We shall soon have the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council! From the blog of Fr. Z, we gathered the following information. On October 4, the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Cardinal Piacenza, gave a talk to seminarians in Los Angeles. The whole text in Italian is on the website of the Congregation.
You will probably be the first generation that will correctly interpret the Second Vatican Council, not according to the “spirit” of the Council, which has brought so much disorientation to the Church, but according to what the conciliar event really said in its texts to the Church and to the world. A Vatican II different from that which produced the texts we have in our possession today does not exist! It is in those texts that we find the will of God for his Church and [it] is against these that it must be measured, in company with two thousand years of Tradition and Christian life.
Renewal is always necessary for the Church, because the conversion of her members, poor sinners, is always necessary! But there cannot be, nor could there be, a pre-Conciliar Church and a post-Conciliar Church! If this could be so, the second one—ours—would be historically and theologically illegitimate!
Here are our comments on this interesting piece of news on the role of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church and the problem raised by the interpretation of it.
The divine institution of the Church demands a social authority, the Magisterium, exercised by its constant preaching. Its function is to propose with authority, to clarify, always in the same sense the deposit of the faith.
Hence, the Church could not be defined in principle as the “Church of the seven or twenty first ecumenical councils.” It is defined in principle as the “Church of all times”. This means that the Church remains substantially the immutable in its signification, despite the verbal elaboration in which the Magisterium gives an ever clearer precision of the same truth.
Pius XII in Humani Generis explains that the Magisterium is exercised “in view of a more and more exact presentation of the truths of faith”, not in view of a clarification of its own teachings. The Magisterium interprets and clarifies the divine truths, but it does not need to interpret itself. On the contrary, the Scripture needs interpretation because it often uses figurative and metaphorical language open to different senses. But the interpretation which the Church gives of the Scripture clarifies the scriptural sense, and there is no need of “an interpretation of the interpretation” under pain of going on forever in the process.
As a rule, the role of the Magisterium is to interpret the points of doctrine not yet clarified by the anterior Magisterium. Thus, Nicea I gives a clear teaching on the Second Person of the Trinity, and Nicea II, far from clarifying Nicea I, dealt with another dogma, of the Third Person of the Trinity.
The problem with the post-conciliar Magisterium is that it tries to give the good interpretation of Vatican II, by eliminating the wrong one. Take as an example the speech of Benedict XVI of December 22, 2005:
Why was the reception of the Council, in great parts of the Church, reached with such difficulty? Well! Everything depends on the just interpretation of the Council—or, as we would say today—of its correct hermeneutic, of the right key of reading key and application. The problems of the reception came from the confrontation of two opposite hermeneutic.