The “Much Needed Discussion About Vatican II”

From the Blog Hospitaller, excerpts from a very interesting book.

I will first report some quotations from the book, which I suggest you read very carefully.

“The purpose of Vatican II, in fact, sets it apart from any other Council, especially Trent and Vatican I. Its scope was not to give definitions, nor was it dogmatic or linked to dogma; it was pastoral. Thus based on its specific nature it was a pastoral Council.”

“In all truth Modernism hid itself under the cloak of Vatican II’s hermeneutic…

.The new rite of Holy Mass practically silenced the nature of sacrifice making of it an occasion for gathering together the people of God…the eucharistic gathering was given the mere sense of sharing a meal together..

if someone were to ask me if, in the final analysis, the modernist corruption had hidden itself within the Council documents themselves, and if the Fathers themselves were more or less infected, I would have to respond both yes and no…But yes as well, because not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism–this can be seen above all in GS.”

“Anyone who, in quoting it [VII], puts it on a par with Trent or Vatican I, and accredits to it a normative and binding force which it does not possess in itself, commits a crime and, in the final analysis, does not respect the Council itself.”

“Let me say immediately that not even a single dogmatic definition included in the intentions of LG or the other Vatican II documents. The Council–we do well not to forget this–could not have even proposed one since it had refused to follow along the lines traced out by other Councils…This means that none of its doctrines, unless ascribable to previous conciliar definitions, are infallible or unchangeable, nor are they even binding: he who denies them cannot, for this reason, be called a formal heretic.”

“[A] missionary conception of the Church now freed from any form of or temptation to proselytism…this type of ecumenism, unfortunately, found a license to legitimacy from the spirit of assisi, thanks to the ‘multi-religious’ meeting celebrated there…”

“How many times the very men, into whose hands Jesus had entrusted the sacred deposit of the Faith, solemnly and pompously said ‘no’ to this or that doctrine, like the Marian Coredemption, because otherwise it will prejudice ecumenical dialogue. It was as if to say, ‘There is no other truth or value besides ecumenical dialogue.’…”

“And if someone passed through that door to introduce into the Church a Liturgy subversive to the very nature and primary end of the Sacred Liturgy…the responsibility for this, in the final analysis, is none other than the conciliar text itself.”

[T]he Liturgy which systematically boycotted the versus Domino orientation, the sacredness of the rite, the sense of latria, the irreplaceable beauty of Gregorian chant, the solemnity of gestures and vestments, and kneeling…[was committed in a] boundless cult of man…”


“Vow! – I hear you say – Strong stuff! This must be a really angry SSPX bishop, or some sedevacantist nutcase”.

Wrong. All quotations are from Monsignor Brunero Gherardini’s “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion”, translated by the Franciscans of the Immaculate from the Italian edition of March 25, 2009 and available from the “Academy of the Immaculate,” 124 North Forke, Advance, NC 27006. Ph. 1-888-906-2742.

In case you should ask, the blog informs us that Monsignor Gherardini is a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas, a leading Roman theological journal. This is a man of the Vatican apparatus through and through.

I should comment now but no, I think Monsignor Gherardini said everything already.


Posted on January 16, 2011, in Catholicism, FSSPX and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Does Vatican II require more “discussion”? One wonders if the best strategy is to simply ignore it. In the meantime, the SSPX should sign up to everything and allow Catholics like me to vote with our feet. Presumably, that is what Fellay would prefer but is being held back by wealthy patrons and a genuine fear of the Vatican.

    In truth, the Novus Ordo Church will not change unless there is a change in the (secular) political climate from which it draws sustenance (Fellay and especially Williamson should understand this as the latter has lectured on the very subject at their seminary). This might take several decades but the exact timescales of the change are impossible to predict. The SSPX authorities should further know that the CDF can not posssibly deliver all their demands and they need to get the best deal possible. The Ordinariate looks a good model plus they need a young point man in a Vatican dicastery but he is going to be tough to find. Burke, for example, is no friend of the SSPX.

    Apologies for bringing the SSPX into the discusssion!

    • bmcp,

      I do not think that Fellay would – or would be allowed to – make compromises with the SSPX’s position. His aim is not to allow us to vote with our feet, but to keep doctrinal integrity free from pollution and confusion. I do not even think that he wants to “conquer” the Church by telling Her that what is wrong is right.

      In my eyes, the reconciliation will only happen when the NO is dead; twenty-thirty years, methinks.


  2. I’m more pessimistic than you Mundabor. I think the crypto-Modernism that came out in full force after Vatican II (and, really, had never been defeated, only driven underground, since its inception in the 19th century) will never go away. It is the nature of this specific beast to abhor dogmas, consistency, and sound doctrine, so it can never be pinned down.

    We live in an odd time when people who disagree with a religion are free from any legal trouble if they wish to leave it and form their own, but for some reason insist on staying in and bothering their brethren. Heretics from Arius to Luther faced potentially much more stringent consequences from deviating from the orthodox faith, but at least had the guts to just leave.*

    *(Yes, I know Arius and his followers did not ‘leave’ in the sense that Protestants did, but for centuries there would be two competing bishops in an area, one orthodox, one Arian, etc. They’d fight over who was the “real” bishop.)

    • NSS,
      I am an Italian sunny boy and I think that after ever Jimmy Carter you get a Ronald Reagan. Sometime you just have to wait a bit longer. Crypto-modernism might never be completely eradicated but this is no big deal, the Church has never been completely free from heretical tendencies. I’d be happy enough if some Pope would fight crypto-modernism with half the energy St. Pius X used against the real one.


  3. Vatican II just needs to become irrelevant. It’s interesting that while John Paul II constantly quoted the texts of VII in his speeches Benedict XVI hardly ever does. In fact to a certain extent Vatican II has already become irrelevant. We just need to clean up the mess.

    • I have also noticed, Shane.
      JP II’s catechism is barely readable due to its obsessive need of justifying every word with V Ii documents. Pope Ratzinger is much better inthis respect though I think he is a son of V II himself. I think the big clean up will begin with his successor.


  4. Thank you for this post, mundabor. I have been searching and searching and I just cannot find a copy of Gherardini’s book in English. The title, if I’m not mistaken, is “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion” (I saw a picture of the English edition on the Hospitallers blog

    Any help on this matter would be much appreciated as I think this is a tremendously valuable book – especially given his position in the Vatican, etc.


  5. Doh! Nevermind, I found it in one of the comments on the the Hospitallers blog:

    “This book can also be ordered through the Academy of the Immaculate, a traditional Catholic apostolate in the USA.

    “Copies of Msgr. Gherardini’s book are $25 each plus shipping. Mike Coffey, FTI can be contacted for orders directly at or 1-888-906-2742.”

    I’ll be ordering my copy!

  6. I agree with V2’s irrelevance as suggested by Shane which is why I suggested that we stop discussing it. The constant search for top down solutions as in, “if only we had a pope like such and such” or, worse still, “another Reagan” will fail. Shane (again) illustrated on this blog (or was it elsewhere?) that Desmond Connell was about as good a Cardinal Archbishop as anyone Diocese could realistically expect but his attempts at reform were simply blocked by experienced curial operators in Dublin with powerful connections amongst the laity. The historian James Hitchcock confirms the problem in the following paper: This was the phenomenon throughout the JPII years. Hitchcock draws the ironic conclusion that liberal appointments proved to be far less destructive than conservative ones.

    The political and intellectual climate will have to change radically for the Western church to revive. To some extent this should already happened with the collapse of the Soviet Union (which Reagan helped precipitate) but that there has not been a concomitant return to religion in Eastern Europe is a mystery which confounds all logic. Kissinger claimed a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall that the Soviet Empire would last another 100 years. In a way he has been proved correct (despite the mockery his prediction subsequently invited) because the left have simply morphed from economics into other disciplines. Kissinger, (who is more intelligent than either the present or previous Pope) predicted all this in a way JPII and BXVI, for example, failed to see.

    • Bmcp,

      the problem as I see it is that, volens nolens, V II is what dominates the life of the Church to this day. I can’t see how the influence of V II in the life of the Church can be reduced without honestly confronting the problems it has caused. Similarly, every reconciliation with the SSPX will in my eyes remain an illusion as long as V II is not re-framed in its proper light (that is: recognised as a pastoral mistake, and an embarrassment).


  7. People do not change or accept there is a problem unless there are consequences as a result of what they have done wrong. That is a pastoral reality. In my experience, neither the closure of parishes, collapse in vocations nor even the sex scandals have prompted a debate at parish level as to what has gone wrong? The atmosphere is surreal. I spoke to a creepy, middle-aged woman from the Focolare movement over coffee after Mass and the last 45 years mean nothing to her. What has this or any of the other “uncompromising” blogs got to offer her? Very little it seems to me.

    • Fully agree,
      but when the likes of Monsignor Gherardini start to change things, what the lady thinks will be less than irrelevant anyway.

      The “Discussion” he talks about is, I think, certainly not a debate among the people in the pews. It cannot be about “democracy”, or persuading old Sixty-Eighters that they got it all wrong all this time. What I think he refers to is a discussion within the Vatican, with the ranks of those who influence the future of the Church. Tambourine players are certainly not to be won over; they’ll have to live with whatever decision is taken or, more probably, die in order for decisions to be taken.


  8. bmcp4tr01’s comments are fascinating as always. Real food for thought. And I completely agree that conservative bishops have done as much if not more damage to the Church than liberals.

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