Seen on the web: Was Vatican II really necessary, and was it a good thing?


13 April 2012 at 11:31 am

Regarding a close reading of the Conciliar documents themselves: I’ve spent many hours reading the documents, both alone and in discussion groups with ecclesiastical history and theology graduate students from reputable and well respected Catholic universities, and discussed specific constitutions at length with well educated and well formed priests, and I can say with my hand on my heart that a close reading of those documents does not clear up any of their ambiguity either with regard to the “intent” of the document or with their actual content.

We’ve examined the documents linguistically, studying the Latin to try to clear up the ambiguities, and the problems of interpretation obstinately persist.

There is something about the very language of the V2 documents that lends itself to “misunderstanding”, and a variety of equally legitimate interpretations.

The two camps that the pope has outlined regarding the proper “hermeneutic” of the Council (continuity and discontinuity) can both legitimately claim positions of interpretation drawn directly from the texts of the Council because of the extreme lack of definition to the language that was employed.


Hermeneutics: The collection of rules which govern the right interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

After removing what is foreign to hermeneutics, we are enabled to understand its proper object more thoroughly.

Its material object is the book or writing which is to be explained; its formal object is concerned with the sense expressed by the author of the book in question.

Thus, Biblical hermeneutics deals with Sacred Scripture as its material object, furnishing a complex set of rules for finding and expressing the true sense of the inspired writers, while the discovery and presentation of the genuine sense of Sacred Scripture may be said to be its formal object.

Read more

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


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.

Read the article