What to do with the Second Vatican Council?

When it comes to the Second Vatican Council, traditional Catholics are of three minds:

1. “Hermeneutic of continuity”: i.e., twist yourself into a pretzel in a never-ending effort to interpret Vatican-II as harmonious with tradition. This is often accompanied by the hope that, one day, a pope will issue a document clarifying the Council’s ambiguities and (real or apparent) discontinuities.

2. Repudiate the Council entirely. It is permeated with Modernism throughout, even in its expressions of orthodoxy.

3. Forget the Council. It has too many problems to be useful, but none of them rise to the level of needing an embarrassing public repudiation. So, just ignore it and move on. Fr. John Hunwicke makes a strong case for this approach in his latest post:

“When an elderly ball has been kicked around for long enough, sensible schoolboys leave it to settle quietly into the nutrients at the bottom of the ditch, unobserved except by the water voles, and agree to move on together to newer games. Whatever was of permanent value in Vienne … and Vatican II … has merged and disappeared gradually into what one might call the Church’s general background noise (dogmatic decrees and anathemas of dogmatic councils are, of course, a different matter). What was unhelpful in the Conciliar texts or their consequences … and when the Templars were led out to be burned, they probably thought that was unhelpful … Time has purged away; or will purge. Why cannot Roman dicasteries, and the SSPX, be content with that?”

I must say that this strikes me as culturally a very English solution, and I mean that as a compliment. Option #3 also has the advantage of allowing many good Catholics to save a little face.

By the way, if you aren’t reading Fr. John Hunwicke – a priest of the Anglican Ordinariate in England – you need to be. His last four posts are important enough that I will link each of them here –

SSPX: Is it ecumenism or is it not? (1)

SSPX: Is it ecumenism or is it not? (2)

(Crypto) Lefevrianism (1)

Lefebvrianism (2)

5 thoughts on “What to do with the Second Vatican Council?

  1. Thank you for alerting your readers to Fr. Hunwicke’s site, Jeff. Your posts and Father’s on these issues are very timely, to state the painfully obvious.


  2. Rad Trad,

    Could we not say, perhaps, that the official liturgical changes began before the Council, but that the main doctrinal problems, i.e. ecumenism, false religious liberty, etc., were “officially” begun with the Council?


  3. Despite comparatively minor liturgical changes before the Council, I think it’s fair to say that the Novus Ordo Missae – the Council’s most ubiquitous fruit – marks the most radical departure from liturgical tradition in history.


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