By calling Vatican II valid, Archbishop Vigano confirms his own heresy

UPDATED (at the end)

There are 21 Ecumenical Councils in the history of the Catholic Church so far. Each has the full authority of Christ, exercised by the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Before the first, and between the first and second Ecumenical Councils, the heresy of Arianism raged. Both Councils condemned the error, yet some local Councils (even after the first Ecumenical Council) affirmed it, in contradiction to the teaching at the time of the Roman Pontiff.

If a Catholic rejects a gathering of the Bishops, such as a local Council that teaches Arianism, on the grounds that it is not an Ecumenical Council, he does not necessarily commit the sins of heresy or schism, as such Councils can err to any extent. They lack the approval of a valid Roman Pontiff. They are not of the body of Bishops, but of a subset of Bishops. A Catholic could argue against such a Council, as Saint Athanasius himself did regarding local Councils supporting Arianism, and remain faithful to Christ and His Church.

But if a Catholic rejects the teaching or authority of an Ecumenical Council, he commits the grave sins of heresy and schism. For the teaching of the First Vatican Council (ironically often contradicted and ignored by those who would have us return to the pre-Vatican II Church) is that each and every Roman Pontiff has the gift of truth and a never failing faith. His infallible teachings can never err at all and his non-infallible teachings can never err gravely. This applies also to the teachings of an Ecumenical Council approved by the Roman Pontiff. Even if the Council teaches non-infallibly on some point, grave error is impossible when those teachings are approved by the Pope. And of course any teaching of a Council that is not approved by the Pope is not truly of the Council at all.

As for the body of Bishops, Jesus teaches us that we can depend upon the successors of Peter, since He himself prays for them to confirm their never failing faith. But the Lord also teaches us that we can depend upon the body of Bishops, for the Roman Pontiff, having been confirmed in faith by Christ, then turns to confirm his brethren the Bishops. Therefore, the body of Bishops, though only as a body, also have the gift of truth and a never failing faith divinely conferred from the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

{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.”

An Ecumenical Council cannot teach grave error, as the teachings of a general Council are of the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops. Therefore, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit sent upon the Church as the body of Christ.

The Church is not a political body that can be manipulated or infiltrated or usurped from within or led astray by a “fifth column”. The Church is not a mere human institution, but an institution both human and divine, like Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. So a valid Ecumenical Council cannot be in need of correction for grave error.

As for the claim that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are non-infallible and therefore subject to error and correction, the successive Roman Pontiffs and the body of Bishops have found no errors at all in the teachings of the Council. They have continued to teach the teaching of Vatican II while dispersed throughout the world without correction. And any of the teachings of Vatican II taught by the successive Popes and the body of Bishops as one position definitively to be held becomes infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium. So we should consider that some teachings of the Council were non-infallible, but they may well be infallible today under that type of infallibility [Lumen Gentium 25].

Rejection of the teachings of Vatican II is a rejection of the teachings of Vatican I, as the Roman Pontiff is unable to fail in truth and faith by teaching grave error. Rejection of Vatican II is also the error of schism, as there is no higher authority on earth than the Roman Pontiff gathered with the body of Bishops. A future Roman Pontiff cannot correct a past Ecumenical Council’s alleged grave errors, as it is an article of faith that Ecumenical Councils cannot err gravely.

In his recent expressions, Archbishop Vigano accuses the Second Vatican Council of teaching heresy, but he also states that the Council was valid. Since the Lord Himself teaches that the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops are confirmed in faith by His own prayer, such an accusation cannot be true of any valid Ecumenical Council.

The Archbishop does not sin by accusing the Synod of Pistoia of heresy, as the Roman Pontiff Pius VI condemned that Synod. On the other hand, he does sin by speaking and acting as if he accepts the teachings of the Synod of Pistoia. For the local Bishop who led that Synod denigrated the authority of the Roman Pontiff, and exalted the authority of individual Bishops. The Synod rejected the absolute authority of the Pope over doctrine, and gave excessive authority to individual Bishops. Pope Pius VI condemned and corrected these errors in Auctorem Fidei.

Vigano behaves as if he himself has more authority than all the recent Popes put together. For all the recent Popes from John 23 to Francis (six total) accept Vatican II without reservation or emendation. Yet Vigano asks the faithful to reject Vatican II on the basis of his claim that a future Pope will reject it. Should the faithful follow one discredited openly schismatic Bishop instead of an Ecumenical Council and six Popes?! Absurd. It is the error of Pistoia all over again.

Reply to Vigano’s Remarks

Vigano: “As I pointed out in the analogous case of the Synod of Pistoia, the presence of orthodox content does not exclude the presence of other heretical propositions nor does it mitigate their gravity, nor can the truth be used to hide even only one single error.”

