Here are 7 key ideas that go along way to keep a defense of Vatican II alive in our hearts and those of our interlocutors.
- Know the ordinary and universal magisterium of the church and how it can teach infallibly. It is often claimed that we can disregard Vatican II because it did not issue and extraordinary definitions of dogma. This is wrong because when the superior majority of bishops throughout the world teach something in line with Peter’s successor its truth is infallible. See Lumen Gentium #25. Since, the subsequent Popes have also been pro Vatican II (and vast majority of bishops) they have reiterated its teaching in numerous documents, further ensuring that its teaching (probably all or the vast vast majority) is infallible under the ordinary magisterium.
- Holiness. This is what converts heart. When we pray God does the work.
- Know Vatican II documents well or at least have confidence in them. Don’t be worried when one sentence is taken out of a paragraph to make it seem contrary to the faith. Go back read the entire paragraph and the ones before and after. You will often find that many arguments can be defeated simply by doing this.
- Interpretation. Don’t accept a non-charitable view of Vatican II. This was an ecumenical council it is not a Catholic stance to criticize bishops or the last several Popes who supported it. It was in line with the faith before and after. Don’t let others say that it was an council of straw like many protestant reformers had to do to the Epistle of James to bring coherence to their arguments. It is not up to us by the Church authorities to decide what is an approach to the world or not. Show how Vatican II was in fact completely in agreement with the faith beforehand. (look up some great quotes to do this)
- Liturgy. Vatican II itself did not change the liturgy it only started the process. Don’t let others say that it is because of Vatican II that bad things happened in the Liturgy. Vatican II specifically said Latin was to be preserved along with Gregorian chant and the organ. Facing the people was not even discussed. We cannot confuse other social trends with Vatican II itself. Also it is not up for us to decide what is proper worship. In fact, the liturgy after Vatican II (Novus Ordo) is beautiful and great. Don’t let others imagine that pre-Vatican II liturgy was any better. It is the same and very same sacrifice which makes it up. Who are we to judge? That is the place of the Bishops and they have spoken. Again refer to ordinary magisterium. The Novus Ordo is not a sacrilege it cannot be or else Christ does not defend his Church.
- Cultural trends and historical arguments. Know what other trends were happening during the transition period. Vatican II did not cause every problem we are now facing. Brute human sinfulness did that. Did Moses blame the 10 commandments for why Israel had such a hard post-Sinai experience? Don’t argue about historical trends and minor details like that. These are not important and almost anything in the world or the church can be seen in a bad light with the right negative historical criticism including every other council. Stay focused on pushing the ordinary magisterium of the Church as infallible and other key issues.
- If they reject the authority of the bishops and ordinary magisterium, see if they are Sedevacantist or believe the Pope is an antipope. Don’t worry about arguing other points if they don’t hold to the authority of the Popes because they are dangerously already in schism or believe you to be. Use the Universal Peaceful Acceptance theory of a Pope to refute Sedevancantist views.
I hope these help clam your own conscience whenever you read about Vatican II and help you defend this great council.