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).
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:
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."
However, as theologian Romano Amerio writes in Iota Unum, to state that God willed man for its own sake rather than for His own sake, is possible, " . . . only if one indulges the anthropocentric tendencies of the modern mentality . . . " (6).
The sharpest criticism of GS 24:3 has come from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Let us consider some examples of how the SSPX has addressed the issue.
In a "Q&A" feature of The Angelus (7), this question is posed: "Is it possible to say that the post-Conciliar Church is a new religion, and if so, how can it be considered as Catholic?"
The answer is presented in a section called "The Overturning of Ends," It includes a pointed criticism of GS 24:3, maintaining that it serves the purpose of ordering the Church towards man rather to God.
In an online excerpt from the book Most Asked Questions about the Society of St. Pius X (8), this question is posed: What are Catholics to think of Vatican II? As part of the answer, a table is presented which compares Vatican II teaching to Roman Catholic teaching, containing thirteen entries.
The very first table entry contains this for Vatican II teaching: "Man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake (Gaudium et Spes, §24)." The opposing entry for Roman Catholic teaching is this: "The Lord hath made all things for Himself (Prov. 16)."
In a third example, the website for the District of Asia features an article from SiSiNoNo (9). After commenting on GS 24:3, it presents a quotation containing a very strong condemnation of it:
Following this quotation, the SSPX article makes a salient observation: "Indeed, if man has been created for himself, why should he not act in accord with his own nature and make himself autonomous, determining for himself what is good and what is evil?"
To say that man exists for his own sake and is his own end, is to affirm a certain independence from God, even a separation. He becomes in a sense his own god. But is this not the essence of the Original Sin you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil? Let us revisit part of the previous citation from John Paul IIs General Audience talk, "As a person he possesses his own finality (auto-teleology), by virtue of which he tends to self-realization." Auto-teleology is the property of having a self-referential purpose: ones existence is ones goal (10).
If man is to be concerned with self-realization and auto-teleology, how is he to abide by the precept to follow Jesus Christ, who is the only Way, by carrying ones cross through self-denial? Attempting to find some kind of self-fulfillment without reference to God is nothing less than man being his own god. GS 24:3 thus promulgates the same self-will that caused us to enter our fallen state in the first place. Again the Original Sin.
Finally, one might say that perhaps God did not create man for his own sake, but because of Gods goodness and love He wills mankind good and happiness for its own sake. But even the willing of a good for man is for the sake of Gods own goodness, and only secondarily for the sake of mans good:
The Teaching of the Church
Let us compare the statement that man "is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself," to Divine Revelation, Tradition, and the Magisterium, all of which clearly and definitively establish that the Creator willed man for Himself, for His praise and glory.
"The Lord hath made all things for Himself" (Proverbs 16:4).
"For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, Who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by His passion" (Hebrews 2:10).
"And every one that calleth upon My name, I have created him for My glory, I have formed him, and made him" (Isaiah 43:7).
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty" (Apocalypse 1:8).
"Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because Thou hast created all things; and for Thy will they were, and have been created" (Apocalypse 4:11).
"Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son" (Ephesians 1: 5-6).
"That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped in Christ" (Ephesians 1:12).
"If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: Let him be an anathema" (Vatican I, Denzinger, 1805).
"It is surely unnecessary to prove, what experience constantly shows and what each individual feels in himself, even in the very midst of all temporal prosperity that in God alone can the human will find absolute and perfect peace. God is the only end of man" Pope Leo XIII (12).
"The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things" (Vatican I, Denzinger, 1785).
"God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him" (CCC #358).
(Yes, just two paragraphs after the Vatican II Catechism stated that God willed man for its own sake, the Catechism now states that man was created to love and serve God. Which is it? Modernism-progressivism complacently accepts such vague and doubtful contradictions, intentionally mixing faith and philosophy, fact and opinion, as explained in an excerpt presented in the appendix from the encyclical of St. Pius X on Modernism, Pascendi.)
"Furthermore, the entire universe, with all its parts, is ordained towards God as its end, inasmuch as it imitates, as it were, and shows forth the Divine goodness, to the glory of God. Reasonable creatures, however, have in some special and higher manner God as their end, since they can attain to Him by their own operations, by knowing and loving Him. Thus it is plain that the Divine goodness is the end of all corporeal things" St. Thomas Aquinas (13).
"It is written (Proverbs 16:4): The Lord hath made all things for Himself. But God is outside the entire order of the universe. Therefore the end of all things is something extrinsic to them" St. Thomas Aquinas (14).
