Rorate Caeli

THE COUNCIL AND THE ECLIPSE OF GOD by Don Pietro Leone – Chapter 9 – C) Moral Analysis –part 1


C.  Moral Analysis


‘Woe to the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit and see nothing... They see vain things and they foretell lies, saying: the Lord saith: whereas the Lord hath not sent them... they have deceived my people saying: Peace: and there is no peace...’

Ezechiel 13. 3,6,10

Christ’s Charge to Peter

(Matthew 16:18 -19, John 21: 15-17)

by Raphael 

The following moral analysis of the Council will treat the manner in which the Council Fathers used the functions entrusted to them by the Church for carrying out their charge: the three offices of teaching, ruling, and sanctifying: the munera docendi, regendi, et sanctificandi - offices entrusted to the Church by Our Blessed Lord Himself, as a share and prolongation of His own offices as Prophet, King, and Priest.


We consequently examine in their turn:


I     The Office of Teaching;

II    The Office of Ruling;

III   The Office of Sanctifying.



I   The Office of Teaching


The Council’s failure in this regard is twofold: consisting first in its renunciation of the office of teaching in favor of the ‘Search for Truth’ [1], and second in its inadequate use of the office, of which the entire book, and especially the 40 instances of heterodoxy above and its effective denial of the principle of non-contradiction, stand as a permanent record.


In response to this heterodoxy, we repeat that there is but one Church: ‘One body and one Spirit…’ there is but ‘One Lord, one Faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all...’ [2]. We add that there is but one life, but one death, and two final destinies: Heaven and Hell.




           II   The Office of Ruling


In this subsection we shall consider:


a)   The Nature of the Office of Ruling;

b)   The Council’s Abuse of the Office of Ruling.



a)   The Nature of the Office of Ruling


The Office of Ruling, or the pastoral office, comprises at one and the same time:


 The Church’s Duty to Govern; and

      The Church’s Duty to Promote the Welfare of Souls.


The Church’s Duty to Govern includes:

- Her declaration of doctrinal or moral Truth;

- Her condemnation of error and evil;

- Her proclamation of dogmas and implementation of sanctions, such as canonical penalities, anathemata, and excomunications;  

- Her promulgation of the Code of Canon law;

- Her administration of Church institutions such as the clergy, and Church life such as the liturgy.            


The Church’s Duty to Promote the Welfare of Souls includes:

- Her spirtitual care for mankind;

- Her foundation and admininstration of missions, schools, hospitals, pastoral centersetc.  



b)   The Council’s Abuse of the Office of Ruling


In the following, we shall content ourselves with considering the Council’s abuse of one of the Church’s duties to govern, and its abuse of one of Her duties to promote the welfare of souls, namely:


1. The Council's Abuse of the Church's Duty to Condemn Error and Evil;

2. The Council's Abuse of the Church's Duty to Provide Spiritual Care for Mankind.



1.    The Council’s Abuse of the Church’s Duty to Condemn Error and Evil


Pope John XXIII in his opening address to the First Session, made an explicit renunciation of the Church’s authority formally to condemn error (to be echoed by Pope Paul VI in his opening address to the Second Session): ‘There has been no time in which the Church has not opposed these errors [against the Truth]; She has often indeed condemned them, and sometimes with the greatest severity. As to the present time, the Spouse of Christ prefers to use the medicine of mercy rather than to embrace the arms of rigor; She thinks that She must encounter the necessities of to-day by expounding more clearly the validity of Her teaching than by condemning’ [3].


Now this explicit renunciation of the Church’s authority to condemn error (and by extension evil), was applied in the Council, as we have seen above, in:


- its abstention from issuing anathemata;
- its adoption of the principle of Religious Liberty, thereby repudiating the Church’s authority to suppress error and evil in the State, and Her authority effectively to exercise the social Kingship of Christ in the world;
-  its failure explicitly to condemn the moral evil of Communism;
-  its failure explicitly to condemn the vice of impurity, particularly that of contraception.    [4].


We shall proceed to examine three theses entailed by the statement of Pope John XXIII, namely


i)              i) that the condemnation of error is not an act of mercy;

i               ii) that love has pre-eminence over truth;

      iii) that the Church should show the validity of Her teaching, rather than condemn. 

To be continued in part 2 of the Moral Analysis -  beginning with ‘That the Condemnation of Error  is Not an Act of Mercy.’

[1] Introduction B I (a)

[2] Ephesians 4. 4-6

[3] ‘Non c’è nessun tempo in cui la Chiesa non si sia opposta a questi errori, spesso li ha anche condannati, e talvolta con la massima severità. Quanto al tempo presente, la Sposa di Cristo preferisce usare la medicina della misericordia invece di imbracciare le armi del rigore; pensa che si debba andare incontro alle necessità odierne, esponendo più chiaramente il valore del suo insegnamento piuttosto che condannando.’  Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, opening speech of the Council by Pope John XXIII

[4] the only condemnations of Communism and contraception were in the end to be relegated to obscure footnotes. It seems that the topics, like that of the pre-eminence of the Papacy (itself relegated to a ‘preliminary’, but in reality to a subsequent, note), were apparently considered too inflammable to be treated openly, with coherence, vigour, and with true earnestness.