Dangerous Experts

The men with the greatest influence at the Council were not the bishops who voted for the documents but the experts who drafted them, and one whose advice the bishops came to rely. There is a parallel here with secular governments whose leading ministers often rely on the advice of professional experts. The conciliar experts (periti in Latin), were the intellectuals and theologians most likely to have been affected by contemporary thinking through their contacts with non-Catholic academics. These men not only drafted the documents that were to contain the teaching of the Council, but they gave lectures to the bishops-----the great recycling process which followed the Council had begun. They also had the ear of the principal reporters covering the Council, men who were almost entirely anti-authoritarian liberals, and these reporters praised and publicized those who echoed their own ideas, and denigrated or ignored those who did not. Father Louis Bouyer who was one of the orthodox experts, and one of the greatest scholars in the French Church today, lamented the fact that the Council had surrendered itself to the dictatorship of the journalists. He was referring to the fact that many of the bishops and their experts prepared speeches not so much with a view to upholding the teaching of the Church but with getting good press coverage.
The liberal periti were well aware of the fact that there was no hope whatsoever of persuading a majority of bishops to vote in favor of their more radical objectives. They thus inserted what Archbishop Lefebvre has described as "time bombs" into the texts of the documents. Much of the teaching of the Council is very traditional, some passages are even inspiring, and this fact more than anything else, contributed to the success of the time bomb strategy of some periti. They decided to insert ambiguous phrases into the documents which they would be able to interpret in the way they wanted after the Council, when they obtained influential positions on the commissions which would be set up to implement it. Pope John XXIII had stated clearly that the teaching of his Council was to conform to that of its predecessors, and the only legitimate manner to interpret an ambiguous text is in accordance with Tradition. Pope John Paul II had said that it is his intention that the Council should be interpreted in this way, and Archbishop Lefebvre has affirmed that if the Council is interpreted in this manner he would have no difficulty in accepting it. But, in practice, those infected with the spirit of Vatican II do not have the remotest interest in Tradition. Where they are concerned, the Council means whatever those driving the bandwagon say that it means, and in the U.S.A. at present, such man as Charles Curran, Raymond Brown, Richard McBrien, and Andrew Greeley, are firmly in the driver's seat with such prelates as Hunthausen, Weakland, Gerety [former Bishop of Maine----WM], Sullivan of Kansas City and Sullivan of Richmond, riding shotgun to protect them from the isolated orthodox Catholic who might try to impede its progress. Commentators of every viewpoint, liberal and conservative, have testified to the existence of ambiguities in the conciliar texts. I list a good number in Chapter VI of my book Pope John's Council. Professor Oscar Cullman was the most respected of the Protestant Observers at the Council, and he accepted that the conciliar documents were "compromise texts" which were formulated in such a manner that no door was closed". Msgr. George Kelly, in his now classic book, The Battle for the American Church, states that: "The documents of the Council contain enough basic ambiguities to make the post-conciliar difficulties understandable (p. 20). Cardinal Heenan expressed concern at the manner in which: 'A determined group could wear down opposition and produce a formula patient of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation.' " He warned of the danger of the periti being allowed to interpret the mind of the Council to the world: "God forbid that this should happen!" he exclaimed, but this is precisely what did happen, and the results were disastrous.

Emphasis in bold, that of the Web Master.

Note: this work was published in 1985, so some of the Bishops and "experts" cited are gone from the scene and or deceased.

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