Monday, June 03, 2013

Shock admission: Cardinal Kasper in L'Osservatore Romano: Vatican II deliberately unclear!

For decades now, supporters of the great, sweeping changes in the life of the Church have pointed to the Vatican II documents and said: There are no ambiguities. They are clear as crystal. Only the interpretation of them has been muddied. And that has been the party line stretching back to the days immediately following the Council in the mid-1960s.

What is shocking is that when a high-ranking very-famous Cardinal who has been a big supporter of the more liberal adaptations and interpretations of the Council documents comes out and admits the opposite, that this isn't earth-shattering news all over the Catholic world ... [This] is beyond belief. But this is exactly what has happened. The mainstream Catholic media, which is largely at the service of the "New Church," the "Church of Nice," has kept their collective mouth shut about one of the perhaps most blatant, glaring admissions to come forth about Vatican II since, well, Vatican II itself.

Last month, Cardinal Walter Kasper just flatly stated that there were ambiguities deliberately inserted into Vatican II documents, leaving them subject to a multitude of interpretations, and as we all know, those interpretations which were collected under the misleading title, "Spirit of Vatican II," have been used to dismantle much of the Church, and build up in its place a Church overrun by modernism.

In L'Osservatore Romano (April 12, 2013), Cardinal Walter Kasper made the absolutely stunning admission that ambiguities were deliberately inserted into Vatican II documents -- an admission that would pretty well vindicate all the alarms sounded by the likes of Michael Davies about "liturgical time bombs," and the like. Specifically, Kasper is reported as admitting the following (emphasis mine):
“In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.”

“For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the council are part of the church’s daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the church, which were expected at that time, but rather a church that has a wintry look, and shows clear signs of crisis.

“For those who know the story of the twenty councils recognized as ecumenical, this [the state of confusion] will not be a surprise. The post-conciliar times were almost always turbulent. The
[Second] Vatican, however, is a special case.”
Why is this not front and center in the discussion of the Catholic media?! This is a STAGGERING admission! The only other place I could find anything immediately about this was a brief post by Robert Sungenis, "Cardinal Kasper Admits to Intentional Ambituities in Vatican II," in The Bellarmine Report (April 17, 2013), and a Catholic Answers Forum HERE (Dated April 15, 2013), which led me to the original Italian version of the L'Osservatore Romano article translated by Google into English HERE (with the relevant quotes from Kasper); as well as the post, "Cardinal Kasper: Pope Francis has launched 'new phase' on Vatican II" by John Thavis (April 11, 2013).

So why isn't this NEWS? Why has this happened a couple of weeks ago, and we've heard nothing about it until now?

I only became aware of Kasper's statements for the first time tonight in Michael Voris's Vortex episode: Deliberately Unclear ("It may be THE MOST SHOCKING admission ever about Vatican II .. and no one is talking about it .. yet!").

[N.B. - Acknowledgement: Italicized opening paragraphs are transcriptions from The Vortex, 6/3/13]


JM said...

Also, the line about there always being turbulence after councils is at al crock. No other council ever left room for similar dissent, by any stretch whatsoever.

JM said...

Wow. The ENTIRE party line of Weigel, Neuhaus...well, just about everyone, blown to bits. And the beef of e SSPX vindicated. Wait! That CAN'T be correct. right? So let's recalibrate to the Springtime where Pope Francis reminds us how blessed the poor are... Sounds cynical, I know, but any more so than a Church where Council documents are purposefully ambiguous?!

What is most telling and disturbing is that almost all Catholics assume JPII and BXVI were VERY VERY conservative. All I can say to this is it reflects a constituency that is theologically speaking pretty illiterate.

Go read the Protestant David Wells' REVOLUTION IN ROME. Forty years old, it is dead on.

CHRIS said...


Wouldn't the logical consequence of this admission be the vindication of the position of the SSPX -- at least in this one regard, mind -- that one can't subscribe to the doctrines of Vatican 2 unless they are actually defined?

God bless,


Anonymous said...

Can I view the original article

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Massimo Faggioli says something similar in his "objective" survey of competing V2 hermeneutics, "Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning." He writes:

"It is now also clear that in the scholarship about Vatican II we are well past the stage of the 'superficial or frankly inexact publications' [Ratzinger's phrase], if we grant some credibility to the historical and theological broad consensus about the historiographical work done on the council at least in the past two decades. The question is whether the advocates of continuity are ready to accept -- as they have already done explicitly or implicitly for the Council of Trent or for Vatican I -- the historical fact of discontinuity and change between the intentions and the letter of the texts of the council and the 'unintended consequences' (in John O'Malley's words) of the postcouncil period." (136)

In other words, OF COURSE there are discontinuities between the final documents and the real intentions of the council fathers. OF COURSE there are discontinuities between the documents and what happened in the post-council period of "spirit." That's ALWAYS the way it goes at these things. The important thing is to follow the EXPRESSED WILL OF THE COUNCIL FATHERS at the historical EVENT of V2 -- not merely the final documents, which are products of compromise, thrown together just to get a majority.

