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Cardinal Dulles corrects "misinterpretation" of Vatican II

US Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles said last week that the reformist Second Vatican Council upheld the authority of the papacy, hierarchy and Rome as the "true church", and did not liberalise those beliefs, as commonly believed.

"Movements of reform and liberalisation have commonly appealed to Vatican II as their justification, but many of their proposals have rested on misinterpretations," Cardinal Avery Dulles said in a speech to a full auditorium at Washington's Georgetown University on Wednesday evening to mark the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which opened in 1962.

The cardinal called Vatican II's documents are an "artful blending" of the ideas of a liberal majority and conservative minority who met in Rome, but firmly support the traditional teachings of Pope John Paul II and the Holy See today.

"The struggle between different schools of interpretation brought about a certain polarisation in the church, in some cases leading to the brink, if not over the brink, of schism," Cardinal Dulles told his Georgetown audience.

While conservatives idealised the old Latin church as "a lost paradise," he said, liberals used Vatican II to argue for an optimistic humanism that accepted secular "signs of the times".

Cardinal Dulles said that in the 1960s both agendas, especially the liberal one, were politically organized and masterfully executed. Still, he said, the more conservative interpreters have won on the Vatican II legacy.

Washington Times

Dulles discusses Vatican II (Georgetown Voice)
Avery Cardinal Dulles (Fordham University site)
Cardinal Dulles calls clergy sex scandal a media beat-up (17/4/02)

5 Nov 2002