Monday, January 17, 2011

Bp Schneider calls on Pope for document condemning mistaken interpretations of Vatican II

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC - Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan speaks at the 2009 Call to Holiness Conference in the Detroit area (photo may be used by fellow bloggers with attribution).

Veteran Vatican journalist, Sandro Magister, gives us a partial translation of an address given by Bishop Athanasius Schneider in which he asks the Holy Father to put out a document condemning certain mistaken interpretations of Vatican II (often under the guise of the "Spirit of Vatican II").  This topic is actually in the last half of a greater article worth reading in full.  The first half deals with the Holy Father's meeting announced for Assisi in October. A number of Catholics have voiced concerns that it would be a repeat of 1986 (read Magister's article for specifics on those problems).

Back to Bishop Schneider and his appeal to the Holy Father...  Many things have happened in the name of Vatican II that are not in any of the documents of that council.  Altar rails were jack-hammered out in it's name, and Latin, Gregorian chant, among other things were eliminated when those very documents called for them to have pride of place in the Liturgy.  Several times he refers to the "anthropocentric" turn (people were taught to worship in a more people-centered liturgy than one which is God-centered). Many more things happened or didn't happen due to these "mistaken interpretations". 

He goes outside of the Mass and brings up the emergence of liberation theology in the wake of Vatican II, and offers some other samplings. 

Consider, for a moment, that back in the day, priests and lay people did not have ready access to documents the way we do today, so when bishops told them to do something in the name of Vatican II, they just did it thinking they were doing the right thing.   Today, if a seminary buries documents and books that have the mind of the Church  behind books written by the "magisterium of theologians"  (Richard McBrien, et. al.), seminarians and students can easily find them on the web  (and I wouldn't doubt that a good deal of research starts there).

Bishop Schneider says, in part:

There is the need for a new Syllabus, this time directed not so much against the errors coming from outside of the Church, but against the errors circulated within the Church by supporters of the thesis of discontinuity and rupture, with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application.

Such a Syllabus should consist of two parts: the part that points out the errors, and the positive part with proposals for clarification, completion, and doctrinal clarification.


I think this is a grand idea and one that is long overdue.  Lay people and priest alike have been trained to accept these things as authentic to Vatican II which are foreign to it, and will defend them ad nauseum in parishes, in local papers and websites, and in a myriad of Catholic institutions and diocesan departments. 

In the beginning of his article, Sandro Magister discusses the Holy Father's meeting in Assisi which will take place in October.  There has been quite a dust-up online over the ecumenical meeting because of what happened in 1986. 

Let's pray that the Holy Father responds affirmatively to this request by Bishop Athanasius Schneider.  I've often wondered how long Bishop Schneider will be in Kazakhstan.  His Excellency, who has a PhD in Patristics, is a good co-worker in Truth and has just the right kind of holy boldness we laity like to see in our bishops.

Go read Sandro Magsiter: A New Syllabus for the 21st Century [Italian] [French] [Check for availability of Spanish in the sidebar later]

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Nick said...

I'm for and against this idea.

I'm for it because a document dealing with the misinterpretations of an Ecumenical Council is a good way to help heal the Church from heresies and abuses, if it is given the same presentation and welcome that the Pope's first encyclicals were given.

I'm against it because such a document could not realistically address each and every misinterpretation, nor do I suspect the Vatican would give examples of misinterpretation for better clarification. So it would lead to more confusion, if anything.

I think the best course of action is to write a document on Christian obedience.

paula said...

Very good post. Linked back in my blog.

Anonymous said...

Diane, a grand idea indeed and one that is long, long, very long overdue. Better late than never though!

The easy part is writing the document. The hard part is telling Catholics in the pew and getting them to accept that many of them have been misled by false theologies and interpretations of the Vatican II documents for decades.


Alan Aversa said...

It is interesting that then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the following in his Principles of Catholic Theololgy in 1987:

If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the [Vatican II] text [Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus... Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789.

(Speaking of 1789, King Louis XVI was beheaded this day in 1793; my priest said a requiem mass for him.)

Alan Aversa said...

Also, 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). Vatican II does not contradict tradition when properly interpreted in the context thereof. Therefore, we need a Syllabus clarifying these points that were not infallible.