Rorate Caeli

Bishop Schneider's call for a new Syllabus: the complete text in English

Rorate posted on December 20 that Bishop Athanasius Schneider had called for a new Syllabus, one that would condemn the misinterpretations of Vatican II. He made this call during his address for a conference entitled “The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: a pastoral council. Historical-philosophical-theological analysis", held at the Istituto Maria SS. Bambina in Rome from December 16 to18, 2010, and organized by the Theological Seminary “Immacolata Mediatrice” of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Sandro Magister, in addition to posting the full Italian text of the address on Chiesa News, also provided a partial English translation on January 14, 2011.

We have now been informed that, several hours ago, EWTN published a translation of the full English text. Here it is:

Interestingly enough, it begins with the following: The primacy of the worship of God as the basis of all true pastoral theology.

H/t Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS of Te Deum Laudamus and Dominus Est

Photo from Salvem a Liturgia


  1. While I welcome the call for a Syllabus regarding VII, I believe the bishop tends to emphasize those points in the council texts that are consonant with Tradition without also focusing on those texts that are doctrinally problematic. Therefore, he is not looking at the whole picture.

  2. Brother Anthony,

    Would you give some specific examples from the Bishops address where he avoids those matters which you say are doctrinally problematic.

    I only ask as it would help clarify for me the extent and substance of your claim.


  3. Joe B3:16 PM

    A good and informative work, but it ignores the clear intention to destroy tradition in the documents ('nonetheless, changes will be made'). Nothing was 'misinterpreted' in the original documents. There were two contradictory camps, each putting in the language they needed, and then the liberal element, including the pope, forced their intentions upon the other camp. You can't pretend there is only one theological perspective in those documents. There are two distinct eggs in the VCII basket, not one, and now both are seriously cracked, so we better throw one out before attempting to fix the other or we're not just going to have to band-aid eggshells, we're going to have to unscramble eggs first. (You fellas at the Vatican like that one?).

    The solution is not to pretend there is no liberalism in the documents, but to take a pen and strike through all the wording that smacks of liberalism and be done with it, the assumption being that if wording doesn't clearly conform to tradition, it just goes.

    Personally, I would choose Bishop Fellay for this task. But that means we still have a liberal hierarchy in power, which means we're still in big trouble. When the Holy Father is still into Novus Ordo masses, World Youth Days and Assisi IIIs, changing documents isn't the whole answer, that's for sure.

  4. Dear Br Anthony,


    As an aside, thanks for drawing attention to this. The real credit goes to Richard Chonak for putting in the time to translate it when I asked him for help.

  5. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Dear Brother,

    I see your point. However, the very title he chooses "V2: A *pastoral* council" is very much a highlight against the backdrop of the importance of doctrine that he places in the body of his text, and one might surmise therefore that such emphasis exposes his intentions to do also what you state.

    I find the conclusion of his text quite powerful and one can easily see that he will not have many friends in the Vatican or bishops' conferences. As such, what he has stated here appears at least sufficient (if one would say that it is not comprehensive enough) understanding that to be unnecessarily blunt might draw excessive venom before the idea can even be hatched (Apoc 12:17, the dragon waiting for the child just born to devour him).

    As such, I am encouraged by this call. Whether it would at all receive any traction from the Pope remains to be seen.

    Sincerely, Neophyte

  6. P. Masetti4:28 PM

    Br. Anthony,
    What community do you belong to?

  7. Br. Anthony, did not His Holiness say that V2 should be understood and interpreted in light of tradition?

    I understand your concern about conciliar statements that are seen to be ambiguous, but would it not be better to see a document called "Syllabus of Erroneous Interpretations of Vatican II" or something similar issued by a higher authority, preferably the Pope himself?

    And would not such a document remove the scruples SSPX and even some sedevacantists have and speed their reconciliation with the Church?

    (I realize there always will be some deluded souls who consider themselves more Catholic than the Church.)

  8. \\A good and informative work, but it ignores the clear intention to destroy tradition in the documents ('nonetheless, changes will be made'). \\

    Please give examples of this "clear intention".

    \\Personally, I would choose Bishop Fellay for this task\\

    But would it not be better to have a bishop in regular visible communion with the Church?

