Cardinal Ratzinger: “To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council … And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them” (The Ratzinger Report, p. 31)
In a recent video, “Viganò vs. Barron on Vatican II & Benedict XVI,” – by Dr. Taylor Marshall Aug 16th 2020 the above quote by Cardinal Ratzinger has been challenged.
I have respect for Taylor Marshall and his attempts to spread the faith. I just wished he would use his formidable intellect for pro-Vatican II arguments instead of against it.
He has dropped the balls in calling into question the quote because it uses the word today. That the Church defends the tradition of today. He thinks that the Church considers that the tradition of yesterday is to be defended as the tradition of today and tomorrow.
Honestly, there is really no disagreement with what Benedict said in using today. We will all probably recall that Today is the Day of Salvation. (See 2 Cor 6:2, Ps 95:7-8) There is a very popular song that uses the lyric as well.
2 Cor 6:2 NAB (CE) “‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation.”
Thus, the salvation of the Church is a thing of Today just as much as yesterday and tomorrow. It is all the same.
The same thing applies to Church tradition. The tradition of Today is the same as yesterday and tomorrow. Thus, to defend the tradition of today means nothing else than the same tradition of yesterday. Benedict should not be corrected for his use of the word. He was not implying that Vatican II replaced earlier tradition such that we defend it and not other things. This is easy for someone like Benedict who believed that Vatican II was in harmony with the tradition of old, but very hard for someone like Dr. Taylor Marshall to accept.
Either way, just as salvation of today is constantly old and yet ever new, so is tradition. The tradition that is new, in line with the past, but in an expression for the time today is Vatican II. Vatican II is ever new and ever old as it is part of the great Tradition. Thus, if you don’t defend Vatican II you lose the past tradition. Why? Because the tradition of the past was also ever new and ever old. If you forget the new part (Vatican II as ecumenical council) you cannot keep the old that has always recognized the need for clarification and modern expression to the worlds current needs.
Ans when I say new I don’t mean adding something that was not always there, but new as in valid development and expression of the one deposit of faith. The faith was new in the sense Vatican II showed forth how to apply it for modern society, not that it was a different faith from before, but applied to a new today. Hence, to defend the tradition of the Church today does mean to defend Vatican II which was its expression of the old for modern times.