making disciples of all nations

Were it not for opinion, the silence would be deafening. Facts are impediments, too often dispelling myth and tale upon which we are want to rely. What we believe (opinion) and what is truth (fact) are in rare sympathy for it is easier to opine than to bear witness to the facts: what is objectively and historically true.

The Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council

A few issues ago (Colloqui Vol. 1 No 15, When Will We Learn?) I raised the argument that the “genesis of the infection”— the disease causing many of our young to leave the Catholic faith — “first arose in the 1960s with the confluence of two events: The convening of the Second Vatican Council and the launch of the Great Society.” While no doubt some may have read this as little more than personal opinion, there is a plethora of well-documented evidence (facts) to advance it far beyond opinion into well-founded argument.

A reader provided thoughtful comment on the aforementioned article and as much as I always appreciate comments—positive or negative—I was left with the disturbing sense that the article was somehow misread or misunderstood. The writer began:

I read with interest about your concern for why young people are leaving the faith. I am not of the opinion that Vatican 2 or LBJ have anything to do with it. Unintended consequences are part of every decision in human history and it might be that the good that came out of those instances in history far outweigh the bad. I invite you to not get discouraged by them but to consider how many people might be drawn to the church by acts of inclusiveness such as Vatican 2. I know many priest (sic) who cite it as a pivotal point in their decision to enter the priesthood.

Allow me to state as firmly as I may that I was in no way discouraged, but was simply attempting to offer a reasoned argument based upon the multitude of unintended consequences that occurred from the confluence of the two events in which I argue three successive generations were infected with negative results.

One thing the writer makes clear: it is his personal opinion; opinion based on supposition rather than argument substantiated by fact. In truth, there are no facts or sources cited, beyond suggestion, to support the conclusions drawn. Sadly, the opinions expressed are all too commonly held—by Church leaders and laity alike—especially the false hope that “many people might be drawn to the church by acts of inclusiveness such as Vatican 2.” The facts prove otherwise.

The facts are quite the contrary of the illusory desires expressed. In a book first published in 2001, The Great Façade, authors Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods Jr. provide clear and irrefutable evidence that illustrate the disastrous effects brought upon the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council. The facts speak for themselves and the sources are undeniable for they come directly from the Vatican’s own statistical reports.

It is an empirical fact, demonstrated by every available statistic, that the Postconciliar liturgical reform and the commencement of programmatic ’ecumenism’ and ’dialogue’ were followed immediately by precipitous declines in the number of priests, the number of new ordinations, the number of conversions and baptisms, and the percentage of Catholics attending Mass. In the immediate aftermath of the Council, an astounding 50,000 priests defected, and today there remain approximately 50,000 fewer Catholic priests than there were thirty-one years ago. In 1997 there were fewer baptisms in the United States than there were in 1970! See, e.g., statistical analysis of the priesthood in L’Osservatore Romano, 13/20 August 1997, and ’The Index of Leading Catholic Indicators,’ The Latin Mass, Winter 2000, presenting extensive data from the Vatican’s Statistical Yearbook of the Church and other standard reference works.1

While there were clearly unintended consequences such as previously outlined, the Council deliberately abrogated two millennia of Sacred Tradition and chose to ignore the Church’s perennial counsel against the embrace of substantial ecclesial novelties of any kind.

Perhaps the most disastrous novelty embraced by the Council has been the new ecumenism which effectively reduced Catholicism to an equivalency with all other religions. Preconciliar Church teaching had been consistent and clear: the Catholic Church was the one true Church divinely instituted by Christ outside of which there is neither Church nor salvation (extra ecclesiam nulla salus—the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church.)

The 1917 Code of Canon Law2, cc. 1258 and 2316, explicitly forbade any active participation by Catholics in worship with Protestants; Mortalium Animos by Pope Pius IX and the 1949 Instruction of the Holy Office on the “ecumenical movement,” forbade any form of common worship at discussion groups authorized by the local bishop, and required that the “Catholic truth” on “the return of the dissidents to the one true Church” be presented.

In Mortalium Animos, Pius XI taught that pan-denominational congresses:

can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion. (emphasis added)

The preconciliar Popes condemned any common worship with Protestants as a danger to the Faith, but the Council opened the door to it; and Pope St. John Paul II (expressly and by example3) taught that common prayer and joint liturgies with Protestant ministers (who condone abortion, contraception and divorce) is essential to the search for Christian unity.

John Paul subsequently doubled down on this position when he held joint Catholic-Lutheran Vespers at the Vatican as it was then reported by on November 13, 1999:

Archbishops G.H. Hammar and Jukka Paarma—the Lutheran primates of Sweden and Finland, respectively—and Bishops Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen joined with the Holy Father for the Vespers service. Several other Lutheran bishops from the Scandinavian countries were present for the ceremony, including two female bishops.

The Council and Pope Paul VI intentionally and deliberately broke with Sacred Tradition, while ignoring and dismissing the consistent condemnations of the preconciliar Popes in this regard. Post-council, the Catholic Church was no longer the one true Church divinely instituted by Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world but simply one among many.

Logic would clearly suggest that this has played a significant role in the ever increasing mass exodus of Catholics from the Church. If Catholicism is merely one religion among many as the Council and post-conciliar Popes have consistently proselytized then there is no longer a compelling reason to remain Catholic. This is especially evident with those who hold any disagreement with Catholic doctrine and dogma (e.g. contraception, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, divorce, etc., etc., etc.)

Why then are young Catholics leaving their faith? The answer should be blatantly obvious but it apparently is either too bitter a pill to swallow or too difficult to contemplate for many Catholics, especially those who were raised Catholic before the Second Vatican Council. Actions have consequences and nowhere is this more apparent than the kumbaya ecumenical movement engendered by the progressive mindset of the Council and the post-conciliar Popes.


1 Ferrara, Christopher; Woods Jr., Thomas. The Great Facade: The Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church from Vatican II to the Francis Revolution (Second Edition), Angelico Press.
2 The 1983 Code of Canon Law significantly altered the 1917 version, especially with regards to active participation by Catholics in protestant worship and receiving the sacraments by protestant Christians.
[3] “On May 14th I was received by the Pope, together with a delegation composed of the Shiite imam of Khadum and the Sunni President of the council of administration of the Iraqi Bank. At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book the Koran presented to him by the delegation and he kissed it as a sign of respect. The photo of that gesture has been shown repeatedly on Iraqi television, and it demonstrates that the Pope is not only aware of the suffering of the Iraqi people, he has also great respect for Islam” (Fides news agency, Rome, June 4, 1999.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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