(a) The civil right to religious liberty.
(b) Revelation was completed at the Crucifixion.
"The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person... This right to religious freedom is to be recognised in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right."2 (Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, paragraph 2)
What is more, the Vatican II "popes" took steps to ensure that, in countries where such freedom was not already a "civil right", it became one. Thus the Catholic constitutions of Spain and Colombia were suppressed at the express direction of the Vatican, and the laws of those countries changed to permit the public practice of non-Catholic religions.3 And as though to refute as clearly as possible the attempts of certain misguided "conservative" members of the Conciliar Sect to explain away the text cited above, interpreting it in some quite incredible fashion, Karol Wojtyla never misses an opportunity to inculcate his own - surely accurate - interpretation of the Council's intention. For instance in February 1993 he declared, in the predominantly pagan African Republic of Benin, that "the Church considers religious liberty as an inalienable right..."
The correct doctrine, which popes have often reiterated, is most authoritatively stated in the following passage from Pope Pius IX's Quanta Cura (1864):
"And from this wholly false idea of social organisation they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by our predecessor, Gregory XVI, insanity, namely that the liberty of conscience and worship is the proper right of every man, and should be proclaimed by law in every correctly established society... Each and every doctrine individually mentioned in this letter, by Our Apostolic authority We reject, proscribe and condemn; and We wish and command that they be considered as absolutely rejected by all the sons of the Church."
Almost the only label that Pope Pius IX does not attach to this doctrine is in fact that of "heresy", but he clearly thought the "insanity" he spoke of to be heretical for he says that it contradicts Divine Revelation. Moreover, this notion of religious liberty had already been expressly qualified as heretical by Pope Pius VII in his brief Post Tam Diuturnas, so there is no doubt about the matter.
Theological Censure: HERETICAL.
"Finally, He brought His revelation to completion when He accomplished on the Cross the work of redemption by which He achieved salvation and true freedom for men." (Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, paragraph 11)
This contradicts the traditional and definite Catholic teaching that many truths proposed by the Church as Divinely revealed were not revealed by Our Lord until after His Resurrection. For instance, the Council of Trent (Session 6, chapter 14) taught that "Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance when He said, "Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain they are retained." These words were pronounced by Our Lord (John 20:23) on the evening of Easter Sunday, more than two full days after His Crucifixion. And of course Catholic tradition contains not the slightest reason to believe that Our Lord had revealed before the Crucifixion His plan to institute the sacrament; and to claim that He did so would therefore be to invent a new dogma never before heard of in the Church. And even then the objection remains that the answers to such questions as exactly who were the ministers of the sacrament could not have been revealed before the Passion, since the apostasy of Judas was kept secret by Our Lord until it took place.
The list of dogmas revealed by Our Lord after His Crucifixion includes the form of the sacrament of Baptism, the extension of the preaching mandate of the Apostles to the entire world, the abolition of the patriarchal religions as means of salvation, the coming into force of the promised primacy and infallibility of St. Peter, the elevation to the Apostolic dignity of St. Paul, and of course Our Lord's own Resurrection. This last He had already prophesied long before, of course; but it is as a historic event that we must believe it today, and its historical fulfilment was not revealed until the morning of Easter Sunday when it took place and was announced by the angels to the holy women.
So the doctrine of Vatican II on this topic denies the Divine revelation of a large part of the Catholic Faith and the Catholic sacramental system, relegating to the status of an unrevealed inessential the very linchpin of Christianity concerning which St. Paul wrote "If Christ be not risen again, your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:17). But of course if Our Lord did not reveal his choice of St. Paul as an Apostle (an event which probably happened more than a full year after the Crucifixion), it is not surprising that the Conciliar Sect takes no notice of his doctrine!
Finally we note that, in condemning the doctrine of those who hold that new revelations have been added to the deposit of the Faith since the Apostolic era, the Church has been accustomed to teach that the cut-off point after which no further revelation was made was the death of the last Apostle (cf. Denzinger 2021). Evidently the Church would not have chosen such a late date as the closing point of Revelation if it had already closed much earlier, to wit at the time of the Crucifixion.
Incidentally, we have seen it argued that the Latin word "perficere" which occurs in the original of the above text from Dignitatis Humanae means "to perfect" rather than "to bring to completion". Even if it did, we do not see how it would help the opposing case, for Divine Revelation could hardly be considered perfect without the Resurrection and all the rest - the Apostles certainly thought the Resurrection was worth knowing about, and, casting their minds back to their mental state on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, would doubtless have snorted at the notion that Revelation was perfect without it. But anyhow, "perficere" does not normally mean "to perfect". Its natural sense is "to complete" or "to bring to completion"; and even when the secondary meaning, "to perfect", is possible, it is always in the sense of perfecting by completion.
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(c) Heretical and schismatic sects are means of salvation.
"The separated churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fulness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church." (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 3)
This contradicts a doctrine which has been repeated perhaps more times than any other by the Church and is unquestionably Divinely revealed. Only a single example of the magisterial teaching of the true doctrine is necessary and we select the following from the Council of Florence held under Pope Eugene IV (1441):
"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the Devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with her..."
We have heard it argued that the word "means", occurring in the aberrant passage in this decree, was perhaps intended to signify something like "stepping-stone"; but of course the word is not capable of that meaning either in itself or in the Latin word of which it is the translation. A philosophical axiom states that "a means which cannot achieve its end is not a means." Flying in an aeroplane is a means of getting from England to France, but riding on a bicycle is not, even if, on reaching the Channel, one tossed the bicycle aside and used some other form of transport instead.
