Rorate Caeli, Corrispondenza Romana and other Catholic news-outlets, carried a valuable intervention by Monsignor Athanasius Schneider on the “Interpretation of the Second Vatican Council and its relationship with the current crisis in the Church”.
According to the auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Vatican II was a pastoral Council and its texts should be read and judged in the light of the perennial teaching of the Church. In fact “From an objective point of view, the statements of the Magisterium (Popes and councils) of definitive character, have more value and more weight compared with the statements of pastoral character, which have naturally a changeable and temporary quality depending on historical circumstances or responding to pastoral situations of a certain period of time, as it is the case with the major part of the statements of Vatican II.”
Monsignor Schneider’s article was followed on July 31st by a balanced comment from Don Angel Citati of the FSSPX (http://www.sanpiox.it/attualita/1991-suaviter-in-modo-fortiter-in-re), according to which the German Bishop’s position recalls very closely what was repeated constantly by Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre: “To say that we evaluate the Council’s documents “in the light of Tradition”, means, evidently, three indissoluble things: that we accept those that are in keeping with Tradition; that we interpret those that are ambiguous according to Tradition; that we reject those that are contrary to Tradition” ( (Mons. M. Lefebvre, Vi trasmetto quello che ho ricevuto.
Tradizione perenne e futuro della Chiesa, [I transmit what I have received. Perennial Tradition and the future of the Church] by Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro, Sugarco Edizioni, Milano 2010, p. 91). Having been published on the official site of the Italian District, Don Citati’s article helps us understand what might be the base of an agreement to regularize the canonical situation of the Fraternity of Pius X.
It must be added that, on the theological level, all of the distinctions can and have to be made to interpret the texts of Vatican II, which was a legitimate Council: the twenty-first in the Catholic Church. Its documents from time to time may be defined pastoral or dogmatic, provisional or definitive, in keeping or not in keeping with Tradition.
Monsignor Brunero Gheradini, in his recent works offers us an example of how a theological judgment may be articulated, if it wants to be precise (Il Concilio Vaticano II un discorso da fare, Casa Mariana, Frigento 2009 e Id., Un Concilio mancato, Lindau, Torino 2011). Each text, for a theologian, has a different quality and a different degree of authority and cogency. Hence the debate is open.
On the historical level, however, Vatican II constitutes a non-decomposable block: It has its own unity, its essence, its nature. Considered in its origins, its implementation and consequences, it can be described as a Revolution in mentality and language, which has profoundly changed the life of the Church, initiating a moral and religious crisis without precedent. If the theological judgment may be vague and comprehensive, the judgment of history is merciless and without appeal. The Second Vatican Council was not only unsuccessful or a failure: it was a catastrophe for the Church.
Since this year is the centenary of the Apparitions of Fatima, let us consider this point only. When Vatican II opened in October 1962, Catholics from all over the world were waiting for the disclosing of the Third Secret and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary. John Haffert’s Blue Army led a mass campaign for years in this regard.
What better occasion for John XXIII ( died 3rd June 1963), Paul VI and with circa 3000 bishops gathered around them, in the very heart of Christendom, to meet Our Lady’s requests in a solemn and unanimous way? On February 3rd 1964, Monsignor Geraldo de Proença Sigaud, personally delivered to Paul VI, a petition signed by 510 prelates from 78 countries, which implored the Pontiff, in union with all the bishops, to consecrate the world and in an explicit manner, Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Pope and most of the Council Fathers ignored the appeal.
If the Consecration request had been done, great graces would have poured down on humanity. A movement of a return to the natural and Christian law would have begun. Communism would have fallen many years earlier, in an non-fictitious way, but authentic and real. Russia would have converted and the world would have experienced an age of peace and order. Our Lady had promised this.
The failed consecration allowed Russia to continue spreading its errors throughout the world and these errors conquered the highest ranks of the Church, inviting a terrible chastisement for all of humanity. Paul VI and the majority of the Council Fathers assumed a historical responsibility for which today we gauge the consequences.