Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion" Msgr. Brunero Gherardini


This is a remarkable book, not necessarily because it espouses especially new propositions, theories, or analysis on Vatican II, but because it espouses ideas the Fraternal Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX) espoused for years, and was termed "heretical" or "schismatic" for espousing, AND this book was written (and, this is the important distinction) by a Vatican theologian, and published by a Vatican-based publisher. This would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. So, let's poke our noses into this book, and I am going to let Msgr. Gherardini speak for himself, hopefully not rendering his words out-of-context [page numbers and occasional comments will be in brackets.] Finally, before we embark, or, rather, hone-in, here is the brief biography of Msgr. Gherardini given by Christopher Ferrara: "Gherardini is nothing less than a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas, a leading Roman theological journal. The book includes a forward by Bishop Mario Oliveri (ordinary of the Italian dioceses of Albenga and Imperia) and an introduction by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, former secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and now Archbishop of Colombo."

Now to quote from the book itself:

"The purpose of Vatican II, in fact, sets it apart from any other Council, especially Trent and Vatican I. Its scope was not to give definitions, nor was it dogmatic or linked to dogma; it was
pastoral. Thus based on its specific nature it was a pastoral Council." [55]

...

"In all truth Modernism hid itself under the cloak of Vatican II's hermeneutic...The new rite of Holy Mass practically silenced the nature of sacrifice making of it an occasion for gathering together the people of God...the eucharistic gathering was given the mere sense of sharing a meal together...After having said all of this about Vatican II, if someone were to ask me if, in the final analysis, the modernist corruption had hidden itself within the Council documents themselves, and if the Fathers themselves were more or less infected, I would have to respond both
yes and no...But yes as well, because not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism--this can be seen above all in GS." [92--boldface mine]

...

"This [the general guidance of the Holy Spirit at a Council] does not mean that the Holy Spirit may not encounter formal or material resistance from the free-willed men who give life to the counciliar event. It is from this possibility that there arises the great risk which casts itself upon the background of the
Council...namely, the possibility that it may even fail in some way. Someone has even gone further and has asked if an Ecumenical Council can fall into error in Faith and Morals. The opinions are at variance..." [29, boldface mine.]

...

"Anyone who, in quoting it [VII], puts it on a par with Trent or Vatican I, and accredits to it a normative and binding force which it does not possess in itself, commits a crime and, in the final analysis, does not respect the Council itself." [30]

...

"It is absurd...to even think that modern and contemporary culture--that which is understood as having its beginning in the Enlightenment and which today finds expression in 'weak thought,' or materialism, or indifferentism and relativism--can be recognized as a natural development of ancient Tradition." [34. This may seem an obvious point, and space doesn't allow me to flesh-out Msgr. Gherardini further on it, though he does speak of it more, though his book is limited in scope. Suffice it to say that many prelates have the "weak thought" of thinking indifferentism, and, even, syncretism, somehow--because every one is so lovey-dovey like the Jesus of their imaginations who suffered not the children (He who would have been horrified to
not let them come to Him, as so many ecumenically-obsessed boobs in the Church are wont)--these ideas of the Church, as understood by modernists, are linked with the past, when they not.]

...

"[A]
reconciliation of the Church and the world was being spoken of." [46, boldface in original]

...

"Let me say immediately that not even a single dogmatic definition included in the intentions of LG or the other Vatican II documents. The Council--we do well not to forget this--could not have even proposed one since it had refused to follow along the lines traced out by other Councils...This means that
none of its doctrines, unless ascribable to previous conciliar definitions, are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding: he who denies them cannot, for this reason, be called a formal heretic." [58. Boldface mine.]

...

"It is licit, therefore, to recognize a dogmatic nature in Vatican II only where it re-proposes dogmas defined in previous Councils as the truth of Faith." [59]

...

"GS and DH formed the Anti-Syllabus of condemnation...[so that] a relationship of cooperation could be built up, cooperation even with those who were shackled in proclaimed and condemned errors." [82]

....

[After VII] "[A] missionary conception of the Church now freed from any form of or temptation to proselytism...this type of ecumenism, unfortunately, found a license to legitimacy from the spirit of assisi, thanks to the 'multi-religious' meeting celebrated there..." [86-87]

...

"The Council, therefore, in spite of its basic arguments, became imprisoned by the distress of the 'temporary' and the tyranny of the 'relative.' [ 93. Boldface mine.]

...


"[A] reform is not necessarily a development; it could actually be its opposite." [102]

...

[After VII, there was] "...the signing of insane agreements like that on 'justification' which leaves out the
articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae upon which Luther had founded his reform...frenzied ecumenism [even]...official declarations of the saving efficacy of non-Catholic professions of the Christian faith and even Judaism..." [110]

...

"As a result [of the likes of Rahner], a tombstone was placed over metaphysics...
Rahnerians make up a large part of the Bishops who have the Church in their hands...The air we breathe to this day continues to be both defiled and defiling." [118-121. Boldface mine.]

...

