The Hubris of Vatican II

According to the Council, man is the only creature on earth that "God willed for itself." 

This seemingly innocuous statement is found in Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes. But prouncements of this type stand condemned under a formal anathema, pronounced at Vatican I, since they deny that God created all things for Himself and His glory.  Nothing in the universe was created for its own sake.

This condemned proposition has made its way into the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and is used to justify the man-centered post-Conciliar "new theology."  It is one of the building blocks of John Paul II's thesis of Universal Salvation, and of his Theology of the Body.

by Frank Rega

It is common, even among Traditionalist Catholic defenders of Vatican II, to assert that the Council documents in themselves contain no formal error or heresy. It is often asserted that the Holy Spirit guided its pronouncements and prevented any heterodoxy, even though as a pastoral rather than dogmatic Council, it was not under the seal of infallibility.

In view of the prolonged crisis in the Church, optimistic statements of this type should not be taken for granted. Rather, they ought to be questioned in light of the renewed call for a serious critical discussion of the Council proposed by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, and reported in recent issues of The Remnant (1), and The Angelus (2, 3). To heed this call in a meaningful manner entails questioning the Council at a deeper – perhaps more unpleasant – level, has hitherto been done by Traditionalists.

Specifically, hard truths must be faced regarding the heterodoxy of certain statements set forth in the Conciliar documents, without however embarking on the path of sedevacantism. If necessary, a heresy must be openly branded a heresy, rather than labeled a theological error, falsehood, untruth, pastoral expression, ambiguity or other similar term that dances around the elephant in the room.

For example, what is to be made of the below pronouncement in Gaudium et Spes, 24:3, affirming that that man is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself? Divine Revelation, on the contrary, states that God made all things for Himself (Proverbs 16:4).

Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself (4).

This same statement from GS 24:3 is directly quoted within the Catechism of the Catholic Church, officially promulgated in its 1997 Latin edition by John Paul II:

Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his creator". He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake," and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity (CCC #356).

Pope John Paul II himself, in a speech before a General Audience, expounded on GS 24:3, concluding that man "is an end in itself."

Created in the image and likeness of God, man is the sole visible creature that the Creator has "willed for itself." In the world subject to God's transcendent wisdom and power, man is also a being which is an end in itself, though having his finality in God. As a person he possesses his own finality (auto-teleology), by virtue of which he tends to self-realization (5).


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Frank M. Rega is the author of: 
 Padre Pio and America,
St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims,

The Greatest Catholic President: Garcia Moreno of Ecuador
 The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint

Vatican II, Evolution, and Medjugorje: Hubris, Heresy, and Mystery
Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta - Journeys in the Divine WIll - volume 3 in preparation

This page was last updated on 01/10/16