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What Did Vatican II Really Change...? Protestants!

Issue Date: March/April 1984

Many Protestants believe that the Roman Catholic "Church" has undergone immense changes since the great Vatican II Council. It is widely believed that sweeping changes took place in both doctrine and practice among Catholics. But the Second Vatican Council was really just a facelift whose real success lies in the changes it brought about in Protestants! An important aspect of the Second Vatican Council is often overlooked. It is best expressed by this excerpt from Roman Catholicism by Loraine Boettner: An official document, "The Constitution on the Church," prepared by the Council and promulgated by the pope, reaffirms basic Roman Catholic doctrine precisely as it stood before the Council met... The doctrine of papal infallibility is restated. We are told that when by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith and morals... his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable (Article 25). The pope has lost none of his power. He remains the absolute ruler in the Roman church. But if papal decrees, past and present, are "irreformable," what hope is there for reform in the Roman church? The change made by the Second Vatican Council, ending in 1965, were in liturgy, administrative practices and, most important, in ecumenism. While admitting

that other churches contain "elements" of truth, it repeated that the Roman Catholic "Church" is the only true church. Great care was taken to emphasize that no changes would be made in the doctrinal structure of the "church." However, Pope Paul did add one new doctrine, that Mary is the Mother of the church. The Council updated liturgy and church administration to make it more acceptable to the twentieth century world. With the introduction of the "New Mass" in 1965, for example, Latin is no longer required except in certain instances. But to Protestants is matters not whether the mass is said in Latin, English, or Swahili. The problem is not with the language but with the idolatrous teachings of the Mass and the required worship of the wafer-god, the cookie turned into Jesus. Roman Catholicism has not, and in fact cannot change her gross errors regarding salvation. And the Council did not remove the more than one hundred anathemas (curses) pronounced by the Council of Trent on the Protestant churches and beliefs. The Second Vatican Council brought an important change inmethods. It had been decided that Protestantism could be better eliminated by ecumenical unity than by the sword and the inquisitor's torch. No longer calling the Protestants "heretics," but renaming them "separated brethren," the stage was set to woo Protestants into ecumenical unity. Where once all Catholics were called to oppose and exterminate all "heretics," the new method was to absorb them into the Roman Catholicism. Special offices and commissions were set up on a global basis

to work to bring about this unity. Catholics were even taught the vocabulary of the evangelical Christian, although the words were given different meanings that would not conflict with their relic and Mary worship. The effect has been dramatic. Weary of the struggle against Rome, Protestant leaders have abandoned the warnings of the Scriptures, and rushed pell-mell toward sharing a yoke with the idolaters of Rome. The Second Vatican Council continues to be a global success, a stroke of genius to disarm and deceive the true believers in Christ. VATICAN 2: A FAILURE!? Although the Second Vatican Council ought to be understood as the most recent stage of the two millenium old growth or development of the Church, it would seem that most Catholics and non-Catholics see the Council as a revolution within Catholicism, as an antithesis to Trent and the First Vatican Council, an unexpected novelty. The basis for such views revolves around the changes in liturgy and the relation of the Catholic Church to the secular world and to other religious denominations. Accordingly, for some the Council is considered positively and for others it is judged negatively. The success or failure of a Council as well as its principles can be understood from two different viewpoints: first of all, with respect to the inner workings, or nature, of a Council, and secondly, with respect to the application of the various demands or suggestions made by a Council. Further one's understanding of a Council is very much determined by the way in which the Church is conceived. Vatican II, however, made a radical change in the way the Church was to be

conceived. The pre-conciliar way of looking at the Church tended to identify Catholicism and Roman Catholicism, it tended to identify the Church with the Church hierarchy. The post-conciliar view of the Church, on the contrary shed light on the importance of the local churches, on the other rites and ecclesial traditions (Eastern Catholic Churches) which are on an equal par to both the Latin Church and tradition, and likewise on the sister Churches (of Orthodoxy) with which the Church of Rome is not in full communion. Similarly, the innovation that the Church consists of the people of God, that is of laity and of clergy, was in itself a revolutionary moment in the way that Catholicism conceived its own ecclesial nature. This radical development in ecclesiology, consequently, effected and still effects the way in which the Vatican Council is to be understood. Thus, one is forced to ask whether the whole Church took part in the Council and whether the different parts of the Church were fully and equally represented in Vatican II, or not? If the answer is positive, than the Council was indeed a Council and accordingly successful in its conciliarity, if the response is negative, than Vatican II failed to be fully ecumenical and consequently failed to qualify as a Council. Undoubtedly, from a pre-conciliar point of view the Council was a visible coming together, working together and deciding together of the whole Church. With the Council however, the pre-conciliar understanding of the Church was clarified and broadened. But, in making this development, the Council failed to re-examine itself and its own conciliarity. Subsequently, from a post-conciliar ecclesiology the Council was a failure in that, the whole

