Fifty years on: time to revisit and reform the Second Vatican Catastrophe The Telegraph
Benedict XVI grows in stature as his reign progresses. To the momentous achievement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, freeing the Tridentine Mass, he has now added the sagacious and just lifting of the excommunications imposed on the four bishops of the Society of St Pius X.
Although there was widespread scepticism about the validity of those censures, their lifting removes a roadblock to the restoration of the Church after the damage wrought by the Second Vatican Catastrophe. Not everyone is happy about the pardoning of the bishops. The staff of The Tablet are rumoured to be on suicide watch, while the malign spirit of those who, without any conscious irony, denominate themselves "liberals" was well illustrated by Gianni Gennari, an Italian journalist.
Gennari is a laicized priest, now married. Fighting back tears, he responded to news of the lifting of the excommunications: "It is a tragedy, the complete debacle of the Church!... I am disappointed, stunned, scandalised... In this case there is no place for the mercy of Christ" [Isn't this the "unpardonable sin?"]... Of course not. The Modernists have always excluded from any kind of mercy those faithful Catholics who adhere unreservedly to the Deposit of Faith. Anything that reduces the likes of Gennari to tears has to be good news.
Over the past few days, some blinkeredly optimistic souls have been trying - without much real hope - to persuade Catholics to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This was the great "renewal", when the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to aggiornamento, or modernisation. What form has that Renewal taken?
In England and Wales in 1964, at the end of the Council, there were 137,673 Catholic baptisms; in 2003 the figure was 56,180. In 1964 there were 45,592 Catholic marriages, in 2003 there were 11,013. Mass attendance has fallen by 40 per cent. In "Holy" Ireland, only 48 per cent of so-called Catholics go to Mass. In France, there were 35,000 priests in 1980; today there are fewer than 19,000. Renewal?
In the United States, in 1965, there were 1,575 priestly ordinations; in 2002 there were 450 - a 350 per cent decline. In 1965 there were 49,000 seminarians, in 2002 just 4,700. Today 15 per cent of US parishes are without priests. Only 25 per cent of America's nominal Catholics attend Mass. Worse still is the erosion of faith among those who ludicrously describe themselves as Catholics. Among US Catholics aged 18-44 (the children of Vatican II) as many as 70 per cent say they believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Christ.
To describe this unprecedented collapse of the Church as "renewal" is insane; to attribute it to the operation of the Holy Ghost is blasphemous. The Catholic Church is in the same position as an alcoholic: until it admits to the problem, no cure is possible. The problem is Vatican II.
Pope Benedict himself has expressed reservations about at least one Council document. The only remotely celebratory response to the Council's 50th anniversary would be to appoint a commission of orthodox theologians to scrutinise all of Vatican II's documents and correct their errors. It is time to revisit and reform this council that has brought forth such poisonous fruits.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. It is the interpretation of those decisions, often at odds with what was actually written down, the "Spirit of Vatican Two", that is the problem.