Carlo M. Vigano rejects the Second Vatican Council

In a letter of June 14th, 2020, archibishop Carlo M. Vigano writes about the Second Vatican Council to Maria Guarini STB, editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio. Vigano was the apostolic nuncio to the U.S. from October of 2011 to April of 2016. Guarini has a baccalaureate degree in sacred theology (S.T.B.). I don’t know why Vigano refers to her as “doctor”, as she lack a Ph.D. and does not appear to be a physician. The website Catholic Family News published the letter here. I am writing this post to point out the heretical and schismatic assertions by the archbishop Vigano.

There are 21 general Ecumenical Councils, the most recent of which is Vatican II. An Ecumenical Council is a gathering of the body of Bishops under the authority of, and in communion with, the Roman Pontiff. A Council can therefore exercise any of the types of authority given by Christ to the Church. A Council can exercise the magisterial authority of the Church, teaching either infallibly or non-infallibly. Not every teaching of a Council is infallible. A Council can also exercise the temporal authority of the Church, either infallibly, as by declaring dogmatic facts, or non-infallibly, in judgments of the prudential order.

However, teachings of any Ecumenical Council, approved by the Roman Pontiff, are at least of the non-infallible magisterium, and are therefore necessarily preserved by the Holy Spirit from all grave error. Just as it is not possible for the Roman Pontiff to teach any type of grave error on faith or morals, so also it is not possible for the body of Bishops teaching with the Roman Pontiff. The First Vatican Council taught that every Roman Pontiff has the gift of truth and a never failing faith. Therefore, the teachings of Popes and Ecumenical Councils are preserved from every grave error, especially from heresy. To say otherwise contradicts the dogmatic teaching of the First Vatican Council.

Read Cardinal Manning on the infallible faith of the Pope

Just as no Roman Pontiff can ever teach heresy, so also the body of Bishops can never teach heresy. For the dogma of Vatican I on the never failing faith of the Roman Pontiff is an infallible interpretation of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.”

The prayer of Jesus is for Peter and his successors, and His prayer absolutely prevents them from failing in faith, by apostasy, heresy, or schism, by idolatry, blasphemy, or sacrilege. But notice the words of our Lord extending this protection to the body of Bishops. The confirmation of the Pope in faith allows him to confirm his brethren, the body of Bishops. And therefore we may conclude that the gift of truth and never failing faith is also given to the body of Bishops, only as a body, as long as they remain in communion with the successor of Peter who confirms them in this gift.

Therefore, no Ecumenical Council can fail in faith, by apostasy, heresy, or schism, nor by idolatry, blasphemy, or sacrilege.

Vigano: “Regarding the possibility of making a correction to the acts of the Second Vatican Council, I think that we can agree: the heretical propositions or those which favor heresy should be condemned, and we can only hope that this will happen as soon as possible.”

The accusation of archbishop Vigano against an Ecumenical Council is a schismatic and heretical assertion. By accusing an Ecumenical Council of heresy, Vigano rejects the dogma of the First Vatican Council that the Roman Pontiff has the gift of a never-failing faith. For the Council in question was approved by Pope Saint Paul VI. Then the next two Roman Pontiffs approved the Councils by taking the names John Paul, and John Paul II after the two Popes responsible for the Second Vatican Council.

In addition, Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI approved of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council by continually teaching what the Council taught, without any correction or disagreement. And the body of Bishops since Vatican II has continually done the same.

To accuse the Second Vatican Council of heresy is to accuse Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Francis of heresy, along with the body of Bishops, not merely in one generation, but again and again as time passed. This accusation by Vigano is stunning in its breadth and depth. Every Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops throughout the world continually for so many years has taught, many times over, the teachings of that Council. Therefore, whatever may have been taught non-infallibly by the Second Vatican Council, at the time, is now infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Vigano commits heresy by accusing the Second Vatican Council of heresy, first, because the teaching of the First Vatican Council on the never failing faith of the Roman Pontiff prevents any Council’s teaching approved by the Pope from being heretical; and second, because any non-infallible teachings of Vatican II are now infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Vigano commits schism by accusing the Second Vatican Council of heresy, as he is rejecting the authority of an Ecumenical Council, of the Pope gathered with the body of Bishops, as well as rejecting the authority of all the subsequent Popes, and the body of Bishops subsequently, who approved of the Council and its teachings.

