Friday, June 30, 2017

Vatican II, SSPX, and Sedevacantism


I have become convinced, based on a variety of sources read and my conclusions from the previous two posts, that the Catholic Church went wrong at the Second Vatican Council. Ostensibly held to realign the Church to “modernity”, Vatican II was hijacked by liberal elements within the Church hierarchy, and widespread changes followed. Most of the documents are vaguely written, Amoris Laetitia-style, and thus open to interpretation to varying degrees. The words are faithful to Church orthodoxy, but the practices that evolved out of them were unlike anything seen previously.

Vatican II ran from 1962 to 1965. Initiated by John XXIII, who died midway through, it culminated under Paul VI. The most radical development from the council was the “new mass,” the silly Novus Ordo mass, which premiered April 3, 1970.

Now. Assume for the sake of argument that the Church went off course between 1962 and 1970. That’s half a century of error, if one takes this position. What can be done?

Let’s consider Vatican II. Broadly speaking, one can believe the intentions were good but the results were mixed. Or one can believe the intentions were evil, as were the results. I have read passionate arguments from those who’ve held one or the other perspective, and though three-quarters or so of what I’ve read seems reasonable to me, my “gut” so far leans toward the first viewpoint. By about a 60-40 percentage breakdown.

This first viewpoint is held by the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. It is a traditionalist order within the Church, and does not participate in the Novus Ordo. Founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (“le-FEV”), the society stays steadfastly faithful to Church teaching and doctrine pre-1962. There is some kerfuffle over excommunication and such, because Lefebvre ordained four bishops without Vatican approval. The SSPX says the excommunication was invalid, and didn’t come from the Pope anyway, and the SSPX may have been welcomed back in to the Church by Benedict. I don’t know enough yet to weigh in one way or the other.

The second viewpoint is expressed by sedevacantists. The word is Latin and means “the Chair” sede “is vacant” vacante, referring to the Chair of St. Peter, i.e., the Pope. Sedevacantists claim the last true Pope was Pius XII, John XXIII’s predecessor. Why John is not a true Pope I haven’t been able to ascertain based on the stuff I’ve read, so I have not been convinced of this position. I think it has something to do with John espousing the heresy of Modernism (the concept of “Modernism” perhaps a subject of a future posts), and if that’s the case, then I see where the position comes from.

However, I do have an interest in exploring the pre-Vatican II church, especially papal documents, in light of the Church I grew up in and am now fairly discontented with. I am open to arguments from SSPX, sedevacantists, and even pro-Vatican II proponents, as this search continues on. And as always, if I come across anything that rings a certain bell within me, I’ll post it here. There’s a lot more learning I need to do concerning this subject, and it’s an important one to me.

Thank you, Francis.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really interesting stuff. Keep going.

Uncle