Editor’s Note: Below follows the full text of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s latest essay titled “REPETITA JUVANT: How with its own self-referentiality the ‘conciliar church’ places itself outside of the path of the Tradition of the Church of Christ.”
(LifeSiteNews) — With the prosopopoeia that distinguishes ideological propaganda, the recent Bergoglian panegyric on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Opening of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II did not fail to confirm, beyond the empty rhetoric, the total self-referentiality of the “conciliar church,” that is, of that subversive organization born almost imperceptibly from the Council and which in these sixty years has almost totally eclipsed the Church of Christ by occupying her highest levels and usurping her authority.
The “conciliar church” considers itself heir to Vatican II apart from the other twenty Ecumenical Councils that preceded it over the centuries: this is the main factor of its self-referentiality. It disregards them in the Faith, proposing a doctrine contrary to that taught by Our Lord, preached by the Apostles and transmitted by the Holy Church; it disregards them in Morality, derogating from principles in the name of situational morality; finally, it disregards them in the Liturgy, which as a prayerful expression of the lex credendi has wished to adapt itself to the new magisterium, and at the same time has lent itself as a most powerful instrument for indoctrinating the faithful.
The faith of the people has been scientifically corrupted through the adulteration of the Holy Mass carried out through the Novus Ordo, thanks to which the errors contained in nuce in the texts of Vatican II took shape in the sacred action and spread like a contagion.
But if on the one hand the “conciliar church” is keen to reiterate that it wants nothing to do with the “old Church,” and even less with the “old Mass,” declaring both of them distant and unproposable precisely because they are incompatible with the phantom “spirit of the Council;” on the other hand, it confesses with impunity the loss of that bond of continuity with the Traditio which is the necessary prerequisite – willed by Christ himself – for the exercise of authority and power by the Hierarchy, whose members, from the Roman Pontiff to the most unknown Bishop in partibus, are Successors of the Apostles and as such must think, speak, and act.
This radical break with the past – evoked in dark shades by the primitive speech of the one who coins neologisms such as “backwardness” and hurl anathemas against “grandmother’s lace” – is obviously not limited to external forms – with all that they are precisely the form of a very precise substance, not tampered with by chance – but extends to the very foundations of the Faith and the Natural Law, reaching a real subversion of the ecclesiastical institution, such as to contradict the will of the divine Founder.
To the question “Do you love me?” the Bergoglian church – but even before that the conciliar church, with less shamelessness, but always playing on a thousand distinctions – “questions itself about itself,” because “Jesus’ style is not so much to give answers, but to ask questions.” We might ask ourselves, if we take these disturbing words seriously, what does Divine Revelation and the earthly ministry of Our Lord, the message of the Gospel, the preaching of the Apostles and the Magisterium of the Church consist of, if not answering the questions of sinful man, who is himself to ask questions, to thirst for the Word of God, and needs to know eternal Truths and to know how to conform to the Will of the Lord to attain happiness in Heaven.
The Lord does not ask questions, but He teaches, admonishes, orders, and commands. Because He is God, King, Supreme and Eternal Pontiff. He does not ask us who is the Way, the Truth, the Life, but indicates Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, as the Gate of the flock, as the Cornerstone. And in turn He emphasizes His obedience to the Father in the economy of Redemption, showing us His holy submission as an example to imitate.
Bergoglio’s vision overturns relationships and subverts them: the Lord asks Peter a question which Peter, in answering, knows very well what it means in practice to love Our Lord. And the answer is not optional, nor can it be negative or elusive, as the “conciliar church” does when – in order not to displease the world and not appear to be out of fashion – it gives greater importance to the seductions of transient and deceptive ideologies, refusing to transmit in its integrity what its Head has commanded it to teach faithfully. “Do you love me?” the Lord asks the inclusive Cardinals, the synodal Bishops, the ecumenical Prelates; and they answer like the wedding guests: “I bought a field, and I must go and see it; please consider me excused” (Lk 14:18). There are much more pressing, much more rewarding commitments from which to obtain prestige and social approval. There is no time to follow Christ, much less to feed His sheep, even worse if those sheep are stubborn in their “backwardness,” whatever that means.
For this reason, there are no other Councils except their Vatican II; which, by the fact of being the only one to which they appeal shows itself at the same time to be extraneous, if not completely opposite in form and content, to what all Ecumenical Councils are: the one voice of the one Master, of the one Shepherd. If the voice of their council is not compatible with that of the Magisterium that preceded it; if public worship cannot express itself in the traditional form because they consider it in contradiction with the “new ecclesiology” of the “new church,” the rift between before and after exists and is undeniable; and indeed, they are proud of it, presenting themselves as innovators of something that non est innovandum. And so that people do not see that there is a credible and safe alternative, everything that represents and recalls the past must be denigrated, ridiculed, trivialized and finally removed, being the first to apply that cancel culture that today has been adopted by woke ideology. From this we can understand the aversion to the ancient liturgy, to sound doctrine, to the heroism of holiness witnessed by works and not enunciated in fatuous soulless proclamations.
