Holy Smoke

Sixty years on, Vatican II turns nasty

14 min listen

In This Episode

Ten years ago the Catholic Church happily celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Most people thought it was a good thing – and those who had their doubts were careful to express them diplomatically.

Sixty years on, by contrast, Vatican II is the source of rancorous division in a collapsing Church. Liberals, describing themselves as ‘The People of God’, are invoking it to propose surreal changes to the doctrine that would have scandalised the Council fathers. They like to portray the forthcoming two Synods on Synodality – whose consultations attracted only a minuscule number of lay Catholics – as the fulfilment of Vatican II. Even, in some circles, as a sort of Vatican III.

Meanwhile, traditionalists, assured by Benedict XVI that they could attend the Latin Mass without rejecting the Council, are now regularly mocked by Pope Francis for their ‘rigidity’. He’s busy banning their Masses, claiming that they’re incompatible with Vatican II. And some traditionalists are wondering if he’s right – in the sense that it was the Council that sowed the seeds of what they regard as the Bergoglian heresy. Conspiracy theories abound.

In this episode of Holy Snoke I ask whether, considering not just this present nastiness but also the failure of the ‘People of God’ to meet the evangelical challenges of the Council, it might have been better if Vatican II had never happened.

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