Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vatican II Was Just Pastoral - According To Popes

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Pope Benedict XVI (while Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) clearly stated the nature of the Second Vatican Council was pastoral, as the council defined no doctrine infallibly, and sought to maintain a lower profile than previous ecumenical councils....
The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI
given July 13, 1988, in Santiago, Chile
This echoes the words of Pope Paul VI, who concluded the Second Vatican Council, and also stated it was purely pastoral in nature, having not applied the "note of infallibility" to any particular document....
In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document.
Pope Paul VI
General Audience, 12 January 1966
So why is this important? Well, ever since the close of the council, and the institution of the new mass five years later, many Catholics have treated the Second Vatican Council as if it were the definitive explanation of Catholicism for our time. They treat it as if all the previous Church councils were rendered obsolete or somehow irrelevant. In fact, according to Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI, the Second Vatican Council holds a lesser place in history than the First Vatican Council, or the Council of Trent, etc. Why? Because these councils clearly exercised the note of infallibility, defining doctrine in no uncertain terms. In effect, they were doctrinal councils, of the highest importance. While Vatican II was merely pastoral, outlining the desire for new methods and standards, but in no way defining new doctrine or exercising infallibility. Catholics need to understand this. THE CHURCH DID NOT CHANGE WITH VATICAN II. The Second Vatican Council MUST be interpreted in the greater context of the Church's previous two councils, which according to the popes, hold a higher place in history.