Hi guys! Rushed as usual but here is a translation of Fr. Calderon's article:
Authority of Vatican II
(Summarized and adapted from a paper of Rev. Álvaro Calderón)
No serious theologian teaches that Vatican II belongs to the infallible magisterium. There is in this, at least, agreement. For further proof, see for example, the opening speech of John XXIII, the notification of the Secretariat of the Council (16 November 1964), the very way the council acts, the repeated claims of Paul VI after the close of the Council; (the council) "avoided enacting solemn dogmatic definitions that would compromise the infallibility of the Church’s Magisterium", but wanted to have "the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium, manifestly authentic" (closing speech at the council, 12/07/65 , audience 12/01/66) how Pope John Paul II talked about it, referring to the council only as "authentic teaching" and finally what has been said by the current Pope (when he was Cardinal) to our Episcopal Conference:
"The truth is that the same Council did not define any dogma, and consciously wanted to express itself at a more modest level, as a merely pastoral council." The same council called itself "pastoral", that is, non-dogmatic, which, besides being a novelty, is very relevant in the determination of its authority.
a) Authentic vehicles of the magisterium:
The authentic vehicles of the Church’s magisterium are the Pope and the bishops. We say "authentic" because they participate in the divine authority in a proper and habitual way and while there are other subsidiary bodies, like the members of the Roman congregations, they do so in a transient and delegated way. The authentic magisterium can work in four ways:
- the Pope alone.
- The Pope and the bishops gathered in ecumenical council.
- Pope in communion with the bishops throughout the world.
- The bishops alone.
Of these four modes, only in the first three can the magisterium be exercised in its highest degree, because the fullness of the teaching authority resides only in the Pope.
b) The types of magisterium:
b.1) "authentic" Magisterium is formally exercised by authentic bodies as such. The authentic magisterium is divided, in turn, into "infallible" and "simply true".
b.2) The "simply true" Magisterium , occurs in those acts where the authority of Christ is not put at stake in full mode.
b.3) The authentic "infallible" magisterium occurs in those acts in which compromises the authority of Christ in full mode. The"infallible" Magisterium , is divided into "extraordinary" and "ordinary".
b.3.1) "extraordinary infallible magisterium (or formal)" is one that can be recognized as such in a single act, considered absolutely and in itself. It's called "extraordinary" because it is found in the definitions given "ex cathedra" by the Pope, and the definitions and anathemas of an ecumenical council.
b.3.2) "infallible ordinary Magisterium" is given when the note of infallibility is achieved not by one but by a series of different acts of teaching that work together to teach the same truth, though expressed in different words or contexts . This mode of supreme magisterium is exercised especially-but not exclusively-by the Pope and the bishops scattered in their respective dioceses, and is called "ordinary" because it occurs in both the general daily preaching of pastors, and because it has been the way most of the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith have been transmitted.
Notice that the terms "extraordinary" and "ordinary" are confusing, because the ecumenical council is an "extraordinary body" of the supreme magisterium and in this sense it could be said that all its teaching is "extraordinary", nonetheless not all its acts are infallible in the "extraordinary way" and some may be infallible in the "ordinary way", as explained below. We will use these two names in the strictest sense of descriptions of infallibility, not of the magisterial body.
c) Criteria for determining the teaching authority:
The First Vatican Council defined the criteria for judging when the "extraordinary infallible magisterium" of the Pope himself exists, and how the teaching of an ecumenical council enjoys the same infallibility as the "ex cathedra" definitions of the Roman Pontiff. The criteria for judging are analogous:
1 Subject: the Council must be legitimate, properly convened, chaired and confirmed by the Pope in order to have the possibility of possessing the power of supreme teaching authority, and in order to exercise it in deed as such.
2 Matter: should be a doctrine of faith or morals, though the magisterium is only exercised in matter which has a connection with Revelation, directly (primary object) or indirectly (secondary object).
3 Recipients or listeners: the teaching must be addressed to the universality of the faithful not to any particular diocese or person, nor to those who do not profess the Catholic faith.
4 Intention: the statement must be given so that the faithful accept it as infallibly certain: by divine faith, if the object is Revealed, or excluding the possibility of error if only a matter related to the deposit of faith. This intention must be manifested, both by the text and the context.
A council exercises the "infallible magisterium in the ordinary way" in those decrees, which though considered in themselves do not have sufficiently the features clearly marked for extraordinary infallible teaching; considered, however, in connection with the previous teachings of the Councils and the Popes, or the teaching of the universality of the bishops in their dioceses, or the universal belief of the faithful, they do have analogous characteristics to the four mentioned.
All the rest of the teachings of a legitimate ecumenical council as such which does not have the level of infallible teaching in the extraordinary way, is "simply authentic magisterium".
Given the universal principles for judging an act of conciliar magisterium, let us now see how authority was actually exercised in the Second Vatican Council.
Does the council gave an "extraordinary infallible magisterium"?
The exercise of magisterium in a council depends formally and ultimately on how the Roman Pontiff invests his own authority in it. Now, in the Second Vatican Council there was no "infallible extraordinary magisterium" because there was a serious lack of intention to propose it as such. This point does not seem to offer more discussion because not only lacked the explicit intention of imposing any doctrinal statement, but the contrary-explicitly-stated intention not to impose any doctrine infallibly.
Does the council gave a "simply authentic magisterium"?
The divine authority or assistance of the Holy Ghost is not committed to the same degree in the various acts of authentic magisterium and can go from almost full to almost zero. Now, who seeks to reach the truth by "dialogue" does not intend to teach as an authority, because dialogue itself is opposed to the magisterium as its contrary. But the idea of ​​the council was to put itself in dialogue with the Church, other religions and the world. There was, therefore, no exercise of formal and explicit magisterium. Moreover, as the neo-modernist version of the sensus fidei teaches that the voice of the people is the voice of God and that this voice speaks through the neo-theologians, liberal dynamics imposed on the council made the "experts" "masters of the bishops ". However, the assistance of the Holy Ghost is not promised to theologians but to the hierarchy. Therefore, if it is not supported by the authority of its own charisma but, in reverse, is a disciple of the "new theology", the teaching that results from such an assembly has little of the divine about it.
This defect affecting the Council implies, then, a fundamental flaw that destroys the four notes of discernment of teaching authority, by domino effect:
1 Intention: The Council declined to impose a magisterium but to propose a dialogue.
2 recipients or hearers: all mankind should intervene in this dialogue and so the council directed its voice not only to the Catholic faithful "but to all men" (Gaudium et Spes, n ° 2).
3 matter: in its desire for dialogue, the Council accepted that modern views of revelation but come the revolution.
4 Subject: submitting to dialogue, the Popes did not confirm the Council, i.e.subordinating it to their personal charisma, in persona Christi, but subordinating themselves to the sensus fidei, and acting in persona Populi Dei and, in a way, in persona Humanitatis.
In conclusion, the Vatican is not "infallible magisterium" or even "merely authentic"; which, though tragic and surprising, has a very positive side: it leaves the door open for a future declaration of nullity.