To the editor:
Practically all professing Catholics that differ with official Church teachings habitually mention Vatican II as justification for their views. However, they rarely if ever offer citations from the Vatican II documents that would provide legitimacy to their contentions. After reading the documents for myself the reason is clear. There is no possible way, explicitly or implicitly these documents could ever support any dissent whatsoever by any Catholic from any official teaching of the Church. In fact these documents totally demolish the claims made by dissenting Catholics. “They are fully incorporated into the society of the Church, who possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and through union with her visible structure are joined to Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church #14).
There is room for only one more example: I offer a citation that deals with one of the most pervasive fallacies which has an influence on all the others. Namely, that one’s conscience has supreme rule in determining what Catholic doctrines apply to one’s life, or could be revised to fit one’s life.
“In the formation of their consciences, the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church. The Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth” (Declaration on Religious Freedom #14).
This only gives a hint of what Vatican II says about issues raised by many in the Church. Therefore, those who “accept her entire system” will find Vatican II in total support of their convictions. Those who do not “carefully attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the church” must look elsewhere to make a case for their claims.
Robert A. Martino Sr
West Church Street