60 Years Since Vatican II

By Michael Brendan Dougherty.
National Review, 10/12/22.

And six decades of pseudo-theology
Years ago, during a very brief meeting at New York University with the eminent English conservative Roger Scruton, I shared with him — an Anglican by tradition — my reservations about the Second Vatican Council and my interest in the old liturgy. He had no reservation in his analysis. He said more or less that the Catholic Church had “joined in the spirit of self-hatred and suicide” that pervaded the West in the 1960s.

My reservations turned into doubts and real problems. They were echoed at the very top. “The truth is that the Vatican Council II itself has not defined any dogma and has consciously wanted to express itself in a more modest range, merely as a pastoral Council,” Pope Benedict XVI would explain. “However, many interpret it as almost a super dogma that takes away everything else.”

Sixty years ago, Evelyn Waugh wrote in National Review about his expectations and reservations regarding the Second Vatican Council, just then beginning. It is hard now to recall that a giddy ecumenical hope was one of the council’s guiding spirits. Protestant and Orthodox theologians were invited to witness the council. Waugh poured a bucket of ice on this hope:

There is no possibility of the Church’s modifying her defined doctrines to attract those to whom they are repugnant. The Orthodox Churches of the East, with whom the doctrinal differences are small and technical, are more hostile to Rome than are the Protestants. To them the sack and occupation of Constantinople for the first half of the thirteenth century — an event which does not bulk large in the historical conspectus of the West — is as lively and bitter a memory as is Hitler’s persecution to the Jews. Miracles are possible; it is presumptuous to expect them; only a miracle can reconcile the East with Rome.

This is true. The Vatican Council could not satisfy doctrinal Protestants still committed to the fundamentals of the Reformation, because the church would not — and I would hold could not — explicitly repudiate the doctrines of the Mass, the sacerdotal priesthood, her Marian dogmas, or papal supremacy. And, the church could not satisfy liberal Protestants who objected to the church’s continued intransigence on moral and sacramental issues and its hierarchical nature. Rome was against artificial birth control, divorce, and homosexuality.

What are the fruits of Vatican II? For those who pay very close attention to gossip about the Roman curia, the question is a hilarious and homophobic joke that answers itself. Continue…

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