What should I have said?


Hi everyone-
I exchanged a couple emails with a traditional catholic sister. We were debating about loyalty to the pope after Vatican II. Her last email (she stopped writing) I replied to, but I don’t think I did that well. Can you explain to me about this? Can you tell me how to defend the pope and Vatican II? She was saying that the Holy Spirit left the Church at Vatican II and that the Devil has entered Rome and all that. :blush:


That’s an awfully general assertion on your friend’s part.

I’d suggest that she needs to give you specific evidence as to why she believes this to be true, then you can work on addressing the specifics.



Tell her that the King is still the King no matter how ruthless he is. It matters not how bad a pope is he is still the pope. So the argument is hollow. I’m not saying that we have had bad popes after Vatican II. I’m saying their authority of office just does not depend on how good or bad they are. The Church is still guided by the Holy Spirit. She is saying that Christ is a liar if He has abandoned His Church.


I agree that is a good place to start but If adressing specific issues doesn’t work, refer to scripture. Even if she is right (which I don’t believe) share this with her.

Matt. 13:24-30 - scandals have always existed in the Church, just as they have existed outside of the Church. This should not cause us to lose hope in the Church. God’s mysterious plan requires the wheat and the weeds to be side by side in the Church until the end of time.

Rom. 3:3-4 - unfaithful members do not nullify the faithfulness of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

Matt. 23:2-3 - the Jewish people would have always understood the difference between a person’s sinfulness and his teaching authority. We see that the sinfulness of the Pharisees does not minimize their teaching authority. They occupy the “cathedra” of Moses.

Matt. 26:70-72; Mark 14:68-70; Luke 22:57; John 18:25-27 - Peter denied Christ three times, yet he was chosen to be the leader of the Church, and taught and wrote infallibly.

Mark 14:45 - Judas was unfaithful by betraying Jesus. But his apostolic office was preserved and this did not weaken the Church.

Mark 14:50 - all of Jesus’ apostles were unfaithful by abandoning Him in the garden of Gethsemane, yet they are the foundation of the Church.

John 20:24-25 - Thomas the apostle was unfaithful by refusing to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, yet he taught infallibly in India.

For more helpfull scripture go to scripturecatholic.com/the_church.html
and click on Controversies in the Church.

Good Luck!


When God left the Temple, the veil was torn and the Temple was destroyed, just as Christ promised it would be.

If the Holy Spirit truly left the Church, why does she still stand? Why did Christ not tell us this too would happen? Why did he in fact promise it would not?

How does one ever interpret Christ’s promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church by adding. “…but a Church council in the 1960s will destroy it”?


If the Holy Spirit left the Church after Vatican II then it was never the True Church, not after Vatican II and not before Vatican II either.


Wow… I couldn’t imagine what she thinks about the guys running Iran and North Korea then:hmmm:


The period immediately following the Last Supper hardly covered the Apostles in glory.

Bad times that one live in are almost bound to be difficult - if we are shocked at the state of the Church now, I wonder how we would have coped just after the Last Supper. Or in 1500 - at least Popes of the last 40 or so years have been clean-living. As for the 10th century, the Papacy was filled by a member of which ever powerful Roman family had the upper hand at the time.

People who complain about how dreadful things are today seem to have no sense of any history before 1800. That is not a good understanding of tradition. The Church is filled exclusively with sinners - what else but sin & wickedness is to be expected from the Church ?

That does not in the slightest stop the Church being Christ’s - because the Church is not based on our righteousness & goodness & faithfulness, but upon God’s. If the whole Church on earth had as its members no one but paedophiles, murderers & satanists, it would be as One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic as it was in the year 33 AD or so. Our sins can do not the slightest harm to the perfect Holiness of Christ in His Church - it has none of its own, but is totally, utterly, universally reliant on what He is & does for what it is & does.

So we are in the Church, in no way because we are wonderful, but because He is Wonderful. Because He Is Who He Is, no scandal, no matter how monstrous, has any right to shake our faith in His faithfulness to His Church - the times that appear to prove unanswerably that He has left, are the very times at which we need to believe despite ourselves that He has not left. But if we base our exercise of faith on what is apparent, or obvious, or measurable or reasonable, it is absolutely certain to be destroyed. It was utterly unreasonable of the Mother of God to stand by the Cross; she had every conceivable reason not to - she stood by the Cross. That is faith :smiley:

I find the storm on the lake very helpful - the Apostles thought the boat would sink in the storm & the wind. They woke up Jesus - He rebuked them for their lack of faith; then He rebuked the wind & the waves, & “there was a great calm”. Why would He let the Church sink now, when He did not do so before ? We may be faithless - how does that mean that He is ?


Yes, I do wish she could have been more specific as to what she meant, but she gave me a list of books that I should read. Of course, I didn’t read them, considering I don’t even know how to defend my own point of view.

She said that Vatican II taught things that were completely contrary to anything the Church has taught before and therefore can’t be a real council. ???


This would be an error on her part. Church teachings do not really change but they do become closer to absolute reality as it is. That is to say, church teachings are a reflection of the true reality of God, but soemtimes humans are not able to understand certain things or are unwilling to accept them. Consequently church teachings are not really changed but they come closer and closer to absolute truth.

For instance: Salvery. It is said that slavery was once supported by the bible and actually approved of by God. Many of the church fathers although not promoting or defending slavery did not exactly condemn it either. (although there is a difference between tolerating and accepting) Does this mean that the church was once in favor of slavery but then changed it teachings? No. What it does mean is that slavery was always wrong and always has been and that humanity was unable to understand this or unwilling or really wasn’t sure. Same thing goes for woman being the equal of men. The church taught that women should be obiedient to their husbands which is true. However as we have progressed we have come to understand that this does not mean women are property and in never did. Women should be obedient to their husbands but husbands should also be obedient to their wives.

You would be very hard pressed to find any examples of church teaching that are directly contrary to what was taught pre VaticanII, but would find much that are a simple progression of understanding and revelation. Theology is a living breathing entity. It does not really change because God does not change but simply becomes more clear to us and our understanding.

I think you would be hard pressed to find peope who rationally think the pope is the devil. Benedict understood that he is there to keep the seat warm but he has not really done anything to be complained about. I was even a bit skeptical when he took office but he has done nothing remotely close to deserve being called the devil. If this is claim made by this person then clearly reaching some sort of middle ground or common agreement to start with would be very difficult.

There are clearly problems in the church but most of the fruit born from the church is ripe and sweet, its just a few bad apples and hardly enough to convince anyone that the devil was at the helm.

Helping people is alot like fishing, you can’t get them all.


I don’t get what you said about slavery. God really used to tolerate it?


“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet”.- Matthew 10:14 (Douay-Rheims Version)

If she is a consecrated sister in a traditional order (such as the CMRI, or another similar order), she has likely spent a lot of time in formation in their order- I hate to say it, but it is unlikely anything you say will convince her that she is wrong (since she no doubt has people she sees in person all the time who refute your statements to her). Spiritual talks in groups such as these seem to consist of little more than ultra conservative, ultra traditional reactions to what they perceive as problems in the Church today. Many of these groups are most popular in areas where secularism is particularly strong in the Church (the west coast for example). They are reacting to a legitimate concern, but those who do it within the Church- and always remembering to be charitable- are more effective.


Wow, thank you. I guess I can’t really say anything more to her, I’ll just pray.


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