I'd be curious to know your reaction to the arguments laid down by Bishop Barron and his World on Fire team. And if you'd care to share them with our readers, I’d be happy to make them public. God bless you and Mary keep.
In Christo Rege,
Michael J. Matt
I saw the catechism on the Council published by Word on Fire, and in response to your request I am sending you a brief reflection. I won’t go into the details of the FAQs, which seem to me more suited to an instruction manual on how to use a tool or manage a call centre. I will focus instead on the introductory passage from Benedict XVI:
To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council. [...] We must remain faithful to the today of the Church, not the yesterday or tomorrow. And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them.”
The Holy Father states apodictically that “to defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council” and that “we must remain faithful to the today of the Church.” These two propositions, which complement one another, find no support in the Tradition, since the Church’s present is always indissolubly linked to her past.
The Church is comprised of three dimensions: one triumphant in Heaven, one militant on earth and one suffering in Purgatory. These three dimensions of the same Church are closely linked, and it is clear that the triumphant and the purgative dimensions exist in a meta-historical or meta-temporal metaphysical reality, whereas only the militant Church has a today, a contingency given by the passage of time, that nothing can change her essence, her mission and above all her doctrine. Therefore, there is no Church only of today, in which yesterday is now irremediably past and tomorrow has not yet happened: what Christ taught yesterday, we repeat today and His Vicars will profess tomorrow; what the Martyrs witnessed to yesterday, we guard today and our children will confess tomorrow.
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Then there is another proposition that “we must remain faithful to the today of the Church, not the yesterday or tomorrow,” which significantly was adopted by the proponents of Vatican II precisely in order to erase the past, affirm the conciliar revolution in the today of that time, and prepare the crisis of that tomorrow in which we now find ourselves. And the Innovators who wanted that Council, carried it out precisely with “the reservations that amputated” the uninterrupted Magisterium of the Church and “the arbitrariness that distorted it” — paraphrasing Ratzinger’s words.
I do not see why what the Innovators accomplished with Vatican II yesterday, to the detriment of Tradition, cannot apply to them today: those who, in the name of being pastoral, did not hesitate to demolish the doctrinal, moral, liturgical, spiritual and disciplinary edifice of the old religion – as they call it – in the name of the Council, today would dare to claim for their daring innovations, that obsequious submission and that defence that they did not want to apply to two thousand years of infallible Magisterium. And we are to show unconditional support not for Tradition, but for the only event that has contradicted and adulterated that Tradition. It seems to me that this line of reasoning, if only from a purely logical point of view, doesn’t have much credibility, and limits itself to reaffirming that self-referentiality of the conciliar church, in rupture with the uninterrupted teaching of the Supreme Pontiffs who preceded it.
Moreover, it seems to me that Benedict XVI’s quotation is also in contradiction with that hermeneutic of continuity, according to which the Council should be accepted not as a rupture with the Church’s past, but precisely in continuity with it: but if there is no Church of yesterday, to what does the continuity of the supposed conciliar hermeneutic refer? Another philosophical pun that, unfortunately, has shown signs of failure since the time it was formulated, and that today is denied from the highest Throne.
We can observe with “amazement” the commitment of the zealots of Vatican II in defending their council, to the point of composing no less than a sort of catechism of the Council. If they had taken the trouble to reaffirm, with equal commitment, the immutable doctrine of the Church when it was denied or silenced, precisely in the name of conciliar renewal, today there would be less widespread ignorance of the Faith and less confusion. But unfortunately, defending Vatican II is more important than defending the perennial depositum fidei.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
14 August 2020
Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Official translation by Diane Montagna.