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Vatican II myths
In his editorial (November AD2000) Michael Gilchrist refers to his participation in the Novus Ordo celebrated according to the Vatican II reforms, either in Latin or in English (both in the USA). For the English Mass, the priest faced the tabernacle for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and communicants received Our Blessed Lord while kneeling at the altar rails.
The fact that many bishops and priests have distorted Vatican II and failed to follow its directives and decrees, not only on the Mass but also in many areas of teaching, including on ecumenism, is no excuse for groups such as the Society of St Pius X (or its supporters) to reject the Council's teachings - as some recent letter writers to AD2000 have done.
Does Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes really put man above God as SSPX propagandists assert? In fact, it applies doctrinal principles in relating the Church to the world and to the men of today. Thus in #3 it states that the Council will clarify the many problems and questions in the world "in the light of the Gospel and will furnish mankind with the saving resources which the Church has received from her founder under the promptings of the Holy Spirit."
Headed in Flannery's edition of the Vatican II documents, "Christ: Alpha and Omega", the Council proclaims (#45) that "The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the desires of history and civilisation, the centre of mankind, the joy of all hearts, and the fulfilment of all aspirations."
Vatican II also teaches that those cannot be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded by Christ as necessary for salvation, refuse to enter or remain in it. As early as about 95 AD, Pope St Clement I taught the Church in Corinth: "Those who repented for their sins, appeased God in praying and received salvation, even though they were aliens to God."
Fr Brian Harrison has shown conclusively in Religious Liberty and Contraception that Vatican II's teaching is in continuity with, and a development of, the Church's teaching on religious liberty.
The continuing pastime of trying to blame Vatican II for subsequent dissent perpetuates a straw-man.
Cardinal Ratzinger commented in 1985: "I am convinced that the damage that we have incurred in these twenty years is due, not to the 'true'â Council, but to the unleashing within the Church of latent polemical and centrifugal forces" (The Ratzinger Report, p. 30).
These forces are still at work.
PETER D. HOWARD
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 11 (December 2005 - January 2006), p. 13
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