50 priests, scholars, journalists thank Viganò, Schneider for raising Vatican II questions

The bishop and archbishop were praised for their ‘honest and open discussion of the Second Vatican Council’

Maike Hickson Blog

July 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, more than 50 priests, scholars, journalists, and other persons of prominence published an Open Letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, thanking these two prelates for their recent statements in which they discuss some problems of the Second Vatican Council’s documents that might need a further evaluation and correction.

The signatories of this letter regard this discourse about the Council and its aftermath to be of crucial importance for the good of the Church.

Among them are prominently the Italian church historian Professor Roberto de Mattei, the U.S. Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and professor of law, Andrew P. Napolitano, as well as his fellow law professors Brian McCall and Paolo Pasqualucci, well-known Catholic book authors such as Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Jose Antonio Ureta, Henry Sire, and Dr. Taylor Marshall, the retired Oxford Research Fellow Father John Hunwicke, numerous other priests, as well as journalists such as Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli, Jeanne Smits, and John-Henry Westen.

The letter (see full text below) is being published simultaneously in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and French.

The undersigned express their gratitude to Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider for calling for an “open and honest debate about the truth of what happened at Vatican II and whether the Council and its implementation contain errors or aspects that favor errors or harm the Faith.” They notice that these two prelates also have their own disagreements about aspects of this discourse, saying that “Archbishop Viganò has argued it would be better to altogether ‘forget’ the Council, while Bishop Schneider, disagreeing with him on this specific point, proposes officially to correct only those parts of the Council documents that contain errors or that are ambiguous.” But these disagreements are presented in a charitable and kindly manner.

The signatories state:

Your courteous and respectful exchange of opinions should serve as a model for the more robust debate that you and we desire. Too often these past fifty years disagreements about Vatican II have been challenged by mere ad hominem attacks rather than calm argumentation. We urge all who will join this debate to follow your example.

The Open Letter thanks these two prelates for “identifying” some of the crucial aspects of the Second Vatican Council that deserve an examination, adding that such a discourse could provide “a model for frank, yet courteous, debate that can involve disagreement.” The signatories point out that they themselves might not agree with each and every point raised by Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider.

The Open Letter then lists the key points of criticism as raised by these two prelates in the recent weeks with regard to the Council under the following headlines: Religious Liberty for All Religions as a Natural Right Willed by God; the Identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church and the New Ecumenism; Papal Primacy and the New Collegiality; and The Council and Its Texts are the Cause of Many Current Scandals and Errors.

In these sections, quotations from the two prelates are presented, thus summing up their arguments and objections. For example, in the last section, both prelates are drawing parallels between some statements of the Council and documents issued by Pope Francis, thus pointing to the Council and its novel teachings as the root cause of our current crisis in the Church.

Archbishop Vigano recently wrote:

If the pachamama could be adored in a church, we owe it to Dignitatis Humanae. If we have a liturgy that is Protestantized and at times even paganized, we owe it to the revolutionary action of Msgr. Annibale Bugnini and to the post-conciliar reforms. If the Abu Dhabi Declaration was signed, we owe it to Nostra Aetate. If we have come to the point of delegating decisions to the Bishops’ Conferences – even in grave violation of the Concordat, as happened in Italy – we owe it to collegiality, and to its updated version, synodality. Thanks to synodality, we found ourselves with Amoris Laetitia having to look for a way to prevent what was obvious to everyone from appearing: that this document, prepared by an impressive organizational machine, intended to legitimize Communion for the divorced and cohabiting, just as Querida Amazonia will be used to legitimize women priests (as in the recent case of an ‘episcopal vicaress’ in Freiburg) and the abolition of Sacred Celibacy.

And in a similar vein, Bishop Schneider stated:

For anyone who is intellectually honest, and is not seeking to square the circle, it is clear that the assertion made in Dignitatis Humanae, according to which every man has the right based on his own nature (and therefore positively willed by God) to practice and spread a religion according to his own conscience, does not differ substantially from the statement in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which says: ‘The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.’

Let us recapitulate here the short history of this new discourse on the Council and its aftermath.

It started with two texts published by Bishop Schneider, in which he responded to a lengthy interpretative essay by Cardinal Gerhard Müller trying to read the controversial February 4, 2019 Abu Dhabi document in an orthodox light, and thereby also positively referring back to some Council documents.

Schneider stated on June 1 that the Abu Dhabi document is wrong in declaring that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” In his second article, the Kazakh prelate of German origin also disagreed with the claim that Catholics and Muslims believe in the same God, a claim which is an underlying assumption of the Abu Dhabi document.

Archbishop Viganò gratefully and approvingly responded to this debate about Vatican II in a June 9 intervention, adding a June 15 statement about some of the problematic propositions that can be found in Vatican II documents. In this document, he also stated that it would be better if this Council were to be “forgotten.” He then answered interview questions from the Catholic commentator and book author Phil Lawler concerning the history and background of the turbulent Second Vatican Council and the signs that it had been manipulated by a small group of modernists, on June 26.

In a response to LifeSite’s editor-in-chief, John-Henry Westen, Archbishop Viganò clarified his earlier words that he thinks this Council should better be forgotten, by saying that he considers this Council to be valid, but manipulated.

Finally, on July 6, this Italian prelate responded to a critique by the Italian journalist Sandro Magister who claimed that he was on the “brink of schism.” “I have no desire to separate myself from Mother Church,” Viganò then wrote.

The signatories of this Open Letter to Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider welcome this reflection and discourse concerning the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. One may trust that when people of good will together consider these matters of great importance for the life of the Church – even if they disagree at times – the truth surely will be promoted, in charity.


Please see here the Open Letter, signed by over 50 priests, scholars, journalists, and other persons of prominence.  Open Letter, Signatories and references at: