The second editorial of The Tablet this week (10/12/11) makes a remarkable claim: that Vatican II contradicts the teaching of the Church.
Referring to Dignitatis Humanae, on the one hand, and the Syllabus of Errors (as exemplifying the 'traditional teaching'), on the other, the Editor writes: 'There is no "hermeneutic if continuity" that can reconcile the two positions.'
Are Miss Pepinster and her team going to join the Sede Vacantists? No: the idea is that this was actually a Good Thing.
How, one might ask, could it be a good thing for Vatican II to turn out to be a heretical pseudo-council? Well, Miss Pepinster doesn't think Vatican II was a heretical pseudo council. This would be tame compared with what she actually believes: she thinks that every previous council was a heretical pseudo-council, and that every previous Pope was a heresiarch. (Or the great majority of them, any way, and none of the others contradicted them.)
This follows from her quoting Dignitatis Humanae: 'This doctrine of religious freedom is rooted in divine revelation, and for this reason Christians are bound to respect it all the more conscientiously.' If, as she claims, the teaching of DH is correct, dogmatic, and binding, and if, further, it contradicts the previous teaching of the Church, the Pius X and all the rest of them did not have the Catholic Faith.
Perhaps I am being unfair in applying masculine, linear logic to the meandering thoughts of a feminist. But what I would like to know is: what, according to Miss P, actually WAS the teaching of DH? For this article, ambitious as it is, neither quotes nor paraphrases the document on this central question. She merely tells us it was contrary the Syllabus, when it condemned the proposition 'Every man is free to embrace and profess the religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.'
It would be astonishing if the Fathers of the Council professed that condemned proposition - it would simply be mad. How can people be (morally) free to break Natural and Divine Law? DH was about the question of using coercion against people who had the wrong beliefs, not about the objective liceity of the beliefs themselves.
But hey, perhaps the great brains of The Tablet have got a quote up their sleeve which everyone else has overlooked. So I say: you made the claim, Miss P, you stand it up.
While we are waiting for her to do that, readers can ponder this passage from DH.
"Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ."
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