The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) claims that the fruit of this Council is an updated vision and based on Scripture. Pope John Paul II referred to Vatican II as “a compass with which to orient ourselves in the vast ocean of the third millennium.” The Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) began on October 11, 1962, and officially ended on December 8, 1965. Vatican II brought many profound changes to the RCC.
Here are some of the major outcomes of Vatican II:
1. Renewing the liturgy. The Mass could be celebrated in the vernacular instead of Latin. The priest no longer celebrated the Mass with his back to the congregation facing the altar. Pope Benedict XIV (Ratzinger) was not happy with these changes, because he said for the priest to do the Mass ad populum “toward the people,” belittles the meaning of the Mass as the sacrifice of Christ.
2. Greater emphasis was placed on Scripture, reflected in reforms to the missal – the book of instructions and texts used for the Mass. Bible-study groups were also encouraged. Protestants would say that a greater emphasis on scripture should have led to studying it more deeply leading to questions of the validity of doctrines that cannot be extrapolated from the Bible; doctrines such as the “Treasury of merit” and Marian doctrines of the “immaculate conception,” the “assumption” (Mary not dying but taken to heaven like Elijah) and Mary as mediatrix – the “neck” between the Head (Christ) and believers (the “church”). The “treasury of merit” is related to indulgences. Here is article 1478 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins.” The Bible is clear that it is only the merits of Christ, not of anyone else, that remit punishment for sins; Christ the holy purifier from the poison of sin, the one who sits at the right hand of God the Father. With regard to “saints,” these in the Bible refer to all those who are born of God (born again).
3. Lay people to be regarded as equal members with the hierarchy. All who are in Christ, without distinction or exception, are called to be holy. To be true to scripture, which the Council endeavoured to do, they added, a holy “priesthood.” “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). This holy “priesthood,” however, is far removed from the non-biblical “priesthood” of “holy orders,” namely, those priests who sacrifice Christ on the altar at every Mass: 1 Peter 2 – “4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” The divide between these two priesthoods is as wide as that between the wafer before and after consecration: infinite.
4. Acknowledging God’s presence beyond the Church. The Holy Spirit is working in all religions, including “our separate Christian brothers” (Protestants). Ecumenical efforts should be made to foster dialogue with all religions. The Catholic Church, since Vatican II (1962-65), has radically changed its attitude towards inter-religious dialogue. Thomas Merton and other Catholic devotees of Eastern thought had a significant influence on changing Rome’s attitude to non-Christian religions.
Peter Kreeft, the Catholic philosopher and apologist, in his “Ecumenical Jihad,” sounds the modern Cathslamic call: “We can and should investigate and learn from the wisdom in other religions” (Peter Kreeft Ecumenical Jihad p.79). “Allah is not another God…we worship the same God”(Peter Kreeft Ecumenical Jihad p.30). “The same God! The very same God we worship in Christ is the God the Jews-and the Muslims-worship.” (Ibid. p. 160). (See God’s got sons by the tons: Ecumenical Jihad, ecumenical Shmeehad and The influence of Universalism on society and the church).
The papal encyclical Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) states:
“The Church therefore has this exhortation for her sons: prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge,preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well as the values in their society and culture” (NostraAetate 2 – (NostraAetate is the Declaration onthe relation of the Church to non-Christian religions proclaimed by Pope Paul VI, October, 1965). (See Buddhism, Judaism and Catholic Nostra Aetate).
Here is Pope John Paul II receiving the mark of the adorers of the Hindu god Shiva, February 2, 1986.
Here is a RCC tabernacle with a budhha atop at John Paul’s inter-religious prayer meeting in Assisi, 1986.
(see Most Holy Family Monastery website).
“The sacred writings of Islam, says Pope Francis, have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.” (Paragraph 253 – Apostolic Exhortation Evabgelii Gaudiam of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.
No surprise; we find the same sentiment in the (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 841): “The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.’”
Visualise (and if you’re a mystic, envision) Paul, the Apostle, transposed to our times saying “Muslims (and Jews) adore the one merciful God, so it doesn’t matter if they don’t believe the following report.
1. Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53).
And 1 Peter 2:
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Paul said of such gainsayers: “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ (Galatians 1).
5. Accepting the world. Roman Catholic theology regards people as essentially good. For this reason, it hopes for the restoration of the whole world, which began with the advent of Christ, and which will be perfected when Christ returns at the end of time. The question is, if everyone is born dead in sin (the doctrine of Original Sin), which only baptism, says catholic teaching, can remove, how does this harmonise with the idea that people are essentially good. Vatican II aspires to put a greater emphasis on scripture, yet in regard to this essential doctrine of the radical corruption of human nature, which scripture makes so clear, it balks at offending the world it wants so much to please. “… having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh (essentially, in your human nature), God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Colossians 2:12-13).
The doctrine of papal infallibility was announced dogmatically at Vatican 1 (1869-1870). Vatican I also announced dogmatically that there is no salvation “outside the Church,” that is, those who are not members of the RCC. Vatican II changed all that (infallibly?) and much more. Just because a thing changes doesn’t mean it, or what it changed from, was the sane thing.