Over the past few months, the Italian columnist Sandro Magister has played host to an ongoing debate on the Second Vatican Council — between supporters of Benedict XVI and those who maintain that Vatican II was not only poorly interpreted and applied; the seeds of error and confusion were inherent in the texts themselves.
Required reading for the context of the debate is Benedict’s December 2005 Christmas Address to the Roman Curia — where he lays out his own position espousing a “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in continuity. What does he mean by this? — For a detailed explication see Benedict’s Vatican II Hermeneutic by Edward T. Oakes, SJ (First Things March 17, 2009).
- 05-26-11: Religious Freedom. Was the Church Also Right When It Condemned It? Benedictine theologian Basile Valuet weighs in on the dispute over Vatican Council II. Against the traditionalists Gherardini and de Mattei. But also against the “Ratzingerian” Rhonheimer. Who replies in a postscript. And also Cavalcoli, Introvigne… With the counter-reply of Valuet.
- 05-11-11: Benedict XVI the “Reformist.” The Prosecution Rests Professor Massimo Introvigne replies to de Mattei, a leader of the anti-conciliarists. And Professor Rhonheimer returns to explain how and why Vatican II must be understood and accepted. In the way indicated by the pope.
- 05-05-11: The Church Is Infallible, But Not Vatican II And it made mistakes, maintains traditionalist historian Roberto de Mattei. The dispute continues for and against the popes who guided the Council and put its innovations into practice.
- 04-28-11: Who’s Betraying Tradition. The Grand Dispute The discussion is becoming heated over how to interpret the innovations of Vatican Council II, above all on freedom of religion. The traditionalists against Benedict XVI. An essay by philosopher Martin Rhonheimer in support of the pope.
- 04-18-11: The Disappointed Have Spoken. The Vatican responds Inos Biffi and Agostino Marchetto reply in L’Osservatore Romano to the traditionalists Brunero Gherardini and Roberto de Mattei, who criticize the current pope for not having corrected the “errors” of Vatican Council II.
- 04-08-11: High Up, Let Down by Pope Benedict They are some of the leading traditionalist thinkers. They had wagered on him, and now they feel betrayed. The latest disappointments: the Courtyard of the gentiles and the encounter in Assisi. The accusation that they make against Ratzinger is the same that they make against the Council: having replaced condemnation with dialogue.
- 01-14-11: A New Syllabus for the 21st Century That is, a document condemning mistaken interpretations of Vatican Council II. It’s been requested by a bishop of Kazakhstan, at a conference in Rome with other bishops and cardinals. Also prompting reactions is the announcement by Benedict XVI of a new interreligious meeting in Assisi.