Rorate Caeli

Hermeneutic of continuity - Address # 2

In his epoch-making speech of December 22, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI introduced the notion that the documents of the Second Vatican Council must be interpreted only according to what he implied to be the hermeneutic of continuity - that is, renewal in continuity with Tradition.

Today, the Pontiff developed this notion in his opening address of the Ecclesial Congress (Convegno Ecclesiale) of the Diocese of Rome. Excerpts:

"The Council was not a rupture which brought a new church into life, but a true and deep renewal of a single subject who develops."

According to the Pope, the Council "yielded good fruits", but was distorted by "an interpretive current which,  referring to a supposed 'spirit of the Council', intended instead to establish a discontinuity with the Tradition of the Church, confusing, for instance, the objetively existing boundaries between the hierarchy and the lay faithful, observing the Church accordinng to a horizontal cut which excluded the vertical reference to God, in open contrast with Catholic doctrine."

The entire transcript of the address is not yet available online.


  1. I hate to do this picky thing, but interpretive currents don't intend anything - people do. So some people intended to discontinue the traditions of the church. But this church is built on tradition, so like it or not, that would be a new church. Thus, intention schism.

    Now if we can just acknowledge that those people are now largely the Cardinals and such that run the church, then SSPX can step out from behind the curtain and say, "Gut! Now ve vill begin!"

  2. Nice to see His Holiness getting back to this theme. One hopes that perhaps the stupendously successful operation of Satan, Inc. to derail the reconciliation of the SSPX has now run its course, and the time has come for meaningful steps to address the catechetical deficiencies of, for example, the Zollitschkirk.

  3. Anonymous2:31 AM

    A "deep renewal" i.e. a rupture.

  4. John Vennari, editor of Catholic Family News, does not think the "hermeneutic" idea is plausible.

    A good summary of his view is to be found here:

    He makes some valid points.

  5. Unfortunately, this line of reasoning has to be paraled with the inconvenient fact that Rahner, Chenu, Congar, von Balthasar, Kung and other liberal modernists were the leading "lights" of the conciliar process aided by decidedly modernistic hierarchs such as Lienart and friends. The so-called hermeneutic of continuity just does not stand up to the test. The intentions of the council were and remain clear - to bring about the "razing of bastions"; the protestantisation of the liturgy which eventually came about and the opening up of The Church to ecumenical and interreligious processes which have reduced the church to a mere equal among several paths to godhead in a type of pantheistic merger. Objective evidence suggests we have inimical and systemic division; utter confusion for most about what catholicism is a postmodernist world and the unleashing of sodomy, paedophilia and radical disobedience in the seminaries.

    We have also observed the virtual outlawry of Sacred Tradition until recently. When we see this essential principle in control of ecclesiastical reasoning and action once more then we will be able to validate the continuity thesis.

  6. I cannot agree with His Holiness on this matter. Certainly he is far beyond me intellectually, yet the sense of the Faith is offended in me when I read certain passages from the documents. By merely asserting Vatican II's continuity with Sacred Tradition, the Pope will never be able to convince me to put trust in the statements of this council the same way I put trust in the statements of the previous councils.

  7. We must pray with added vigour for the Holy Father; I gather from a friend in Rome that he has been much shaken by the combined forces of evil in the matters of Linz, Williamson, AID/condoms etc, and the strength of the vitriolic press outcry, which shocked us all.

    We can legitimately pray that his pilgrimage to the Holy Places has given him great and renewed strength. Watching him pray at Golgotha gives one immense hope and joy in the successor of Peter.

    Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.

  8. The so-called hermeneutic of continuity just does not stand up to the test. *** Others have observed that, for different reasons, traditionalists' rejection of what they don't like about Vatican II and modernists' embrace of what they like about Vatican II has in common the conviction that Vatican II cannot be reconciled with Tradition. And yet Pope Benedict's "hermeneutic of continuity" is the only approach to a valid and authoritative oecumenical council that an orthodox Catholic may adopt (which is not to say that all that Vatican II taught or decreed is permanent or irreformable, or even good for the church: after all, it was a valid and authoritative oecumenical council that unjustly and erroneously condemned the Templars, and another one misstated the form and matter of valid Holy Orders).

  9. Anonymous12:16 PM

    John Vennari is insane. He and the Catholic Family News crowd is about as off-balanced as can be and they will never waver from bitterness and flirting with sede-vacantism.