Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Vatican II and the Synod on the New Evangelisation
It has been recalled on Rorate that the day after his election, in his Urbi et Orbi radio message, Pope John-Paul II said there were things which were “implicit” in the texts of Vatican II: “those things which lie hidden in it or—as is usually said—are ‘implicit’ may become explicit in the light of the experiments made since then and the demands of changing circumstances.” This is an incredible statement, allowing for, as it does, an unending life for Vatican II. It also allows for a particular slant to be given to the words of Cardinal Daneels that Vatican II is actually the ‘Vatican III’ some have called for:
Occasionally here and there, the idea is put forward about the desirability or even the need for a Vatican III ... is not the full realisation of Vatican II the real Vatican III for right now?
Lecture, 18 October 2012, St George’s Cathedral, Southwark.
Is the Cardinal seeking to read “the implicit” in Vatican II, or is he seeking a full and faithful implementation of Vatican II in line with Tradition? I hope it is the latter. After all, if Vatican II can become Vatican III, it can also become Vatican IV, Vatican V, Vatican VI and so on until the world ends, so that no other Council is ever necessary. It is absurd that such a non-stop Council exist. I am of the opinion that it is now, more than ever that we need to return to the actual texts of Vatican II (and, if there are any, to the ‘implicit meanings’) and read them and only in the light of Tradition. Why? Because the texts must surely express the mind of the Fathers, and that mind must be in line with what the Church has always believed, otherwise the Faith has been ditched in order to create a new religion. I thus hope and pray then that the Synod for the New Evangelisation and the Holy Father require a faithful reading of the text itself.
But what about the words of John-Paul? Is this a Pope saying that there are indeed hidden messages in the text of a Council? Even if he is, we do well to remember that what is implicit in the texts must be consonant with what is explicit, otherwise the texts are in contradiction to themselves and thereby stripped of all value, for it is the devil that speaks with forked tongue, not the Holy Ghost. If Vatican II and the current Synod are to be a success, it will be necessary for the Synod and the Holy Father to require a totally faithful reading of the actual texts of Vatican II.