Bergoglio speaks of a “church that listens”; but precisely because “for the first time in history, it dedicated a Council to questioning itself, to reflecting on its own nature and mission,” he shows that he wants to do it himself, so that he can renounce the heritage of Tradition and deny his own identity, “for the first time in history,” precisely. This self-referentiality starts from the assumption of a “better” that is to be implemented in place of a “worse” that is to be corrected, and this does not concern the weaknesses and infidelities of its individual members, but “its own nature and mission,” which Our Lord has established once and for all and which it is not up to His Ministers to question. Yet Bergoglio affirms: “Let us return to the Council to come out of ourselves and overcome the temptation of self-referentiality, which is a worldly way of being,” while the principle of “returning to the Council” is precisely the most brazen proof of its self-referentiality and rupture with the past.
Thus the centuries of greatest expansion of the Church – during which it clashed with heretics and made more explicit the doctrine concerning the truths they challenged – are considered an embarrassing parenthesis of “clericalism” to be forgotten, because we find all those same errors in the deviations of the Council. The remote past – that of the supposed Christian antiquity, the “primitive centuries,” the “fraternal agape” – in the conciliar narrative is substantially a historical forgery, which deliberately hides the virile witness of the first Christians and their Pastors who were persecuted and martyred because of their Faith, their refusal to burn incense at the statue of Caesar, their moral conduct in contrast with the corrupt customs of the pagans. That consistent witness, even of women and children, should shame those who desecrate the House of God by worshipping the pachamama to indulge the Amazonian delusions of the green deal, giving scandal to the simple and offending the divine Majesty with idolatrous acts. Is it not this self-referentiality, which has now reached the point of violating the First Commandment in order to pursue its own ecumenical rantings?
Let us not be deceived by these seductive words, which are not thrown out casually: the Church of Christ has never been “self-referential,” but Christocentric, because She is the Mystical Body of which Christ is the Head, and without the Head She cannot subsist. On the other hand, its desolately worldly version, devoid of supernatural horizons, that defines itself as the “conciliar church” is inexorably self-referential. It exercises its power over the deception of presenting itself as a proponent of a return to the purity of its origins after centuries in which it supposedly closed itself in “in the enclosures of comforts and convictions,” and at the same time pretending to be able to adulterate the teaching that Christ commanded to transmit faithfully.
What supposed “comforts” have distinguished the two-thousand-year history of the Bride of the Lamb, if we look at the uninterrupted persecution She has suffered, the blood shed by Her martyrs, the battles waged against Her by heretics and schismatics, and the commitment of Her ministers to spreading the Gospel and Christian morality? And what possible difficulties can there be for a church that questions itself without any convictions, genuflects zealously to the demands of the world, follows green ideology and transhumanism, blesses homosexual unions, says it is ready to welcome sinners without any demand to convert them, and agrees with the powerful of the earth even in endorsing vaccination propaganda while hoping to survive on its own?
There is something terribly self-centered, typical of Luciferian pride, in claiming to be better than those who preceded us, wrongly reproaching them for an authoritarianism that the one who speaks is the first example of, with purposes diametrically opposed to the salvation of souls.
A further sign of self-referentiality is the desire to impose on the Church a democratic structure that subverts the essentially monarchical (indeed, I would say imperial) system desired by Christ. There is, in fact, a teaching Church (Ecclesia docens) composed of the Pastors under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff, and a learning Church (Ecclesia discens) composed of the People of God, the faithful. The cancellation of the hierarchical setting – which Bergoglio defines as “the ugly sin of clericalism that kills sheep, does not guide them, does not make them grow” – aims at another and much more serious deception, indeed at a real subversion within the ecclesial body: pretending to be able to share the power of those who have the responsibility of transmitting the authentic Magisterium with those who, not ordained and therefore not assisted by the grace of state, have the right to be led into safe pastures. The word magister carries within itself the ontological superiority – magis – of those who teach over those who learn what they are still ignorant of. And the shepherd certainly cannot decide along with the sheep in which direction he will take them, because as a flock they do not know where to go and are exposed to the assaults of wolves. To make believe that questioning oneself “about one’s own nature and mission” can represent a return to one’s origins is a colossal lie: “You are my friends if you do what I command you,” Christ said (Jn 15:14). And so must His Ministers also command, who as such, as long as they remain subject to Him, exercise the vicarious authority of the Head of the Mystical Body. They are Ministers (from minus, indicating hierarchical inferiority) in the etymological sense of servants, subject to the authority of their Master; so that the Catholic hierarchy is Magistra in teaching only what as Ministra she has received from Christ and jealously guards.
