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When Vatican II documents are seen as political compromises

September 27, 2011

Anthony Esolen notes that in reading the documents of Vatican II, he is struck by commentary that is often at odds with the content of the documents themselves; the commentators suggest that the Council fathers did not go far enough in promoting various new views. That attitude, Esolen notes, gives rise to a twisted interpretation of Vatican II teachings. If the Council's statements are seen as expressions of the teaching magisterium, in which the bishops weighed different arguments and sought the truth, they are taken seriously in themselves. "But if the documents are instead treated as political bills, primarily the result of compromise among factions, then what they say in toto cedes to what they say that is specifically new."


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