On the occasion of so much ballyhoo heralding its "benefits" on the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Catholic Tradition is presenting these pages of various quotes from Michael Davies' monumental work, POPE JOHN'S COUNCIL, Vol. Two of Liturgical Revolution, Angelus Press, 1977. For those of you who may be inclined to presume that Vatican II is all that it is purported to be you may have second thoughts. Remember, it was not a doctrinal council, but a pastoral one, the only such ecumenical council in the history of the Church. Faithful to Tradition as all Catholics are bound to be in conscience and in practice, in accord with the Apostolic mandate, we are to reject all novelty that countermands that Sacred Tradition. Those portions of the Council documents that cite from doctrinal councils that preceded it are to be accepted in faith. Please note, that unless a portion in bold type is referenced as the usage of the author, the emphasis is added by this Web Master.

This project is now completed.

From the Author's Introduction
From Pope John Is Inspired
From The Church Before The Council
From Blitzkrieg
From Mopping Up
From Liberal Shock Troops
From Time Bombs
From The Prefabricators
From The Background To Protestantism
From Protestant Pressures
From Mother Of The Church
From Left Turn
From Pernicious Adversaries
From The Enigma Of Pope Paul
From The Status Of The Documents
From Planting The Time Bombs
From Unearthing The Time Bombs
From Counting The Cost
From Appendix IV: Liberal Mythology
From Appendix VI: Salleron on Maritain
From Appendix VII: The Anti-liturgical Heresy
From Appendix VIII: The Fruits Of Vatican II

From the Author's Introduction:

The most significant event relating to Vatican II since this book was first published in 1977 was the convocation by Pope John Paul II of an extraordinary synod of bishops in Rome in November 1985, to assess the impact of the Council upon the life of the Church. National hierarchies submitted reports upon the effectiveness of the conciliar reforms in their own countries.

Where English-speaking hierarchies were concerned, the result was as predictable as that of an election in the Soviet Union. The submission of the English bishops was possibly the most fatuous, but only marginally more inane than that of the hierarchy of the United States. It was claimed that we are in the midst of a second Pentecost of such magnitude that the first was a non-event in comparison. Everyone everywhere is engaged in incessant dialogue and ceaseless renewal. The only blot upon the idyllic post-conciliar landscape is the presence of Catholics expressing "an extreme minority view." These Catholics, whose crime is fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church and her most venerable traditions, are denounced by the English bishops for manifesting "a lack of tolerance and a certain new fundamentalism."
Sadly, the Extraordinary Synod itself endorsed this attitude of fatuous optimism. A God-given opportunity to face up to the facts of the post-conciliar debacle and initiate a return to Tradition was rejected. In its final report the Fathers of the Synod proclaimed:

The reason for the summoning of this synod was to celebrate, reaffirm the meaning, and carry forward the work of the Second Vatican Council. We are grateful to see that, with God's help, we have achieved these aims. We have celebrated Vatican II wholeheartedly together, as a grace of God and gift of the Holy Spirit, from which many spiritual benefits have issued for the universal Church, for particular Churches, and for the people of our time. In the same mind and with joy we have affirmed the meaning of Vatican II as a lawful and valid expression of the deposit of faith contained in sacred Scripture and in the living tradition of the Church. For this reason we decided to go forward on the same path that the Council pointed out. (Author's emphasis.)

One can only remark that this is precisely the reaffirmation one might expect from a synod of lemmings determined to go forward on the same path to self-destruction taken by their predecessors twenty years previously. A far more realistic assessment of the post-conciliar epoch, and one which coincides exactly with that expressed in this book when it was first published, was expressed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and published in the English edition of L 'Osservatore Romano on 24 December 1984:

Certainly the results [of Vatican II] seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Pope Paul VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which, to use the words of Pope Paul VI, seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, and instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part precisely under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church. (
Author's emphasis.)

Cardinal Ratzinger's realistic assessment of post-conciliar Catholicism won him no friends within the Catholic media. In an editorial comment on the English bishops' submission, The Tablet was able to gloat over the fact that: "There is no reflection here of the views of Cardinal Ratzinger. On the contrary, his gloomy assessment of the state of the Church today, leading him to deplore the record of the last twenty years, and to call for a 'restoration,' is often explicitly opposed" (3 August 1985). The Tablet had already attacked Cardinal Ratzinger for his "pessimism" in its 13 July issue, and, by an interesting coincidence, the 3 August issue, praising the English bishops' submission, also included a letter to the editor from B.A. Santamaria, undoubtedly the greatest Australian layman of this century. Mr. Santamaria's letter was a response to the 13 July attack on Cardinal Ratzinger. He pointed out that since the Second Vatican Council, in France, Italy and Holland, over 80% of Catholics do not practice their faith. In his own country of Australia, Mass attendance has plummeted from 53% in 1960 to 25% in 1985. Mr. Santamaria commented:

If we project these figures into the future, short of a religious miracle, what figures are we seriously entitled to expect ten years from now? Facts cannot be "optimistic" or "pessimistic." Facts can only be true or false. If these facts are false, let them be shown to be so. If they are true let us not conclude our assessment with the monumental absurdity that, in proportion as Catholics vote with their feet and empty once-full churches, the Holy Ghost is "renewing" what is visibly ceasing to exist.

