By Timothy S. Flanders
Below is my current hypothesis about the crisis in the Church from a purely doctrinal perspective – the causes and the solution. I hold these opinion lightly. Frankly, I would prefer to be proven wrong. Nevertheless, I am bound by what the evidence indicates. Please review and provide your own feedback via Contact. Please note which point your feedback regards. This page will be updated in response to feedback.
Purpose: to form an understanding of the roots of the crisis in the Church for the sake of raising our children in the one true faith.
Scope: the Latin Rite Church in Euro-America
Form: points which are are open for debate.
The Crisis: the Latin Rite Church in Euro-America has suffered a significant decline in Mass attendance, doctrinal orthodoxy, and a large amount of moral and financial corruption of the clergy as well as a deformation and widespread profaning of the Holy Sacrifice and the Blessed Sacrament.
Historical Factors: Alta Vendita, Infiltration, World Wars I and II, Fatima, secularization, the “sexual revolution,” the 60s, technology, Nouvelle theologie, Vatican I and II, Freemasonry, Communism, homosexuality, Nazism, trends in scholarship, Modernism, et al.
General trends in approach to the current crisis:
Traditionalist: Bl. Pius IX and St. Pius X. Catholicism as was believed and practiced generally circa 1957. The Latin Mass and the Rosary, corporate fasting. The deposit of faith in Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium (prior and current) must be firmly held according to its theological note. Fatima is the prevailing pastoral approach to the Modern world, which is seen as generally corrupted by Satan. Non-Catholics have no sure hope to be saved and must convert. Vatican II is seen as ambiguous at best in regards to the Latin west.
Conservative: St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. New Mass, New Bible, almost no corporate fasting. Some teachings of the Magisterium on Scripture, Tradition, politics, and economics must be “corrected.” Sexual Morality must be redefined and relaxed somewhat, but some sexual morals must be firmly held. Prior Magisterium can be de facto ignored in favor of post-Vatican II and current Magisterium, but Scripture and Tradition bind every Catholic. Vatican II is the prevailing pastoral approach to the Modern world, which is seen with some degree of optimism. Non-Catholics have some hope to be saved, and conversion is not officially promoted by the Magisterium, although it is not prevented.
Liberal Catholic: Francis I. Any and all of the teachings of the Magisterium must be “corrected” to fit the Modern world. Neither Scripture, Tradition, nor prior Magisterium bind a Catholic, but only the current Magisterium. Vatican II is the prevailing pastoral approach to the Modern world, which is seen with general optimism. The Church is “200 years behind the times.” Non-Catholics have hope to be saved, and conversion is explicitly discouraged in favor of “dialogue.”
I. Points of Hypothesis
- Although there are significant historical causes which pre-date 1965, the errors and heresies of the last fifty years are justified by their proponents by using Vatican II. This is done not only by making reference to a vague “spirit of Vatican II” but also making reference to the texts themselves.
- It can be reasonably argued that Vatican II does not teach error per se, but nevertheless, like the tactics of the early Modernists themselves, states many ambiguous things that are equivocal concerning Modernism. The heterodox bishops and periti at Vatican II admit this was intentional when they forced the council to throw out the clear anti-Modernist doctrine of the original schemata and adopt ambiguous equivocations instead. They intended to exploit these ambiguities to promote Modernism after the council which they did successfully.
- Lumen Gentium explicitly declares that Vatican II is only binding where stated, and since it never stated this, Vatican II forms no obligatory basis for any Catholic. It does, nevertheless, require religious submission like any magisterial act. In addition, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis I do not appear to teach clearly on whether Vatican II taught new doctrine and what is the exact nature of a “pastoral council”
- Vatican II, moreover, fails to confirm the condemnation of Modernism, thus indicating that Modernism is not to be condemned (confirmed by St. Paul VI when he revoked the Oath Against Modernism). The “hermeneutic of continuity” appears to be contradicted by Ratzinger himself, who stated that Gaudium et Spes is a “counter-syllabus,” and that “historical decisions” must be “corrected,” and thus he removed from the new catechism the traditional teachings of Penal Substitution, Marital hierarchy as well as all teaching from the last sainted pope, Pius X, who fought against Modernism.
