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The Validity of Vatican II

Source: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube

Music written and generously provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here:

Spanish translations by Vélez Translations,

The second Vatican council was an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church hosted over several years and presided over by 2 popes (John XIII & Paul VI).

Up until this point in the Church’s history, councils were called in order to resolve some controversy as in someone’s been teaching something that is creating confusion and debate and so the Church needs to gather to prayerfully consider it and offer a clarification.

That’s one of the ways that we get dogmas in the Church. They are the result of someone teaching something wrong somewhere, and the Church stepping in to correct it with dogmas and anathemas – which were like condemnations of the erroneous teachings.

But when Vatican II was called, there was no specific controversy they were attending to. There was no dogma to be defined or heresy to be condemned. Every council in the Church’s 2000-year reign before this was a dogmatic council but V2 was going to be different. It was going to be a pastoral council.

And right off the bat, characterizing the council as so fundamentally novel compared to everything that came before it seems like a bold thing to do for a Church built upon tradition – a tradition that is constantly pressured to compromise that tradition both from the outside and from within.

To make such an audacious stride towards innovation, which is a strong current within modernism, you’d think you’d want to have a lot of safeguards in place to make sure that things didn’t go haywire or to be at least prepared for the eventual potential mess that could erupt.

So the council was going to focus on a way to interact with and evangelize the contemporary world. It was a response to a dramatically shifting and emerging global culture in order to ensure that the Church and her message would continue to be relevant in the contemporary world.

An interesting correlation is that the Church has been in a dramatic free fall from whatever relevance it still held at the time of the council. If the intention was to more effectively speak to the outside world and its ability to do so has faced nothing but decline since then, I think any reasonable person would admit that that’s worth taking a very hard and honest look at.

Some do, and they take a largely negative view of the council. Others will relentlessly defend it and explain those consequences away with speculations like: those things would have happened and worse if it wasn’t for the council. But there’s really no way to know that for sure. All we do know is that the goals of the council remain unrealized.

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Header image: Vatican II via