Vatican II (letter)

Vatican II (letter)

Peter D. Howard

The only real "confusions" in the Catholic Church after Vatican II, to which Valentine Gallagher refers (June AD2000), have resulted from dissenting theologians, and they have caused the crisis as Dr McInerny stresses in What Went Wrong with Vatican II.

The "ambiguities" in Vatican II cannot be shown to be contradictions of doctrine. This is the considered thought of Cardinal Ratzinger: "To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council ... And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them" (The Ratzinger Report, p. 31). Certainly there is no contradiction on conscience (see the quotations from Vatican II in the Catechism).

The real opinion of Fr Brian Harrison in reviewing the somewhat shoddy Brazilian Guimar‹es' In The Murky Waters of Vatican II (The Wanderer, 23 April 1998, p. 7) is that the problem is in the author's concentration on the confusion that dissenting readings of the text have caused, without referring to the textual history or the explanations of the official "relators" of any "ambiguous" passages. Such a one-sided approach to a Council is hardly sound scholarship.

Fr Harrison maintains that by including the footnotes, the historical and literary context, and the reasons given to the Council fathers for various amendments by the Theological Commission, disputed passages are not "really" ambiguous, but are traditional and orthodox. At the same time, Fr Harrison realises that few laity will have access to all of this, and thus too often will be victimised and abused by those against orthodoxy and tradition.

The continuing pastime of trying to blame Vatican II for subsequent dissent perpetuates a strawman or red herring. "I am convinced that the damage that we have incurred in these twenty years is due, not to the 'true' Council, but to the unleashing within the Church of latent polemical and centrifugal forces ..." (The Ratzinger Report, p. 30).

Though less brash, these forces are still at work, evidently.

Peter D. Howard
Springwood, Qld

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