On Vatican II’s (deliberate?) ambiguities

The following is a brief interview with respected priest-theologian Father Brian Harrison, O.S., whose curriculum vitae can be seen below the interview. Thanks to Father Harrison for taking the time to answer my questions.

1. Do you agree with Cardinal Walter Kasper’s fairly recent assertion (source) about the intentional ambiguities inserted into the Vatican II documents?

Father Harrison: I think the question is based on an inaccurate premise. Kasper didn’t in fact say there were intentional ambiguities. That expression suggests a concerted plan to deliberately draft propositions with double meanings. But this is not what Kasper means by the term “compromise formulas.” What he does mean is made clear in the rest of what he says, especially the expressions underlined below:

“In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.”