- Thus, since Modernism is the Latin Church’s current affliction, Vatican II does not appear to have a significant amount of positive value for the Latin Rite. Moreover, Pope Benedict himself admitted that the council in their proceedings “certainly did not correctly assess the political consequences and the actual repercussions.” Thus it continues to be a barrier to the destruction of Modernism in our time. In order to defeat Modernism and renew the Church, Catholics must ignore the non-binding, negative aspects of Vatican II, and utilize the prior Magisterium and Fatima as these “prophets of doom” (rejected by St. John XXIII at his opening of Vatican II) seems to have been proven true and are generally free from equivocations. Finally, since Vatican II closed in 1965, the world has now changed unmistakably into a “postmodern,” “post-sexual revolution” world dominated by social media. This makes Vatican II, explicitly meant for “modern man,” less relevant for “postmodern man.”
- Thus like Lateran V, Vatican II appears to be a failed council for the west because it failed to bring about the intended renewal and has rather been used by Modernists to destroy the Church. Thus again like Lateran V, another major Church event like Trent must put the Church back on course.
II. Evidentiary Examples
- Limited Inerrancy is the error that the Holy Scriptures contain erroneous statements in the “original text.”
- Although it has its roots among Protestants and atheists, it was promoted in the Church by condemned Modernist Alfred Loisy et al. in the 19th century
- In response, Leo XIII condemned Limited Inerrancy in 1893. This condemnation was repeated by Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XII. By the witness of these documents, the orthodox teachings that Sacred Scripture is entirely infallible is at least a Sententia Fidei Proxima if not Fides Ecclesiastica.
- Thus the schema given at Vatican II, De Fontibus Revelationis, explicitly condemned Limited Inerrancy making reference to the theological note: “Because divine Inspiration extends to everything, the absolute immunity of all Holy Scripture from error follows directly and necessarily. For we are taught by the ancient and constant faith of the Church that it is utterly forbidden to grant that the sacred author himself has erred, since divine inspiration of itself necessarily excludes and repels any error in any matter, religious or profane, as it is necessary to say that God, the supreme Truth, is never the author of any error whatever.”
- Heterodox bishops and periti at Vatican II explicitly taught Limited Inerrancy at the council, and convinced the council to throw out the original schema and write an entirely new document.
- As a compromise between the partisans of the error and the orthodox, the new document (Dei Verbum) adopted an ambiguous phrase which is equivocal concerning Limited Inerrancy: “Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.” The final phrase (emphasis mine) seems to indicate that infallibility is limited to the “religious” truths of Scripture and not the “profane.” Limited Inerrancy has now spread among Catholic scholars.
- The New Catechism refrains from quoting prior magisterium on this point, but simply quotes the equivocation from Dei Verbum.
- The 2007 Instrumentum Laboris of the synod on the Scriptures explicitly taught Limited Inerrancy by inserting the word “only” into the equivocal statement from Dei Verbum. The council was unable to resolve this issue and asked Benedict XVI to address it, but his 2010 post synodal document Verbum Domini again simply quoted the equivocation from Dei Verbum. Moreover, in a private book in 2011, he stated that the Gospel of St. John is “not historical” in the literal sense.
- Thus the spread of this error can be directly traced to the equivocations contained in the document of Vatican II itself and promoted by Modernists at the council. Moreover, when faced with an opportunity to execute the “Hermeneutic of continuity” with an existing controversy, Benedict XVI failed to do so, seeming to reflect his own erroneous view on the subject. This leads to confusion among Catholics, undermining our faith in the veracity of Sacred Scriptures. The solution is to ignore this negative aspect of Vatican II and utilize the prior Magisterium on this point.
Other examples to be explored in the future: Tradition, Outside the Church There is No Salvation, Matrimony, The New Mass, The False Gospel of Psychology
It should be noted on the outset that the 20th century has seen some gains of conversions among Asian and African Catholics (See Jenkins, The Next Christendom) and Vatican II has been positive for Eastern Catholics by promoting the full integrity of the Eastern tradition and healing a certain ignorance of the Greek rite which had crept into some Magisterial statements. The negative points about the Latin west that follow should not obscure these positive aspects of 20th century Catholicism and Vatican II.
