In this [same] sense, all [the] Church’s documents have to be understood, also those of the Council. These preconditions, together with the obligation to affirm the Creed, the recognition of the Sacraments and of the papal primacy are the basis for the magisterial declaration which the Fraternity has been given to sign. These are the preconditions for a Catholic, in order to be in full communion with the Catholic Church……….
…..With regard to the earlier-mentioned documents above – Nostra Aetate about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism; and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty – Pozzo explicitly says:
They are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice. One can [thus legitimately] continue to discuss these pastoral aspects after the [proposed] canonical approval [of the SSPX], in order to lead us to further [and acceptable] clarifications.
When asked by the journalist as to whether the Vatican has now come to the idea that the varied Council documents have different dogmatic weights, Pozzo very importantly states:
This is certainly not a [later] conclusion on our part, but it was already clear at the time of the Council. The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on 16 November 1964: “This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.” Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such. That has not been [later] invented by “the Vatican,” but it is written in the official files themselves. [In point of fact, numerous histories present this – and I fully believe the facts bear this out – as being a critical selling point in gaining approval for documents like Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae, even with the other shenanigans that went on, like losing the 400-odd petitions submitted on time to further amend DH in order to get the document approved as it was. Paul VI put very heavy pressure on the Council Fathers to gain those near unanimous approvals he so coveted, but, to do so, he had to confirm on various occasions the pastoral nature of these documents. That the liberals would turn even pastoral documents into all-conquering super-dogmas should perhaps have been foreseen, but it’s easy to say that in hindsight.]
In response to a possible critique that important Council declarations such as Nostra Aetate could thus be more fully and openly denied, Pozzo declares:
The secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra Aetate: “As to the character of the declaration, the secretariat does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms.” Nostrae Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic. [This is the key. And I would certainly agree. Unfortunately, most of the hierarchy does not, and continues to treat every document of Vatican II as a super-dogma trumping everything that came before. There remains bitter division among cardinals, bishops, etc., as to what degree of authority these documents have.] This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view – contrary to the Catholic Faith – that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Jesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostrae Aetate which goes into this [unfortunate and erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected. [my emphasis added]
Well, tragically, tell that to Cardinals Koch, Marx, Maradiaga, Schoenborn, and many others, all of which have tried to pretend that Jews still have a valid covenant and path to salvation outside of Jesus Christ.
As gratified as I am to see Archbishop Pozzo’s comments, and certainly agree with them, the fact remains, they remain in the distinct minority in the Church today. Most high-ranking prelates and local ordinaries hold strongly to the belief that every document – every jot and tittle, so to speak – of Vatican II is not only dogmatic, but supersedes and replaces all that came before.
The ONLY way this matter will ever be settled, as a good local priest said recently, is for a future pope or pope/council to settle it. That’s the only way to overcome the division and endless argument that has been the status quo for 50+ years.
Even then, it will be a bitter struggle to overcome the deeply entrenched, deeply erroneous views held by so many in the Church today, from the “lowest” lay person to the most powerful cardinal. It will require a pontiff who is a truly great Saint, a Pius V or someone similar, with the enormous depth of faith and clarity of vision to overcome the resistance that will surely develop.
But, in human terms, we seem light years from that at present. In fact, we seem headed away from Restoration fast, and deeper into the endless darkening maze of Revolution. God does have a way of working tremendous surprises and unprecedented comebacks, however. Prayer and penance remain our most important weapons in this struggle.
h/t reader TT. Many thanks for all the good leads.