A veritable hurricane struck at Rome yesterday, December 17, 2010, just steps away from the Basilica of St. Peter: a bishop has offered nothing less than ... the reassertion of the infallible magisterium of the Church.
Since December 16 there has been a major conference taking place in Rome entitled "Vatican II, a pastoral council: historical, philosophical, and theological analysis." Requested by the courageous Franciscans of the Immaculate, the symposium is taking place in the conference rooms of Santa Maria Bambina behind Bernini's colonnade near the Palace of the Holy Office in a virtual media silence despite the newsworthiness of the theme under the pontificate of Benedict XVI and the quality of the speakers.
Two anticipated speeches marked the first day: that of Mgr. Gherardini, author of “Vatican II: an open debate” and Professor Roberto De Mattei, Italian historian and author of a recent volume on the council called “The Second Vatican Council: A story never written” (currently available only in Italian, Lindau editions). Both responded to criticism aimed at their work, paradoxically from elsewhere in the conservative camp, wherein lie a few rare defenders of the infallibility of the Council.
Yesterday, December 17, it was Monsignor Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda who highlighted the event during his communication on the theme of the worship of God as the theological basis for the pastoral council. Offering a long anthology of very theologically orthodox quotations extracted from the conciliar texts, he somehow presented to his audience selected texts of a Vatican II, “more orthodox than Trent.” The captatio benevolentiae was particularly effective; the assembly anxiously awaited the next words to fall from the bishop’s mouth. It was then, while denouncing the misinterpretation of the council in the post-conciliar period, that the bishop concluded his remarks by suggesting...the writing of a Syllabus infallibly condemning "the misinterpretation of the Vatican Council II”.
Because, according to Bishop Schneider, only the supreme magisterium of the Church (the Pope or a new ecumenical council) may correct the abuses and errors arising from the Council and correct its understanding and its reception in the light of Catholic tradition. Responding to a request for clarification, he caused the scholarly gathering to burst out laughing by stating that it was not possible to convene a council for another 500 years. It is left therefore, to the supreme magisterium of the Pope. Hence his call for a new Syllabus that would list the condemned errors side by side with their orthodox interpretations.
Like so many other instances over the past 40 years, it is the infallible judgment of the Pope in "restating" Vatican II that is called for. Except that since the "freedom of speech" put in place by Benedict XVI, it is now up to officials to make that call.