VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– In a newly released interview, Pope Francis has downplayed suggestions of a third Vatican Council, saying that Vatican II “has not yet been implemented.”
The Pope’s comments came as part of an interview he granted to the Spanish-language outlet Vida Nueva marking the 65th anniversary of the publication, to which the Pope is a subscriber.
Speaking about his reaction to ascending to the papal throne, along with topics such as the Ukraine war, “rigidity” and the Synod, Pope Francis gave the interview from his apartment at the Vatican’s Santa Martha hotel.
The current Synod on Synodality has been compared to an extension of Vatican II, and occasionally likened to a form of a third Vatican Council. Vida Nueva asked Francis about the Synod and whether he would “consider shaping the third Vatican Council?”
In response, the 86-year-old pontiff downplayed such a suggestion, arguing instead that the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) had yet to be enacted.
The time is not ripe for a Vatican Council III. And neither is it necessary at this time, since Vatican II has not yet been implemented. It was very risky and it has to be implemented. But there is always that fear that we all have been infected, unseen, by the “old Catholics” who, already at Vatican I, claimed to be “depositaries of the true faith.” All these proposals of “bad lactose” must be brought down with clear arguments. It is important to go out to meet the sophisms.
As has become commonplace, the Pope also took aim at traditional Catholics, arguing that “rigidity” was caused by fear “of the time of insecurity we are living in,” but also due to vice. He argued that the “armor” of “rigidity … hides a lot of rottenness. I have already had to intervene in some dioceses in several countries with similar parameters.”
“Behind this traditionalism, we have discovered moral problems and serious vices, double lives,” Francis continued, without expanding on what was incorporated by “traditionalism.”
We all know of bishops who, needing priests, have made use of people they had thrown out of other seminaries for immorality. I do not like rigidity because it is a bad symptom of interior life. The pastor cannot afford to be rigid. The pastor has to be ready for whatever comes.
He cited a conversion in which he had been told that “the rigidity of young priests arises because they are tired of the current relativism, but this is not always the case.” Instead, Francis called for “normal seminarians, with their problems, who play soccer, who do not go to the neighborhoods to dogmatize.”
Francis also decried individuals who “live trapped in a theology manual, incapable of getting into the problems and moving theology forward.” Such “stagnant theology,” he said, “reminds me that stagnant water is the first to be corrupted, and stagnant theology creates corruption. Both left-wing and right-wing movements that remain stagnant create corruption.”
Vatican II central theme of pontificate
Francis has made similar laudatory comments of the Second Vatican Council in a previous interview, published in March 2023 but conducted in December 2022.
Answering questions about how Vatican II is a central theme to his pontificate, Francis outlined how “I am so committed to the Council because that event was actually a visit of God to His Church.”
He continued: “The Council was one of those things that God brings about in history through holy men.”
Francis expanded upon this claim by stating that Vatican II was a “renewal” and a rejuvenation of the Catholic Church. “The Council did not only involve a renewal of the Church,” he said. “It was not only a matter of renewal, but also a challenge to make the Church more and more alive.”
Citing not only a “renewal” of the Church, Francis argued that the Council “rejuvenates the Church,” turning it into a “mother always moving forward.” This process of “moving forward” is being achieved by the Synod on Synodality, argued the Argentine pontiff:
We come from afar, now we are here and we have to move forward. This is what we do through the current Synod process, and the two Synods on Synodality will help us clarify the meaning and method of decision-making in the Church.
But while Francis has praised Vatican II, alongside expressing his desire for it to be further implemented, scholars and clerics do not share his view.
Liturgist and theologian Dr. Peter Kwasniewski wrote of the Council that “it must be remembered with shame and repentance as a moment in which the hierarchy of the Church, to varying degrees, surrendered to a more subtle (and therefore more dangerous) form of worldliness.”
“Moreover,” he continued, “the errors contained in the documents, as well as the many errors commonly attributed to the Council or prompted by it, must be drawn into a syllabus and anathematized by a future pope or council so that the controverted matters may be laid to rest, as former councils have wisely and charitably done in regard to the errors of their times.”
The former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò wrote in 2020 that certain of the “deviations” of Vatican II have given rise to many of the more controversial and problematic recent papal texts, such as the Abu Dhabi document and Fratelli Tutti.
Summing up the deviations in Catholic doctrine in the last decades, the Italian prelate wrote:
If the pachamama could be adored in a church, we owe it to Dignitatis Humanae. If we have a liturgy that is Protestantized and at times even paganized, we owe it to the revolutionary action of Msgr. Annibale Bugnini and to the post-conciliar reforms. If the Abu Dhabi Declaration was signed, we owe it to Nostra Aetate. If we have come to the point of delegating decisions to the Bishops’ Conferences – even in grave violation of the Concordat, as happened in Italy – we owe it to collegiality, and to its updated version, synodality. Thanks to synodality, we found ourselves with Amoris Laetitia having to look for a way to prevent what was obvious to everyone from appearing: that this document, prepared by an impressive organizational machine, intended to legitimize Communion for the divorced and cohabiting, just as Querida Amazonia will be used to legitimize women priests (as in the recent case of an “episcopal vicaress” in Freiburg) and the abolition of Sacred Celibacy.
He called the Second Vatican Council a “coup d’état” and a “revolution.”