Archbishop Vigano accuses Vatican II of teaching “heretical propositions” by the above comparison with the heretical Synod of Pistoia. But that Synod was the work of an individual Bishop rebelling against the authority of the Pope, just as Vigano himself is doing. It is heresy to accuse an Ecumenical Council of heresy, as Vatican I teaches that the Roman Pontiff can never fail in faith; teaching heresy is a grave failure of faith. Luke 22:32 was the basis of that teaching of the First Vatican Council. And we read in that same verse that the Pope confirms his brethren in the same way, therefore the body of Bishops, whether gathered in an Ecumenical Council or dispersed in the world can also never fail in faith, as long as they remain confirmed by the Roman Pontiff. But when a Bishop puts himself above Popes and Councils, so that, by his own judgment he accuses them of heresy, he is himself guilty of heresy and of rejecting the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels.

Vigano: “On the contrary, the numerous citations of other Councils, of magisterial acts or of the Fathers of the Church can precisely serve to conceal, with a malicious intent, the controversial points.”

An Ecumenical Council cannot express malicious intent in its decisions on doctrine or discipline. For both the magisterial and temporal authority of the Church are expressions of the Holy Spirit. And these two swords of the Church, magisterial and temporal, are both of the Lord Jesus. An alternate figure is the two-edged sword, and both sides of the sword are sharp. Neither the magisterial nor the temporal authorities of the Church can be expressions of malicious intent, for malice is contrary to the Holy Spirit of Love. As the works of every Ecumenical Council are of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they cannot also be of malicious intent. For then the gates of Hell would have prevailed over the Church, which is not possible according to the Lord Jesus (Mt 16:18).

By saying that the Council fathers acted with malicious intent in their decisions of doctrine and discipline, Vigano rejects the authority of that Council, committing the sin of schism. He also rejects the teaching of Jesus Christ that the Church is indefectible, committing the sin of heresy. For whoever acts with malice has gone astray from Christ.

Vigano: “In this regard, it is useful to recall the words of the Tractatus de Fide orthodoxa contra Arianos, cited by Leo XIII in his encyclical Satis Cognitum: ‘There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic Tradition.’ ”

Again, Vigano accuses Vatican II of heresy. And since the Pope and the body of Bishops cannot fail in faith, and a valid Ecumenical Council cannot teach grave error, Vigano is guilty of schism and heresy for that accusation. And Vigano himself realizes that the accusation of malice is a rejection of magisterial authority, for he says the following:

Vigano: “It could be objected that taking into consideration the presumption of malice in a magisterial act ought to be rejected with disdain, since the Magisterium ought to be aimed at confirming the faithful in the Faith; but perhaps it is precisely the intentional fraud that makes an act prove to be non-magisterial and authorizes its condemnation or decrees its nullity.”

By his assertion that the Second Vatican Council is a valid Council, Vigano implies that the Council is of the true Magisterium, and therefore is confirmed by Christ and immune to any attempts at condemnation or at decrees of nullity. Yet he then goes on to contradict his own claim that the Council was valid by saying it was non-magisterial due to malice. To the contrary, the teachings of the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops are of the Holy Spirit, who cannot sin by malice nor by “intentional fraud”. Vigano accuses not only the Popes and the body of Bishops, but also the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit by these remarks.

Vigano: “In short, it was decided to affix the label ‘Council’ to an event conceived by some with the aim of demolishing the Church, and in order to do this the conspirators acted with malicious intent and subversive purposes.”

Was Vatican II a valid Council, Archbishop Vigano, or not? In the quote above, he speaks as if it were a Council in name only; such an accusation is schismatic. Calling the body of Bishops led by the Pope in an Ecumenical Council “conspirators” acting with “malicious intent and subversive purposes” is likewise schismatic. And since such claims are impossible under the dogmas of the indefectibility of the Church and the never failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, Vigano’s claims are also heretical.

If the Pope ever gathered with the body of Bishops, whether in a valid Council or not, “with the aim of demolishing the Church”, as Vigano claims, then the Church would have defected. Yet Jesus taught us that that the Church is indefectible and that the Pope and body of Bishops are each never failing in faith. So this claim of Vigano about Vatican II is contrary to the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church and contrary to the Gospel teaching of Jesus.

Vigano: “Let us now return to Vatican II, to demonstrate the trap into which the good Pastors fell, misled into error along with their flock by a most astute work of deception by people notoriously infected by Modernism and not rarely also misled in their own moral conduct. As I wrote above, the fraud lies in having recourse to a Council as a container for a subversive maneuver, and in the utilization of the authority of the Church to impose the doctrinal, moral, liturgical, and spiritual revolution that is ontologically contrary to the purpose for which the Council was called and its magisterial authority was exercised. I repeat: the label “Council” affixed to the packaging does not reflect its content.”

