This statement sets forth the limits of legitimate papal action but it also makes it clear that the Holy Ghost does not inspire the Church to change its teachings. As such, if a pope or any other Catholic were to claim that the Holy Ghost was leading the Church to adopt new teachings, we should automatically suspect such a person of spreading falsehoods.
The vast majority of the bishops who gathered for the Second Vatican Council would not have known that a relatively small group of bishops and theologians desired to change Church teaching. Indeed, most faithful bishops would likely have thought that the Holy Ghost would have protected against the introduction of any anti-Catholic novelties at the Council. Even so, it seems that these bishops ought to have detected danger when they heard Paul VI discuss the role of non-Catholic churches in the Second Vatican Council:
“We must observe, Venerable Brethren, with joy and confidence, that the vast and varied circle of separated Christians is pervaded by spiritual activities which seem to promise consoling developments in regard to their reunion in the one Church of Christ. We beg that the Holy Spirit will breathe upon the ‘ecumenical movement,’ and we recall the emotion and joy we felt at Jerusalem in our meeting, full of charity and new hope, with the Patriarch Athenagoras. We wish to greet with gratitude and respect the participation of so many representatives of separated churches in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.” (Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, August 6, 1964)
Paul VI begged the Holy Ghost to “breathe upon the ecumenical movement,” but we know from the words of Pastor Aeturnus above that the Holy Ghost will not assist the pope or the Church in developing “new doctrine.” Thus we must consider whether the “ecumenical movement” constituted a departure from what the Church has always taught.
One can find well-meaning Catholics on both sides of these debates; but it is much easier to find obvious villains on the side of those supporting the innovations.
On this point we can look to one of the important passages from Vatican II related to the Church’s orientation to non-Catholic religions:
“All this [the Resurrection] holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.” (Gaudium et Spes, 22)
The language here is purposefully vague and so one could potentially derive some meaning that does not necessarily conflict with Church teaching. However, we ought to consider Fr. Karl Rahner’s interpretation of this passage, as he applied it to atheists:
“There is absolutely no reason to exclude an atheist from what is affirmed in this statement. Indeed, it points expressly to no. 16 of the Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium], in which reference is made precisely to those who have not yet arrived at the explicit knowledge of God. . . . Obviously, these texts do not deal with the possibility that before he dies the atheist . . . might yet become an explicit theist and, by this, be saved. If they did, these texts would only contain the commonplace knowledge that the atheist can attain salvation when and to the degree he ceases to be an atheist. Such an interpretation would take from the texts all seriousness . . . With these two points, something really new was said in the doctrine of the conciliar magisterium.” (from Atila Sinke Guimarães’s Animus Delendi II, pp. 264-265).
So, according to Rahner, Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium set forth something “really new” in the doctrine of the conciliar magisterium. Before dismissing this as the misguided opinion of a insignificant priest, we can reflect on Taylor Marshall’s assessment of Rahner’s importance:
"The engineers of Vatican II were Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, Hans Küng, Henri de Lubac, and Yves Congar. All five men were held under suspicion of Modernism under Pius XII. Karl Rahner, S.J. had a greater influence than any other on the theology Vatican II — so much so that one might say that Vatican II is simply Rahnerianism. He led the German progressives at Vatican II and was accompanied by his two brilliant protégés, Father Hans Küng and Father Joseph Ratzinger.” (Taylor Marshall, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within)
So, we have good reason to defer to Rahner when he wrote that Vatican II introduced something “really new” with its theories about non-Catholics. If it is truly new, though, there is no guarantee that the Holy Ghost would safeguard against error. Nonetheless, the innovators have spent the past sixty years insisting that the Holy Ghost has blessed these and all of the other novelties that have sprung from Vatican II.
Still, we need to bridge the gap between the anti-Catholic novelties we see from the apparent Catholic hierarchy and the idea that the Holy Ghost should be preventing such novelties.
Paul VI, for instance, had this to say ten years after the Council:
“Was it not an inner renewal of this kind that the recent Council fundamentally desired Assuredly we have here a work of the Spirit, a gift of Pentecost. One must also recognize a prophetic intuition on the part of our predecessor John XXIII, who envisaged a kind of new Pentecost as a fruit of the Council. We too have wished to place ourself in the same perspective and in the same attitude of expectation. Not that Pentecost has ever ceased to be an actuality during the whole history of the Church, but so great are the needs and the perils of the present age, so vast the horizon of mankind drawn towards world coexistence and powerless to achieve it, that there is no salvation for it except in a new outpouring of the gift of God. Let Him then come, the Creating Spirit, to renew the face of the earth!” (Paul VI, Gaudete In Domino, May 9, 1975)
With these words from Paul VI, we better understand the mix of conflicting ideas that has plagued the entire post-Conciliar period:
- The progressives introduce anti-Catholic novelties;
- To convince skeptical Catholics of the orthodoxy of the novelties, the progressives insist that the Holy Ghost has inspired them;
- When faithful Catholics argue that the Church cannot actually promulgate teachings that contradict what the Church has always taught, the innovators (and those who have been duped by them) argue that opposition to the pope and the Council calls into question the entire teaching authority of the Church; and
- Faithful Catholics must respond by pointing to the way(s) in which the innovations in question do not actually enjoy the protection of the Holy Ghost.
