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(LifeSiteNews) – EWTN host Raymond Arroyo slammed progressive allies of Pope Francis for attacking conservative Catholics, in a segment of “The World Over” last week that called out some of the pope’s top supporters for espousing a questionable view of the Second Vatican Council.

Arroyo and Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, took aim at an invite-only meeting of 70 prelates and theologians last month who gathered at Chicago’s Loyola University for a conference titled “Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the Way Forward.”

The two-day event, organized by institutes of major liberal Catholic colleges and a hateful, left-wing columnist at the non-Catholic National Catholic Reporter (NCR), sought to connect “opposition” to Pope Francis in the U.S. to rejection of Vatican II.

Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, a confidante of Pope Francis embroiled in sex abuse and financial scandals, participated in the meeting, explaining its purpose to NCR:

We have this what they call “opposition” to the pope. It’s trying to build walls, going backwards – looking to the old liturgy or maybe things before Vatican II. Vatican II is unknown by many of the young generations. So, it’s necessary to come back and to see that all the reforms of Pope Francis are rooted in Vatican II.

Other attendees included similarly scandal-ridden, dissident prelates, like Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, and Archbishop John Wester of Sante Fe, as well as Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley, apostolic nuncio to the U.S. Christophe Pierre, and prominent, pro-LGBT Vatican nun Sr. Nathalie Becquart.

The secretive Chicago conference, which Arroyo described as a “Sanhedrin meeting,” reflected hatred of conservative or traditional Catholics, he suggested.

“Opposition,” Arroyo said, “is when you blindly hate a person and you allow that to color your perceptions your language your point of view, you know, when you describe people as opposition or the enemy, like this Sanhedrin meeting in Chicago.”

He particularly criticized the “sad scribblers at the National Catholic Reporter.” The unabashedly dissident publication has repeatedly attacked EWTN, attempting to tie the network’s coverage to wealthy donors, Arroyo noted. The top theme of the Chicago meeting, according to NCR, was “the impact of moneyed conservative influence in Catholic social movements and media companies.”

“But these people, they’re professional liars,” Arroyo said about NCR, “and now, apparently, they’re coddled by these esteemed institutions and even esteemed individuals, who I suppose think this helps them politically in Rome.”

Pope reviving the ‘intuitions of Vatican II’

Royal told Arroyo that the conference at Loyola University reflects a dubious interpretation of the Second Vatican Council that hearkens back to “the attitude of the 1970s.”

“I think it manifests a certain touchiness, if I can put it that way, on the part of some of the Pope’s main supporters,” he said of the event.

“There’s an ongoing debate in the Church about the the meaning of Vatican II, because obviously, for intelligent people like [Popes] John Paul II and Benedict [XVI] who were actually at Vatican II, there was one interpretation that tried to be more faithful to the actual documents,” Royal said.

“What we hear from people like this is something that really reminds me of more of the attitude of the 1970s, where everything seemed to be open,” he continued. “So, look, there’s a debate about Vatican II, but to portray different views of what the Holy Father is doing as somehow a denial of a universal council of the Church, I just think that that’s the wrong framing of what’s happening.”

A keynote address at the conference published by NCR pushed exactly that framing, while defining the Second Vatican Council specifically in terms of a vague “spirit.”

“The opposition to Pope Francis is rooted in the opposition to Vatican II – a theological crisis that did not begin with this pontificate,” lamented Villanova University’s Massimo Faggioli. An alleged “interruption in the reception of Vatican II has become a crisis of ecclesial communion during the pontificate of Francis,” he said.

Faggioli hailed what he described as Pope Francis’ mission of “recovering the fundamental intuitions of Vatican II as an integral part of the mission of the church,” in contrast to how Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI approached the Council. The liberal Villanova historian published a similar article in November faulting Benedict XVI’s support for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

The unspecified, so-called “intuitions of Vatican II” go beyond the documents of the Council, in which they “are expressed in only a partial manner,” Faggioli said in his keynote address. “We must take seriously the historicity of the council, not just the letter of the documents, but also the spirit of the council, without ever separating or opposing the two.”

But Faggioli didn’t mention conflict between Pope Francis’ apparent revival of the “intuitions of Vatican II” and the actual teachings of the Council Fathers.

While Francis has moved to eliminate the TLM entirely from the Roman Rite (breaking with his predecessors who attended Vatican II), Sacrosanctum concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, stresses that “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” and that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

Gregorian chant, moreover, “should be given pride of place in liturgical services,” it states. No Vatican II document discussed whether priests should face the people during Mass.

The conciliar documents also pose problems for Francis and his supporters’ push to liberalize Catholic sexual ethics, including on homosexuality, which the Church has condemned for millennia. As the Council’s dogmatic constitution Dei verbum declares, the Church’s teaching authority is “so linked and joined together” with Sacred Tradition and Scripture “that one cannot stand without the others” – a pronouncement that the Vatican has previously invoked to defend continued teachings against sodomy.

Gaudium et spes, meanwhile, stresses that sexual acts must be evaluated by “objective standards,” “based on the nature of the human person and his acts,” while reaffirming the indissolubility of marriage. “By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown,” the document emphatically states.