"He created with a purpose; He destined His creatures to some end. That end was, could be, no other than Himself; for nothing existed but Himself, nothing but Himself could be an end worthy of His action" (15).
A Heretical Proposition (propositio haeretica)
Thus Divine Revelation, Magisterium and Tradition unequivocally belie the gratuitous Conciliar proposition that man is his own end, created "for itself."
This contention in Gaudium and Spes and in the new Catechism that God willed mankind for its own sake is presented in an arbitrary, casual manner, almost as an aside, as if it were a matter of common knowledge or common sense, without any reasons given to support this previously unheard of thesis. Were none deemed necessary, since the Council in its hubris has decreed it to be true?
Here we have a clear and obvious contradiction. Either man was created for God, or he was created for his own sake, "for itself." Since God created all things for Himself, to say that an object of the creation was not created for God would belie the truth. More specifically, would it constitute a formal heresy to solemnly affirm, while fully aware of perennial Church teaching on the subject, that man was created for itself rather than for God? Yes. The conclusion is inescapable.
Using the criteria specified in Dr. Ludwig Otts Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (16), the statement that God made all things for Himself is a dogma of Divine Faith (fides divina) by reason of its Divine Revelation in Holy Scripture, explicitly and immediately revealed by God. It is also a dogma of Catholic Faith (fides catholica) on account of its promulgation by the teaching authority of the Church.
A proposition that is opposed to formal dogma is subject to the highest theological censure, it is: "A Heretical Proposition (propositio haeretica)." The statement that man "is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself," must logically receive this censure should the Church officially pronounce on it. However, this should not be necessary, since it already stands condemned under the anathema prounounced by Vatican I - see the first item under the heading Magisterium above, referring to the creation of world and everything in it. Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium make it clear that absolutely no creature is an end in itself, or was created for itself or for its own sake, rather than for God.
"If a baptized person deliberately denies or doubts a dogma properly so-called, he is guilty of the sin of heresy, and automatically becomes subject to the punishment of excommunication" (17).
God cannot contradict Himself. It is impossible for the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scripture citations given above, to inspire a Conciliar document containing the assertion that man was created for itself. Ergo, Gaudium and Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, is not the work of the Holy Spirit, thus putting the entire Council under a cloud of suspicion that it is the work of man, and not God. If the Holy Spirit truly guided the Council, then proving the existence of this single heresy would be impossible. The existence of even one such statement (there may be others, see note 18) prevents one from making the blanket declaration that the Council was the work of the Holy Spirit.
In closing, let us consider two illustrations of the use of GS 24:3 in the philosophy and theology of Pope John Paul II.
He cites it in formulating his notion of unconditional Universal salvation. He associates man as willed by God for his own sake, to mans creation in Gods image and likeness, in an attempt to demonstrate that each man is "chosen" by God from eternity, and is united with Christ forever. Thus each and every person in the entire world, baptized or not, shares in the mystery of the Redemption from the moment of his conception.
John Paul II also employs the false dogma from GS 24:3 as a foundational principle for his controversial Theology of the Body, and makes the perplexing statement that the human body has a "nuptial meaning" because God willed man for its own sake.
He goes on to state that mans original happiness consisted in "the revelation and discovery of the nuptial meaning of the body." No mention is made of the fact that mans original happiness was spiritual and God-oriented, a result of his living in communion with God and Gods will.
Below are some excerpts from his talk before a General Audience in 1980 (20).
The biography of Pope John Paul II from the Holy See Press Office states: "Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops (21). One cannot be faulted for concluding that the insertion of GS 24:3 in that document was most likely a contribution of the future Pope.
The construct that man is the only creature God willed for itself perfectly fits into the Modernist modus operandi described by St. Pius X in this excerpt from his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (22).
Articles in this series:
Cognitive Dissonance and the Church. Traditionalists believe the Church has deviated from true Catholcism, but still accept it as being Roman Catholic.
The Hubris of Vatican II. Glorifies man as created for his own sake, contrary to Scripture.
Dignitatis Humanae vs. "Domine, non sum dignus." Vatican II's document on religious liberty and human dignity vs. "Lord, I am not worthy."
Wrestling with the Council . . . and with John Paul II's Universal Salvation.
In the Murky Waters of Vatican II. Can the current crisis in the Church be
traced to Vatican II? Book review.
1. I am not a professional theologian.
2. The professional theologians gave us Vatican II
Frank 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
Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta
Newest Book; The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint
Coming in 2013: Luisa Piccarreta, the Middle Years, Part A.
www.frankrega.com www.sanpadrepio.com www.thepoverello.com www.lifeofluisa.com
page was last updated on 10/24/12