Church was not represented, neither fully nor equally. It did not extend itself to include within itself the fullness of the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church. While the Eastern Catholic Churcheswere weakly represented, and were not offered an equal role to the Latin Church in the preparation committees and in the voting, the Orthodox Churches were not a part of the inner-conciliar dynamics. Accordingly, if these latter churches are part of the One mystical Body of Christ, that is of the Universal-Catholic Church as contrasted to the Roman-Catholic Church, then their absence means that the Council did not represent the entirety of the Church of Christ. Subsequently, Vatican II consisted only of parts of the whole Church. A second failure in the Council was the failure to distinguish clearly, from the beginning and in each working committee, session and conciliar text, the Latin tradition from the Church as a whole. Accordingly, many of the conciliar texts deal almost entirely and exclusively with questions and problems proper to the Latin or Roman tradition. Probably the clearest example is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. In other texts the theological principles which are applied and the theological structures which are used belong to Latin theology. The theological approaches and the riches of the Eastern Traditions are generally absent from the texts. One of the reasons for this weakness is that the Eastern Catholics had been brought up and educated according to the methods of Latin theology to the prejudice of their own traditions. The very Council recognises this point in promoting fidelity to and a deepening in the authentic ancient Eastern Traditions, proper to these Churches. Accordingly a hypothesis that Vatican II was an unsuccessful Council that became one of the most

historic synods of the Latin Church, can not only be posited but could seemingly be also well defended. WAS IT SUCCESSFULLLLLL!!!!! Another book about the Second Vatican Council and its consequences has just been published. The title is suggestive: What Went Wrong with Vatican II The Catholic Crisis Explained. Its author is Dr. Ralph McInerny, a professor at Notre Dame University. McInernys background as novelist helps to make the work easy to read. The cover attracts the attention and it has been nicely published by Sophia Institute Press in Manchester, New Hampshire. The method chosen by the author to present the subject deserves comment. He does not pretend to use scholastic rigor. At times, he adopts the method of proof ad absurdo: he prefers to take for granted that it is impossible that anything could have happened except what he wants. At other times, he presents ecclesiastical authorities supporting his thesis, but then he circles around them to avoid facing their corroborating consequences. These characteristics make it difficult to attribute clear and definite affirmations to him. For this reason his exposition seen more to skirt around the problem of the authority of Vatican II than to demonstrate a thesis in a Thomistic fashion. One could, nevertheless, presuppose the thesis and summarize it in three arguments. The first argument deals with the authority the

Council would have. In McInernys opinion: A. Major premise It is an error of simplification to reduce Vatican II to the confrontation of two currents (that is, traditional statements and liberal statements coexisting in the same Vatican documents). This is to have a human and limited vision of the Church. . Actually, the fact that a majority of Bishops approved the documents and unanimously promulgated them reveals the action of the Holy Ghost (pp. 27-30, 66, 150-151). B. Minor premise Paul VI solemnly promulgated the sixteen documents of the Council (pp. 14-15, 30-31). C. Conclusion Therefore, Vatican II was an infallible Council (pp. 31-32, 93, 114, 149) and its documents are an authentic expression of the Magisterium (pp. 18-19, 31-33, 36-37, 68, 147-148, 151). The second argument, drawn from the conclusion of the first, seeks to explain the crisis of interpreting the conciliar documents and the consequent crisis of authority that occurred after Vatican II. In the thinking of the author: A. Major premise Based on the documents of the Council, various dissident theologians affirm that it is not necessary for the faithful to accept certain pontifical teachings (pp 60-64, 66, 73, 139, 154-155). Furthermore, these theologians should be censured for trying to equate their teaching mission with that of the Magisterium (pp. 64-65, 74, 77-78, 93, 113, 136, 140). B. Minor premise Unfortunately, this dissidence has had free rein in the Church, causing a crisis of authority and arousing a lack of confidence among the faithful (pp. 67-69, 103, 125, 139). C. Conclusion Therefore, in order to solve this crisis, it is imperative that these theologians be silenced (p. 97) or leave the Church (pp. 67-68, 80-81). Given, then, the crisis and the causes he presents would be indisputable, his third argument deals with

