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Friday, March 3, 2023

Vatican II is Ancient History for Today's Young Catholics.

How much do most Catholics know about all the Vatican councils of history? We hear about the Council of Trent and its significance in refuting many of the errors of the Protestant revolution. It revitalized the Church and cleared up ambiguities resulting from the spread of heresy. The importance and impact of Trent have echoed and re-echoed down through the centuries. But have most Catholics even heard of most of the other twenty councils? Maybe they remember the Council of Jerusalem since it's mentioned in Acts of the Apostles. Perhaps they faintly recall the Council of Nicaea. "Oh yes, Nicaea gave us the creed we say at Mass." How about the four councils of Constantinople and the two councils of Lyon or the councils of Chalcedon and Ephesus.  Could they describe a single thing rising out of them? I sure can't without looking them up.

According to Dr. Peter Kwasniewski that will be the likely fate of Vatican II:
As a historical event, Vatican II is receding farther and farther into the past — and into irrelevance. I recall one author writing some years ago in First Things that for his students in the college classroom, “Vatican II” evoked neither more nor less than “Chalcedon” or “Ephesus.” All had to be chiseled equally into the blank slates, not to say blank stares. In terms of its theological or spiritual contributions, whether in de fide definitions and anathemas or in the unleashing of edifying energies, Vatican II is looking more and more like the most fussed over and the most negligible council in the history of the Church.
How true, but who's doing the fussing? A small group of aging hippies who loved all the innovations and "creative" nonsense dreamed up by the parish "liturgy committees" which they created. They inflicted ever more banal displays on the flock for every liturgical season. I shudder (or laugh) to remember the ones at my own parish in Alexandria. Every season saw some new innovation: Advent candle pillars instead of a wreath, a huge torn garment hung on a T cross (for the jolly green giant?) during Lent, a crepe paper rainbow for Easter. The most revealing was the "cracked pot" that could have been their calling card. Their "creations" always reminded me of a Kindergarten classroom. And then there were the butterfly vestments for First Communion worn by a priest who later left the priesthood.

Those attending the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) are often accused of "nostalgia" which is somewhat ridiculous since those Masses are heavily attended by young people and young families born well after Vatican II. They never experienced a pre-Vatican II Mass; they simply recognize in the TLM a liturgy focused on God instead of "the assembly," a sacrifice that fittingly rises like incense to heaven. They recognize the priest's ministerial role in persona Christi rather than the assembly's "presider." To them Vatican II is simply irrelevant. As the years go by, it will be less and less a topic of conversation as it drifts into the mist and the elderly crafters of the liturgy committee go home without their puppets and liturgical dancers. 

As Dr. Kwasniewski says of the young families attending the TLM:
They are too busy discerning vocations, managing a pewful of children, singing in chant scholas, or cooking for potlucks after Rorate Masses to have time for lollygagging in the lanes of an inaccessible memory. It’s the ones hugging their Breaking Bread hymnals or their “JP II We Love You” teddy bears who are the misty-eyed sentimentalists.
How True! The young moms share stories about their children's activities. They arrange roller rink outings and other field trips for the children. They discuss dates for the next moms' night out. The dads teach the altar boy class and volunteer time for repairs and renovations. No one talks about Vatican II at the picnics and potlucks. It appears to be the last thing on anyone's mind. It is, indeed, becoming the focus of those "misty-eyed sentimentalists" who will be emptying the holy water fonts during Lent and filling them with sand until they exit stage left.

Dr. Kwasniewski compares Trent to Vatican II writing:
When we consider the sheer magnitude of positive, constructive, tradition-guarding reform inaugurated and guided for centuries by the Council of Trent, we are justified in concluding that Vatican II, in stark contrast, was a monumental failure. Church councils of the past always sought to bring clarity to debated questions, refine the expression of doctrine, bear witness to the fullness of the Faith, and fearlessly condemn errors. In doing these things, they were truly pastoral. The Councils did not indulge in ambiguity, sow obscurity, backtrack, sidestep, refrain from condemnation due to a sentimental caricature of mercy, or enthrone a nebulous pastorality as the primary concern. This is why Vatican II is the great exception and the great dead end. The Council Is Now Far Spent.

And the people said, "Amen! Alleluia!" 

To read Dr. Kwasniewski article go here.


  1. Vatican II is described in the Gospel: "We have labored all night and taken nothing."

  2. When did you first read V2, and what did you think?

  3. Great observations Mary Kay. Something that even the novus ordo conservatives will say is how insignificant the numbers of the Traditionalists are, relative to the larger Church (author of a recent article over at Catholic World Report was commenting on how statistically marginal TLM Catholics are). But they do so overlooking how large the quantity of ordained priests in the SSPX is (7th or 8th largest priestly order in the Church if I recall correctly), and I suspect adding the Ecclesia Dei communities to that number would push it up to what? 5th or 6th largest group of priests in the Church?

    Also consider the percentage of the Church's total aggregate number of children who attend TLM parishes. Normie novus ordo parishes are old and gray and conservative novus ordo parishes are doing alright in terms of demographic vitality, but TLM parishes? Babies everywhere!

  4. Can't tell you, Anonymous. I've read the documents off and on for years when I was researching something. I have never read them all or cover to cover. I have read Sacrosanctum Concilium in large part judging from my underlining, check marks and margin notes. The constitution called for the "revision" of the liturgy not its wholesale destruction which is what happened when Bugnini got his hands on it. Many of the Council Fathers were horrified at the implementation and said so. In his 1986 book, Feast of Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) wrote: "In part, it is simply a fact that the council was pushed aside. For instance, it had said that the language of the Latin Rite was to remain Latin, although suitable scope might be given to the vernacular. Today we might ask: Is there a Latin Rite at all any more? Certainly there is no awareness of it." You can read more quotes from Council Fathers who deplored the "new mass" at:

  5. Truth to tell, fellow parishioners & K of C members of the Novus Ordo Churches in my neck of the woods don't talk much about Vatican II either. If these parishes turned traditional, I doubt they would mind. I wouldn't.

    Until I was eight years old, it wasn't hard to find a Traditional Mass. One simply went to Church.

  6. Vatican I is ancient history. Novody believes pope are infallible anymore. That's like a caveman superstition nos.

  7. Mary Ann:
    re: johnson said...
    "Vatican I is ancient history. Novody believes pope are infallible anymore." March 6, 2023 at 2:23 PM under Vatican II
    Holy Father Francis believes he is infallible. And the Birth, Crucification and Resurrection of Our Lord are, by your lights, also "ancient history". Yet these events are the center of history. His Word is timeless. Indeed there is no time in eternity. Let us spend it in Heaven. Not in Hell.
    God bless
    Richard W Comerford