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(d) Communal public prayer with heretics and schismatics is useful and commendable.
"In certain circumstances, such as in prayer services 'for unity' and during oecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly a very effective means of petitioning for the grace of unity, and they are a genuine expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren." (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 8)
Into this short passage the Vatican II Fathers managed to squeeze two distinct doctrinal falsehoods:
The correct doctrine is set out clearly in Canon 1258 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which the most enthusiastic proponent of Vatican II cannot deny was in force when Vatican II was taking place. This canon states that it is unlawful to assist at actively in any way, or to take part in, the devotional acts of non-Catholics; and this is simply a repetition and statement of what has always been the rule of the Church. Casuists were consulted on what exceptions could be allowed in sixteenth-century England, where and when it really mattered, and the only concessions that they found were very minor activities such as saying grace - and even that was permitted only to avoid serious danger.
Now admittedly if Canon 1258 be purely ecclesiastical law - in other words, a type of human law - Vatican II (if it was a true Council) could have overruled it and imposed a new law. But Canon 1258 was not a purely ecclesiastical law. It represents in part an application of the Divine Law; and not even a pope can abolish a Divine law (nor can he dispense from it). Fully sufficient evidence that a Divine law is at issue is to be found in the following instruction on the subject of "communicatio in sacris cum acatholicis" addressed to the Catholics of England by Cardinal Allen in his letter of 12th December 1592. 4
"...You [priests] and all my brethren must have great regard that you teach not, nor defend, that it is lawful to communicate with the Protestants in their prayers or services or in the conventicles where they meet to minister their untrue sacraments; for this is contrary to the practice of the Church and the Holy Doctors in all ages, who never communicated or allowed any Catholic person to pray together with Arians, Donatists or what other soever. Neither is it a positive law of the Church, for in that case it might be dispensed with upon some occasion; but it is forbidden by God's own eternal law, as by many evident arguments I could convince... To make all sure, I have asked for the judgement of the pope currently reigning [Pope Clement VIII] and he expressly told me that to participate with the Protestants either by praying with them or by coming to their churches or services or such like was by no means lawful or dispensable."
In response to a correspondent we wrote the following:
"(i) The letter by Cardinal Allen was written in circumstances which could not have been more exacting, and which must have made Cardinal Allen and the pope look for every opportunity of compromising on the issue if compromise were to be found. At that time in Elizabethan England, for Catholics to be allowed to pray with non-Catholics might literally have saved the lives of Catholics, and might also have prevented the reduction to total ruin of entire families (and, of course, saved many from the temptation to apostatise, sometimes unhappily consented to).
"(ii) There is no possibility that the prohibition could only have related to attendance at church services, because, no less than twice, the document makes it clear that this is not so, and that the prohibition embraces everything. '...that you teach not, nor defend, that it is lawful to communicate with Protestants in their prayers or services or in the conventicles where they meet to minister their untrue sacraments...' And: '...the pope...expressly told me that to participate with the Protestants either by praying with them or by coming to their churches or services or such like was by no means lawful or dispensable...'
"(iii) The document makes it clear that this prohibition had always existed. '...Contrary to the practice of the Church and the Holy Doctors in all ages who never communicated or allowed any Catholic person to pray together with Arians, Donatists or what other soever...'
"(iv) Again and again the document makes it clear that what is at issue is not merely man-made ecclesiastical law, but Divine law. Thus: 'Neither is it a positive law of the Church, for in that case it might be dispensed with upon some occasion' - it is only Divine law that cannot be dispensed with. Thus too: '...it is forbidden by God's own eternal law.' What could be clearer than that? Or do you assert that there is a distinction between Divine law and _God's own eternal law'? And thus yet again: _...the pope currently reigning...expressly told me that to participate with Protestants...by praying with them...was by no means lawful or dispensable.'
"(v) And how could Cardinal Allen's pronouncement possibly be more definitive? In the first place, he, a prince of the Church and possibly one of the most revered cardinals of the sixteenth century, made it perfectly clear that he had researched the matter with great care, that he was merely repeating what had always been the inviolable practice of the Church, and also that he was completely certain that it was a matter of Divine law and not dispensable. And in the second place, because of the importance of the issue he deemed it his duty, notwithstanding his own complete certainty, to check the matter with the ultimate authority, the man with the keys to the kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose as though the binding and loosing were done by God Himself; and the pope, despite the fact that, as...already suggested, every human instinct must have screamed at him to find a way around the prohibition if a way round could be found, simply affirmed unequivocally that prayer with Protestants - not merely attendance at liturgical services - was both unlawful and not dispensable, i.e. was a matter of Divine law."
We should make it clear that we by no means deny that there is scope for doubt with regard to a few exceptional cases; nor do we deny that the Divine law, which makes it per se unlawful to associate even in the orthodox private prayers of non-Catholics, does seem not to bind - in relation to the genuinely orthodox private prayers of non-Catholics - in cases of grave inconvenience where there is no danger of scandal. Naturally Cardinal Allen and Pope Clement VIII knew that there always would be scandal if Catholics prayed with Protestants in post-"Reformation" England, and they therefore had no need to mention this. What Cardinal Allen's response makes clear without any shadow of doubt is that the concept of praying with non-Catholics is "per se" forbidden by the Divine law - a Divine law which Vatican II simply overruled as though it did not exist.