the manner in which the excesses should be suppressed. According to McInerny: A. Major premise One should no longer argue about the Council, but accept it as the expression of the Supreme Magisterium. In other words, obedience should be imposed upon the dissidents (pp. 97, 146, 148, 155, 158). B. Minor premise Through its official bodies, the Holy See has issued norms curbing the action of the dissidents (pp. 129-134, 136-142). C. Conclusion Therefore, it will not take long for such dissidents to either submit (pp. 137, 157) or to leave the Church (p. 142). Thus is the crisis explained, and one just hopes it will not be too long before it is resolved (p. 142). This is a brief summary of the explanation the author proposes for the conciliar crisis. I admire McInerny for having the courage to deal with such a controversial subject and for expressing his opinion frankly. His loyalty to the Papacy and to the teachings of ecclesiastical Magisterium is noteworthy. I commend him for fighting against the dissident theologians he mentions. Above all, I commend him for choosing to publicly deal with the subject and thus help to open a wholesome debate about Vatican II. What could be better than an elevated discussion to remove the doubts and confusion of so many Catholics about the Council? Notwithstanding these positive notes, it seems to me that there are problems with certain points of McInernys thesis. These are problems that bear mention. I hope the author will not refuse an honest critique and is open to a cordial intellectual discussion on the subject. I ask that he accept my analysis as a collegial attempt to gain a more objective

understanding of reality. My observations will follow the same order as the arguments set out above. Two currents at Vatican II? With regard to the first argument, it would seem that the authors major premisedoes not correspond to what is known of the chronicles of the Council. In fact, from Cardinal Achille Linarts first intervention in the first conciliar session (October 13, 1962), when he objected to the composition of the commissions presented by the leaders of the Council and demanded an election whereby the Assembly should choose its representatives, until the vote on the two documents Dignitatis humanae and Gaudium et spes in the last session (December 6, 1965), the participants and chroniclers record the fierce contention between the current of Prelates inspired byNouvelle Thologie (New Theology) and the current that wanted to maintain the traditional doctrine of the Magisterium. This can be readily demonstrated by drawing on the chronicles of Vatican II. I suggest that on this point McInerny read the objective and well-documented accounts of Giovanni Caprile, Ren Laurentin, Antoine Wenger, Henri Fesquet, and Boaventura Kloppenburg, as well as the Bloc des notes of Yves Congar, published during the Council in Informations Catholiques Internationales. This is the very Congar that McInerny considers, along with de Lubac, one of the stars that shine in the Catholic intellectual firmament (p. 8, note 6). More modestly, I propose that the author read a recent work In the Murky Waters of Vatican II in which he can find a considerable number of trustworthy

statements attesting to the existence of two opposing currents in the Council (op. cit. Chaps. IV, VI et passim). It can be easily shown that the conflict between these two currents was a determinant factor in the preparation of the final documents. Ipso facto, one cannot hold that there was unanimity among the Bishops during the preparation of the documents, nor during their approval. Such unanimity can only be found at the final signing of Vatican II. The assertion that the approval of a document by the majority or unanimity of the Bishops implies the guarantee of the Holy Ghost will be dealt with further detail when speaking of the authority of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him. Thus the fundamental affirmation of the major premise that it is an error of simplification to consider the Council as a fight between two currents has no base. For this reason, it is surprising to see the contemptuous treatment the author gives to Fr. Ralph Wiltgens excellent book The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, a work he dismisses as appropriate for those who consider the Council a kind of ideological dogfight (p. 28). Are the teachings of Vatican II infallible? Regarding McInernys minor premise, Paul VI did solemnly approve all the documents using expressions that were practically the same. These closing statements can be found at the end of each one of the sixteen documents. No doubt, this approval indicates the desire to give weight to the documents and makes one lean toward the idea that the Pontiff wanted to make use of his prerogative of infallibility. The question is: Did this fact happen? My response is the following:

* If employing practically the same formula in all the documents indicates the desire to use infallibility, then that infallibility should extend to the whole. However, there are subjects to which infallibility does not apply, such as, for example, those in the decree Inter mirifica, which deals with means of social communication, a matter outside of Faith and Morals. Obviously, it was not Paul VIs intention to impose upon the Church as infallible these considerations regarding the media. Therefore, employing the same formula in all the documents should not be understood as revealing an intention of using infallibility. It expresses a vague manifestation of authority, imprecise regarding what it actually obliges. * Furthermore, the Announcement written by the Secretary General of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, that precedes the Preliminary Explanatory Note to Lumen gentium says: Taking into account conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred synod has defined as binding on the Church only those matters of Faith and Morals which it has expressly put forward as such (1). 1. Pericle Felici, Notificaes, November 16, 1964, in V.A. Atas do Conclio Ecumnico Vaticano II, (Petrpolis: Vozes, 1966), pp. 108-109. If we hold this passage to be valid for the sixteen documents of Vatican II, this would only oblige obedience in matters of Faith and Morals. Furthermore, this is the only statement on this matter that emanates from Vatican II. Therefore, it did not wish to be taken as infallible. * Above and beyond this, Paul VI himself, author of the aforementioned formulas, declared after the close of the Council:

There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoid issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: given the Councils pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility(2). 2. Paul VI, General Audience of January 12, 1966 in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol.4, p. 700. Therefore, Paul VIs solemn approval of the conciliar documents cannot be used as a conclusive argument in favor of the infallibility of Vatican II. Thus it can be stated that McInernys minor premise is true Paul VI approved the conciliar documents but it is inconsequential, because it doesnt lead to his desired conclusion. That approval does not imply infallibility. Further, it can be affirmed that the approval by the majority or unanimity of the Bishops does not add the note of infallibility to the documents. This corroborates the analysis above about the weakness of the major premise. Since the two premises of the first argument are not as solid as the author would have hoped, the first conclusion that the Council is infallible is without foundation and must be relegated to the field of opinion. Is the Council an expression of the perennial Magisterium of the Church? The second conclusion that the Council is an

authentic expression of the Magisterium must be addressed. McInerny argues that Vatican II should be followed in as much as it is an expression of the ordinary papal Magisterium, which calls for attitudes of respect and obedience (pp. 36-38, 88, 108). This affirmation is deserving of analysis. Holy Mother Church in matters of Faith and Morals has very precise and defined norms regarding progress. Progress is acceptable when it follows the same sense and meaning of the earlier Magisterium (in eodem sensu eademque sententia). The Church promulgated these prudential norms in order to avoid grave errors, at times taught even by Popes (Marcellinus, Liberius, Zozimus, Vigilius, etc) and Councils (Milan 355, Constantinole 360, Constance, Basle etc). Therefore, it cannot be categorically stated that Vatican II, nor any other Council, is the expression of the unchangeable Magisterium of the Church except in the measure that it is coherent with prior teaching. In Vatican II many times it is very difficult to harmonize the present with the past. I will cite just one example among many. The conciliar decree Unitatis redintegratio teaches that the salvation can be found outside of the Church: Large communities became separated from the full communion with the Catholic Church . However, one cannot charge with the sin of separation those who at present are born into these communities and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . "Moreover, some, even very many of the most

significant elementsand endowments which go together to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; Faith, hope and charity with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements . The brethren divided from us also carry out many liturgical actions of the Christian religion . These . can aptly give access to the communion of salvation (UR 3a, b, c). This teaching is basis for ecumenism, which constitutes one of the greatest innovations of Vatican II. Comparing this thesis with the perennial Magisterium, we find the contrary affirmed. Pius IX, along with other Popes, firmly fought what we label today ecumenism: And it tends to the same end as this horrible system of religious indifferentism tends in matters of religion, a system that is even repugnant to the simple light of natural reason. It is through this system, in fact, that these subtle artisans of the lie seek to destroy all distinction between vice and virtue, truth and error, honor and shameful torpidity, criminally thinking men of all cults and every religion can be led to the hope of eternal salvation. As if there could be a participation of justice with iniquity, and alliance of light with darkness, some sort of relationship between Jesus Christ and Belial(3). 3. Pius IX, Encyclical Qui pluribus of November 9, 1846, in Recueil des allocutions consistoriales, Encycliques et autres lettres apostoliques (Paris: Adrien le Clerc, 1865), p. 181. How can this doctrine be harmonized with that of Vatican II? It is really very difficult. There are other conciliar novelties that clash with

