Faithful Answers is a promising new Catholic apologetics website. Notable contributors include Fr. Chad Ripperger, Fr. Michael Rodriguez, and Mr. Hugh Owen among many others. It is broadly traditionalist, orthodox, and notably insistent on communion with the Holy Father and “the patriarchs and bishops in communion with him.” They tackle the hard questions, such as “On the Pastoral Nature of Vatican II: An Evaluation” by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini:
Adherence to Vatican II is, for the reasons stated above, qualitatively articulated. Inasmuch as all four described levels express conciliar teaching, all four require of individual believers and Catholic-Christian communities the duty of an adherence that shall not necessarily be always “of Faith.” Such adhesion only goes to the truths of the third level, and only inasmuch as they derive from other assuredly dogmatic Councils. A religious and respectful reception is due to the other three levels, as long as some of their assertions do not collide with the perpetual reality of Tradition by reason of an obvious break of some of their formal variants with the eodem sensu eademque sententia [with the same sentiments and the same consensus]. In such a case dissent, especially if calm and reasoned, determines neither heresy nor error.
As regards the second, pastoral level, one must truly think that the Council Fathers were not aware of the mortgage paid by themselves to Enlightenment by opening up the Council to a pastoral role that from the very beginning, according to the Enlightenment mentalitè from which it sprang, had given a trip to God in order to replace Him with man and even, at times, to identify God with man. Indeed, eighteenth-century pastoral care bypassed the motivations, sources, contents, and methods of dogmatic theology and opened wide the gates of the theological fortress to the primacy of anything natural, rational, temporal, sociological.
By saying this, I do not mean at all that the pastoral model of Vatican II is the same as the pastoral model of the eighteenth century. But anyone who, in order to deny their identity, denied any relationship between the two, would be naive or disinformed. In Vatican II the pastoral model remained rooted in Enlightenment, albeit with different expressions and motivations. It was Paul VI who rescued it from the quicksands of Enlightenment when, at the opening of the second post-conciliar period, he transferred that model to a Romantic sphere in order to make it “a bridge to the contemporary world” that would convey to it “its inner vitality…as a life-giving event and an instrument of salvation for the world itself.” Thus the Arabian Phoenix became a bridge, a coefficient of life, an instrument of salvation; yet without losing its relationship with Enlightenment as its source through the Neo-Modernistic inspiration of its proponents. Not by chance secularization, which subsequently celebrated its triumph in the present post-conciliar stage, moved from a pastoral theology thus understood. And if an uncertain notion of its pastoral nature derives from ignorance of its precedents, the absurdity of the dogmaticalness of a self-styled merely pastoral council must needs derive from its original relationship with them. Thus, the Arabian Phoenix unveils her true features. All things considered, it would have been better to keep them secret still.
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