We have confirmation of this democratic and anti-hierarchical vision of the “conciliar church” above all in its liturgy, in which the ministerial role of the celebrant is almost denied in favor of the “priestly people” theorized by Lumen Gentium and put in black and white in the heretical formulation of art. 7 of the Institutio Generalis of the Montini Missal of 1969: “The Lord’s Supper, or Mass, is the sacred synaxis or assembly of the people of God, presided over by the priest, to celebrate the Lord’s memorial. Christ’s promise therefore applies eminently to this local assembly of Holy Church: ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them’ (Mt 18: 20).” What is this, if not self-referentiality to the point of modifying the very definition of the Mass along the lines of that “spirit of the Council” and in contradiction with the dogmatic Canons of the Council of Trent and of the entire Magisterium prior to Vatican II?
The Church is not and cannot be democratic or “synodal” as some like to euphemistically call her today: the holy People of God does not “exist to shepherd others, all others,” but rather so that there may be a Hierarchy that assures them of the supernatural means to reach the eternal goal, and so that “all others” – many, but not all – may be led into the one fold under the guidance of the one Shepherd by God’s Providence. “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; these also I must lead” (Jn 10:16).
The strong denunciation made by Cardinal Mueller of the threat posed by the heretical approach of synodality – whose ominous fruits are already visible – is justified in this sense and testifies to the grave malaise of so many Pastors torn between fidelity to Catholic orthodoxy and the evidence of the betrayal taking place by its most unworthy contemporary custodians. They could perhaps not have been against the “conciliar church” and against the “council” – in quotation marks – until its devastating impact on the life of the individual members of the faithful, on the entire ecclesial body and on the world became evident. But today, faced with the evidence of the most complete and disastrous failure of Vatican II and the unfortunate choice to abandon Sacred Tradition, even the most prudent and moderate are forced to recognize the very close correlation between the goal that was set, the means that were adopted and the result that was obtained. Indeed, precisely in consideration of the goal it wanted to achieve, we should ask ourselves if what was enthusiastically announced to us as a “conciliar springtime” was not a pretext, behind which in reality the unspeakable plan against the Church of Christ was hidden. The faithful not only do not participate with greater awareness in the Holy Mysteries as they had been promised, but have come to consider them superfluous, bringing attendance at Mass to the lowest levels. Nor can it be said that young people find anything exciting or heroic in embracing the priesthood or religious life, since both have been trivialized, deprived of their specificity, of the sense of offering and sacrifice after the example of Our Lord, which every truly Catholic action must bring with it. Civil life has become barbaric beyond words, and along with it public morality, the sanctity of marriage, respect for life and the order of Creation. And these propagandists of Vatican II respond with the challenges of bioengineering, of transhumanism, dreaming of mass-produced beings connected to the global network, as if manipulating human nature were not a satanic aberration unworthy even of hypothesis. We hear them pontificate that “the exclusion of migrants is disgusting, it is sinful, it is criminal,” while NGOS, Caritas, and welfare associations profit from the trafficking of illegal immigrants at the expense of the State and refuse to welcome Italians themselves, who have been abandoned by the institutions and harassed by the crises induced by the System. They urge “sovereignist” nations to disarm and make citizens ashamed of their identity, but theorize the lawfulness of sending weapons to Ukraine, to a government that is a puppet of the New World Order, financed by globalist bodies and major elite organizations.
Another very serious theological error that adulterates the true nature of the Church lies in the essentially secularist foundations of conciliar ecclesiology, not only with regard to the vision of the institution and its role in the world, but also for having broken the bond of hierarchical complementarity between the spiritual authority of the Church and the civil authority of the State, both of which have their origin in the Lordship of Christ. This theme, apparently complex in its almost initiatory treatment by the scholars of Vatican II, was the subject of a recent intervention by Joseph Ratzinger (here) which I plan to address in a separate essay.
“You who love us” – said Bergoglio in his homily for the “Memorial of Saint John XXIII” – “free us from the presumption of self-sufficiency and from the spirit of worldly criticism. Prevent us from excluding ourselves from unity. You who lovingly feed us, lead us forth from the enclosures of self-referentiality. You who desire that we be a united flock, save us from the forms of polarization and the “isms” that are the devil’s handiwork.” These are words of an unheard of impudence, almost mocking. Well, the time has come for the clerics and faithful of the “conciliar church” to ask themselves whether the “conciliar church” is not the first one to presume that it can be self-sufficient, to feed worldly criticism by mocking good Catholics as rigid and intolerant, to deliberately exclude itself from unity in Tradition, and to proudly sin by self-referentiality.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop