A young friend in another country, has put the following questions to me, after I had agreed to answer questions around the subject of Vatican II:

1. What does the event of Vatican II mean to you?
2. what changes did Vat. II bring to the Church's internal life?
3. How did the council affect the external role that the church plays in civil society and in relation to worldly events?
4. what changes are you happy with?
5. What do you miss? (Practices before Vat. II)
6. What is the biggest difference that you have seen in the Church?

I am pleased to have to consider the questions and frame answers , because the process will crystallise a review of the greater part of my life in the Church.


Question 1

"What does the event of Vatican II mean to you?"

Firstly, and before everything else, the event of Vatican II means to me a work of the Holy Spirit - from its conception in the mind of Blessed John XXIII, to its assembly and action and Documents. Secondly,at the purely human level , it is to me the occasion ( as distinct from the cause) of immense and destructive turbulence in the Church.

This last point should NOT be a great surprise.For just as God Himself desired the Council be held for the GOOD of the Church, Satan set out to frustrate that purpose. We have seen him similarly at work when Pope Benedict XVI with fatherly love, called for the Year of the Priest. The outbreak in the media of stories re-hashing accounts of "pedophilia"( really in most cases,homosexuality) was frenzied and virulent in its attacks even upon the Holy Father! Almost all the events took place 30-40 yrs earlier, but the effect was to besmirch the Year of the Priest and limit its beneficial effects.

In the case of the Council, Satan's tools were a small coterie of media-savvy North European Clerics who daily briefed the Media  about "what the Council said and did" they thus succeeded in creating in the public mind, both inside and outside the Church, a false impression of what the Council decided.They created expectancy of radical change even in doctrine, let alone discipline. When the official documents of the Council were published months later, they rarely got the attention they deserved - because "everyone knows"already! This activity later resulted in the sinister concept of "the spirit of the Council"which was used to justify almost any aberration, when in truth what was being done  often bore no relation to the Council, or was contrary to its Documents or deceitfully twisted their intent.

Thirdly, I would say that the event of Vatican II represented for me a great trial and distress and later in my life persecution for my orthodoxy in belief and practise, at great financial loss to my family. I accept that as part of God's Will and trust that I served Him faithfully throughout that trial.

Question 2.
"what changes did Vat. II bring to the Church's internal life?"

At every stage , we have to distinguish between what the Council DID or intended, and what happened due to the "spirit of the Council"operatives - many of whom were not just misguided, but, we would have to say, diabolical in their intent.

The announced watchword of the Council was "Aggiornamento"- that is, a bringing up to date. The world had moved dramatically in the 90 or so years since Vatican I . Almost all the crowned Heads of Europe had been swept into the dustbin of history,the general population was better educated, more prosperous and the great formality of that earlier age had been supplanted by a more informal, even casual,society. The Church however, was largely presenting herself as she had done when she had to deal with Monarchs and a stiffly formal society. There was a definite need to make adjustments.

The key changes that the Council sought to make were :

A reform of the Sacred Liturgy:

This had already begun under Pope Saint Pius X  and the Venerable Pope Pius XII and was not a surprising goal. As it happened the Council clearly envisaged only minor change, this is made clear from its very first Document, SACROSANCTUM CONSILIUM which calls for the retention of Latin and the pre-eminence of Gregorian Chant, but also approved limited use of the vernacular in certain areas .

A reform of the Religious Orders was called for, to have them re-examine their founder's intentions, and to return to their authentic charism.

There were a huge number of Religious Orders, many of them hundreds of years old, and it was considered timely for them to take stock , to re-examine their activities, to see how best they could be faithful to their founder's intentions and the present needs of the Church.

An examination of how the Church might best live out her Divine Mission in the modern world, including the concept of a" preferential option for the poor", a taking account of "the signs of the times", and an emphasis on Ecumenism in the interests of drawing Christians separated from the Church, back into unity with her.

These were all worthy intentions, but in almost every case, they were perverted by the "spirit of the Council"people.

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini
In the case of the Sacred Liturgy, the influence and workings of the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini were disastrous and it was not until too late that Pope Paul VI discovered the man's true character.That he removed him from all positions of influence .But by then it was too late.

In the case of the Religious Orders the havoc was wrought by the introduction of consulting psychologists to carry out studies of individual orders and houses. How this came about and became so systematic is not clear. It was not the Council's intention. Its effects were devastating, creating division,disaffection,departures and even total collapse of institutions in some cases.Some Orders have never recovered their balance. Some have begun to do so, but still bear within them many disaffected characters from that time.

Attempts to reform how the Church addressed the world largely fared badly as "spirit of the Council"people launched into such aberrations as Liberation Theology ( even carrying and promoting the use of weapons). And large numbers of clergy and religious came to see themselves as social workers and political activists, urged on by these same deceitful agents.Preoccupation with "the signs of the times"seemed to hold many in the Church in thrall, producing inaction. They lost sight of the fact that they and the Church, by their Divine Mission, are meant to BE SIGNS OF THE TIMES to the world! The "spirit of the Council"people were also active in regard to Ecumenism, leading it in the direction of indifferentism and a false irenicism.

So, we come to see that the Council was subverted and its purposes perverted and its intentions frustrated by the direct and indirect agents of Satan himself. 

The key difference noted in the Church since the Council id division , which as Archbishop Fulton Sheen reminded us, is the work of Satan.

Question 3.

 "How did the council affect the external role that the church plays in civil society and in relation to worldly events?"

In addressing this Question , we need to bear in mind our response to Question 2. The Council proper and its documents have been largely frustrated. Nevertheless through the Magisterial Teaching of Blessed John Paul II and of Pope Benedict XVI, the Council's teachings have been gradually re-presented and have begun to have their effect.

In civil society, the effects differ from country to country.In Europe the effects have not been great because of the false start engineered by the "spirit of the Council"people, and because of the moral and spiritual torpor of those societies generally speaking.In Africa and the Middle East the twin problems of Mohammedanism with its absence of intellectual life, and politcal corruption and mindless violence have obstructed much of what the Council genuinely sought. But, particularly in Africa, the Church is flourishing because of the Divinely inspired work among the people, mercifully untainted by the concept of Liberation Theology so-called.It seems absurd to say "in Asia"since Asia is so large and absolutely diverse, but one does not get the impression of an effective involvement of the Church in civil society in many of the countries. Indeed in some, for Catholics to simply stay alive is hard enough. In others Catholics are  even a majority but institutionalised corruption is so pervasive that any authentic effect can be muffled.

In Russia, where the Church is a minor factor in the society,it seems as much as can be done is being done, bearing in mind the massive majority and influence of the Orthodox Church.

In North America , where we have seen the "spirit of the Council"people do their worst, a strong authenically Catholic population and a growing number of very good Bishops has resulted in a very clear realisation of the need to be seen and active "in the public square"as the phrase is used,in order achieve and effect influence in Civil Society. It is the very model of what the Council sought and has produced some amazingly effective teaching.

South America was the playground of the Liberation Theology "spirit of the Council people. Through the manly, vigorous and compelling teaching of Blessed John Paul II the error was fought to a stop. And it has withered and is now dying.

In short, the engagement with Civil Society the Council desired has only begun through the teaching of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and progress has been slow due to earlier subversion by "spirit of the Council"activists.Many American Bishops are providing an excellent example of what needs to be done and Pope Benedict XVI's teaching continues to provide more and more intellectual bases for continued engagement.

In Western societies the division in the post-Conciliar period has worked to somewhat diminish the standing of the Church in society.

Question 4

"what changes are you happy with?"

Given that most of what the Council mandated , has been frustrated, when it comes to actual change achieved, I can't seriously think of anything the Council sought that has been done properly according to its intent. 

But, there are consequences of all the wrong things done by "spirit of the Council"folk, that have been very positive. Their errors and falsity have led to a huge upsurge in orthodox activism in reaction, and to the more thorough examination of the theological basis of certain Church teachings in order to refute their recognised errors, and indeed to Magisterial Teaching for the same purpose. In this regard Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is a classic example.

Question 5

"What do you miss? (Practices before Vat. II)"


It has been rightly said that "the ideal post Vatican II Church was the pre Vatican II Church in Australia". As this statement implies, before the Council in the Church in Australia. Mass attendance was about 65% on Sundays, and weekday Masses were very well attended. Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament was a weekly well-attended phenomenon. Weekly Confessions were heavily attended. The churches were full and "standing room only"was common. Sodalities of Men, Women, Girls were always well attended, 3 yearly Parish Missions were given to capacity crowds. The charitable works of well volunteered St Vincent de Paul Society were legendary throughout the community. Our many, many Catholic schools were all completely staffed by Religious, and pairs of Nuns in their habits visiting the sick were common in Australian towns and cities. Our Seminaries were full and Ordination Classes of 20-24 were common ( even though our population was 1/3rd of what it is to-day.

Faithful Catholics were regularly active in public life as Heads of Government, Ministers, Parliamentarians,Judges, Lawyers and Doctors and Heads of the Civil Service and Armed Forces.

The Faithful worked closely with the Parish Priest in various Apostolic works and in building up the Parish Plant. They were well informed about the Faith having been taught from Archbishop Sheehan's "Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine" and from listening to the very popular Radio Replies programme of Dr. Leslie Rumble M.S.C. on out Catholic Radio Station 2SM.

They were free from any central Archdiocesan programmes run by paid officials, and the Parish did not employ any clerical staff, nor did the large and successful Parish School.

I miss all that!

I miss the full church, the complete sense of unity. I miss being able to go into any Catholic Church in the country without worrying about the likelihood of liturgical abuse or the scandal of heretical or otherwise divisive and unfaithful homilies.

I miss the order and sense of the sacred, that made devotion flourish, and I miss the absence of triviality and banality which have become so common in "Church music"so-called. 

I miss it very much. It needed tweaking here and there, but it did not need 
the package that we got, which emptied the pews down to 10-15% weekly Mass attendance.


"What is the biggest difference that you have seen in the Church?"

The biggest difference has three aspects:

the reduction in Mass attendance from 65% to 15%
the introduction of Mass versus populum
the division created within the Catholic community.

I am steadfastly in favour of the Second Vatican Council and its teachings, I love the Extraordinary Form, I have no time for the SSPX and all that, I am a devoted and consistent follower of the Magisterium and pray that Pope Benedict XVI may long be spared to remain  our  Holy Father.


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