traditional teaching. Among these would be the notion of the Church as mystery; its affinity with modernist pneumatology and its opposition to the teaching of St. Pius X; the notion of sinning Church, which contradicts the divine nature of the Spouse of Christ; the adaptation of the Church to the modern world in contradiction to the anathemas of Pius IX; the acceptance of the so-oft-condemned motto LibertyEquality-Fraternity in the ecclesiastical and civil spheres; and the acceptance of the principles of modern historicism and its application to the dogma resulting in a grave damage to the unity of the Catholic Faith. This is not to mention the questions that alter traditional teaching regarding the militant, missionary and Roman characters of the Holy Church. Thus, until the Councils novelties can be shown to be congruent with the prior Magisterium, the former obviously cannot be taken as an expression of the latter. One sees, then, that the authors second conclusion is hasty. Vatican II has still not been sufficiently shown to be an authentic expression of the Magisterium. The Council will or will not be found to express the perennial Magisterium until these many doubts are cleared up. McInerny avoids making this clarification and hides behind formalism: Since the Councils documents were approved by the majority or unanimity of the Bishops and endorsed by the Pontiff, then they must be the indisputable expression of the Supreme Magisterium (pp. 18-19, 31-32, 68, 147-148, 151). If the substance of matters dealt with in a Council were more important than the form observed to promulgate it, then the condemned statements at the Councils of Constance and Basel should be taken as an expression of the Magisterium, because they apparently followed the

canonical formalities. Furthermore, intellectual honesty demands that a person be allowed to use any legitimate means to safeguard the integrity of the Catholic Faith from the introduction of justifiably suspect doctrines. Even should such doctrines come from three Popes and a Council. Should Prof. McInerny be interested, I can show him citations of Saints and Doctors of the Church who defend the right and obligation of Catholics to resist Prelates even Popes who endanger the Faith (In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, General Introduction, note 3). Would the cause of the crisis only be the progressivist theologians? The major premise of McInernys second argument is true: he affirms that certain theologians advocate a revolutionary defiance of the principle of authority. It is also true that these theologians claim a position of equality, and even superiority, in relation to the traditional Magisterium. In the minor premise it is necessary to make a distinction. Doubtless, the dissent of progressivist theologians is an important factor in the cause of the crisis of authority. From this angle, the premise is unassailable. However, although it is an important factor for the loss of authority, it is neither the sole or principal cause, even when considered from a broader perspective, which would include trendy catechists, creative liturgists, and antinomian moral theologians (p. 118). * In fact, the germ of the crisis of authority was inoculated in the very documents of the Council. For example, in the discussion on the schema of Lumen

gentiumregarding the actual makeup of the Church, the conciliar fathers resolved to invert the accepted order and put the people of God before the Hierarchy. A greater emphasis was given to the faithful as the foundation of the Church than to the Hierarchy, which was relegated to a secondary position. Renowned Prelates, commenting upon this inversion that was included in the promulgated text, have called it a Copernican revolution in ecclesiology. Sooner or later this inversion was bound to foster a certain arrogance among some of the faithful, as in the case of the aforementioned theologians. Therefore, such theologians are neither the sole nor principal cause of the crisis. * Besides this, the abettors of the conciliar reforms were the Council, Popes and Bishops. For example, the demolition of venerable traditions effected by the liturgical reforms was initiated by the conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum concilium, confirmed by Paul VI s Apostolic Constitution Missale romanum, and put into effect by Bishops around the world. The decisive blow against a liturgy spanning centuries did not come from progressivist theologians, but from the official ranks of the Church. How can one not see in this iconoclast period an example for other traditions to be broken? Couldnt the contesting of authority made by the learned be invoked as a precedent to change other institutional aspects of the Church, such as submission to authority? It seems undeniable. Once again, it is obvious that the learned dissenters were neither the sole nor principal cause of the crisis. * Another cogent example of this was the reform of the Holy Office and the abolition of the Index, which forbade the reading of books harmful to Faith and Morals. Paul VI effected this reform in his Motu proprio