Vigano also commits heresy and schism by saying that the teachings of the Council “favor heresy” as not only heresy but also any grave error is contrary to the never failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, and this includes the Pope who formally approved of the Council’s teachings, Paul VI, and the subsequent Popes who continued to approve of, and teach from, the Council.

Included in the protection the Holy Spirit gives to the Pope and the body of Bishops is protection in the temporal authority of the Church, that dogmatic facts cannot contain any error, and that judgments of the prudential order under that authority, though they can err, cannot err to the extent of leading the faithful away from the path of salvation. Therefore, even non-infallible decisions of the temporal authority of the Church have protection from a certain type of grave error, that which would pertain to faith or morals. And so every Ecumenical Council is trustworthy in both the teaching authority and the temporal authority.

{22:38} So they said, “Lord, behold, there are two swords here.” But he said to them, “It is sufficient.”

Both of the swords wielded by the Church for our salvation are sharp. The teaching authority is sharp, but so also is the temporal authority. Therefore, the temporal authority is infallible in dogmatic facts, and is non-infallible, meaning protection from grave errors, in its other judgments (when they are of the Roman Pontiff or the body of Bishops).

Vigano versus Francis

The utter contempt that Carlo Vigano has for the papal authority of Pope Francis has led him to reject not only an Ecumenical Council, but also, at least implicitly, the Popes and the body of Bishops from the time of that Council to the present. And the same is true for other papal accusers. Once they cut themselves off from the vine by rejecting the Vicar of Christ, they see no need to humble themselves before any Pope or Council. They put themselves in the role of God, judging the Magisterium itself, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition themselves, and the Church as a whole.

Pope Francis has clearly and repeatedly said that the will of God concerning the plurality of religions is the permissive will. Yet Vigano, Schneider and others continue to accuse the Roman Pontiff of heresy for supposedly teaching that God positively wills that persons adhere to false religions. That is claim is contrary to what the Pope teaches, and is contrary to the document Human Fraternity itself. A freedom to follow one’s conscience, even when it is in invincible error, does not propose that God approves of that error (which could be an objective mortal sin). Similarly, the freedom to follow one’s conscience in which religion to accept does not propose that God wills adherence to false religion, but only to conscience and a sincere search for truth.

Moreover, the definition of religion used in the document is quite narrow, and so religions that worship evil, or idols, or which are devoid of the love of neighbor are rejected by the document. The plurality of religions willed by God, permissively or positively, would not include any religions that reject God as just and merciful, or that reject God as Creator, or that lack love of God and neighbor.

Before the fact of our sinfulness, God wills that human persons know the whole truth, which is found only in the true Catholic Faith. But after the fact of our sinfulness and our fallen human nature, God wills that the world have other religions — Orthodox Christianity, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam — so that those who find they cannot bring themselves in good (but erroneous) conscience to Catholicism, can find love for God and neighbor in religions that unfortunately mix truth with error. So God does positively will the diversity of religions — in a narrow set of religions, and due to our sinfulness; then in addition, God permissively wills the larger array of religions, as he permits sins and errors of greater or lesser extent, due to free will.

The narrowmindedness that it takes to accuse Pope Francis of heresy is astounding. He taught that God permissively wills, yet they accuse him of teaching that God positively wills. He excluded false religions and idolatry from the term religion in the document, and they accuse the document of approving of idolatry. The Church does not have a dogma that says whether God positively or permissively wills the plurality of religions, so either way, the Pope could not be teaching heresy, yet they speak as if it were a dogma because they have dogmatized their own opinions.

Contempt for the Magisterium

The contempt which Vigano has for the Magisterium and the Church is evident as he continues speaking against the Second Vatican Council. He asserts that the fathers of the Council had ill intent: “ambiguous formulations of discontinuity, was intended and conceived for its subversive value, and which as such has caused many evils.” He accuses the fruits of the Council of being evil.

Vigano approves of the expression, directed at the Council “conciliabolo [devilish council]”. Every Ecumenical Council is of Jesus Christ himself and of the Holy Spirit, who guides and protects the teachings and acts of every Ecumenical Council. Therefore, this expression is blasphemy.

John {10:20} Then many of them were saying: “He has a demon or he is insane. Why do you listen him?”

Vigano then goes on to say, in the words of Professor Pasqualucci, another heretic and schismatic: “The Council is not superior to the Pope. If the Council has deviated from the Faith, the Pope has the power to invalidate it. Indeed, it is his duty.” An Ecumenical Council is the body of Bishops led by the Roman Pontiff. Therefore, just as a Pope has the gift of truth and a never failing faith, so too does each Ecumenical Council. And so neither can teach heresy or grave error.