These matters, in the opinion of the author, are under the realm of dubia (taken in the general sense), with respect to the Catholic motto in essentiis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (“In essential things, unity; in dubious things, freedom; in all things, charity”). The subject matter of this writing is one in which many good Catholics can reasonably disagree.
Ratzinger said even in 1967 that the Christian faith is surrounded “with a fog of uncertainty” as had “hardly been seen before at any point in history” (Introduction to Christianity, 11; quoted in Last Testament,105). He reflected nearly two decades later:“Certainly, the results [of Vatican II] seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Paul VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which—to use the words of Paul VI—seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, and instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part precisely under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, L’Osservatore Romano (English edition), December 24th, 1984
To be fair, it certainly cannot be argued that either of these pontiffs had an opinion about Vatican II and its aftermath. However, the traditionalists’ assertions are essentially quoting popes such as this (the latter notably absent from the New Catechism) regarding common objects of Vatican II thought: Modernism, secularism, Communism, etc.
 Conservative Catholic rejects contraception and homosexual marriage. Nevertheless there is a redefinition of marriage and the conjugal act in the New Code of Canon Law and the “Theology of the Body,” in addition to the removal of the New Testament marital hierarchy from the New Catechism and Familiaris Consortio. This has led, among other things, to certain Conservative Catholics—such as Gregory Popcak and Christopher West—advocating a relaxed sexual morality even declaring certain things to be licit which have been explicitly condemned by the Holy Office and the Catholic moral tradition. For a further discussion on this topic see Randy Engel, “Theology of the Body: A Study in Modernism,” Catholic Family News, May 2008. Leaving off Mrs. Engel’s more critical conclusions and focusing only on her discussion of primary sources, it cannot be denied that Marriage has been redefined and certain teachings at least ignored and avoided.
I refer to the phenomenon of the documents of Vatican II and other documents omitting entirely the prior magisterial teachings on any topic. For example, Familiaris Consortio has no reference to the prior two papal encyclicals on the same subject: Casti Connubii from Pius XI and Arcanum from Leo XIII. Thus Casti Connubii 72ff maintains the marital hierarchy, whereas Familiaris Consortio 25 removes it in favor of some form of egalitarianism. By contrast, the pre-Vatican II Magisterium was bound to its own prior Magisterium. For example, Ven. Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu changes the attitude toward the Vulgate, and thus includes an explanation using distinctions (20ff) in order to correctly understand how his encyclical does not contradict the Council of Trent. Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium often simply ignore prior teachings, leaving the faithful to wonder how they are to be understood in light of prior Magisterium.
See for example Ratzinger’s writing in 1966: “A basic unity—of Churches that remain Churches, yet become one Church—must replace the idea of conversion, even though conversion retains its meaningfulness for those in conscience motivated to seek it” (emphasis in the original). Theological highlights of Vatican II, Paulist Press; Rev. ed. edition (March 1, 2009), 114. Fr. Ratzinger does make a distinction that the Catholic Church is still “the Church” (emphasis in the original), but the dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is not clear. Consider also the case of Protestant Robert Schutz, who was given Holy Communion by St. John Paul II and Benedict and did not convert to Catholicism. Sandro Magister “Was the Founder of Taizé Protestant, or Catholic? A Cardinal Solves the Riddle,” http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it. Accessed October 18, 2018 (Also confirmed by Alain Woodrow, “Brother Roger Shutz,” The Guardian, August 18, 2005.) Moreover, Urs Von Balthasar, who wrote the book Dare We Hope that All be Saved? was made a Cardinal by St. John Paul II.
“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” Evangelli Gaudium, 27. It may be argued that such a distinction can be understood in the traditionalist sense, but the opposite is more probable given the other actions of the Pope Francis in his efforts to accommodate the teachings of the Church to the modern world: allowance for adulterous Catholics to receive Holy Communion, the explicit censuring of prior magisterium on the Death Penalty, or that “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (Amoris Laetitia, 297) etc.
This is summed up in a Vatican Advisor’s observation that “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’ Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture” (Fr. Thomas Rosica “The Ignatian Qualities of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis,” Salt and Light July 31, 2018).