Theological censure: at least ERRONEOUS IN FAITH for the first proposition and HERETICAL5 for the second proposition.
(e) The procreation and education of children is not the primary end of marriage.
"Marriage and married love are by nature ordered to the procreation and education of children. Indeed children are the supreme gift of marriage and greatly contribute to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: "it is not good that man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18), and "from the beginning (he) made them male and female" (Mt. 19:4): wishing to associate them in a special way with his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). Without intending to underestimate the other ends of marriage, it must be said that true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it is directed to disposing the spouses to co-operate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Saviour who, through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.
"Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realise that they are thereby co-operating with the love of God the creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. This involves the fulfilment of their role with a sense of human and Christian responsibility and the formation of correct judgments through docile respect for God and common reflection and effort; it also involves a consideration of their own good and the good of their children already born or yet to come, an ability to read the signs of the times and of their own situation on the material and spiritual level, and, finally, an estimation of the good of the family, of society, and of the Church. It is the married couple themselves who must in the last analysis arrive at these judgments before God. Married people should realise that in their behaviour they may not simply follow their own fancy but must be ruled by conscience --- and conscience ought to be conformed to the law of God in the light of the teaching authority of the Church, which is the authentic interpreter of divine law. For the divine law throws light on the meaning of married love, protects it and leads it to truly human fulfilment. Whenever Christian spouses in a spirit of sacrifice and trust in divine providence carry out their duties of procreation with generous human and Christian responsibility, they glorify the Creator and perfect themselves in Christ.
"Among the married couples who thus fulfil their God-given mission, special mention should be made of those who after prudent reflection and common decision courageously undertake the proper upbringing of a large number of children.
"But marriage is not merely for the procreation of children: its nature as an indissoluble compact between two people and the good of the children demand that the mutual love of the partners be properly shown, that it should grow and mature. Even in cases where despite the intense desire of the spouses there are no children, marriage still retains its character of being a whole manner and communion of life and preserves its value and indissolubility. (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 50)
Not only is it nowhere stated or implied in this passage that the procreation of children is the primary purpose of marriage, transcending all other purposes, but it is implied that this primary purpose is equalled in importance by what are in fact the secondary purposes. The correct doctrine is succinctly set out in Canon 1013 of the 1917 Code: "The primary end of marriage is the procreation and upbringing of children."
The erroneous nature of this doctrine is highlighted by the astonishing suggestion that only those who have "prudently reflected" and made a subsequent "decision" should raise "large" families. The truth is that Catholic parents should leave the size of their families entirely to divine providence, unless there are proportionately grave reasons for limiting them by partial or total abstinence.
The perversion of this doctrine by Vatican II is worthy of note not only as a departure from Catholic doctrine, but also as an incitement to vice and depravity. It is precisely because God instituted marriage and the reproductive act proper to marriage primarily as a means to the procreation of new life, and only secondarily for other lawful ends such as the fostering of mutual love between husband and wife and the allayance of concupiscence, that it is unlawful to seek the pleasures proper to matrimony while deliberately frustrating their natural fecundity. In other words, the false doctrine spread in this passage paves the way to the justification of marital onanism and every other sort of unnatural perversion.
It is perhaps not surprising that this passage drew very severe criticism from the two weightiest theologians present at the Council, Cardinal Ottaviani, prefect of the Holy Office, and Cardinal Browne,6 superior-general of the Dominicans. The former, speaking as the eleventh of twelve children of a labouring man, recalled the Scriptural doctrine and Catholic tradition of trusting to Providence rather than thinking it necessary to limit the size of families, and ironically pointed out that, if the text of this decree was to be considered correct and Catholic, this fitted in well with another notion heard for the first time at Vatican II - namely the notion that the Church had previously been in error (see item (q) below). The latter, in two interventions, showed how the desire to teach a fashionable doctrine (according some special rôle to romantic love among the ends of matrimony) was threatening to undermine the Church's traditional doctrine. And although some changes in the text of the decree were made in the light of these interventions, nothing is plainer than that the adjustments were cosmetic and that the underlying errors remain in the text.
Theological censure: ERRONEOUS
(f) The Jews are not presented in Scripture as rejected or accursed.
"It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this is followed from Holy Scripture." (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religious Nostra Aetate, paragraph 4).
For evidence of the true doctrine in relation to this remarkable assertion, we may start with Our Lord's parable recorded in Matthew 21:33-45 and the Church's traditional interpretation of it. "The rejection of the Jews and the conversion of the Gentiles are here foretold, as Christ teaches in verse 43," says Cornelius a Lapide in his commentary on this passage.
Then, of course, there is Matthew 27:25: "And the whole people, answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children." Presumably something follows from this passage in Holy Scripture, and one wonders what the Fathers of Vatican II had in mind. For the traditional Church teaching in relation to that passage, we return once again to Cornelius a Lapide, where he comments on it:
"And thus they [the Jews] have subjected, not only themselves, but their very latest descendants, to God's displeasure. They feel it even to this day in its full force, in being scattered over all the world, without a city,7 or temple, or sacrifice, or priest or prince... 'This curse,' says St. Jerome, 'rests on them even to this day, and the blood of the Lord is not taken away from them,' as Daniel foretold (Daniel 9:27)."
