Monday, April 21, 2008

Vatican Councils Question

Anonymous said...
I had a discussion with a friend about the Church and he is convinced "some" of the Vatican Councils are flawed. I don;t know enough to know the difference. Can you help with this question?thanks!
April 21, 2008 7:19 AM

I find it impossible to address this. Many holy people have spent their entire lives researching and commenting on these Councils of the Church and this small space and my feeble thoughts and words are insufficient to the task.


Mark R said...

It seems to me that the statement is a bit too broad and imprecise to address. There have been many Church Councils over the centuries. Only the last two have been Vatican Councils, so the word "some" seems a bit odd there.

If the assertion is that some of the Church Councils have been flawed in some way, well the short answer is "probably". One must remember that the infallibility of the Pope and the Magisterium only comes into play when a doctrine is being defined for all the faithful to follow. Only those statements are unchangeable. For example, the Council of Trent's definition of transubstantiation can never be changed, whereas its liturgical reforms are matters of discipline and could be superseded by the liturgical reforms of Vatican Council II.

If the assertion is that some of Vatican II's reforms are flawed, we must draw a distinction between the declared norms themselves and the implementation of those norms. Has the Church bungled some of the implementation of Vatican II? YES. Does that mean the Council documents themselves are flawed? Not necessarily. Again, remember that Vatican II did not define any doctrines. It was concerned with pastoral matters, and these change over the years.

I will be interested to see if the questioner can name a specific "flaw" that he is curious about. That would be easier to address.

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