2.0 Fruits of Vatican II, Historical Facts and Post Vatican II Trends

Fruit #1: Marriage as a Covenant

The Second Vatican Council devoted paragraphs 48 to 58 of its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World to marriage…. Its teaching marked a watershed in the Church’s understanding of marriage. Avoiding the familiar term ‘contract’ the council consistently spoke of marriage as a ‘covenant’.” (New Commentary on the Code of Cannon Law, Title VII Marriage by John P. Beal)

Why is this important? If we pick up Casti Connubii (on Caste Marriage) probably the most authoritative text on marriage before the Council by Pope Pius XI in 1930 we will see the term contract used 22 times. Marriage is described as a contract. The word covenant never appears in the whole text. Vatican II was successfully able to point out that marriage is a covenant, so in tune with the covenants God has made with his people. The marriage feast of the lamb and the Church at the end of times (Rev. Ch 21) is the consummation of an everlasting covenant. This is an important teaching of Vatican II, especially in our times when so many people enter into non-sacrament contracts instead of covenant relationships. Vatican II’s teaching helped pave the way forward for a proper and more dignified understanding of marriage.

Fruit #2: Catholics Had Higher Retention Rates than Other Christian Groups Post Vatican II and the Major Difference in Events was Vatican II

In Mass Exodus by Stephen Bullivant, several studies in America and Great Britain show that Catholic retention of its followers was higher other than religious group in the post Vatican II era. It was better than Lutherans, Anglicans, Pentecostals and many others. The book does an excellent statistical study of the reason why people left and when. Stephen notes that “Let us be clear here. Even had there been no Council, no deep and rapid liturgical reforms ….. Catholicism would have had a fairly torrid time of the past half century. As has been shown, ‘leakage’ was already a recognized and worried about .. in the 1940s and 1950s.” He details how Humanae Vitae rocked the boat, urbanization rocked the boat, the sexual revolution, clerical abuse, and several other large scale non-Vatican II problems made many people leave. In fact, he claims that the Church Fathers at Vatican II should have done better because several already knew and had done studies to show that people were leaving the faith. As a result, he claims that Vatican II along with several other items (no one or the other) is to blame for not retaining more people.

On the other hand, others do not blame Vatican II because the history of the last 50 years is so complex it really is hard to say what Vatican II’s role really was.

But it is not quite clear that Vatican II failed because it did not stem the tide of disaffiliation. It is more likely that the Council fathers did not even perceive the scope of disaffiliation on the horizon, the social changes that were to sweep Europe and the United States. And it is possible—although sociologically impossible to prove—that it is the post-conciliar church alone that will have the resources to respond to the real crisis, the one that the Council fathers could not have recognized.Review: Why did so many Catholics leave after Vatican II? | America Magazine

Fruit #3: Vatican II Did not Stop an Increase in the Number of Catholics in Africa (Arguably it helped also)

The graphs below show that Africa had an increase in Catholic but also Christian population since Vatican II. Yet, because other Christian groups increased it could not just be because of Vatican II. What we can say though is that Vatican II did not stop the increase!! (So maybe it did not cause the decrease in the west???)

Vatican II with Paul VI did allow for the Church to develop non-Italian European leaders. It has only been post Vatican II were we can truly say the church leadership represents all peoples. This is one of Vatican II fruits. Before Vatican II, the majority of Popes, the majority of cardinals were all Italian. Vatican II paved the way for this to change.

See the source image

Africa – Our Christian World (dickslikker.org)

Fruit #4: The Creation of Lay Associations

“The Word on Fire Vatican II Collection” from Bishop BarronMajor Fruit of Vatican II -the Role of the Laity. How many lay associations can you name or have impacted the Church!

Fruit #5: More Scripture Read During Liturgical Cycles and In English

More Scripture! Fruit of Vatican II. Vatican II greatly increased the diversity of scripture read during mass compared to the old rites. Did the pre-Vatican II Mass really have more Scripture than now? – PrayTellBlog (Plus Dei Verbum has some excellent teaching on Divine authorship that have deeply influenced and clarified Scriptural theology)

Fruit #6: Allowed for a New Evangelization Rather than Fortress Mentality

A great sample. Fruit of Vatican II – it allowed for a beauty apologetics to be able to shine, instead of fortress mindsets. (although it was partially hijacked) – The New Evangelization is a fruit of Vatican II

“The Council Fathers knew that “fortress Catholicism” was harming the Church and fostering a culture of drab ugliness owing to the boring nature of its insularity from all things “modern.”  They may not have always gotten the answers right but they were at least willing, finally, to pose the question of modernity to the Church in order for the Church to share the riches of the Gospel with a greatly changed and desperately lonely world.  The tragedy, of course, is that this conciliar initiative to repristinate the Church, to find the hidden lost gems of the Tradition hidden under the palimpsest of neo-scholastic verbiage, was hijacked by a different set of vulgarians intent on replacing the beauty of the Church’s patrimony with a crass, and false, egalitarianism that equated the “tastes” of the popular culture of modernity with “the spirit of the Council.”  Indeed, under the guise of liturgical renewal and increased lay participation, they began to assert that the very insistence on high-end beauty in the Church is a form of reactionary and elitist “triumphalism.”