    I would propose His Beatitude Patriarch Lubomir to do this.

  9. Anonymous5:25 PM

    It's funny because I did the same thing about two years ago. I wrote a letter to the Vatican urging the adoption of a syllabus on conciliar and post-conciliar theology.

    I'm pretty sure that some people in Rome may have read it, including Father Nicola Bux and the Pope himself. Father Federico Lombardi also saw it, but he did not like it I think.

    So, if such a syllabus does ever come out, you can probably credit me as having been an early source of inspiration for it.


  10. Anil Wang5:36 PM

    Joe B, I'm afraid that attitude is liberal in and of itself. To say that a council is not infallible is to say that our Catholic faith is a man made invention and as a man made invention it can be shaped by the whims of the spirit of the age.

    Yes, there were two warring camps. Big deal. Since when was this ever not the case?

    The only proper way to interpret VII that is in line with Catholic (as opposed to Protestant) teaching is the hermeneutic of continuity. If there is anything in VII which appears to violate the hermeneutic of continuity, it must be understood in the full context of Catholic teaching. It's easy to take things out of context. When a married couple fight, words are sometimes said that express a problem but do so in such a way that is easily misunderstood.

    For instance, within a decade of VII, there was a strong force to tear down core elements of the Church and the laity for the most part accepted it as being consistent with the faith and welcome. Why? Because there were issues already in place which were waiting for any excuse to spring forth. VII just made them visible.

    Now that we know where the rot is, we can purge it, and interpret those problematic phrases as pointing to this rot.

  11. Thgis is a misconception. What we want is a condemnation of the texts that are deliberately ambiguous and for them to be rewritten in a clear and once characteristic Roman Catholic manner. Better still would be to scrap the liberal councils altogether and admit honestly that they are a total failure and have produced a pastoral and liturgical nightmare. The subsequent anarchy that reigns in the new church are symptomatic of those same councils.

  12. Anonymous6:42 PM

    I'm all for a syllabus if it is properly done.

    But, why don't we start enforcing the Syllabus of Pius IX while we are it.

    John M.

  13. Slightly off topic, but of critical importance. Can anyone post, explore the reasons for the Canadian bishops' inability to accept on time the new Missal ? Vox Cantor has been doing much valuable work on this on his blog.

  14. But would it not be better to have a bishop in regular visible communion with the Church?

    As opposed to "irregular" visible communion, perhaps?

  15. "What we want is a condemnation of the texts that are deliberately ambiguous and for them to be rewritten in a clear and once characteristic Roman Catholic manner."

    In all due respect, this is fantasy It will not, and should not, happen. An encyclical or syllabus of common errors regarding VII, sure. But let's be realistic here.

  16. \\Jordanes551 said...
    But would it not be better to have a bishop in regular visible communion with the Church?

    As opposed to "irregular" visible communion, perhaps?\\

    There does not, from what I can see, appear to be regular or visible communion between SSPX and the Church.

    For one thing, Benedict XVI has said in so many words that the clergy of the SSPX exercise no legitimate ministry in the Catholic Church.

    This was said at the time of the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops, which was only to remove an obstacle from their eventual reconciliation.

  17. Joe B7:44 PM

    Anil, I don't see pastoral advice falling under an infallible label. Advice isn't fact. At any rate, your argument is with Pope Paul VI, as he and his theologians agreed with me. I have read the VCII documents very carefully in the past, and I find that much of the language of VCII is advisory, not theological, and as such much of it is transitory and fallible.

    We've seen several other attempts over the last 40 years to explain pieces of VCII language consistent with tradition. None have come close to settling the issues. It appears that that's like unscrambling eggs.

  18. Joe B8:12 PM

    Jack, you must be new to the whole VCII debate. Pick one of the many highly acclaimed books on that controversial council and read it for starters. In my view, the criticisms have the upper hand and I think Holy Mother Church will eventually formally recognize that council as advisory (pastoral) only, and thus fallible, and so it has no weight in future theological discussions.

    If you're looking for a starting point for criticisms of the council, I didn't cut my teeth on Michael Davies, but I like his works a lot.