What this really means is that we should now pay honor to the wishes of the council modernists and progressives, and dishonor the agreement that they made with less progressive but infinitely more callow bishops to push through compromise documents containing the "sort of" expressed will of the fathers as a whole majority.

Of course, bait and switch was the plan all along! Schillebeeckx, for one, was pretty candid about that. These modernists are so in love with their own slickness that they simply can't shut up about it, even when it would clearly be in their best interest to do so.

Beware Faggioli. He is an ideologue posing as an objective historian. Beware the 5 volume History of Vatican II, a masterpiece of scholarship whose premise is the above "hermeneutic" of discontinuity (This is the "scholarship" to which Faggioli refers above, and on which he and his fellow liberals -- including Kasper -- prop their arguments). And finally, beware the documents themselves, which even the so-called "conservatives" (like our pope-emeritus) are committed to supporting, despite the chicanery that went into their creation. Throw the thousands of pages of designed ambiguity down the Well of Forgetfulness, where V1 is clearly headed, and where most of the declarations of the Piuses now reside.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

PP, the article that comes up on your link reads like a high school student's cribbing of Faggioli's book.

Now that Joseph Ratzinger is no longer pope and has been encouraged to restrict his commentary on the burning issues (by Kasper or Schonborn, I forget which, they are so interchangeable), it is apparent that the answering salvo to Pope Ratzinger's theory of the doppelganger hermeneutics has been fired.

It will be based on the conclusions of the "Bolognese circle" of scholars, researchers, and ideologues who put together the five volume "History of Vatican II." Faggioli refers to this work in glowing terms on virtually every page of his "Battle for Meaning."

Unfortunately, the Ratzinger circle has absolutely no work of equal scholarly depth with which to counter the Bologna progressives. Wiltgen is a start, perhaps, but he's nowhere near enough (especially since he himself was a liberal at the council, and did not regard his work as a vindication of Lefebvre or even the later Ratzinger in any respect).

Supporters of Ratzinger's "continuity" hermeneutic have been far too docile and passive, relying on their leader's prestige as pope and council participant, rather than serious work of their own, to advance their cause. With Ratzinger now removed, they seem more and more like a pretty threadbare lot.

Sheldon said...

This admission will largely be dismissed by the Catholic media, I imagine, because it will be said that all documents of Ecumenical Councils, even the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, are products of compromise, forged in the crucible of debate and deliberation.

What is new in the documents of this Council is that the compromise is between a side that was clearly orthodox, and another side that was clearly heterodox, so that the resulting ambiguities are capable of a completely heterodox interpretation.

This is what is new, and radically new, in the last Ecumenical Council. It's documents are the first in Catholic history capable of being intepreteted in a completely heterodox way.

This is also why it is not enough to insist, as Pope Benedict XVI did, that the documents of the Council be interpreted in continuity with tradition. Of course they can. The problem is that the documents themselves are not capable of guaranteeing such an interpretation.

Yes, the documents of Vatican II CAN be interpreted in conformity with Sacred Tradition, just like the Novus Ordo CAN be celebrated in a faithfully Catholic manner. The problem is that neither are required by the relevant documents themselves.

Pertinacious Papist said...


The L'Osservatore Romano is apparently available only in Italian at this point. The only translation is the rigidly-wooden mechanical Google translation linked in the post. I think a proper English translation will be made available eventually.

Ralph, as to works to counter the Bologna progressives, a start might also be found in Roberto de Mattei's The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story. It's not a multi-volume blockbuster, but it's far from fluff.

Anonymous said...

I still love both Popes John Paul and Benedict, and I am starting to love Pope Francis as well, especially his strident social justice commentary.

However, this is the final straw. I now must admit that Vatican II has been an abysmal failure. To say that the Holy See is vacant is absurd, but it must be admitted that Catholicism is now as unstable as Protestantism.

This is to say nothing about the crazy Roman bishops in the United States. First, they cover up sexual abuse instigated by their priests, and then they voice support for Bush wars condemned by two Popes, condone torture, support Randian politicians- and they call Michael Moore a "cafeteria Catholic;" I don't think so!

I grew up a Lutheran and as a teenager became deeply disaffected by the ideological strifes between Church Liberals and Evangelicals, Progressives and Conservatives. I saw Catholicism as a stable institution, but the failures of Vatican II have ruined this. This is crushing.

I remember one time I met an Orthodox priest originally from Serbia, and he was talking about the instability and chaos all through Western Christianity. At the time I thought Catholicism was stable, but that Serbian priest has turned out to be correct after all. I will start going to the Orthodox Church from now on.