And out of interest, if we were asked which, out of all the Vatican II passages that we are offering, we believed to be the most difficult to explain away even with the most subtle debating devices, we should probably choose this one. We do not maintain that it is more definitely heretical than the others, but it does seem to present the fewest escape routes, especially as the Fathers of Vatican II expressly elected to have their doctrine judged against Holy Scripture, which is explicit in making it absolutely clear that the Jews have been collectively reprobated for their part in the Crucifixion. (Numerous other texts from the New Testament could be quoted to this end, but we think we have already given enough evidence.)
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(g) Christians and Jews have a common spiritual heritage.
"Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred Council wishes to encourage further mutual understanding and appreciation." (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate, paragraph 4)
The Church teaches that, far from Christians and Jews having a common spiritual heritage, the most significant feature of what the Jews of the Christian era have inherited from their spiritual ancestors, those who engineered the Crucifixion, consists of the total rejection of the Incarnate God and also of the Old Testament Covenant. The Church has always instructed her children to pray for the conversion of "the perfidious Jews" (as in the liturgy for Good Friday).
It is interesting to note that, deplorable as it is, this text represents a softening of the error which was originally proposed for the agreement of the Council Fathers. Originally it was stated that Christians had derived a great patrimony from the Jews, leading Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer to point out that:
"Christians, however, have received the patrimony which they have inherited from the ancient Jewish people, and not from the Jewish people of the present day. The Jewish people of the present day cannot be described as in all respects faithful to the revelation of the Old Testament, as they refuse to accept the Messias who was the cause of the entire Old Law. The Israelites of the present day are rather the successors of those whom St. Peter declares to have delivered Jesus to death and whom St. Paul declares that the justice of God has abandoned to have a hardened heart (Acts 3:13; 5:20; Romans 10:3; 11:7). Hence it does not seem right to speak in the same way concerning the Jews of old, who were faithful to God and the Messias to come, and concerning the Jews of the present time. From the former, the Church has received and faithfully kept her patrimony, while the Jews of the present day, on the contrary, impoverish that patrimony by their infidelity. For the same reason it also follows that dialogues with Jews should be introduced only with great caution, as the custom is - or at least always was - in the Church. Moreover the Council ought not to abandon this custom except under the influence of grave reason which ought to be explained to the faithful." (Acts of the Second Vatican Council III:III, p.161)
Because "heritage" is a word that is vague enough to allow a number of different meanings to be extracted from this passage, we do not dare brand it with a more severe ecclesiastical censure than that given below: a censure which, though it does not appear in the table given by Father Cartechini, is discussed elsewhere in his work and is frequently recognised and used by Catholic theologians and by the Roman Congregations. We think it worth emphasising this passage notwithstanding its relatively mild censure, because it so clearly shows the heretical animus of the Council, ever eager to say what would please liberal politicians and journalists, especially by flattering the Jews, and quite dismissive of the need to guard unsullied the deposit of faith, to protect the faithful from their enemies, and to rebuke and recall to their duties that perfidious race, once the chosen people, but now under a curse until, around the time of Antichrist, the return of the prophet Elias secures their conversion.
Theological censure: OFFENSIVE TO PIOUS EARS.
(h) Past dissensions with Muslims should be forgotten.
"Over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims. The Sacred Council now pleads with all to forget the past, and urges that a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding..." (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate, paragraph 3)
(i) This recommends that we refrain from studying that part of the history of the Catholic Church which deals with the heroic efforts of our Catholic ancestors against the Muslim hordes which time and time again have come close to over-running Europe. We presume that all we need to say about the plea to forget the past is that the past should be studied with great assiduousness and learnt from, for insights into both the Catholic Church and her demonically-inspired enemies. It is not surprising that during the few short years which have passed since the promulgation of this monstrous recommendation by the robber-Council, the Muslims have rapidly risen to a point at which they are now once again within striking distance of taking over Europe, and even - unprecedentedly - the United Kingdom, in which they have had the effrontery to establish their own "government" independent of queen and parliament, an outrage for which no single trial, expulsion or execution for treason has yet been initiated. It is the fate of those who "forget the past" to have to re-learn its lessons by painful experience.
(ii) A moment's reflection reveals that the passage is pregnant with still graver errors also, for it inescapably implies that the "quarrels and dissensions" in the past have been at least partially the fault of the Catholic Church. How does it imply this? It does so by placing the two parties to the disputes on equal footing, as though the Immaculate Bride of the Divine Lamb were just another belligerent cult like Mahometanism. And it implies it again by the advice it offers towards resolving the quarrels and dissensions of the past. This advice implies fault on both sides; for if that were not the case, the correct advice would be (a) that those who have quarrelled with and dissented from the Church should recognise that they were at fault, and (b) that they should be urged to mend their ways and make reparation for the past.
And indeed this will come as no surprise to those who have noted that, in its Decree on Oecumenism (paragraph 3), Vatican II attempts to blame the Catholic Church for the defection of heretics from her ranks: "...More serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."
One can refute this disgusting assertion in two ways.
