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After the talks: "Would you kindly explain where the continuity is?"

Background: On Christmas Day, 2011, Father Giovanni Cavalcoli, a respected theologian and a Friar Preacher in the Convent of Saint Dominic in Bologna - where the Founder himself is buried - authored an open letter to Italian traditional Catholic journal Sì Sì No No, dealing with matters central to the ongoing debate on the Second Vatican Council, its interpretation, the so-called hermeneutics of reform in continuity and in rupture, and the degrees of obedience owed to different teachings of the Church and to the words of our most Holy and Apostolic Father, the Bishop of Rome and universal Pastor. Rorate published a translation of this letter earlier this week. Unsurprisingly, all these matters are at the very heart of the current debate between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), following the doctrinal talks held between 2009 and 2011.

We publish below the response of the Sì Sì No No editorial team to the letter, part of the ongoing discussion. (Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana)


January 3, 2012

Reverend Father Giovanni Cavalcoli,

We gladly respond to your letter sent to us at Christmas.

The Second Vatican Council did not want “to define and bind belief” (Cfr. Vatican Council I. DB 1800) (1) and so it did not want to impose infallibility, thus it can be fallible. The Church is indefectible and God does not permit errors in Her dogmatic or infallibly assisted teachings. (2)

The  Church as subject is always one; She is and will always be “pillar and sustainer of the Truth ”, even if the object or doctrine taught by Her may be multiple regarding “the way” and the “substance”. Now the Second Vatican Council is “pastoral” (as Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI said explicitly (3)unlike certain theologians who are not part of the teaching Church and instead, have dogmatized it).  So the doctrine of Vatican II is different regarding “the way” of the other XX Councils preceding it and in some cases it even deviates from “the substance”.

We believe in the indefectibility of the Church as subject and also in the infallibility of the doctrine taught by Her, but according to the conditions set out by the First Vatican Council, not those set out by theologians. Now, the will to define a doctrine as divine revelation and to bind the faithful to believe in it by Faith for their eternal salvation, is taught infallibly by the First Vatican Council (DB,1800).

When the Church teaches the truths of the Faith, the Subject teacher and the Object taught are divinely and infallibly assisted. On this we have never had any doubt. As you have written rightly in your letter “the object of Faith taught is the rule of the Church as subject”. Therefore, the Magisterium is not an Absolute and must transmit the doctrine revealed by God, without changing it.  Revelation is the rule of the Magisterium.   Whereas, you Reverend Father, tend to make even the non-infallibly assisted Magisterium an Absolute, independent from the Faith.

A few lines further on, when you write that “denying the infallibility of the Magisterium goes against the Faith and therefore is heretical”, you contradict what you have written previously (which we have just cited) and does not complete the definition of the infallible Magisterium.  According to the First Vatican Council in the will to define and bind belief it is necessary for the infallible assistance on the part of  God to the Magisterium in (DB,1800).  In some matters, you tend in good faith, to substitute yourself for the Magisterium and excommunicate and declare heretical, right, left and centre, promulgating new dogmatic definitions  which  deviate from those of the Church.

Christ did not deceive the Church when He promised to assist Her “until the end of the world”, but there are different types of assistance and not all of them are infallible.

Some doctrines of the Second Vatican Council seem to be erroneous to us, but it is up to the teaching authority of the Church to have the last word on them, not us, nor you for that matter.

Finally, you write: “it is absolutely indemonstrable that there is no continuity”.

Would you kindly explain – without denying the principle of non-contradiction – where the continuity is between the Catholic Faith and the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in the following four points:
  1. Gaudium et spes no.12: “all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” This extract could be interpreted in an orthodox manner, if all inanimate things, plants and animals were ordered to man and man to God, but Gaudium et spes no.24 specifies that: “man is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself,” (propter seipsam). This error must be read in the light of the pan- Christianism (of Teilhard de Chardin) and of Gaudium et spes no.22 “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man.”  Note well: every man, not all of human nature.