What a vicious assault on the authority of Christ and the teaching of the Holy Spirit! And again, if the Council is valid, how can “Council” be merely a label that does not reflect its content? Vigano convicts himself of heresy and schism by his own words: “misled into error … work of deception … notoriously infected … fraud … a subversive maneuver….” These expressions are never suitable for the teachings of a Roman Pontiff or an Ecumenical Council, as the Holy Spirit guides the Church in Her authority over doctrine and discipline. And the prevenient grace of God preserves the Pope and the body of Bishops not only from grave errors on doctrine and discipline, but also from allowing any grave sins to be expressed in the acts of the Church. For the acts of the Church are of the Holy Spirit. A Church with malicious intent or intentional fraud or the like is a Church that has defected — which is impossible and contrary to dogma.

Vigano: “we can ask ourselves whether it may be right to expunge the last assembly from the catalog of canonical Councils. The sentence will be issued by history and by the sensus fidei of the Christian people even before it is given by an official document.”

So the claim that the Second Vatican Council is a valid Council is contradicted by Vigano as he explains himself. He wishes to expunge the Council from the list of valid Councils. He states it is valid, which would mean that it cannot err gravely; and yet he rejects the Council. But since the validity of Vatican II does not depend upon the approval of anyone, its validity cannot be withheld or withdrawn by the sensus fidei —

Lumen Gentium 25: “And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith. The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter. To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith.”

Therefore, the teachings of Vatican II cannot be expunged by a judgment issued by “history” nor by the sensus fidei of the Christian people. For these teachings “are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment.”

Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano is a manifest heretic and schismatic. Do not be led by him into the same errors, lest you be led into the fires of Hell. His pride in rejecting the authority of Popes and the body of Bishops is the path to eternal condemnation.


Sandro Magister criticized Arbp. Vigano, saying that he was on the brink of schism for his remarks (discussed above). Vigano replied here: LifeSiteNews.

Vigano: “This is why I do not hesitate to say that that assembly should be forgotten “as such and en bloc,” and I claim the right to say it without thereby making myself guilty of the delict of schism for having attacked the unity of the Church. The unity of the Church is inseparably in Charity and in Truth, and where error reigns or even only worms its way in, there cannot be Charity.”

So Vigano believes that his view is Truth, and the Ecumenical Council’s teachings are not Truth. I’m sure he believes that. But Catholics are obligated to give the full assent of faith or the religious submission of mind and will to the teachings of the Church. Claiming that your understanding is Truth and the Council’s teachings are gravely erroneous shows a lack of faith and a failure of assent. As for the claim of schism, every Ecumenical Council has the full authority of Christ, as entrusted to the Roman Pontiffs and the body of Bishops, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Putting yourself above a Council to judge and condemn it is a failure of submission to Church authority, to the Popes, the body of Bishops, and the Council itself. So the accusation of Magister that Vigano is on the brink of schism is quite charitable, as I would characterize Vigano’s many public expressions against the Pope and now against Vatican II as manifest obstinate heresy and schism.

As for his comments about Charity, Vigano claims that he is being charitable because he is defending Truth and the Council is in error. That is pride, not charity. Faith and the teachings of Vatican I (as well as Mt 16:18; Luke 22:32) prove that the Council cannot err gravely, and therefore Vigano does not have Truth on his side. Does this not cause his argument regarding Charity to be null and void?

Finally, there is a sentence that I will take out of context, as the context is not worth explaining, and simply make it my own assertion. Yes, I believe that “Second Vatican Council was immune to heresies and moreover should be interpreted in perfect continuity with true perennial doctrine”. That is faith and true doctrine and charity.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

Please read this article: Is Archbishop Viganò in Schism? by Dr. Robert Fastiggi at “Where Peter Is”

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2 Responses to By calling Vatican II valid, Archbishop Vigano confirms his own heresy

  1. Robert Fastiggi says:

    Thank you for this very fine article. Archbishop Viganò clearly needs prayer. His own statements have undermined his own credibility and placed him at least in material schism as this article explains: . You show that Viganò’s claim that an ecumenical council contains heresy collides with the teaching of Vatican I on the indefectibility of the Church and the Roman Pontiff. You make a strong case that Viganò is not only in material schism but also heresy. As you know, some Catholic traditionalists have now started challenging the “hyper-papalism” of Vatican I. At the very end of this article, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski actually calls for an exorcism of the spirit of Vatican I.
    God help us all.

    • Ron Conte says:

      That piece by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski is stunning in its scope. He places himself above every Council to judge them all, not only rejecting Vatican II by ignoring it, but also “Lyons I, Lateran V, and other councils you’ve never heard of.” Then he calls for people to pass judgment on Vatican I, which was supposedly “the impetus for a runaway hyperpapalism capable of leveling centuries of tradition. In many ways, we are more threatened today by the spirit of Vatican I, which it will take a mighty exorcism to drive away.” Once you start judging and rejecting a Pope or a Council, there’s no reason to stop with just one. The floodgates are open to judge all Popes and Councils, and to reject whichever ones you wish. That is the process we are seeing play out by Vigano and many others.

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