Words of Cardinal Martini, “Translated Final Interview,” trans. John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter, Sep 4, 2012. These words were quoted by Pope Francis in his Christmas address to the Curia December 21st, 2019. Cardinal Martini was the leading voice of dissent against Humanae Vitae, was made a bishop (1980) and cardinal (1983) by St. John Paul II, and was a member of the “St. Gallen Mafia” which promoted the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Francis I. On Martini and the “Mafia,” see Edward Pentin, “Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of ‘Mafia’ Club Opposed to Benedict XVI,” National Catholic Register, Sep 24, 2015.
For example, Pope Francis has explicitly stated that Orthodox schismatics should not be converted to Catholicism, stating that for a Catholic to “make efforts to convert [an Orthodox Christian]” is “a grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytise the Orthodox!” See “Address of the Holy Father,” Apostolic Journey to Georgia and Azerbaijan, October 1st, 2016. This implies that the Catholic saints who made such efforts, like St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, committed a “grave sin.”
For example, see the Introduction by James Carroll to the volume Vatican II: The Essential Texts (“The Beginning of change,” New York: Image, 2012) in which Mr. Carroll, following the volume’s printing of Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity” allocution, says that the fact “that the Catholic people took to heart the elevation of conscience in Dignitatus Humanaeis reflected in their resounding rejection—even while remaining Catholics in good standing—of Humanae Vitae.” While it is true that many did not read the texts and followed a vague “spirit of Vatican II,” it is also true that many Catholics did read the texts themselves and made conclusions like Mr. Carroll. In addition, the heterodox periti who founded Communio (like Kung and Schillibeeckx) were in large part influencers and authors of the texts of Vatican II (Ratzinger says of Kung at the council that he “was certainly able to shape the opinions of bishops” (Last Testament, 102). Kung and other such erring theologians gave numerous lectures to bishops at the council and also wrote their speeches and led the drafting of the documents). Well known and prominent scholar of Vatican II, John O’Malley, can further assert that “The Vision of [Benedict XVI] of interpreting Vatican II is not the vision of the majority Fathers at the council” (Vanderbilt lecture, October 21st, 2010). Moreover, St. John Paul II himself did not appear to believe that the teaching would be limited to the text of the Council only: “As the Council is not limited to the documents alone, neither is it completed by the ways applying it which were devised in these post-conciliar years…it is necessary that, above all, outlooks must be at one with the Council so that in practice those things may be done that were ordered by it, and that those things which lie hidden in it or—as is usually said—are “implicit” may become explicit in the light of the experiments made since then and the demands of changing circumstances. Briefly, it is necessary that the fertile seeds which the Fathers of the Ecumenical Synod, nourished by the word of God, sowed in good ground (cf. Mt 13: 8, 23)—that is, the important teachings and pastoral deliberations should be brought to maturity in that way which is characteristic of movement and life” (“Urbi et Orbi,” October 17th, 1978). Notice that he makes no reference to the Hermeneutic of Continuity. Even Ratzinger admits that their aim at the council was to de-emphasize the then-current magisterium and promote their own interpretation of Tradition. He states in Last Testament (99) regarding the original schema on Revelation (see below) that “…there was much to improve. Primarily that it be less dominated by the current Magisterium, and had to give greater voice to the Scriptures and the Fathers.” Since the “current Magisterium” is the interpreter of the Scripture and Fathers, he is stating that the council should not be bound by the prior Magisterium but make its own interpretations. Since an Ecumenical Council is of higher authority, this is legitimate in some sense, but without the qualifications of the theological note, entirely exploitable.
“In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.” (Cardinal Walter Kasper, L’Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013). Bishop Barron states that Vatican II was confusing because it is written as a “lyrical multivalent essay famously open to a variety of interpretations,” while affirming the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” thesis. “Additional Commentary from Fr. Barron on Vatican II,” Word on Fire (YouTube channel), Jun 27, 2012. On the takeover of the council by the heterodox Rhine group, see two sources favorable to Vatican II: The Rhine Flows into the Tiber by Ralph Wiltgen (TAN, 1991) and What Happened at Vatican II by John O’Malley (Harvard University Press, 2010). This can also be seen by the influential heterodox Vatican II periti Schillebeeckx, Kung, Rahner, et al., in their promotion of error via the journal Concilium following the council, prompting Ratzinger et al., to split from them and create the journal Communio instead.
