Iowa bishop blasts ‘spirit of Vatican II,’ calls it ‘a ghost or demon that must be exorcised’

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In a new pastoral letter on Church renewal, Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City denounces false interpretations of the Second Vatican Council and calls upon Catholics to “reclaim and strengthen our understanding of the deposit of faith.” Bishop Nickless, originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver who served as Archbishop Charles Chaput’s vicar general, writes:

The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform,” of renewal in the continuity of the one subject – Church – which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

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