"How many times the very men, into whose hands Jesus had entrusted the sacred deposit of the Faith, solemnly and pompously said 'no' to this or that doctrine, like the Marian Coredemption, because otherwise it will prejudice ecumenical dialogue. It was as if to say, 'There is no other truth or value besides ecumenical dialogue.'..." [122. In fact, Pope Paul VI wanted the new mass to be as much like protestant worship as possible--See Alfonso Cardinal Stickler's piece in the Latin Mass Magazine, Summer, 1995. Thus we see "horizontalism," the looking at each other, as if Mass is a "meal," versus "verticalism," looking to Christ immolated, as Sacrifice, and Redeemer.]

...

"It is only to the Church's authentic Magisterium that the Holy Spirit entrusts the office of transmission.
It would not be a bad idea if some of the enlightened, post-conciliar innovators (who so flippantly presume to attach the Holy Spirit to their personal theories) were to reread at least a couple of the 26 theses of Franzelin on Tradition..." [135. Bold face mine. In other words, they are throwing around the Truth of the Holy Spirit as freely, and as falsely, as Benny Hinn]

...

"'I would not even be ready to believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church were not to compel me to do so'...[quoting St. Augustine]...Tradition, in the last analysis, is the very life of the Church; its action upon the Church comes about through an iter or sacramental or institutional guaranteed by the Holy Spirit." [142-143. Sans the Catholic Church, there is no Gospel. Not only did the Church canonize it in the "dark" ages, but she passed it on; but these texts have been perverted and muddied by the rebellious spirits of Luther, Calvin and Henry VIII's progeny's penchant to misinterpret and reformulate Scripture to their own ideologies. It's amazing to me how so many protestants look over Sacraments, blatant in the Bible: the anointing of the sick, the Holy Eucharist, Confession, etc., yet they, seemingly, find Baptism and Marriage to be valid. Me thinks there is a cognitive dissonance there.]

...

"Scripture is not, strictly speaking, the living Word of God; it is the witness and memorial of Gods Word. For this reason Scripture is sacred and venerable; yet it does not have the saving efficacy of the other instruments of salvation (i.e. the Sacraments)." [144-145]

...

"Scripture is divinely inspired, Tradition is divinely assisted; both of them pass on the 'Good News' of the saving mystery..." [152]

...

"...Is there not in SC itself an element of that which Pius XII had so strongly worked to keep at bay?" [168]

...

"
And if someone passed through that door to introduce into the Church a Liturgy subversive to the very nature and primary end of the Sacred Liturgy...the responsibility for this, in the final analysis, is none other than the conciliar text itself." [171-172]

...

"[T]he Liturgy which systematically boycotted the versus Domino orientation, the sacredness of the rite, the sense of latria, the irreplaceable beauty of Gregorian chant, the solemnity of gestures and vestments, and kneeling...[was committed in a] boundless cult of man..." [186-187. Although in this short piece I couldn't extrapolate on Gherardini's exposition of the fact that VII favored man (anthropocentricism) with God, it is there.]

...

"It is to be remembered that no one is morally free before the truth (God, revelation, true religion). Directly willed ignorance that leads a person to reject that which he is duty-bound to know is an act of grave, more irresponsibility; actually, it is the gravest moral mistake...The position of DH, therefore, rests on an absurd paralogism whose false reasoning makes equivocations, appeareances, or illusions seem true then indeed they are not...Worse still is the judgment helf by many theologians and egoumenoi of the Holy Church regarding the Church's missionary nature: a judgment which is theoretically and practically opposed to proselytism...Some have even reached the point...of counseling against conversion to Christianity..
.this is very different and distant from the tree described in MK 4:32...." [211-215]

...

"The content of DH and the contents of the previous Magisterium are different.
So there is neither continuity nor development of the previous Magisterium in DH." [217]

...

"Man himself, for whose salvation God Himself became incarnate and offered Himself as an expiatory sacrifice, was elevated by the Council and placed as the center of ecclesial activity: "Man himself, whole and entire, body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will' (GS 3). This capsized the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas who taught that God cannot create for ends which are foreign to His own reality." [220]

...

"I have already made mention of this anthropocentrism in the Constitution GS, a concern which Vatican II manifests in general through its dedication to man. It is a concern steeped in naivete and, I would say, in irrational kindness; it is based upon the dignity of the human person and the exaltation of his freedom through predominantly naturalistic premises. As a consequence, devastatingly little is said about the due distinction between the ontological and moral in man. This can be seen in n.22. In this passage there is not only the devastation of naive, ecumenical nature which is absurd and unsustainable, but one of unprecedented gravity precisely because it wishes to unite its own absurd thought to Christ Himself...That this reveals an absurdity (that of confusing the natural with the supernatural, which throws all to the cards on the table regarding the anthropocentric conception of the Council) is clearly understood in the events after the Council; notwithstanding, if there is a more ridiculous absurdity it is the following: 'All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.' (n.22).
This text seems to open itself decisively to syncretism and its echo is recognizable a million miles away in K. Rahner's 'anonymous Christian'...MK 16:16 is rendered bogus..." [232-233]

All quotes taken from:

"The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion," Msgr. Brunero Gherardini.

