Why is Vatican II a controversy?

I have heard of certain sects within Catholicism that are discontent with the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, to varying degrees from mild irritation to proclaiming it a false council. What is exactly the Controversy around this Council?

I think some don’t understand that as a community, we change. The worship is still the same sacrifice, but some of the gestures have changed. nothing more or less.
in my opinion, the second Vatican council did wonders to root out those who pay more allegience to their own pride and sense of ill-formed conscience, than bowing in obedience to the church Christ left for his followers and ehr decrees. It exposed, in a small way, the wheat and chaff, so to speak.
Those that constantly berate and bemoan the NO Mass,

I don’t think the brew-haha lies in the heart of the Second Vatican Council… i think the problem lies in the heart of the Catholics who dissent The Church’s wise ways.

I just wrote this in another thread, but with some minor tweaks:

The reform required *ressourcement *- a return to the sources of Catholic theology in the Bible and in the Early Church Fathers. The first dimension is as described in the quote above, called aggiornamento, or “bringing up to date” the Church’s practices, structures, and methods of encounter with modern culture and society.

Most if not all the problems have been from people bringing up to date without returning to our true roots (otherwise anything goes, right?), or the equally incorrect retro-trip back to AD 60 with creates a Church totally irrelevant in these times.

Cardinal Ratzinger has written extensively on this two-dimensional goal of Vatican II, and it is why people sometimes get the wrong read from him, namely is he for it for against it? He is 100% FOR the two dimensional goal of Vatican II, he is also 100% AGAINST some of the changes that did not take both dimensions in account.

It’s not so much the Council itself. Even the founder of the SSPX voted in FAVOR of 15 of the 16 documents ( he voted against the document on ecumenicalism)

Note that the founder of the SSPX voted in FAVOR of the document on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concillium)

The problem happend in what became known as “the Spirit of Vatican II”

The resulting loss of good catechesis to the faithful, ( Vatican II requires that the faithful be able to say all the common prayers of Mass IN LATIN - when was the last time you saw a DRE supporting THAT part of Vatican II :rolleyes: )

Fortunatly, Pope Benedict has been been a champion of “the Reform of the Reform” and bringing the Church back into line with the Vatican II documents themselves.

I agree with Brendan. Most of us do not understand what really happened at Vatican II because it was not properly taught to us by the clergy at that time. Perhaps it was not properly taught because they did not understand it. I know that right now, at my parish in Modesto, we are spending a year ‘unlocking’ Vatican II, reading the documents as a community and being taught - properly and in accordance with the Magisterium - what Vatican II really MEANS to the Catholic Church. It is a wonderful learning experience and I would urge all Catholics to take the time to read the documents and learn about this great moment in Church history.

The problem with Vatican II was mostly its timing. It came during the most radical social and cultural change the West had seen in a long time. And for a Council that seemed so different than the rest (more on this in a moment), it was a recipe for disaster.

The previous 20 Councils took place primarily when there was a Christendom. They were what I call fortress Councils. Their main goals were to condemn heresies/heretics and issue disciplinary reforms to correct various abuses.

By the 1960s, there really was no more Christendom. Protestantism, Radical Liberalism/Secularism, Communism, and forms of fascism had really taken their toll on Western civilization the last few centuries. The very foundations of truth were destroyed in much of society–the First Vatican Council was the last attempt to fortify these foundations, but it did not have a strong effect in society in general.

The world–especially the West–needed to be re-evangelized. Parallel to this goal was the desire to bring all those separated Christians back into the fold who were born into schism and heresies that were generations old and who were most likely in them out of custom or false information than any real hatred of Catholicism.

So the Council took on a missionary spirit (the true Spirit of Vatican II). The Church needed to become a missionary in the lands it was already established. Rather than having the core of the Church be the fortress and then sending out missionaries into the fringe territories that had yet to receive the faith, the whole Church would need to be missionary. A reading of encyclicals on missionary activity and the writings of missionaries and their “tactics” will give great insight as to where the Council was coming from with it’s markedly different tone compared to previous Councils…

Sadly, instead of listening to the council and bringing the faith to those who were without and re-evangelizing the culture, people gave into modernism and the Spirit of the '60s with it’s false and perverted conceptions of love, compromise, and tolerance.

