People much smarter, much better read, and of much better grounded faith than me have commented on Vatican II in great detail, so there's little I can say that won't make myself look ignorant and foolish by comparison. But having listened to and read so much about V-II in the last week (with the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Council on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Thursday), I just have to say something, not just to the National Catholic Distorter crowd, but also to the folks at EWTN, Catholic Answers, and other non-dissenting organs:
stop, STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!
Stop telling me what a great gift the Council was to the church! Stop telling me how enriched we've all been by the Council! Stop telling me how uplifting the aggiornamento has been! Stop telling me how we've come to an "adult faith"!
You can remind me that V-II was a valid council. I accept that. You can tell me that John XXIII loved the Church and called the Council with good intentions, and remind me the vast majority of the fathers who participated did so in good faith. I accept that. You can remind me that the Holy Spirit protected the Council from promulgating any outright doctrinal error. I accept that, and I affirm each and every point of doctrine repeated by the Council as true. But that's enough. Don't try to convince me that the Council and its aftermath has been good for the Church. Don't try to convince me that I must not just accept, but agree with, the overly-optimistic pastoral orientation expressed in the Council documents. Don't make me express my appreciation for the ambiguities...the chinks in the armour...that have been exploited by Satan's Little Helpers ever since. I accept the Council, but I won't embrace it. I'll wait patiently (while doing what is necessary to protect the souls of my children) for matters to be set aright by Holy Mother Church, in good time. I won't give up. But I won't pretend that the implosion of the institutional Church in America . . . in Europe . . . in Latin America . . . heck, everywhere...has nothing to do with the pastoral orientation of Council.
I know very well that--with the general degradation of Western culture--the Church would probably have suffered and perhaps contracted some over the last 40 years even without the Council, but you'll never convince me that it would have been worse, not better, had the Church stayed on the course charted and navigated between the First and the Second Vatican Council.
Ahem. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything--there are people better equipped than I am who can do that. I'm just drawing a line and asking that you not cross it. Don't cross it. Not here in my comment boxes, not on my car radio, not in the publications that are delivered to my house, no where. Just don't cross it.