Rorate Caeli

Guest-note: Did one of the main Vatican II documents distort the Words of Our Lord in the Gospel?

by Dr. John Lamont

Those who wish to apply a 'hermeneutic of continuity' to Vatican II, or who deny that there can be any opposition or rupture between the documents of that council and Catholic tradition, or who claim that the assertion that the authentic teachings of Vatican II formally contradict the tradition of the Church is false, might consider the following passage from the council's pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes:

Gaudium et Spes 24: 'Quapropter dilectio Dei et proximi primum et maximum mandatum est.'

For non-Latinists, this claim (it is a complete sentence in the conciliar document) can be translated as follows: 'For love of God and of neighbour is the first and greatest commandment'. No Latin is needed to realise that this is a flat contradiction of the teaching of Christ. There is a deliberate allusion in Gaudium et Spes 24 to the wording of the divine teaching it is contradicting, as can be seen from looking at the Vulgate text of that teaching:

Matthew 22:35-39: "Et interrogavit eum unus ex eis legis doctor, temptans eum; 'Magister, quod est mandatum magnum in lege? Ait illi Iesus: 'diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et in tota anima tua, et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum et primum mandatum. Secundum autem simile est huic: diliges proximum tuum, sicut teipsum.'"

This text from Gaudium et Spes suffices to prove that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are not without error, and that fidelity to Christ's teaching requires that parts of it be rejected. It is also a fruitful starting point for reflection and investigation into the ideology and motivations of the progressive leadership of that council, and into the degree to which the Council Fathers as a whole accepted their responsibility for preserving the divine deposit of faith. (This text was pointed out to me by a Catholic professor of theology who must remain anonymous.)

[The above is a personal assessment by the author and does not indicate any opinion of this blog or its contributors.]