The controvery is that many want to simply blame the Council for the various problems in the Church and the world, when in fact the situation was much more complex.

i dont know man. I wonder if there will be a Vatican 3.

I highly doubt it, or at least until Vatican II is properly implemented. Which I’m sure is years away yet.

It will take these new John Paul II priests receiving their miters for us to see the reform of the reform widely take root.

Hey, who knows, maybe one one day we’ll see a Constantinople V :slight_smile:

Wow I have never really thought of it that way. In a sense that gives me a good feeling…but There HAS to be some JPII prests wearing mitres. I wonder could someone compile a list of JPII priests who later became bishops. It would be interesting to see where they stand in regards to orthodoxy.

Msgr. Wach, Superior General of the ICRSS was ordained by John Paul II.

I think he is… rather traddy to say the least :slight_smile:

Not for a long time, I would imagine, one of the reasons being too expensive both in time and money.

Remember Vatican II lasted for about 4 years, take away some breaks maybe. But that’s still a long time to be away from your respective congregations.

And it was attended by Protestant ministers, Orthodox member, rabbis, Communists, and others. All probably exhausted after the 4 years and all wanting something to have come out of it, I imagine.

Such an interest they took back then in Catholicism.

A very good point. What we tend to forget is historically there were always problems surrounding councils. Typically, it could take a century or more before the councils were fully implemented and all the bugs were ironed out. We’re barely 40 years removed from Vatican II, so the fact that there are still problems is actually to be expected.

Compare the problems dealt with in Vatican II to the problems and heresies that some of the other councils had to deal with. Imagine what the Church was like just 40 years after Nicea, trying to stamp out the Arian heresy. What about the chaos 40 years after the Council of Trent? You’ll probably see that we’re doing pretty well actually.

I doubt the comparison is even relevent. In the times of previous councils it could take months if not years for information from the Council to be disseminated, read, interpreted and acted upon… This is not the case today and wasn’t even immediately after the council itself…

The problem is that in the early years following the Council the Church allowed a lot of experimentation. Why? Who knows. But once they allowed the experimentation it was hard to stop it and hard to once again establish an authoritative mode of governing the Church.

Vatican II mode some changes which, superfically at least, were very large. It was only to be expected that some people wouldn’t like them.

If the Church was a political organisation then such people would probably happily identify with the “anti-Vatican II” party. However it isn’t. People who are very uneasy about the Council are also usually very reluctant to reject a binding ecumenical Council of the Church.

Some of the more extreme solutions are to declare the Pope a false Pope, to break with the Church, or to find something wrong with the procedures of the Council so that it can be declared that it wasn’t a real Council after all. It is true that the Council was pastoral Council, that is to say it decided how bisjops should minister to their flocks in the particular conditions of industrialised societies. It didn’t declare any heresies, and it didn’t claim to be setting down definitive disciplines and liturgies for all time.

I think we’ve got to say that in Western Europe the Council hasn’t had the hoped-for effect. I’ve never visited Africa or China, but I am prepared to believe that in those societies the changes were a great success. Since in Europe congregations are declining, we must ask what can be done to reverse that trend. The obvious, maybe too easy answer, is to try returning to a more traditional liturgy.

Originally Posted by Rolltide:

A very good point. What we tend to forget is historically there were always problems surrounding councils. Typically, it could take a century or more before the councils were fully implemented and all the bugs were ironed out. We’re barely 40 years removed from Vatican II, so the fact that there are still problems is actually to be expected.

I think one of the difficulties people have with Vatican II is that it wasn’t called to solve a specific problem or threat to the Catholic Church. The Councils that experienced the greatest difficulty in implementation were Councils that dealt with major heresies that rose against the Church (examples: Nicaea/Arianism; Chalcedon/Monopysitism; Trent/Protestantism). One of the greatest threats to the Church before Vatican II was modernism. The Popes in the early 20th century made Catholics aware of this sum of all heresies. Modernism was the “problem” of the Catholic Church, since it was to be found even in the Catholic clergy.

