Q: Why is Vatican II such a controversy?
A: Because nobody can say with certainty what the documents of Vatican II mean!
The problem is that the documents of Vatican II were not clear or unambiguous. Let’s take Sacrosanctum Concilium for example, specifically article 36:
“. . . (1) The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” [emphasis added]
On the one hand, the document states the importance of Latin, but then immediately permits the complete removal of Latin. What is meant by “due respect to particular law” anyway? As argued by Christopher Ferrara, the problem with Sacrosanctum Concilium isn’t in what it mandates – for it mandates very little, if anything – but in what it permits. The language, on the surface, looks very traditional, but as a legal document it authorizes liturgical anarchy.
Or how about Dignitatis Humanæ? If there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, why draft a document praising “elements of truth” that can be found in other religions? Is this document defending or contradicting the dogma of “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?”
No other council in Church history gave us documents like these, documents which are absolute masterworks of equivocation. It really says something when, on the conclusion of the council, committees are formed to interpret and explain what in the world was meant by the council in the first place! And there is also the question of whether the reforms of Vatican II were properly carried out; Popes Paul VI and John Paul II said yes, but the current Pontiff says we need a “reform of the reform,” suggesting that the “will of the council” has not yet been realized. Who is right?