“[O]ften men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. […] By the proclamation of the Gospel… [the Church] gives [non-Christians] the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ…”

Sound like something from the superstitious medieval Church?

Actually, it’s a quote from the Second Vatican Council (Lumen gentium, 16-17; promulgated in 1964).

If that surprises you, it’s because the Second Vatican Council unfortunately has been co-oped by dissenting Catholics (who subscribe to the “spirit of Vatican II”), usually with little regard for the council’s actual teachings.

Yes, the documents of Vatican II have a different style and tone, generally speaking, than, say, the canons of the 16th century Counter-Reformation Council of Trent. But anyone who takes the time to read the conciliar documents can see that it is far from the liberal panacea it is often portrayed to be.

The next time a dissenting Catholic tries to claim Vatican II, here are 11 quotes to keep in mind:

1) Abortion and infanticide are “unspeakable crimes”

“[F]rom the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (Gaudium et spes, 51)

2) The “one true religion”

“We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.” (Dignitatis humanae, 1)

3) The Church is necessary for salvation because Christ is the only way

“Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.” (Lumen gentium, 14)

4) When it comes to birth control, good intentions aren’t enough

“[T]he [sexual] acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.” (Gaudium et spes, 51)

5) Latin in the liturgy

“Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 36.1)

6) Gregorian chant is to have “pride of place”…

“The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 116)

7) …but that doesn’t mean we can’t have other music… like polyphony!

“But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action…” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 116)

8) You have to listen to your local bishop

“Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent.” (Lumen gentium, 25)

9) And you have to listen to the Pope, even when he’s not speaking ex cathedra

“This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.” (Lumen gentium, 25)

10) The “sensus fidelium” isn’t about the laity alone, but must include the hierarchy

“The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God.” (Lumen gentium, 12)

11) The Church has a “solemn mandate” to preach the Gospel

“The Church has received this solemn mandate of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and must carry it out to the very ends of the earth. Wherefore she makes the words of the Apostle her own: “Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel”, and continues unceasingly to send heralds of the Gospel until such time as the infant churches are fully established and can themselves continue the work of evangelizing. For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her part that God’s plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world.” (Lumen gentium, 17)

Interested in reading more? You can find all the documents of the Second Vatican Council on the Vatican website. They are also available in book form.

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