Integrae servanda (December 5, 1965). His stated objective was to mitigate theological punishments. Who doesnt see that this lowering of the guard served to stimulate the audacity of the liberals? Again, the dissent of learned theologians was neither the sole nor principal cause of the crisis. * Furthermore, there are theologians who heretofore were considered suspect of heresy by the Holy Office. Yet after the Council, even though they did not change their thinking, they were promoted and are now considered representatives of official theology. These include Cardinal Yves Congar, Cardinal Henri de Lubac, Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, Fr. Karl Rahner, Fr. Marie-Dominique Chenuand Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Why does McInerny only condemn todays liberals? McInerny does not mention the relationship of those who are now mistakenly taken for moderates with the liberals of yesterday. The principles that a Fr. Charles Curran defends are based on those preached by todays accepted scholars that I listed. If McInerny wanted to point accurately to the causes of the present day crisis, he would need to point to both groups. Not doing this, he shields the most dangerous wing of theology. And these theologians were the ones who exercised a decisive influence at Vatican II. Ignoring these theologians and assuming the Council to be infallible, McInerny takes an incomplete position that can hardly be called impartial. * With regard to the minor premise, another observation can be made about the example chosen by the author to prove the evil of the dissenting theologians: the case of Humanae vitae. McInerny avoids dealing with the opposition to the encyclical that came from official ecclesiastical circles. He lightly

dismisses such opposition as rare (p. 47). Unfortunately, this does not correspond to what actually happened. Not only did many Bishops contest the papal teaching, but entire Episcopates did so (in Belgium, Brazil, Holland, France and Germany, for example). McInerny can find proof of this in the book In the Murky Waters of Vatican II (Chap. X, note 24). Once again, it is obvious that the dissenting theologians are neither the sole nor principal cause of the crisis of authority. These are considerations that seem to me indispensable to make an objective analysis of the minor premise of the authors second argument. Finally, McInernys conclusion is valid: the theologians he names should be silenced. But I will go a step further. If the disciples are to be condemned, why not also their masters? And if the masters are condemned, how can one avoid considering the influence of their thinking in Vatican II? This brings us back to the need for an open and objective debate on this subject. Punishment with or without explanations The third argument supposes the preceding ones. However, while the former two arguments are not indisputable, this one lacks solid foundation. The author advocates authoritarian disciplinary measures, which might be just if his argument had been solid. Since it was not, Prof. McInerny appears to have taken an arbitrary position. The major premise posits that one should not longer argue about the Council, but instead acknowledge in it the Supreme Magisterium and demand obedience from the dissidents. No more polemics. If McInerny had proved his thesis, perhaps the measures he asks for

would be sufficient. But since he did not, without cause there is no effect. For arguments sake, it seems that his suggestion to punish the guilty without due explanation would go against the normal practice of the Church. Since she is the Mistress of Truth, she can easily prove the truth or error of doctrine. To offer proof would reflect her sovereignty in teaching truth and guarding Revelation. On the contrary, railing to do so would be to hid behind papal infallibility, which would give the impression of an institution uncertain about what she asserts. Therefore, regarding the major premise of the third argument, it would seem to me both illogical and imprudent. Notwithstanding, I agree with McInerny that these theologians should be silenced. However, I believe that this should be done with a full explanation. Then, should they remain recalcitrant, a detailed investigation following due process should be carried out, a just sentence issued, and the punishment meted out. McInernys conclusion seems debatable: that punishing dissenting theologians would resolve the crisis. As I have demonstrated, these theologians are neither the sole nor principal cause of the crisis. It is not only because of the dissent of learned theologians that we are witnessing the sorrowful passion of the Catholic Church, but because of more profound and important factors. And among those factors is the apparent or real contradiction of many of the teachings of Vatican II with the earlier ecclesiastical Magisterium. For this reason, I do not believe that simply punishing theologians will solve the crisis. The need for an elevated and elucidating debate

In order to find such a solution, the courage to debate the topic of the Council is necessary. We know that the Catholic Church is immortal and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her (Matt. 16:18). Why not begin a wide-ranging discussion comparing Vatican II and the perennial Magisterium? That is my suggestion. This would be a frank and humble way to determine if there were deviations, to correct them should they exist, and to truly help to end the ecclesiastical crisis. On the contrary, isnt it incongruent today to be continually asking pardon for the Churchs past when we lack the courage to investigate and correct the present?