The term deviation from the truth is used in some magisterial documents to refer to limited errors, such as might be possible in non-infallible teachings of the Roman Pontiff (e.g. the ex officio document of Paul IV). But Vigano here uses deviation from the truth to refer to heresy and other grave errors, which are not possible in either a Pope or a Council.

The absurdity of Vigano’s suggestion is lost on him and his followers. He wants a Pope to reject an Ecumenical Council. But he himself rejects Pope Francis and accuses both Francis and an Ecumenical Council of heresy. How can a Pope utterly reject an Ecumenical Council, as Vigano suggests? If a Pope can commit heresy, and a Council can commit heresy, how do you know whether the Council or the Pope errs, when the Pope rejects the Council? And not knowing which Councils and Popes have taught heresy would mean that the whole Magisterium falls apart. You could never know which teachings to believe. If an Ecumenical Council can err to the extent of heresy and be utterly rejected by a future Pope — after several Popes approve of the Council along with the body of Bishops continuously!!! — no teaching would be established as certainly true. We would be like Protestants (no offense).

And if Vigano errs, how can he be corrected? If an Ecumenical Council or a Pope teaches contrary to his own understanding, he rejects them utterly.

Vigano goes on to use various types of rhetoric to convince us he has rejected the Council.

“There is an urgent need to restore the Bride of Christ to her two-thousand-year Tradition and to recover the treasures that have been plundered and scattered, thus permitting the disoriented flock to be fully nourished by them.”

He is speaking about the teachings of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, approved by multiple Pope-Saints and the body of Bishops. He is the one who is plundering the treasures of the Church, and scattering as well as disorienting the flock of Jesus Christ. He is the one seeking to prevent them from being nourished.

And what occasioned this outburst of hatred for the Second Vatican Council? A disagreement between Vigano and that other prominent heretic and schismatic, Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Just as the Protestants are continually at odds with one another as to what to believe, as they have no Magisterium and no Roman Pontiff, the accusers of Pope Francis are so fractured by their rejection of the recent Popes and the recent Ecumenical Council that among the very few bishops who have gone astray, they argue among themselves about how to best express their heresy and schism.

But they do agree on one thing: “both of us have solely at heart the re-establishment of the Catholic Faith.” In other words, they both believe that the Catholic Church has gone astray from the true Catholic Faith, since the Second Vatican Council. Yes, they are united by their errors.

“In a moment in which we are all under attack, besieged on every side, it is necessary more than ever to come together with faith and humility underneath the mantle of she who commands us: love for the Queen of Victories who unites her children is the most evident proof that there cannot be and must not be divisions between us, which are the distinctive mark of the Enemy.”

It makes me sick to my stomach to read a heretic and schismatic, who has done great harm to the Church and to the children of Mary speak in this way about faith, humility, love, Mary, the children of Mary, the need not to be divisive, and so on. As for the distinctive marks of the Enemy, Vigano and Schneider are openly rejecting the current Roman Pontiff and the most recent Ecumenical Council. They are divisive. They show no love for Christ, for if we love Christ, we must keep His commandments. They reject faith in the teachings of the Popes and Councils. They are the ones who are attacking the Church. His words quoted above are utter hypocrisy. He unknowingly speaks about himself.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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1 Response to Carlo M. Vigano rejects the Second Vatican Council

  1. Alex says:

    Greetings, Ron! Since I already commented it in your previous post, I’d only say that Vigano MUST be excommunicated for that! He deserved that for his previous writings, but now the continuation of his formal membership in the Catholic Church becomes even more dangerous for the flock! He is no more a “leading Vatican archbishop” as influential Catholic private sites dedicated to holy apparitions of Mother Mary call him. Vigano is heretic and worse!

    I am not afraid of a Lutheran (heretic, yes) who would have in his heart and words, together with his different delusional theological views, a great respect to the Catholic Church and her visible head pope Francis. I would be afraid of Vigano and his overt supporters among the clergy, who destroy the Holy Church from inside. Having the wolves inside the flock is much worse than keeping the formal status quo and not declaring an open schism. As pope Francis said, he is not afraid of a schism. I witness personally the ultra conservatives. Maybe many of them will convert, if such a schism is openly declared and its leaders – officially excommunicated.

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