In the first place, since the Catholic Church has the Divinely instituted right and obligation (a) to tell the people what they must believe and (b) to govern them - in short, the right and duty to have the final say - it is naturally impossible that any "quarrels and dissensions" which have remained unresolved can be her fault. In other words, any person or institution who has quarrelled with the Catholic Church is inescapably at fault for having refused to submit to her judgement. 8
In the second place, the notion that the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Spotless Bride of Christ, whose soul is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Unity, should be the cause of quarrels and dissensions, can perhaps best be described as fantastic. It is as ludicrous to suggest that the Church was responsible for the quarrels and dissensions that have arisen between Christians and Muslims as to suggest that Our Lord was responsible for the "quarrels and dissensions" with which the Gospels are filled and which culminated in His judicial murder. This is not to deny that Our Lord was "a sign which shall be contradicted" (Luke 2:34), of course, nor that He "came not to send peace but the sword" (Matthew 10:34), nor yet that both those observations apply to Our Lord's Church no less than to Himself. But the notions that Our Lord and His Church are in any way to blame for the contradiction and "the sword", and that the conflicts of the past have arisen from "lack of mutual understanding" have only to be stated for their blasphemous implications to be exposed. Far from there being "lack of mutual understanding", it need hardly be said that Our Lord and His Church have always understood their enemies perfectly. And quarrels and dissensions between the Church and the rest of the world are caused simply by the refusal of men and nations to submit to the Church's wise, loving, tender maternal guidance and rule.
(iii) It denies the truth that the Catholic Church is as perfect in her practice (where this consists of considered policy rather than of the occasional actions of individual Catholics) as she is in her teaching.9
Theological censure: in (i) it is at least TEMERARIOUS; in (ii) it is BLASPHEMOUS; in (iii) it is ERRONEOUS.
(i) The liturgical services of Protestants engender the life of grace and aptly give access to the communion of salvation.
"The brethren divided from us also carry out many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. In ways that vary according to the condition of each church or community, these liturgical actions most certainly can truly engender a life of grace, and, one must say, can aptly give access to the communion of salvation." (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 3)
Comment is scarcely needed. In relation to the words, "these liturgical actions most certainly can truly engender a life of grace", we simply ask the following questions:
i. Given that the liturgy in Protestant services, and of course the general body of Protestant belief, teaches that all that is required for the forgiveness of sins is the "general confession", how can it be imagined that this can engender a life of grace? Most Protestants, after all, do not go to confession and do not even claim that their ministers can give absolution. And since Protestant ministers cannot give absolution, the only possible means of entering the state of grace would be by an act of perfect contrition. And the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches that an act of perfect contrition (which Protestants neither know they ought to make nor know how to make) is very difficult even for Catholics to make.10 If it is exceedingly difficult for instructed Catholics, notwithstanding the fact that they know what is necessary, what chance can Protestants have (even in the rare cases when they are invincibly ignorant in their theological errors and sufficiently respectful of tradition to possess supernatural faith) when they are under the illusion that no effort is required at all?
ii. Given that the overwhelming majority of "brethren divided from us" belong to sects which have no priesthood, Mass or absolution, and whose principal worship is objectively sacrilegious, how can it be alleged that their liturgical actions can be of the slightest benefit whatever to those who participate in them? (It should be noted that the actual graces received by a non-Catholic who is still in good faith in his errors, when he goes to church and prays, are not engendered by the liturgical charade enacted there, but result purely from God's acceptance of his interior dispositions.)
As for the claim that the various liturgical actions of the separated bodies that St. Peter calls "sects of perdition" (2 Peter 2:1) can aptly give access to the communion of salvation - its unorthodoxy is too blatant to require analysis. Only for a tiny minority of cases can there be any appearance of truth in it - namely validly baptised infants and a few Eastern dissidents who may receive valid Holy Communion in good faith. By grossly exceeding these narrow limits and turning the exception into a general rule applicable, in some measure, even to Protestants, the Council has abandoned any pretence to be Catholic! And above all, the word "aptly" should be noted; for if a few ignorant but devout Greek peasants are able to receive the salutary effects of Holy Communion - on account of their being innocently unaware that their reception of it is grossly illicit and objectively displeasing to God, since they receive it at the hands, not of His servants, but of His enemies - one thing that is quite certain is that this is anything but an apt way to go about working out one's salvation.
Theological censure: we are not certain what censure is applicable, but evidently the passage is at least ERRONEOUS, and, insofar as the text implies that invalid sacrilegious rituals can directly confer sanctifying grace, we think it inescapably HERETICAL.
(j) The Church has a high regard for doctrines which differ from her own.
"The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these [non-Christian] religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men." (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate, paragraph 2)
Putting aside the scandalous reference to life, conduct and precepts, let us concentrate on the statement that the Church has "a high regard" for the "doctrines" of false religions, not only those doctrines which, fortuitously, may be true, but even those which "differ...from her own teaching." Now since the teaching of the Catholic Church is true, it is a logical necessity that any doctrine which differs from it must be false. The Fathers of Vatican II, therefore, have firmly declared that the Church "has a high regard" for false doctrines. Of course, this is perfectly true of the Conciliar Sect; but the attitude of the Catholic Church towards false doctrines has always been the same as that of her Divine founder: unrestrained loathing.
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(k) Theological meetings and discussions on an equal footing between Catholics and non-Catholics are commendable.