    I chose the "nonetheless" phrase because those who have read criticisms of the council may well recognize that key word as coming from the tortured description of how, for example, Latin and Gregorian Chant should be retained, but "nonetheless" they won't be. Another pastoral or advisory discussion and document - not theological, strictly speaking. Fallible.

  19. Anonymous8:43 PM

    I pray and hope to live long to hear that VAC II IS COMPETELY RULED NULL AND VOId!

  20. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I love how Bishop Schneider demonstrates the Council’s commitment to the preservation of the Catholic Faith by quoting from the two documents most despised by those who accuse the Council of doctrinal error and betrayal of Tradition: Dignitatis humanae and Gaudium et spes. It is argued by some here, predictably, that the problem of the Council documents is precisely their admixture of truth and error, with the “doctrinally dubious” passages in DH and GS readily cited. This is totally the wrong approach. Instead, the doctrinally pure and clear passages of the Council documents must be constantly reiterated and used as the touchstone for interpreting the more ambiguous passages. The schismatically-minded can cite by memory the questionable texts of the Council, yet they fail to give more than lip service to the theologically solid and gloriously Catholic texts that are the doctrinal heart of the Council’s pastoral teaching. They have been so indoctrinated in a “hermeneutic of suspicion” that they are incapable of perceiving and receiving the inherent goodness of the integral Conciliar teaching, so brilliantly articulated here by Bishop Schneider -- to whom his critics cannot hold a candle.

  21. Anonymous9:58 PM


    On January 9th, you were singing the praises of a certain Jesuit by the name of Robert Taft, S.J. I wrote the following as a response, and you never answered (possibly because that particular string was shut down to further comments). Please answer so the board can understand from whence you come in terms of your liturgical and theological position.

    You mean THIS Robert Taft, S.J??!!

    "As such, I maintain that the Roman Catholic liturgical renewal in the wake of Vatican II was an overwhelming success, returning the liturgy to the people of God to whom it rightly belongs. The reform mandated by the council was not perfect, because nothing but God is perfect. But it was done as well as was humanly possible at the time, and we owe enormous gratitude and respect to those who had the vision to implement it."


    "My list of what was not done well or not done at all leaves aside the overly creative liturgies and other abuses that accompanied the reform. These were the fault of individuals, and not what Vatican II mandated. Nor does my list include anything the "reformers of the reform" want to reverse, like the celebration of liturgy in the vernacular, Communion in the hand, Mass facing the people or the removal of the tabernacle to a sacrament chapel."


    "Stuck in the aridity of late-medieval theology, the Catholic West has stalled the great movement of patristic ressourcement initiated in postwar France by authors like Yves Congar, O.P., Marie-Dominique Chenu, O.P., Jean Daniélou, S.J., and Henri de Lubac, S.J."


  22. Jack, I've heard of "visible communion" before, and I'm aware of the fact that the SSPX's status is canonically irregular, but what is "regular visible communion"? The bishops of the SSPX are no longer excommunicated, and as far as I know none of the SSPX priests are excommunicated. The SSPX is not a recognised Catholic fraternity, but its members are Catholics who are not excommunicated and therefore are in communion. You're mashing together the status of the SSPX as an association of Catholic faithful and the status of the SSPX's members. True, they do not exercise any legitimate ministry in the Church, but that does not mean they are in "irregular visible communion." There is no such thing as "irregular visible communion," nor even "regular visible communion." The Church distinguishes between "being in communion" and having a right to exercise priestly or episcopal ministry. Suspension a divinis is distinct and separate from excommunication.

  23. Mickey11:56 PM

    Does anybody know the literal and correct translation of this line below from his Grace?

    “Syllabus errorum circa interpretationem Concilii Vaticani II”

  24. Unfortunately, I think some passages in the documents of Vatican II are DOA. No amount of synthesizing them Tradition will rehabilitate them. It's simply silly to say that Catholics and Muslims worship "the one God" (ambiguously not saying the "same" God.) Muslims--and I have a good Muslim friend--by definition in the Koran explicitly reject the idea of a Trinity. In essence, they reject the Christians God.

