Ambiguities (letter)

Ambiguities (letter)

Valentine Gallagher

In his review of Professor McInerney's book What Went Wrong with Vatican II, Michael Daniel states that the Professor's thesis is that the crisis in the Catholic Church of the last few decades cannot be blamed on Vatican II but has been caused largely by the actions of dissident theologians in their response to Humanae Vitae (March AD2000).

Some other scholars place at least portion of the blame for the current confusions on ambiguities in the conciliar texts.

Father Malachi Martin wrote: "Those documents [of Vatican II] are pockmarked with ambiguities in matters of faith and in at least two of them there are statements that prima facie seem irreconcilable with the constant teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and its popes up to the reign of Pope John XXIII and the opening of his Council (The Keys of This Blood, p. 682).

In similar vein, Father Brian Harrison observes: "In the crisis of the contemporary Church we are faced with an extraordinary fact: the two contending parties (conservatives and progressivists) claim to be the authentic interpreters of Vatican II. We find nothing like this in the history of the Church and in the Councils of Florence, Trent and Vatican I. The teachings of these councils did not lend themselves to differing and opposing interpretations. He who did not accept these teachings knew he was placing himself outside [the Church]. The unity and vitality of the Church were not threatened. It seems to me essential for the leaders of the Church to honestly recognise the ambiguities we have inherited from the Council". (Quoted in In the Murky Waters of Vatican II by Atila Sinke Guimares, pp. 77-78).

Msgr George Kelly is in substantial agreement with Professor Harrison. Monsignor asserts: "The documents of the Council contain enough basic ambiguities to make the postconciliar difficulties understandable" (The Battle for the American Church, p. 20).

Arncliffe, NSW

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