rossi, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, stated: “Permit me to relate my own pastoral experience. Nominated Archbishop of San Paolo in Brazil during Vatican II, I found myself unexpectedly facing the complex problems of a metropolis which had more than eight million inhabitants. I must admit that I was able to find tranquility, security and a clear pastoral orientation even in the most painful questions precisely by referring to the conciliar texts. I organized, therefore, sixteen study commissions, made up of priests, religious and laity. They attentively examined the directives of the individual documents of the Council, and were thus able to suggest the best application in the actual situation of the Archdiocese. In this manner we arrived at the elaboration of a pastoral plan of togetherness for the Archdiocese based on the spirit of renewal desired by Pope John XXIII and effected by Pope Paul VI.”

The Cardinal then gave an outline for true catechesis.
a) Be sensitive to the problems of the one being catechized.
b) Present the Gospel in its entirety.
c) Interpret Catholic doctrine in communion with the whole of Tradition.
d) Communicate a great pastoral inspiration.
e) Stimulate an effective evangelizing dynamism.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Do not be afraid, speak out, and refuse to be silenced; I am with thee, and none shall come to do thee harm; I have a great following in this city - Acts 18:9-10


Manresa, Thanks for the entire post… really liked the way you summed it up :thumbsup: . Having been born in '64, all I know is the Vatican II Church. But I believe whole heartedly that it was a step in the right direction. Some may say that individual priests / pastors went to far but that is not the fault of Vatican II. What about those that embraced and implemented it as it was written? I love that we are called to be active participants in the Mass not spectators.


My only criticism of Vatican II is that they left out a few anathemas. I like the directness of the other councils. Believe this or your out. I guess the result may be the same most people in error have walked out on their own. I hope we didn’t lose them because of the lack of directness in Vatican II. Half my family has left the Church and the rest think they are so guided by the Holy Spirit that they don’t need to listen to the Magisterium of the Church. God be the Judge.


They did not leave the anathemas out, they are still there. One of the main points of Vatican II was to preserve the old. This is outlined in the key document Sacrosanctum Concillium. The Vatican II COuncil did not do away with anything that was already a part of the church, this is a big misconception.

What a lot of people who do not accept Vatican II, and I am not saying you are one, is that this is faith and morals and when the Pope, our Holy Father, The Vicar of Christ speaks on grounds of Fatih and Morals he is infallible.


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