But if you read the Council documents themselves the exact opposite of this view is put forward.  How and why those documents came to be ignored and the renewal called for by the Council derailed is a subject for another day.  Suffice it to say for now that anyone who wants to blame the Council for being the chief cause of what came after is guilty of some extremely sloppy thinking devoid of real sociological data.  It is a form of post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacious thinking that reigns supreme these days in traditionalist circles and it needs to be challenged.  Steven Bullivant’s recent book called “Mass Exodus” is a good place to start that challenge since he offers a wealth of real data on the multi-focal causes of the post conciliar disaffiliation from the Church by so many.” In Defense of Vatican II: Beauty Will Save the World. – Gaudium et Spes 22

Fruit #7: Mary Was Described as a Mediatrix – Prepared the way for Co-Redemption Dogma

Another Great Fruit of Vatican II is Mary!!

This is the claim: That Vatican II has the most complete treatment of Our Lady of any Ecumenical Council! And, this is just what Dr. Miravalle shows so well.

Check out a summary of his videos from airmaria.com.

Dr. Miravalle explains that the Second Vatican Council’s doctrine on Mary is possibly the most complete treatment of Our Lady in any Ecumenical Council since the origins of the Church.  In this video and the following two, he intends to show where the Council points to for authentic Marian doctrinal development

We can note that the best magisterial text to look at for support of the use of the term Mediatrix is actually Lumen Gentium #62. Vatican II, although not speaking dogmatically here, does make the term normative and bring it to light in a way not previously done by councils.

You can check out the videos from airmaria.com Linked Here. I highly recommend this series of videos. They are great in explaining Vatican II’s Marian content. Also if you have a Copy of 33 Days to Morning Glory – go check out how Fr. Gaitley starts and ends with Vatican II content — not by chance.

Mary quotes in V2 http://defendingvatican2.ca/2020/10/09/vatican-ii-mary-quotes/

Fruit #8: Restored the Catechumenate Which was Ended by Trent

Fruit #9: Allowed for Communal Penance Services to Restore Communal Aspect of the Sacrament of Penance

Fruit #10: Better Recognition of Christ’s Modes of Presence

Fruit #11: Vatican II Restored the Epiclesis and shows Forth more Clearly the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy

The restoration of the Epiclesis and drawing out more clearly the role of the Holy Spirit in the Order of the Mass was one of the fruits of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GRIM), describes the Epiclesis as one of the chief elements of the Eucharistic Prayer. The Epiclesis is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer, “In which, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ’s Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in Communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.” [GRIM, Par. 79(c)]

Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, during his Lenten reflection on March 24, 2023 had some great reflections to offer Pope Francis and the papal household. Some of these reflections touched upon Vatican II and the reforms of the Liturgy.

It is a gift that the liturgical reform of Vatican II has placed at the heart of the Mass the epiclesis, that is, the invocation of the Holy Spirit: first on the bread and wine and then on the entire mystical body of the Church. I have great respect for the venerable Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Canon and I love to use it again, sometimes, being the one with which I was ordained a priest. I cannot, however, fail to note with regret the total absence of the Holy Spirit in it. Instead of the current epiclesis of consecration on bread and wine, we find, in it, the generic formula: “Sanctify, O God, this offering with the power of your blessing…” (Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes paragraphs 1091 to 1109 to the role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy. Paragraph 1112 aptly summarizes the important role of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy. “The mission of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Church is to prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.” The Epiclesis is the phrases after the Sanctus, in which the Holy Spirit is asked to be sent by the Father so the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ (Par. 1105). The Holy Spirit inspires us to give praise and thanksgiving in the doxology (Par. 1103). The Holy Spirit also recalls the saving actions of God in history which may be more or less developed depending on the liturgy (Par. 1103).

What we should also recall here is that the 1962 Missal, just before Vatican II, had an implicit Epiclesis added although this is argued. Early liturgies such as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the Epiclesis explicit in the text. Eastern Liturgies have maintained the Epiclesis since the earliest times. By returning to the original sources, the reforms of Vatican II reintroduced this crucial part of the Liturgy back into the life of the Western Church.

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