For the non-binding character of Vatican II, see Felici’s note at the end of Lumen Gentium. St. Paul VI indicates that Vatican II proclaimed no new, obligatory dogma, “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility,” (General Audience January 12th, 1966). Whereas St. John Paul II indicates that at Vatican II “some points of doctrine [are] new” (Ecclesia Dei Afflicta, 1988) and states that Vatican II understands the Church “in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously” (Redemptor Hominis, 1979, 3). On the other hand Ratzinger stated to the bishops of Chile that “Vatican II proclaimed no new doctrine,” and did not require the SSPX to accept Vatican II to be reconciled (asking they only accept one point of undisputed doctrine). Moreover, as John O’Malley shows in his treatment of the controversy surround De Fontibus Revalationibus, the council fathers themselves disagreed about what “pastoral” meant: Ottaviati and similar fathers who wrote the schemata thought it meant making doctrine clear, the Rhine group believed it meant obscuring what was offensive to Protestants.
On the “countersyllabus” against Pius IX, see Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987) pp. 381-2. He had privately criticized Penal Subsistution as a “Protestant doctrine,” although it is taught by many saints and doctors, such as St. Alphonsus (as well the Catechism of the Council of Trent). In his allocution regarding the “hermeneutic of continuity” he asserts that “The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity,” (Address to Roman Curia December 22nd, 2005). Thus his removal of the teaching of St. Pius X against Modernism and other traditional teachings such as Penal Substitution appear to be a “correction.”
See Last Testament, 105. “We [at the council] handled things correctly, even if we certainly did not correctly assess the political consequences and the actual repercussions. One thought too much of theological matters then, and did not reflect on how these things would come across.” This is a strange statement which seems to suggest that Vatican II intended to be pastoral, but in fact was not pastoral.
In his final book, St. John Paul II was able to admit that “If we wish to speak rationally about good and evil, we have to return to Saint Thomas Aquinas, that is, to the philosophy of being. With the phenomenological method, for example, we can study experiences of morality, religion, or simply what it is to be human, and draw from them a significant enrichment of our knowledge. Yet we must not forget that all these analyses implicitly presuppose the reality of the Absolute Being and also the reality of being human, that is, being a creature. If we do not set out from such ‘realist’ presuppositions, we end up in a vacuum” (Memory and Identity, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2005, 12). This was precisely the program of the pre-Vatican II Magisterium, which believed that a promoting of Thomism was the answer to Modernism and hence it was required in Canon Law (canons 251ff). St. John Paul II removed this requirement in his 1983 revision of Canon Law and seems to have spent most of his pontificate promoting his philosophical ideas in Personalism, not Thomism.
The “original text” of the Holy Scriptures is not extant. The term is meant to make the distinction that errors can appear in the text which are due to copyist mistakes, but not in the “original text” as it was originally written down. The Catholic doctrine on this point is expressed by St. Augustine: “On my part I confess [concerning] those Books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honour and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these Books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand” (Ep. lxxxii., i. et crebrius alibi).