  2. On the 7th December 1965 during his address at the 9th  session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI came to proclaim: “the religion of God Who became man has met the religion (for that is what it is) of man who makes himself God. What happened? A clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. […]A feeling of boundless sympathy (for every man not for human nature) has permeated the whole of it. (…)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists, and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind.” (4) Note well! Pope Paul VI says “all of the Council” not only the ‘spirit of the Council’, not only the radical hermeneutic of rupture with Catholic Tradition. Now here, the authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council is given by Pope Paul VI and not Tizio, Caio, Sempronio nor Don Cantone  (equivalent of: Tom, Dick or Harry), nor myself.  Furthermore, Pope Paul VI urges  the “modern humanists” that is, the atheists, who “reject the truths” of supernatural Faith, which transcend human reason “ to give credit” to “all of the Council” for this “religion of man that makes himself God” on his own strength  without the free gift of sanctifying grace. But if “all of the Council”, and not its hazardous interpretation or its “spirit” can and must please the atheist or pantheists, it cannot please the Christians, who believe in the supernatural truths revealed by God which distinguish the creature from the Creator. As we can deduce from what Pope Paul VI said, it is the text itself of the Council which is in rupture with the Catholic Faith and as such cannot be accepted. The heart of the “problem at the present time” is really the foolish hope of reconciling the irreconcilable: theocentrism and anthropocentrism. The Roman–Rite Mass and the “Novus Ordo Missae”, Divine-Apostolic Tradition and Vatican II.
  3. In 1976, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla while preaching on a spiritual retreat to Pope Paul VI and his collaborators (published in Italian under the title Segno di contradizione. Meditazioni, (Milano Gribaudi, 1977) initiates  the meditation with: Christ  reveals man fully to himself” (Chap. XII pp. 114 -112)and with Gaudium et spes no.22 asserts: “the conciliar text, applying itself to the category of the mystery of man, explains the anthropological character or even the anthropocentricity of Revelation offered to men in Christ. This Revelation is concentrated on man […] The Son of God, through His Incarnation, has united Himself to every man, and became – as Man – one of us. […] Here are the central points on which we could reduce the Council’s teaching regarding man and his mystery” (pp. 115-116). In short, this is the concentrated essence of the texts of the Second Vatican Council: the cult of man, pantheism and anthropological idolatry. It is not I that is saying this, but Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, in the light of Pope Paul VI and the pastoral Council concluded by him, that is, the “authentic” interpreters of Vatican II.  Cardinal Wojtyla speaks of man and not of human nature.

  4. Pope John Paul II affirms in his first encyclical (1979)Redemptor hominis’ no.9 : “God, who in Him (Christ) draws near again to humanity, to each human being, giving him the thrice holy ‘Spirit of truth’.” And again in ‘Redemptor hominis’ no.11: “the dignity that each human being has reached and can continually reach in Christ, namely the dignity of both the grace of divine adoption and the inner truth of humanity.” Still in ‘Redemptor hominis’ no.13: “We are not dealing with the "abstract" man, but the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with "each" man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever […] Man, without any exceptions – has been redeemed by Christ, because – without any exceptions – Christ is in someway united with man even when man is not aware of it. (…) the mystery (of Redemption) in which each one of the four thousand million human beings living on our planet has become a sharer from the moment he is conceived beneath the heart of his mother.” In his second encyclical (1980) ‘Dives in misericordia’ no.1 Pope John Paul II affirms: “While the various currents of human thought both in the past and at the present have tended and still tend to separate theocentrism and anthropocentrism, and even to set them in opposition to each other, the Church [conciliar,ndr) […]seeks to link them up […] in a deep and organic way. And this is also one of the basic principles, perhaps the most important one, of the teaching of the last Council.” In his third encyclical ‘Dominum et vivificantem’ (1986) in no.50, Pope John Paul II writes: ‘The Word became flesh.’ The Incarnation of God the Son signifies the taking up into unity with God not only of human nature, but in this human nature, in a sense, of everything that is "flesh": the whole of humanity, the entire visible and material world. The Incarnation, then, also has a cosmic significance, a cosmic dimension. The "first-born of all creation, becoming incarnate in the individual humanity of Christ, unites himself in some way with the entire reality of man, which is also "flesh" -and in this reality with all "flesh," with the whole of creation.”  

With every good wish for a Happy New Year, rich in grace,

Sì Sì No No

  1. Cfr. Cipriano, voice “Dogma” in “The Catholic Encyclopedia” Vatican City, 1950, vol.IV, col. 1792-1804; Giacinto Ameri, voice “Dogmatic Definitions” in “The Catholic Encyclopedia”, Vatican City, 1950 vol. IV col. 1306-1307.
  2. Everything that is written in this reply has been explained with precise Magisterial quotations in ‘Si si no no’, so as not make this reply too cumbersome, we , therefore refer the reader to our articles.
  3. Cited by us in ‘Si si no no’
  4. Enchiridion Vaticanum. Document of the Second Vatican Council. Official text and Italian translation, Bologna. Edizioni Dehoniane Bologna, 9a ed., 1971. Speeches and messages, pp. 282-283.

Source:  Riscossa Cristiana