Was modernism ever defeated in the Catholic Church? If so, whenabouts was it defeated? Vatican II did not come down heavily against modernism, as had the Popes of previous generations in the 20th century. Instead, the Council treated at length topics that were of great interest to the modernists: religious freedom, ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue, dignity of man, etc. To many traditionalists, the problems of implementation following from Vatican II are significantly different from the problems of implementation of previous Councils, since the implementation of previous Councils faced problems that existed before the Councils. The implementation of Vatican II faces some of these problems as well, but many of the problems seem much less widespread (at least within the Catholic Church) before the Council and in fact appear to be inspired and sustained by the Vatican II documents themselves.

I think the modern ability to rapidly disseminate information should ease the implementation of councils, but I think we need to really look into the how and what of the dissemination during and after Vatican II before judging whether it can use the “excuse” of slow info transfer. Being born in the '80s, my whole experience of the Church as a rational enquirer has been one in which I have largely unfettered electronic access to all conciliar documents in my own language. The average parishioner is expected to take a bit of initiative and form his own opinions about things by going to the sources.

In 1965, though, weren’t ecclesiastical conditions a little different? I don’t know how quickly the translation mill worked for authoritative versions of the conciliar documents, but I somehow doubt vernacular print copies were quickly and widely available, and even if they were, I doubt most Catholics would have felt the need to read them when they could already learn anything important or interesting from their priest and newspaper. Now, as for the press, we all know what a great (read: abysmally inaccurate) job they can do covering Catholicism, and if the anecdote concerning Bugnini’s “we didn’t talk about head coverings” remark getting turned into “coverings no longer allowed” is any indication, the media thoroughly sabotaged understanding from the get-go.

Now add into the mix the general trust in the clergy as well-educated men that could be relied upon to honestly and accurately portray the faith. That trust was abused. Bishops came home to their flocks saying “Whee, the Council gave us everything we ever hoped for” and told their priests all sorts of things that needed to change “because of the council.” Those priests either willingly went along with the subterfuge or else reluctantly had to defer to the party line of the bishop who had actually been there and who was the chief teacher of the diocese, anyway. So that makes the only two standard forms of information available to Catholics (media and clergy) tainted, but without any sort of intellectual culture in place that would encourage them to study enough to realize the deception. I think we’d all be much more to blame today if we got hoodwinked like the Church of the '60s, but I think the culture that would prevent this deception is a direct result of the slow realization that, no, you can’t trust what your priest tells you.

There are two groups that are actually in dissent with regards Vatican II. Liberal dissenters such as Call to Action, felt that V2 did not go far enough, while traditionalists, like the SSPX and the more extreme sedevacantists felt that V2 went too far. However, the spedific issues they dissent from would require a more comprehensive discussion and each would require a whole thread of its own (The Mass, Eucharist, Ecumenism, Abortion…). However or starters, liberals championthe free choice, women priests, celibacy, while traditionalists typically denounce the new mass as being “Protestant” and “modernist”, and ecumenism as being relativist and universalist which they say goes against the 2000-year tradition of the Church.

I especially agree with the first point, that the Church Fathers did not bring back Vatican II to the local level – or so it seemed to me at the time. OK? The Bishops produced a lot of documents, and I think these serve as stand-alone documents, for teaching, to a great extent. I never had the feeling that in Catholic High School, that we ever got close to the content. So, right! We’re more than 40 years past the council, and we’re trying to figure out what it said ( although the documents were right in front of us, for the taking, we got frustrated using them to put us to sleep at night, and NOT discussing them and putting them into action).

I think, too, that the Catholic media in particular, and the secular media in general, seemed to cover the Council as an event, splashing sometimes large photos of the bishops in their general meetings. But, they were always short on details.

A bit of a nuance on what happened afterward. I think the “spirit” of Vatican II was developing from the hype about “change” and “updating” that the Council was supposed to be doing. What we’ve experienced is the do-it-yourself council, the council of those who felt left out of the super-bowl type event that was occurring in Rome. I’ve not given it a thought, but essentially whatever has happened has been the power trip of those who are interpreting or re-writing what happened in 1962 - 1965.

I haven’t read all the documents, nowhere close. I get discouraged just from reading a few of them, and can’t bear to read any more. The language is so lofty and uplifting, and the effect on the local level barely a ripple.

Your statement there is pretty much the heart of the problem.

The documents of the Council do NOT actually make any such changes.

In fact, if one reads Sacrosanctum Concillium, for example, one would not see any allowances for some of the changes that took place.

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