Leo XIII, after quoting Trent and Vatican I in support of this, declares: “those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings, either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration, or make God the author of such error” (Providentissimus Deus, 21). Benedict XV: “although these words of our predecessor [Leo XIII] leave no room for doubt or dispute, it grieves us to find that not only men outside, but even children of the Catholic Church—nay, what is a peculiar sorrow to us, even clerics and professors of sacred learning—who in their own conceit either openly repudiate or at least attack in secret the Church’s teaching on this point….For while conceding that inspiration extends to every phrase—and, indeed, to every single word of Scripture—yet, by endeavoring to distinguish between what they style the primary or religious and the secondary or profane element in the Bible, they claim that the effect of inspiration—namely, absolute truth and immunity from error—are to be restricted to that primary or religious element. Their notion is that only what concerns religion is intended and taught by God in Scripture, and that all the rest—things concerning ‘profane knowledge,’ the garments in which Divine truth is presented—God merely permits, and even leaves to the individual author’s greater or less knowledge. Small wonder, then, that in their view a considerable number of things occur in the Bible touching physical science, history and the like, which cannot be reconciled with modern progress in science!” (note Vatican II seems to advocate this very thing as shown) (Spiritus Paraclitus, 19). Ven. Pius XII: “When, subsequently, some Catholic writers, in spite of this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine [of Leo XIII], by which such divine authority is claimed for the ‘entire books with all their parts’ as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever, ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals, and to regard other matters, whether in the domain of physical science or history, as ‘obiter dicta’ and – as they contended – in no wise connected with faith, Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII … justly and rightly condemned these errors and safe-guarded the studies of the Divine Books by most wise precepts and rules” (Divino Afflante Spiritu, 1).
On Theological Notes, see The Meaning of Catholic
For example, Franz Cardinal Konig of Vienna stated to the council that the Holy Word contains errors (a veritate deficere) (Denis Farkasfalvy, O. Cist. “Inspiration and Interpretation,” Vatican II: Renewal within Tradition, Oxford University Press, 2008, 86). See again Fr. Wiltken and Mr. O’Malley on the controversy surrounding this schema.
Dei Verbum 11: Cum ergo omne id, quod auctores inspirati seu hagiographi asserunt, retineri debeat assertum a Spiritu Sancto, inde Scripturae libri veritatem, quam Deus nostrae salutis causa Litteris Sacris consignari voluit, firmiter, fideliter et sine errore docere profitendi sunt. The magisterial teaching condemning Limited Inerrancy is sometimes included, albeit consigned to footnotes. As evidence that this phrase is equivocal, consider the two articles within the same volume Vatican II: Renewal within Tradition (Oxford, 2008). The first article on Dei Verbum by renowned Scripture scholar Fr. Francis Martin states on page 67 that this phrase from Dei Verbum “eliminates many of the problems of the inerrancy debate and allows a simple acknowledgement of the inaccuracies (historical, textual, and so forth) that appear in the sacred text” and thus the phrase teaches Limited Inerrancy. Whereas the other article in the same book on this subject by Fr. Farkasfalvy states on page 87 that this phrase “ultimately provided…no significant insights or true advancement for the issue [of inerrancy] under debate,” and he further states that in some mistranslations, “Dei Verbum misleadingly appears to teach that inerrancy covers only those statement that regard our salvation. One may say that this misinterpretation caught on early in the reception of the council and is being propagated even by recognized and first-rate scholars” (emphasis in the original). He mentions in a footnote the influential work of Fr. Raymond Brown who teaches Limited Inerrancy
“The following can be said with certainty…with regards to what might be inspired in the many parts of Sacred Scripture, inerrancy applies only to ‘that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation’”(DV 11) (Chapter II, 15.c) quamvis omnes Sacrae Scripturae partes divinitus inspiratae sint, tamen eius inerrantia pertinet tantummodo ad «veritatem, quam Deus nostrae salutis causa Litteris Sacris consignari voluit» (DV 11)
Full paragraph: “If ‘historical’ is understood to mean that the discourses of Jesus transmitted to us have to be something like a recorded transcript in order to be acknowledged as ‘historically’ authentic, then the discourses of John’s Gospel are not ‘historical.’ But the fact that they make no claim to literal accuracy of this sort by no means implies that they are merely ‘Jesus poems’ that the members of the Johannine school gradually put together, claiming to be acting under the guidance of the Paraclete. What the Gospel is really claiming is that it has correctly rendered the substance of the discourses, of Jesus’ self-attestation in the great Jerusalem disputes, so that the readers really do encounter the decisive content of this message and, therein, the authentic figure of Jesus.” Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth (Ignatius Press: 2011), 229. He develops this to assert that the Gospels were produced by the Holy Spirit by the “we” of the Church’s memory: “Because the personal recollection that provides the foundation of the Gospel is purified and deepened by being inserted into the memory of the Church, it does indeed transcend the banal recollection of facts” (231). It not clear if there is any way to understand these words other than by Limited Inerrancy.