Don Pietro Leone - The Enemy Within: a Critique of Vatican II - Corrispondenza romana
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Don Pietro Leone – The Enemy Within: a Critique of Vatican II

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(Francesca Romana, Rorate Caeli – february 10, 2021) Rorate Caeli is delighted to publish in installments, Don Pietro Leone’s latest work of anti-modernism: ‘The Enemy Within: a Critique of Vatican II.’

Not content to rehash the three or four best-known sticking points of the Council, such as Collegiality, Ecumenism and Subsisit, the author with remorseless logic, offers a penetrating analysis, both metaphysical and theological of its entire distorted vision of the Faith, Truth and Reality, so exposing it as a diabolical attack on Holy Mother Church Herself and one of the greatest evils of the 20th century. 

In the first installment, the author takes a step back and proposes to the reader how to view the Council. 

Aleph. How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is the mistress of the Gentiles become a widow, the princes of provinces made tributaries! Beth. Weeping she hath wept in the night and has tears on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her, all her friends have despised her and have become her enemies… Mem. All they that pass by the way have clapped their hands at her: they have hissed and wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect rest, the joy of all the earth? (Lamentations 1-2)


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Protestation of Author

 

The Author submits this work to the judgment of the Church, renouncing and recanting in advance all that She may deem not to be in accordance with the Holy Catholic Faith.


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Bibliographical Note

 


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We have relied on the following excellent works: ‘Pope John’s Council’ [1], ‘The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty’ [2], ‘Il Concilio Vaticano II una storia mai scritta’ [3], ‘Sinossi degli errori imputati al concilio Vaticano II’ [4]. The last has been particularly useful for indicating the principal heterodox texts, together with the reasons for their heterodoxy; the others for providing the historical context and uncovering many of the deeper issues at stake. We have used the translation of the Council documents by Father Austin Flannery OP [5].

 

 

Preface

 

The hierarchy and the clergy of the last decades almost unanimously present the Council teachings as a new vision of the Catholic Faith and of its practice. This alone would be sufficient utterly to discredit it, when we recall that the Catholic Faith is in fact immutable [6]. However, the damage that this Council has done, and continues to do to souls, urgently requires a throroughgoing critique of this new vision: in order to show how it is opposed to the true Faith, and to set it aside[7] as soon as possible.

 

This Preface will consist of the following sections:

 

 

  1. How to View the Council;
  2. The Historical Background;
  3. The Council’s opposition to the Catholic Faith.

 

 

 

  1. How to view the Council

 

We shall begin by presenting, and then evaluating, the three basic views which are held of the Council [8].

 

  1. Three Views

 

The texts of the Second Vatican Council are syncretist, as being the product of two opposing factions of Council members: the ‘Traditionalists’ [9], intent on declaring the Church’s Traditional teaching and the ‘Modernists’ intent on declaring novelty. The novelty as expressed in the texts nowhere amounts to formal heresy (or at least not yet demonstrably so), but is heterodox, by which we mean that it typically has a heretical tendency: it is ambiguous in such a way as to favor heresy[10].  

 

There are three principal views that have been taken of the Council as a whole: i) the Modernist view; ii) the Traditionalist view; and iii) a further view adopted subsequent to the Council, namely the ‘Neo-Conservative’ view. In the simplest possible terms, the Modernists reject Tradition and embrace novelty; the Traditionalists embrace Tradition and reject novelty; the Neo-Conservatives embrace both Tradition and novelty.

 

In order to expound these three views in greater detail, we shall show how the proponents of each of them understand the novel texts. The Modernists understand them in a heretical sense; the Neo-Conservatives according to the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’; and the Traditionalists according to the ‘Remote Rule of Faith’.

 

  1. a) TheModernistsunderstand the novel texts, then, in a heretical sense. To give an example, they interpret in a heretical sense conciliar texts that cast doubt on the dogma (known as the dogma): ‘No salvation outside the Church’ [11]. They understand such texts, in other words, as a denial of the dogma: that is to say as stating that it is possible to be saved outside the Church. They manifest this understanding either in words, actions, or omissions (e.g. by no longer teaching ‘the dogma’ and no longer engaging in missionary work of a supernatural character or in evangelisation). We observe that, as far as it is possible to judge, a large part of the contemporary hierarchy and clergy are Modernist, understanding novel conciliar texts in a heretical sense.

