Vatican II

Vatican II

Valentine Gallagher

In his article entitled "US Catholics leaving the Church in droves: what can be done?" Father Joseph Sirba asserts that this apostasy derives at least in part from such causes as "dissent tolerated by weak leaders which in turn has led to confusion as to what we Catholics believe and how we should live."

He also indicts "the overt and covert feminisation of the Church" and recommends our taking "a good hard look at the Catholic schools."

In his analysis Fr Sirba does not mention the confusions occasioned by sundry ambiguous statements in the Vatican II documents.

Monsignor George Kelly is unequivocal on the destructive effects of such ambiguities in the aforesaid documents. Monsignor writes: "The documents of the Council contain enough basic ambiguities to make the post-conciliar difficulties understandable" (Battle for the American Church, page 20).

The Protestant David Wells, Associate Professor of Church History at the Trinity Evangelical School in Illinois, also considers the official documents to be ambiguous. His book Revolution in Rome was reviewed by the Marist Father George Duggan in the bi-monthly journal Faith. "In all honesty", Fr Duggan writes, "we must admit I think that the author is on target when he points to certain ambiguities in the documents of Vatican II which the 'progressive' theologians have exploited to the full" (November 1973).

Father Hans K√ľng has claimed that ambiguities exist in at least some of the passages of the Vatican II documents. In an article printed in The Times (28.8.76) he contended that "many Council documents were in fact compromises imposed on the majority by the conservative Curia which controlled the machinery of the Council ... [C]ompromises are liable to interpretation in different ways by different parties; a fact which has contributed to the confusion and polarisation in the post- conciliar Church."

Father Brian Harrison comments: "In the crisis of the contemporary Church we are faced with an extraordinary fact: the two contending parties (conservatives and progressives) 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. He who did not accept these teachings knew he was placing himself outside [the Church]. The unity and the 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" (30 Days, July 1989).

Arncliffe, NSW

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