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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pope Boniface VIII & The Alleged "Change" of Vatican II

Lane over at Green Baggins has begun a discussion over what he calls a “fascinating book” that supposedly deals with question of change that came about at Vatican II. That discussion can be found here.

I don’t find anything Lane wrote in the original post objectionable, but it has been my experience that such discussions are riddled with confusion. Just a few thoughts on the matter..

From a true Roman Catholic perspective no doctrinal change was introduced at Vatican II (and no contradiction to the official teachings of that communion could have been made). If there appears to have been doctrinal change introduced at Vatican II then from a Roman Catholic perspective there must have been some pre-Vatican II doctrines that were concealed as mysteries until the official pronouncements of that later council gave sufficient clarity to them. We might say that there is an analogy of councils for the Roman communion whereby apparently unclear utterances are to be interpreted by clearer ones. The problem, of course, is that those pre-Vatican II pronouncements that are so repugnant to evangelicals are no less clear in their prima facie interpretation than those later pronouncements that are seemingly more palatable. Consequently, either Rome’s consistency in her clarity accuses her of outright doctrinal contradiction or else there is no perspicuity of Roman Catholic doctrine, a dilemma indeed.

Either Rome has changed some of her doctrines, which would undermine her battle cry of Semper Eadem, or else she hasn’t changed any of her doctrines and is thereby a living contradiction in what she has clearly stated, which, of course, would undermine her alleged infallibility. For instance, how does Rome reconcile the unambiguous pronouncement of papal bull Unam Sanctam with the equally clear language of Vatican II from which we are informed that Protestants are now to be regarded as “separated brethren”? Are we to believe that converted Protestants are in fellowship with the pope while denying the teachings of the Roman communion?

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