 

  1. b) TheNeo-Conservatives, by contrast, as we have said above, embrace both Tradition and Novelty. They do not understand the novel texts in a heretical sense like the Modernists, but rather according to the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’, that is to say in the light of Tradition, and more precisely as continuous with Tradition. Their stance is what we might describe as ‘pacifist’, and imbued with piety and docility towards the Church, towards what She has always taught and towards what She taught in recent times in the last Ecumenical (in the sense of universal) Council.

 

  1. c) TheTraditionalists, finally, understand the novel texts not according to the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’ but according to the ‘Remote Rule of Faith’. The Remote Rule of Faith signifies Tradition, and in understanding the Council in the light of Tradition they resemble the Neo-Conservatives; but they differ from them in not necessarily interpreting the texts ascontinuous with Tradition. The light of Tradition may show a text to be continuous with Tradition or discontinuous with it; or again it may show that a given text is ambiguous and favors heresy.

 

In this last case, which is in fact the case of the novel texts, Traditionalists will reject the said texts. They do this, we repeat, not because the texts are necessarily heretical in themselves, but because they are of a heretical tendency: they are ambiguous in such a way as to favor heresy.

 

 

  1. Evaluation of the Three Views

 

  1. a)Modernistsreject Tradition and embrace Heresy. In rejecting Tradition they reject Faith itself, since Tradition is nothing other than Faith as it has been taught with every greater clarity and depth over the centuries. Modernism is therefore a heretical position both negatively in rejecting the Faith, and positively in embracing heresy: consequently it is not a position tenable for Catholics. The difference between Modernist Heretics and past Heretics is that the former pretend to be Catholic and members of the Church while the latter did not. May Modernists have the courage to face the Truth and to convert, or at least publically to admit that they are not members of the Catholic Church.

 

And yet perhaps they may rely on their cherished theory (condemned by St. Pius X in Pascendi 13) that Truth changes, and claim that they do not reject traditional teaching in respect of the past, but only in respect of the present and future, on the basis that it was true in the past but is true no longer. This claim would however be false because, as we have already stated, Faith is immutable: the object of Faith is Truth, Supernatural Truth. This Truth is nothing else than God Himself in His intimate nature, together with His plan of Salvation for the world. Since the object of Faith is Truth, that Truth, indeed, which is God Himself, it is itself immutable. If one attempts to change the Faith, one is, therefore, left with falsehood. 

 

  1. b)Neo-Conservatives, by contrast, even if they have succeeded up till now in interpreting the conciliar ambiguities in accordance with Tradition, also sustain an untenable position: untenable inasmuch as it is both obscurantist and obstructionist.

 

It is obscurantist in suggesting that the novel texts stand in continuity with Tradition. For to say that the texts should be interpreted in continuity with Tradition entails that they are in fact so, whereas, by contrast and as we have pointed out, they are novel, and furthermore favor heresy. 

 

It is obstructionist in the following way: it deflects attention away from the Council’s major problem which is its heretical tendency, and focuses it instead on a minor problem which is its ambiguities as such. The Council’s heretical tendency is its major problem because it obstructs the Church’s goal which is the salvation and sanctification of souls; the Council’s ambiguities, by contrast, are only a minor problem, because interpreting them correctly serves at best to defend the Council Popes and Bishops from heresy, a purely academic affair.

 

If part of the regular consignment of buns to a boys’ school were poisonous and the Headmaster did not stop the consignment, but rather spent his time defending those responsible from blame, one would be inclined to say that he had got his priorities wrong, and that if he refused to stop the consignment, then at least some investigation should be made about which buns were dangerous, in order to save the boys from harm.

 

  1. c)Traditionalists, as explained above, embrace the Council’s Traditional texts, they assess the novelties in the light of Tradition and reject them on account of their heretical tendency. In rejecting them for this reason they are but following the practice of past Councils, which attached to such texts ‘theological censures’ such aspropositio haeresim sapiens (proposition that tastes, is suspect, of heresy) or propositio captiosa (captious proposition, a proposition that is deliberately ambiguous) [12].

 

Far from being doctrinally obscurantist or morally obstructionist, the Traditionalist is motivated solely by the desire to teach and to sanctify, in accordance with the mandate of Our Blessed Lord: he desires that the Faith should be stated as clearly as possible because it is the light in which we see the path that leads to Heaven.

 

The Traditionalist view is controversial first in regard to the hierarchy, because:

 

–          it calls into question the declarations of all the hierarchy of the world united in a Council;

 

–          it brands a large part of the hierarchy and clergy in the two succeeding generations as heterodox;

 

–        it entails that from the time of the Council till the present day the hierarchy has been directing the Church along the wrong course.

 

And yet, controversial as it may be, this view is not problematic theologically. The Council declarations were not dogmatic, neither in the theological form of the texts nor in the Pope’s intention [13], and a large part of the hierarchy and the clergy has fallen into heterodoxy in the past, in the Arian crisis, when almost the entire Church had lost its doctrinal orientation.

 

The Traditionalist view is also controversial in regard to the Holy Spirit, in suggesting that He did not assist the entire Episcopacy of the world united to the Pope. To this we should reply by saying that in fact the Holy Spirit can assist the Church in one of two ways: either positively, in deepening and clarifying the Church doctrine; or negatively, in preventing the Church falling into formal heresy: which is the way He seems to have assisted the Second Vatican Council [14].

 

The Traditionalist view is controversial finally in a moral sense in being critical of the Council and of the joint pronouncements of all the Bishops in the world, including the Pope. Does this not exhibit a lack of those virtues of piety and docility that characterize the Neo-Conservatives? No, we practice piety and docility towards the hierarchy if we respect their ecclesiastical dignity and if we follow those teachings of theirs which conform to the Faith; but if they teach another doctrine, we are obliged to reject it [15].

 

More fully, Faith is necessary for salvation; in the doctrinal domain it is the very raison d’être of the hierarchy to impart it: this is their competence and their duty. If, by contrast, their teaching is heterodox, then they both exceed their competence and fail in their duty, and we are obliged to reject that teaching. It is salutary to criticize heterodoxy so that others may preserve their Faith intact. The purpose of this, as we have just said, is that they may attain their eternal salvation. 

 

                                                                     *

 

We conclude the section with the following argument:

 

1) The Council contains hereticizing texts;

2) The person who dies a formal heretic is condemned to Hell; therefore

3) The Council endangers the salvation of souls and should be set aside.

 

Should any-one doubt the first premise, let him read the present book; should any-one doubt the second he is not Catholic. Does the Church not teach us infallibly: ‘If any-one wants to be saved, let him above all hold the Catholic Faith…’ [16] ? As to the conclusion, it refers to the whole Council, not just to the hereticizing texts, because, although the Council also contains traditional texts, a layman without expert knowledge is not equipped to distinguish the orthodox texts from the heterodox ones. 

 

 

[1] Michael Davies, Augustine Publishing Company, 1977 (hereinafter referred to as ‘MD pjc’)

[2] Michael Davies, The Neumann Press, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as ‘MD rl’)

[3] Professor Roberto de Mattei, Lindau, 2010 (hereinafter referred to as ‘RdM’)

[4] Canonicus, editrice ichthys, 2012

[5] Vatican Council II, Costello New York, 1996

[6] we shall later demonstrate this dogmatically and metaphysically

[7] per scartarla quanto prima

[8] we wrote a preliminary essay on this subject (‘How to regard the Second Vatican Council’) on the site Rorate Caeli

[9] we use this term simply in the sense here stated; not in the pejorative sense as of a group of persons nostalgically clinging onto an outmoded vision of the Faith.

[10] ‘Heresy’ and ‘heterodox’ come from the Greek. Heresy means ‘choice’ or taking for oneself; heterodox means ‘other-doctrine’.

[11] ‘One and only is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no-one is saved’, extra quam nullus omnino salvatur, Fourth Lateran Council (1215)

[12] we shall later see the relevance of the latter term, ‘captiousness’, to the historical reality of the Council. 

[13] as we shall shortly see

[14] we treat this question  more amply in our preliminary article on the Council, referred to above

[15] St Thomas Aquinas states (III Sent. d.25, q 2, a.1d, ad 3): ‘…We should not assent to a prelate who preaches against the Faith because in this he is in conflict with the first rule’ (which is God).

[16] Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est ut teneat catholicam fidemSymbolum Quicumque