"Catholics who already have a proper grounding need to acquire a more adequate understanding of the respective doctrines of our separated brethren, their history, their spiritual and liturgical life, their religious psychology and cultural background. Most valuable for this purpose are meetings of the two sides - especially for discussion of theological problems - where each can treat with the other on an equal footing, providing that those who take part in them under the guidance of the authorities are truly competent." (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 9)
Whatever anyone may say in attempting to defend the orthodoxy of this heretical doctrine, it is an inescapable fact that, by entering into a discussion with anyone else on an equal footing, one renounces any claim to authority superior to the authority of the other party. Otherwise the footing simply would not be equal. Consider: how can the Church recommend Catholics, even the most competent, to engage in theological discussion with Protestants unless the Protestants are open-minded and ready to acknowledge that their religious opinions are at least doubtful and to change them if they discover clear evidence to the contrary? And yet, for a Catholic to enter into dialogue with such a Protestant on an equal footing, it would be necessary for the Catholic to have the same attitude towards his own religious convictions - in other words, to regard them as provisional opinions rather than Divinely guaranteed, unshakeably certain, and something he would gladly die a thousand deaths rather than call into doubt the minutest detail of any of them for a fleeting instant.
Hence the Council encourages Catholics to conceal the Divine obligation of all persons to acknowledge the Catholic Faith, to conceal the impossibility for any Catholic - without horrendous mortal sin - of questioning the tiniest detail of his Faith, and to conceal the necessity for all heretics to submit to the Church. It encourages Catholics to evince the attitude that theological issues disputed between Catholics and non-Catholics are a matter of open debate: opinion versus opinion. There is no other way of reading those words of the Council. And the behaviour commended by Vatican II was expressly condemned in Pope Pius IX's Mortalium Animos:
"Though it is easy to find many non-Catholics preaching often of brotherly communion in Christ Jesus, you will find none to whose minds it would occur to submit themselves and obey the Vicar of Christ, either as teacher or as ruler of the Church. Meanwhile, they affirm that they would gladly treat with the Roman church though upon the basis of equality of rights and as equals. If they could so treat, they do not seem to doubt but that an agreement might be entered into through which they would not be compelled to give up those opinions which are thus far the cause of their having wandered outside the one true fold of Christ.
"On such conditions it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot in any way participate in their meetings, and that Catholics cannot in any away adhere to or grant aid to such efforts..."
The Holy Father also taught that: " one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realise them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."
Vatican II asserts that meetings of the two sides - especially for discussion of theological problems and where each can treat with the other on an equal footing - are "most valuable". Pope Pius XI says that they may not be entertained and that the theories, which would defend such meetings as good, are equivalent to apostasy.
Theological censure: HERETICAL AGAINST ECCLESIASTICAL FAITH.
(l) Christians and non-Christians together search for truth and moral answers.
"Through loyalty to conscience, Christians are joined to other men in the search for truth and for the right solution to so many moral problems which arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships." (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 16)
The first question posed by this passage is what meaning is to be attributed to the word "Christians" in it. Does it simply mean Catholics? That is not to be supposed, for Vatican II elsewhere (erroneously) attributed to baptised heretics and schismatics a strict right to the appellation "Christian". Does it mean Catholics and baptised non-Catholics considered as a promiscuous grouping? If so, it is surely sufficiently heretical in itself to suggest that it is possible to generalise as though Catholics and heretics were, at least approximately, in the same position "in the search for truth". Perhaps the least deplorable interpretation is to suppose that the Fathers wished to refer predominantly to Catholics and secondarily to non-Catholic "Christians". But, even at its best, this statement remains an outrageous travesty of reality. With regard to all those truths which it is necessary for men to know, Catholics are not involved in any "search", whether in common with heretics or pagans or anyone else, but are rather set utterly aside from everyone else by their confident possession of the infallible truth.
Nor is it possible to "save" the orthodoxy of this passage by arguing that there remain some truths for which Catholics continue to search (for instance, concerning abstruse theological niceties) while there are others for which non-Catholics search (concerning fundamentals, the answers to which can alone be found in the Catholic Church). For that is merely to assert that Catholics are engaged in one search for truth, while non-Catholics are (or should be) engaged in another and quite separate search. There is not the slightest question of Catholics being "joined to other men" in seeking truth, for the same reason that an Olympic runner is unlikely to handcuff himself to a cripple or paralytic in his endeavour to break a speed record and that a forward-thinking farmer does not normally yoke a pair of tortoises in front of his tractor to assist in ploughing his land more rapidly and efficiently!
The worst scandal of this false doctrine consists in the disastrous impression it is liable to give to non-Christian readers, implying once again that the Catholic Faith is a matter of opinion and that Catholics are still hunting, open-mindedly, for religious truth just as benighted pagans are.
Theological censure: here we think it is necessary to have recourse to a qualification used to brand a proposition which, in its natural and obvious sense, is heretical, even if it is vague and woolly enough to permit those who are determined to close their eyes to reality, such as Mr. Michael Davies, to convince themselves that it is patient of an orthodox interpretation - SAVOURING OF HERESY.
(m) The Church must dialogue with atheists to establish order in the world.
"Although the Church altogether rejects atheism, she nevertheless sincerely proclaims that all men, those who believe as well as those who do not, should help to establish right order in this world, where all live together. This certainly cannot be done without a dialogue that is sincere and prudent." (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 21)
The only chance for right order to be established in the world is of course for the world to become Catholic. As Our Lord said would happen (e.g. in John 15:18), the world has always hated the Catholic Church; and it always will hate the true Catholic Church until it joins it. Our Lord made it clear that He did not even pray for "the world" (John 17:9), and St. Paul said, in 2 Timothy 3:12: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Moreover, Our Lord instructed his Apostles and their dependants to preach to unbelievers, not to engage in dialogue with them. The Catholic Church teaches that right order in the world is absolutely impossible until the entire world submits to the Church, and that purporting to help establish right order, peace, etc., while remaining in open rebellion against the kingship of Christ is simply a contradiction in terms. In support of this, we quote from Pope Pius XI's first encyclical, Ubi Arcano Dei:
"Because they have separated themselves miserably from God and Jesus Christ, men have fallen from their former happiness into a slime of evils. For this same reason, all the projects they invent to remedy the losses and save that which remains of the ruins, are stricken with an almost absolute sterility."