Translated by the Franciscans of the Immaculate, From the Italian edition of March 25, 2009.


This volume is available from the "Academy of the Immaculate," 124 North Forke, Advance, NC 27006. Ph. 1-888-906-2742.















14 comments:

Mar said...

Thank you, thank you for posting this. What an eye-opener! I can already think of several catholic acquaintances with whom I have discussed Vatican II who need to see what is in that book. You have given good glimpses into it.

Mar said...

Forgot to ask this in my previous post: has this book been translated into any other languages besides English?

Hestor said...

Thank you for this review.

May God bless Msgr. Gherardini for being so courageous in speaking the truth!

Anonymous said...

This book is dynamite! I had know idea Mgr. Gherhardini would be so forthright! Thanks so much for posting these quotes!

--Zakhur

jucundushomo said...

This book can also be ordered through the Academy of the Immaculate, a traditional Catholic apostolate in the USA.

Copies of Msgr. Gherardini's book are $25 each plus shipping. Mike Coffey, FTI can be contacted for orders directly at mimike@pipeline.com or 1-888-906-2742.

I spoke with Mr Coffey this morning, which was a pleasure, and he has stock on hand.

thomas tucker said...

Great post. nd previous ones excellent as well.
Keep posting.

Knight of Malta said...

Dear Mar,

I do not know if it has been translated into other languages, but I would assume it has been in French at least.

John said...

Well, I guess I'll be the one dissenting vote thus far.

I'm not a philosopher, theologian, or whatever, and I'd love to read the book to see what all Msgr says.

BUT, from the excerpts here, I think Msgr may fall into the trap that hinders many traditionalists:
He understands what he was taught about the faith and he can quote saints with great skill.
However, he doesn't appear to me to understand the Council's intent.

I do not know if Vatican II taught dogmatically about anything, but I don't think that's relevant. I've always felt that Vatican II challenged the faithful too contemplate the WHY of our traditions as much as they practice the WHAT of those same traditions. From what I've heard of the "pre-conciliar" Church, too many were far too entrenched in the legalisms of practice and not concerned enough with the underlying spiritual realities.

Vatican II then, sought to make the Church "more real" to people, rather than a mundane practice.

Certainly I appreciate Msgr's angst with the risk that the Council fathers took, but I would remind everyone that true, long-term growth cannot happen without some degree of risk, sometimes pretty stiff risk.

I certainly wish to see a greater understanding and practice of the Church's traditions, so I thank Msgr for that point. I think it foolish to throw the teaching of the Council under the bus from being mandatory though.

If it isn't binding on every person, why bother with it at all?

Jimmy said...

I am partly through the book. It is certainly not the easiest text to read but well worth the time and effort.

The last section of the book is a personal plea to Pope Benedict to take immediate action on the failings of VII that are called on by the author. Sadly, though, if reports are true His Holiness has refused to even touch the book let alone read it.

Knight of Malta said...

Interestingly, the friar who translated it into English claims to have confirmation that the Pope is reading (or has read) it.

Alan Aversa said...

I read the introduction of this book in Italian, and it certainly has a more polemical spirit than Romano Amerio's Iota Unum.

Thanks for the quotes

Alan Aversa said...

@John: "[H]e doesn't appear to me to understand the Council's intent."

He writes that the Council's intent here: "[A] reconciliation of the Church and the world was being spoken of." [46, boldface in original]

"I do not know if Vatican II taught dogmatically about anything"

Only when it re-iterated previously defined dogma:
"[N]one of its doctrines, unless ascribable to previous conciliar definitions, are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding".

Vatican II was not entirely infallible because it "ha evitato di pronunciare in modo straordinario dogmi dotati della nota di infallibilità [avoided pronouncing in an extraordinary way (new) dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility]" (Pope Paul VI audience, 12 January 1966) and "In view of conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, this sacred Synod defines matters of faith or morals as binding on the Church only when the Synod itself openly declares so," which it never did (Council's General Secretary, 16 November 1964).

"true, long-term growth cannot happen without some degree of risk, sometimes pretty stiff risk."

Tradition—the deposit of faith passed on uncorrupted through the Church from the time of the Apostles—must remain unchanged. Although our understanding of it might deepen, that doesn't mean Tradition itself grows or changes.

"If it isn't binding on every person, why bother with it at all?"

Good question! Especially since the Council was convened with very little direction. (E.g., the Preparatory Commission's schemas were all scrapped, etc.)

Also, as Msgr. Gherardini wrote, it hasn't been established councils can't fail.

Michael said...

You mentioned on Rorate Caeli that you had seen some pictures of the prelates wining and dining at the second Vatican council. Do you recall where you saw those pictures?

Knight of Malta said...

Time Magazine.

Thank you for all of your comments, both good and bad!

Below is something all of us Catholics can agree will be edifying to our spirits. Hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

http://www.restlessheartfilm.com/?src=cwr