    Out of the 23 Councils of the Church, only Vatican II proposed such absurdities, which sets it apart, though I acknowledge it to be quite valid, though pastoral, and probably not with the Holy Spirit's protection, as even the renown Msgr. Gherardini, a prominent Theologian residing in the Vatican, has acknowledged.

    So, though while I respect what Bishop Schneider and Pope Benedict are doing, I think, ultimately, certain portions of Vatican II will have to be rejected outright, as not being hermeneutic with 2,000 years of Catholic Tradition.

  25. “Syllabus errorum circa interpretationem Concilii Vaticani II”

    Literally, "Syllabus of Errors around interpretation of the Second Vatican Council." That is, "Syllabus of Erroneous Interpretations of Vatican II."

  26. Anonymous2:39 AM

    So desperately the Church needs this. An Encyclical entirely devoted to clearing up much of the mess after Vat II would be such a powerful tool and lead Mother Church and her people in the correct direction and interpretations. Leaving things as they are and allowing for mis-interpretation to go on seems almost sinful in itself. It is past time to do something more.

  27. I don't think this Syllabus will affect this anytime soon.

  28. Mickey6:34 AM

    Thanks for the Interpretation!

    Please support this Facebook page below in the hopes of making a request to the Holy Father to Issue a Syllabus as suggested by Bishop Athanasius. I thought of using technology to quicken this possibility. I am hoping that if this page gets a multitude of the faithful especially Bishops and Priest, the Holy Father would take notice and see the "sensus fidelium".

    I do not know if this will work, but I am hoping it will. Here is the Link below:

    Please suggest this page to others if you wish.

  29. Ali Wang,

    There is absolutely no relation between V2 and a married couple's fight.

    A certain group with a deliberate agenda organised themselves and with a deliberate strategy steered the council in their preferred direction no matter what it took. They started off by destroying three years' work of preparation, then they captured positions crucial to the procedures of the council - such as the job of Moderator, then they used the power thus obtained to flout the rules that had been put in place by vote to their own advantage and to the detriment of anyone else.

    Do you think that was a good thing? Do you think such behaviour came from the Holy Ghost?

    The 'other side' did not see what was coming. When it happened they did not know what had hit them. They hastily organised themselves but it was too late. The best they could do was some kind of rearguard action, or damage control, of which a good example is their alerting the Holy Father that something was amiss in relation to Lumen Gentium which caused him to add a Nota Praevia to that document.

    Do you think it was a good thing that the Holy Father wept when he discovered that he had been deceived? Do you think deceiving the Holy Father was from the Holy

    A more truthful correlation between V2 and a married couple would be a situation where someone seduces the wife in an attempt to split up the couple. In this case
    the wife is the Bride of Christ.

  30. Anonymous2:07 PM

    wheat4Paradise said:

    "Instead, the doctrinally pure and clear passages of the Council documents must be constantly reiterated and used as the touchstone for interpreting the more ambiguous passages."

    I disagree, dear wheat. The touchstone for interpreting the more ambiguous passages is simply this: ask the question: WHAT has the Church implemented as policy since the Council? Do the policies favor the doctrinally sound passages or the ambiguous ones?

    Sound doctrinal talk has become cheap; heterodox praxis speak louder than words.


  31. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Yes, the SSPX clergy may not be under public excommunication but that does not mean they exercise legitimate ministry. For example, every confession they hear and every marriage they perform are by canon law invalid. How many people are living in sin and potentially going to hell because of the pride of the SSPX? Not much different than the Feeneyites that preferred to remain excommunicated than budge on their personal (protestantesque) interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

  32. "An interpretation of rupture of doctrinally lesser weight is shown in the pastoral-liturgical field. One can cite under this topic the loss of the sacred and sublime character of the liturgy and the introduction of more anthropocentric gestural elements. This phenomenon makes itself evident in three liturgical practices well known and widespread in nearly all the parishes of the Catholic world: the nearly total disappearance of the use of the Latin language, the reception of the Eucharistic Body of Christ directly on the hand and standing, and the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the modality of a closed circle in which priest and people continually look each other in the face. This manner of praying, that is: not all facing in the same direction, which is a more natural bodily and symbolic expression with respect to the truth of everyone being spiritually turned toward God in public worship, contradicts the practice that Jesus Himself and His Apostles observed in public prayer at the temple or in the synagogue."