And here is Pope Pius XII in his first encyclical, Summi Pontificatus:
"Many, doubtless, in thus abandoning the commandments of Jesus Christ,...had not the wit to see that any human effort to substitute for Christ's law some base model of it, must prove altogether empty and unfruitful; 'vanity was the end of their designs' (Romans 1:21). When faith in God and in our Divine Redeemer grows weak and numb, when the illumination that comes from the universal principles of uprightness and honour is clouded in men's minds, what does it mean? It means that the only possible foundation of peace and permanency has been undermined, the foundation upon which the ordering of our actions and opinions, public and private, must rest. If we lose that, nothing can breed or preserve prosperity in a commonwealth."
And here is much the same teaching presented in different words in Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year (volume 14, last Sunday in October, feast of Christ the King11):
"Today we sadly behold 'a world undone', largely paganised in principles and outlook, and, in recent years, in one country even glorying in the name 'pagan'. At the best, governments mostly ignore God; and at the worst, openly fight against Him as we of today are witnessing in the Old World and in the New. Even the statesmen's well-meant efforts to find a remedy for present ills and above all, to secure world peace, prove futile because, whereas peace is from Christ, and possible only in the kingdom of Christ, His Name is never mentioned throughout their deliberations or their documents."
That is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church, summarised in the axiom "pax Christi in regno Christi" - the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ. It is a direct reflection of Christ's unambiguous pronouncements and warnings that "the world", which hated Him, would hate His Church. The Church has always held that there are two kingdoms in the world, the kingdom of God, which is the Catholic Church, and the kingdom consisting of all the rest, which is ruled by Satan; and not only do they exist in irreconcilable enmity with each other, but the latter cannot even live at peace among themselves, let alone at peace with the Catholic Church. (It is difficult enough for Catholic nations to live at peace with each other, as the history of the Middle Ages shows.)
Finally on this subject, lest we be accused of reading more into those words of Gaudium et Spes than is warranted, it is perhaps worth noting that Paul VI left not the slightest doubt about his own interpretation of them - an interpretation entirely irreconcilable with Catholic teaching - in his famous speech at the atheistic United Nations in 1965, when he blasphemously described that Masonic organisation as "the last hope of the peoples of the Earth for concord and peace."
Theological censure: once again, in our opinion, SAVOURING OF HERESY.
(n) The Church needs the help of non-believers.
"Nowadays, when things change so rapidly, and thought patterns differ so widely, the Church needs to step up this exchange [i.e. 'exchange between the Church and different cultures'] by calling upon the help of the people who are living in the world, who are expert in its [the world's] organisations and its forms of training, and who understand its mentality, in the case of believers and unbelievers alike." (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 44)
What has been said in relation to (m) above is sufficient to refute this doctrine also. Quite plainly, while unbelievers are in the most urgent and desperate need of all that the Church has to offer them, the Church herself needs absolutely nothing from them. Her mission is to preach the truth and offer the means of sanctification to all men, not to act as an intercultural swap-shop; and her Divine founder, by means of the essentially immutable constitution with which He endowed her and the unceasing inspiration and protection of the Holy Ghost whom He sent to her at Pentecost, has supplied her with all that she can possibly need to accomplish her mission. The suggestion that, for any purpose whatsoever, the Church can have need of the assistance of a group of persons qualified, not by theological erudition or holiness, but only by familiarity with the ways and spirit of the world - of which it is written that "the whole world is seated in wickedness" (1 John 5:19) - and including unbelievers among their number, can merit only one possible qualification...
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(o) Catholic missionaries should co-operate with heretical "missionaries".
"In collaboration with the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity it [the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith] will seek ways and means for attaining and organising fraternal co-operation and harmonious relations with the missionary undertakings of other Christian communities, so that as far as possible the scandal of division may be removed." (Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity Ad Gentes Divinitus, paragraph 29)
Catholic missionaries are men sent by God through His holy Church to preach the truth to those who are ignorant of it, so that, if they are of good will, they may embrace the Gospel by an act of supernatural faith, which is the necessary foundation of the process of justification. Protestant "missionaries", by contrast, are diabolically-inspired upstarts, not envoys of God but His enemies, brazenly claiming to make known His truth while in fact distorting it according to their prejudices and bringing those foolish enough to accept their doctrines, not light, but an even deeper degree of darkness, so that we may most fittingly apply to a pagan "converted" by Protestant "missionaries" Our Lord's words that "the last state of that man is made worse than the first." (Matthew 12:45) Hence it is that the great Jesuit Scripture commentator, Father Cornelius a Lapide writes:
"...it is never lawful to be glad to see heresy preached and propagated, even among the heathens; for though they announce Christ, yet, at the same time, they also announce many heresies...and these heresies are more pernicious than paganism itself; so that it is far better for the heathens not to receive any truth or doctrine from heretics, than to receive it mixed with so many perverse errors..." (Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians 1:18; our emphasis)
And in the light of this, can it be credited that a council calling itself Catholic should recommend "fraternal co-operation" between Catholic missionaries and their deadliest adversaries and opponents? Can anyone with a grain of Catholic faith left in his soul seriously imagine that it is lawful to accomplish God's work by acting in tandem with those who are determined to frustrate it? Can anyone seriously advise, for the advancement of any project whatever, that it should be accomplished, not by those who understand the nature of the work and its value, and yearn to see it achieved, but by a promiscuous alliance of those who favour the project with those who oppose it, those who understand it and those who are quite blind to its nature?