Anonymous said...

No news here, people have been talking about the compromise formulations in Vatican II since the time of the council itself. They were the price to be paid to have the documents carried by huge majorities. The bits of Vatican II SSPX dissent from had sufficient support that no compromise formulations were required. In the case of Lumen Gentium such comprommise was needed, mostly because of the bits about papal primacy.JM: Nicea left turbulence for half a century, so did Chalcedon.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"the documents of Vatican II CAN be interpreted in conformity with Sacred Tradition"

Well of COURSE they can! Take a good sharp scissors, cut away the ambiguously progressive portions, and interpret the remaining fortune cookie snippets like they were written by Pius IX!!

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

"Roberto de Mattei's The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story. It's not a multi-volume blockbuster, but it's far from fluff."

Too little, hopefully not too late.

My view of it tends to be that interpretation of the council as an historical event cannot be avoided. I believe it is an historical fact that progressive theologians, cardinals and bishops hijacked the council, and that the documents they concocted to accomplish this were deliberately designed to be a stalking horse for later deconstruction of the faith. You can find less dramatic ways to state the thought in the last sentence, but that is the gist of it.

So in their basic premise, that the hermeneutic of the council must be drawn from its historical reality, I find myself in agreement with the pro-rupture crowd. I only disagree with them in their notion that their hermeneutic justifies perpetual "Spirit of Vatican II" reinvention. On the contrary, it justifies restoration.

On the other hand, the insistence of the pope-emeritus and his followers, that the true hermeneutic of Vatican II reduces to the proper interpretation -- in line with tradition -- of council documents, is fundamentally delusional -- Cdl Kasper's recent inopportune revelation bears out that point quite nicely. Ratzinger's inability to face up to what he has jokingly called the "sins of his youth" has led so-called conservatives, and even some traditionalists, up a blind alley.

Obviously, the outcome of my interpretation is that the final documents are unreliable and must be deposited forever in the Vatican Well of Forgetfulness. I am probably deluding myself that such an outcome is even remotely possible. But there it is.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

As one last thought, there is one work of considerable scholarly depth on the subject of Vatican II and its aftermath that is never mentioned by anyone. It is Atila Sinke Guimaraes' 11 vol "Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabachthani." Eight of these volumes are now in English translation. I've only read two of these volumes so far, and I strongly recommend them. But they push an inconvenient thesis, and so are ignored.

Sheldon said...

"... Catholicism is now as unstable as Protestantism."

An important remaining difference is that Catholicism, no matter how confused contemporary Catholics may be, still has the repository of Sacred Tradition, which may serve as an eventual basis for reform.

That, I take it, is what the SSPX is banking on.

In the meantime, it's helpful to remember just how screwed up the Church has been in her history and yet survived. God preserves the Church despite the screwballs who hold it in trust.

Sam Schmitt said...

I'm not sure this is that shocking in that theological liberals have hardly adhered to a stance that the documents of Vatican II were "crystal clear" and unequivaocal in their meaning.

Way back in 1971, John O'Malley, SJ, the well-known champion of the hermeneutic of rupture, wrote in Theological Studies: "Moreover, the news media made us cognizant of the fact that the Council's decrees were committee documents, full of compromise and deliberate ambiguity. For good reasons the decrees often eschewed technical theological language, and they did this with a realization that this procedure entailed a loss of precision and system."

More recently, Francis Schussler Fiorenza, professor at Harvard Divinity School and hardly a conservative, in an essay on Vatican II for the 2006 book "Modern Christian Thought: The Twentieth Century," vol. 2, wrote that Vatican II "brought about profound changes within church life, but these changes reflect the ambiguous nature in which the council's actions were both an innovation and a renewal of the Catholic Church and its theology." He goes on to say that "the double movement is apparent in the Council texts themselves. In the Council's texts one finds both 'traditionalist' and 'progressive' statements side by side, often within the very same paragraph of a document, without any attempt to resolve the contradiction. . . .This approach led to profound ambiguity and to the different interpretations of the Council that soon emerged."

Anon. said...


I think you're right that others have noted before that the Vatican II documents are products of compromise and of compromise specifically between traditional vs. progressive factions.

Other conciliar documents in Church history have also been products of compromises between factions. Any detailed study of prior ecumenical councils shows this.

It seems to me that there are several things that justify the notion that Cardinal Kasper's admission may be called "shocking". First, the opposition between factions approaches the threshold of fidelity vs. apostasy. Second, the opposed texts are juxtaposed without resolution. Third, the admission comes from a prominent Vatican Cardinal. Fourth, he admits not only the unresolved deliberate ambiguities, but that "the developments put in motion" by thereby have led not to a "new springtime" but to a church with a "wintery look" and "clear signs of crisis."