    His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

  33. It is interesting to note 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 yesterday in 1793; my priest said a requiem mass for him.)

    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 those points that were not infallible.

  34. Brian5:29 PM

    Anonymous 14:27 wrote that the stance of the SSPX is "Not much different than the Feeneyites that preferred to remain excommunicated than budge on their personal (protestantesque) interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus."

    I trust that you realize that years ago, the excommunication against Fr. Feeney, and his followers, was lifted without any change in their "dogma."

    So, what is your point?

  35. Anil Wang5:44 PM

    Joe B,

    Yes, pastoral advise is fallible. Fair enough.

    By definition, pastoral advise doesn't define new doctrine, so by your own words, VII doesn't alter the Catholic Faith. VII can be read with the hermeneutic of continuity. The fallible parts which appear to violate tradition need to be tightened up so that they don't.

    For instance, the part of VII which states Gregorian Chant takes pride of place but other forms are also allowed has often been interpreted ("Spirit of Vatican II") as meaning pop music is okay. It needs to be tightened up with specific examples of alternatives such as "Byzantine Chant", "Anglican Plainsong", "Ethiopian Chant", "Armenian chant", .... All these come from different rites within the Catholic Church.

  36. "For example, every confession they hear and every marriage they perform are by canon law invalid"


    That is not an accurate statement.
    We know for sure that if the penitent is truly unaware that the FSSPX does not have ordinary jurisdiction, when confessing his sins, then it is a valid confession.
    Also in danger of death an FSSPX priest may validly absolve sins.
    As to the Societys claim of "ecclesia supplet" in all other situations, we are still not 100% sure yet.
    I have spoken to an FSSP priest canonist and an Transalpine priest who believe that "Ecclesia Supplet" applies to FSSPX confessions.
    We pray and hope the Holy See clarifies this most important subject very soon.

    As to FSSPX witnessed marriages, the Holy See, in response to a letter from FSSPX priests in Africa did not require that FSSPX marriages recieve sanation from Ordinary jurisdiction, neither did marriages witnessed in FSSPX affiliated Campos Brazil need sanation after the Society of St John Vianney was regularised.

  37. The disciples of Fr. Feeney at St Benedict Ctr. Richmond NH by direction from Rome were given a Chaplain from their Bishop in Nashua.
    Tell the SSPX

  38. Joe B2:32 AM

    Anil, I agree, but I don't think you can tighten it up sufficiently to stop the libs from their appointed rounds, and this is all too late anyway. We're so far past these details now that a great syllabus will carry all the weight of Benedict promulgating Quo Primum all over again.

    For example, the Novus Ordo is an offspring of VCII and a worldwide reality that keeps on morphing into uglier and uglier offspring. If we tighten the language that allowed it will that eliminate the Novus Ordo? If not, when do we do that sort of thing - change the modern Catholic landscape (practice of the faith) back to something recognizable to, say, a saint of a century ago?

    Some of this sort of syllabus may come out of the current Vatican/SSPX discussions, but I don't think it will have any significant effect. The current hierarchy and pope support some of the liberal concepts that would require "tightening", so the farther you go down this road, the slower it goes. I think SSPX will get as much done as can be done, but significantly change the practice of the faith? No chance.

    But yes, I certainly stop short of saying the VCII documents contain 'official heresy'. They have to be explained as either vague or applying to a particular time and audience, and not universal. For example, the current Pope said a few years ago that ecumenism was intended for those religions which had retained valid sacraments, and that its day had largely passed (and, if memory serves, that it had failed). Even though that limitation wasn't stated in the VCII documents, probably because it wasn't desired by most (and thus isn't true?), it means the whole VCII universe of ecumenism can be declared to be a temporal and localized concept and either be condemned or, for the squeamish, still be open for debate.

    But the pope already said it, and it hasn't stemmed the tide of ecumenists one bit. Words just aren't going to stop the enemies within the faith. I personally think the dagger would be the outlawing of the Novus Ordo and the restoral of the TLM exclusively, but I wasn't born yesterday. That is going to take a Heavenly intervention.


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