An argument which has been used frequently by proponents of the post-conciliar reforms is post hoc non ergo propter hoc, i.e., because the decline has followed the Council it is not necessarily a result of the Council. What these people fail to face up to is the fact that the reforms allegedly implementing the Council were intended to initiate a renewal, and a renewal must necessarily involve expansion and not decline. What would these people have replied had their reforms resulted, for example, in a massive increase in Mass attendance, and Catholics who did not like the liturgical changes had replied: "Post hoc non ergo propter hoc?"

There is a respect in which the Church can be compared to any great manufacturing company, and I hope that making this comparison will not appear too irreverent. The object of any manufacturer is to persuade the public to buy its product in preference to that of its competitors. Let us imagine that the chief executives of, say, the Ford Motor Company decided to give the company and its products a totally new image. In order to achieve this they made radical alterations in the appearance of Ford cars, threw out all their tried and tested marketing methods, and promoted their restyled vehicles in a completely new manner. Imagine then, that sales plummeted, and not only did they win practically no new customers, but lost a huge proportion of their established clients, in some countries as many as eighty percent. It would be an understatement to claim that these executive officers would have lacked credibility had they denied any connection between their new marketing policies and the collapse of their company. Imagine the reaction had the same executives not only tried to exculpate their new policies from any responsibility for the collapse, but denied that any collapse had taken place, despite the fact that in country after country Ford factories were closing down, and that sales were at the lowest level ever. Let us go one step further and image that they refused to abandon the disastrous policies they had adopted, and return to their traditional methods, but intended "to go forward on the same path" that had led to the self-destruction of Ford Motor Company. One can only conclude that under such circumstances their next shareholders' meeting would be somewhat stormy.

No, Mr. Santamaria is correct. It is a monumental absurdity to claim that as once full churches empty, "the Holy Ghost is 'renewing' what is visibly ceasing to exist."

Father Kenneth Baker, Editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, has gone as far as to claim that the "product" marketed by the "executives" of the Catholic Church in the United States is no longer the "product" marketed before Vatican II. In the editorial to his January 1983 edition he wrote: "We are witnessing the rejection of the hierarchical Church founded by Jesus Christ to be replaced by a Protestant American Church separated from Rome." This judgment is radical and severe, but it is one which faithful Catholics throughout the West would apply to what is taking place in their own countries.

One of the most significant comments upon the fruits of Vatican II appeared in the 10 October 1982 issue of the National Catholic Register, which was dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the Council, which had opened formally on 11 October 1962. The article was written by Michael Novak, who is mentioned several times in this book, and was, at the time of the Council, an ultra-liberal. He now appears to have undergone a conversion to moderate conservatism, and is something of a scourge of the American bishops. Novak recollected his euphoria at the opening of the Council, and his conviction that the world would forevermore be different - and better. "Is it only that I am now older? For my thoughts about the Church today are not of growth but of decline; not of more intense orthodoxy, but of growing dissension and deliberate heterodoxy; not of more devout moral living, but of growing slackness and surrender to the world on the world's own terms. Vatican II was supposed to renew the Church. At least in some measure, it seems to have diluted, divided and weakened it."
In the March 1985 issue of his journal, Christian Order, Father Paul Crane, S.J., spelled out precisely what is taking place in the post-conciliar Church: "What confronts the Church today is a new body of belief and moral practice, propagated from within the Church itself by those who call themselves Catholics. In fact, a new religion. A new faith, not in God primarily, but in man. Man-centered rather than God-serving." The June 1986 issue of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review included an article by Cardinal Ratzinger in which he deplored the emergence of a new concept of the People of God in which "God" means only the people themselves, and in the liturgy the people celebrate only themselves.

Lest any reader should feel despondent after reading this book, it is worth recalling that we have Our Lord's promise that His Church will endure until He comes again in precisely the manner He constituted it, as a visible hierarchically-governed body founded upon the Rock of Peter. The Church founded by Our Lord cannot fail. It is indefectible. The gates of hell will never prevail against it, even though violent storms may seem to submerge it for a time, and Peter himself may appear to waver. The Church may be reduced in size and influence. Whole countries may fall away from the Faith and never return, as has happened in the past, but the Church itself will and must continue to stand until the end of time, ad finem saeculorum usque firma stabit, to quote the comforting words of the First Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus. The duty of faithful Catholics in these times is to avoid despair, and at all costs to remain within the barque of Peter. Pope Leo XIII warned us in his encyclical Satis cognitum that:

The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and the same forever: those who leave it depart from the will and the command of Christ, the Lord. Leaving the path of salvation they enter on the path of perdition.

To conclude on a note of hope, Our Lady of Fatima has promised that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. More than ever, here in this valley of tears, we must make her our most gracious advocate, and the advocate of the Church of which she is the Mother.

Michael Davies
18 February 1987
Feast of St. Bernadette


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