We think sufficient answer is given to these questions by the words of St. Paul:
"Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
Theological censure: since it is couched as a statement of intention rather than a doctrinal affirmation it is perhaps not possible to attach a censure directly to the words quoted. The position, however, of anyone who believes such a policy to be commendable is obviously HERETICAL.
(p) Deficiencies in the formulation of Church teaching should be put right.
"Consequently, if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in Church discipline, or even in the way that Church teaching has been formulated - to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself - these should be set right at the opportune moment and in the proper way." (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 6)
This passage is a good example of how the heretical council Vatican II follows the example of other heretics by subtly concealing its poison and appearing to defend the very truth which it simultaneously denies. The notion that deficiencies may exist in the formulation of Church teaching represents a despicable attack on the holiness and Divine protection guaranteed to the Church by her Divine Founder. Nor is anything achieved by the disingenuous evasion that doctrinal formulation is "to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself;" for the deposit of faith was communicated by God to men in the shape of words, spoken or written, and has ever been communicated by Holy Church to her children in the same manner, through the voices and pens of her missionaries, pastors and Doctors. It would therefore be quite impossible for there to be deficiencies in the formulation of Catholic teaching without there being a deficiency in the Church's custody and proclamation of the deposit of faith itself. Hence it is that the Holy Ghost preserves the pronouncements of the Church from error - not necessarily by direct inspiration of the most perfect words possible to communicate His meaning, as took place in the case of Holy Writ, but at least by ensuring that no word is ever used in such official formulation which could be considered defective. And hence Pope St. Agatho (678-681) wrote that: "Nothing of the things appointed [definita] ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning." (Epistle to the Emperor, quoted by Pope Gregory XVI in his encyclical Mirari Vos of 15th August 1832)
And of course no escape from the heterodoxy of the contrary teaching of Vatican II can be based on the subtle technique of using the conditional, "If...there have been deficiencies...in the way that Church teaching has been formulated..."; for the simple reason that even to entertain the hypothesis shows that it is believed to be possible that there could be such deficiencies, and to give instructions on how to respond to such an eventuality shows it even to be likely.
Theological censure: in the most natural implication of the words HERETICAL.
(q) Other heresies of Vatican II, and a heresy in the Good Friday proper of the Novus Ordo Missae.
The foregoing list is not exhaustive, partly because we have never wanted to undertake the time-consuming, laborious and morally dangerous task of attentively reading all the documents of the Council with a view to locating every affront to the Catholic Faith contained therein. We think it worth mentioning here, however, that the decree Unitatis Redintegratio on oecumenism and the declaration Nostra Aetate on non-Christian religions, together with the more celebrated declaration Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty, form a special category, since the heresies they contain are not incidental but constitute their very raison d'être. In other words, each of those documents not only contains isolated outrages against Catholic truth, but was conceived as an onslaught against some Catholic doctrine. Nostra Aetate sets out to undermine the cornerstone of Christian doctrine that "there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved [than] by the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Acts 4:10,12). Unitatis Redintegratio endeavours to rend the seamless garment of Christ and make his faithful bride the Church a whore by denying that "a man that is a heretic...is subverted and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgement" (Titus 3:10,11). And Dignitatis Humanae, of course, is directed against the social kingship of Christ, the duty of the state to embrace the one true religion and foster it while curbing the public expressions of all false religions, echoing the blasphemous cry of the Jews, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15); "We will not have this Man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14).
It is also notorious that the dogmatic constitution on the Church known from its opening words as Lumen Gentium was conceived primarily to introduce a heretical doctrine of episcopal "collegiality" never before heard of in the history of the Church. In this case, however, the protests of the "conservative" Fathers led to such radical revisions that the doctrine as promulgated may be no worse than tendentious. Until Bishop de Castro Mayer spotted the ploy, it had been the intention of those who drafted the original text so far to magnify the authority of the bishops acting in unison that this supposed authority would be incompatible with the dogma that the authority of the pope over the entire Church is not only immediate and absolute, but also plenary.
Finally, to close this list we think it worth making mention of one heresy that was not included in the Vatican II documents but appeared in the text of the Novus Ordo promulgated by Paul VI in the wake of the Council. It occurs in the proper of the Good Friday liturgy, on which day Novus Ordo celebrants and participants ask God to grant that the Jews "may grow/continue in faithfulness to His Covenant" ("in sui foederis fidelitate proficere"). The unmistakable implication is that the Jews are already, at least to some extent, faithful to God's covenant. But in fact this is not so, because the Old Covenant required the Jews to acknowledge the Messias, Jesus Christ, and when they rejected Him it was irrevocably breached and abrogated in perpetuity. Hence even their external observance of the Mosaic ceremonies cannot be considered "faithful", since it is de fide that the Mosaic law has been abrogated. And, needless to say, the Jews are certainly no more faithful to the New Covenant than they have been to the Old!
Theological censure: HERETICAL.
(b) Revelation was completed at the Crucifixion.