One can find well-meaning Catholics on both sides of these debates; but it is much easier to find obvious villains on the side of those supporting the innovations. Indeed, if we simply considered the work of the men Taylor Marshall cited as the key architects of Vatican II — Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, Hans Küng, Henri de Lubac, and Yves Congar — we would certainly conclude that the Holy Ghost was not “endorsing” their innovations.
Still, we need to bridge the gap between the anti-Catholic novelties we see from the apparent Catholic hierarchy and the idea that the Holy Ghost should be preventing such novelties. Two related ideas from Fr. Alvaro Calderon’s Prometheus: The Religion of Man help in this regard:
“The architects laid out in [the Vatican II texts] the modernist doctrine which breaks completely with the traditional doctrine of the Church, with sufficient ambiguity for it to also endure an interpretation in apparent continuity with Tradition, an ambiguity which was made easy for them through the intrinsic vagueness of modern subjectivism. . . . The only thing we can say in defense of those who imprinted this mode of action on the Council is that it was a poison that had been wearing down Christianity for centuries, and perhaps they were infected in the very seminaries where they were formed. Although it is a very relative defense, because — how often the previous popes had warned of it!” (p. 62)
“The Holy Spirit does not always prevent the necessary consequences of our negligence.” (p. 201)
We may gnash our teeth and complain that the Holy Ghost did not protect the Church from the errors that found their way into Vatican II . . . but this unholy lamentation ignores the fact that the Council Fathers negligently ignored so many of the warnings during the Council; and it completely disregards the fact that the unholy innovations have only increased since the Council even though it is obvious that they are yielding disastrous fruits.
Leo XIII saw these sins against the Holy Ghost as so grave in his own day that it seemed as though the last times had arrived... What would he have thought about the innovators of Vatican II who not only rejected what the Church had always taught but also have the gall to attribute such deviations from truth to the Holy Ghost?
Given the fact that the innovators have continued to attribute the anti-Catholic novelties, and the accompanying foul fruits, to the Holy Ghost, it seems that we must reflect on how tremendously offensive this is to God. Here is what Pope Leo XIII wrote about how grievously we sin against the Holy Ghost by maliciously rejecting truth:
“[S]ince He is the Spirit of Truth, whosoever faileth by weakness or ignorance may perhaps have some excuse before Almighty God; but he who resists the truth through malice and turns away from it, sins most grievously against the Holy Ghost. In our days this sin has become so frequent that those dark times seem to have come which were foretold by St. Paul, in which men, blinded by the just judgment of God, should take falsehood for truth, and should believe in ‘the prince of this world,’ who is a liar and the father thereof, as a teacher of truth: ‘God shall send them the operation of error, to believe Iying (2 Thess. ii., 10). In the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and the doctrines of devils’ (1 Tim. iv., 1).” (Leo XIII, Divinum Illud Munus, May 9, 1897)
Leo XIII saw these sins against the Holy Ghost as so grave in his own day that it seemed as though the last times had arrived, during which time souls would flock to the “spirits of error and the doctrines of the devils.” What would he have thought about the innovators of Vatican II who not only rejected what the Church had always taught but also have the gall to attribute such deviations from truth to the Holy Ghost?
Although it had been possible for Catholics of good will to disagree on these matters for the first decades after Vatican II, it appears that God is permitting matters to become so clear that those of good will can no longer mistake what is going on. We need only read Francis’s remarks to open his Synod on Synodality to understand how tragically evil the situation has become:
“Dear brothers and sisters, may this Synod be a true season of the Spirit! For we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is moribund, loosens shackles and spreads joy. The Holy Spirit guides us where God wants us to be, not to where our own ideas and personal tastes would lead us. Father Congar, of blessed memory, once said: ‘There is no need to create another Church, but to create a different Church’ (True and False Reform in the Church). That is the challenge. For a ‘different Church,’ a Church open to the newness that God wants to suggest, let us with greater fervour and frequency invoke the Holy Spirit and humbly listen to him, journeying together as he, the source of communion and mission, desires: with docility and courage.
Come, Holy Spirit! You inspire new tongues and place words of life on our lips: keep us from becoming a ‘museum Church,’ beautiful but mute, with much past and little future. Come among us, so that in this synodal experience we will not lose our enthusiasm, dilute the power of prophecy, or descend into useless and unproductive discussions. Come, Spirit of love, open our hearts to hear your voice! Come, Holy Spirit of holiness, renew the holy and faithful People of God!” (Francis, Address for the Opening of the Synod, October 9, 2021)
It could not be any more clear at this point. Francis is mocking the Holy Ghost, just as the innovators have done for the past sixty years. If God is allowing this, we have a duty not only to reject Francis’s lies and the Synod, but also every single innovation from Vatican II. Anyone who hesitates on this point is either willfully blind or determined to continue mocking the Holy Ghost. In either case, they should no longer be trusted in these matters.
If we are at all concerned about what is in store for us in 2023, Catholics would do well to consider the wisdom of St. Paul:
“Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
Now is the time to reject anti-Catholic error as though everything depends upon it, because it almost certainly does. We must stop mocking the Holy Ghost. Blessed Virgin Mary, destroyer of all heresies, pray for us!
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