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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Aug 11, 2021

 Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at

The promulgation of Traditionis Custodes has given new urgency to an old debate about interpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis believes that Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin Mass are likely to reject the Council’s teachings. Traditionalists counter that the Council’s teachings—in particular, those on the reform of the liturgy—have been regularly ignored. And so we return yet again to the question of whether the “spirit of Vatican II,” so frequently invoked by liberal Catholics, is at odds with the Council’s actual work.

It is odd, isn’t it, that fifty years after the Council, there is no settled consensus on what that Council fathers taught? Disagreement about nuances of theology would be understandable, but in this case, competent theologians hold utterly incompatible views, and cite the Council to support them. There is precedent for fierce disputes in the wake of Church councils; one recalls that the Oriental Orthodox churches split with Rome over the Christological definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. But has there ever before been such a profound division of opinion about what the Council said? …

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