Valentine Gallagher raises the question of ambiguities in the documents of Vatican II (July AD2000).
Immediately following the Council, Pope Paul VI set up a commission to answer any questions arising from the documents and this involved resolving any apparent ambiguities.
The commission was embarrassed by the lack of inquiries. The three possible reasons for this were:
1. The documents were clear and unambiguous.
2. Lack of interest.
3. Dissidents did not want any clarification that would hinder the pursuit of their own agenda.
In view of the publicity and air of excitement generated by Vatican II, the second proposition is most unlikely.
The documents provide the means of settling any queries that may have arisen in the 40 odd years that have elapsed since Vatican II.
For example, paragraph 4 in Christus Dominus, the 1965 Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, clearly and unambiguously states that supreme power over the Church is exercised by the episcopal body of bishops, together with the Pope, and never without him.
It further states that this power can only be exercised with the consent of the Pope. This statement confirmed existing teaching that the Pope is the final arbiter in all matters relating to Church teaching and, therefore, the final arbiter on all interpretations of the Second Vatican Council.
Much of the confusion regarding Vatican II arises from the fact that they are arguably the least studied, yet most quoted set of documents the Church has produced. Many purporting to quote from Vatican II are actually citing the views of some dissident theologian. We should always be aware that confusion is one of the sharpest tools in Satan's workshop.
Finally, if the Church is one, as it is necessary to be if it is the one true Church, there can be no division between so-called progressives and conservatives. There are Catholics who hold true to the Magisterium and there are heretics who, by definition, are no longer one with the Church.
North Blackburn, Vic