Vatican II

Title: “The Inside Story of Vatican II; a Firsthand Account of the Council’s Inner Workings” (formerly titled “The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber”) – first published 1967
Author: Rev. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D.

When Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was first elected to the Papacy in 1958 following the death of Pope Pius XII, he was (for those times) old enough at 77 years that most observers expected that he would be just a short term care-taker Pope, allowing the Cardinals to, in effect, kick the can down the road in regards to finding a successor to Pius.

Instead, what he did would virtually turn the Church upside down. In addition to at least a couple of enormously important encyclicals (“Mater et magistra” and “Pacem in Terris”), the new Pope, taking the name of John, the XXIII of that number, early in his reign announced his intention to call a Church Council, the first in nearly 100 years. This Council, after 4 years in preparation, and over several sessions from 1962 – 1965, issued a number of documents which changed the course of Church history.

I was young enough at the time to have been aware of the widespread attention accorded to the Council, but not old enough (and not Catholic) to be any more than curious about “what all the fuss was about”. Finally, after so many years, I picked up the present title which explained not only the significance of the proceedings, but also gave what has generally come to be accepted as the definitive account of the day-to-day and behind the scenes events of the Council.

The Council was controversial at the time and, if anything, at least in some quarters, has become even more controversial ever since. Regardless of one’s views on the matter (from considering it to be a much needed “aggiornamento” bringing freshness and revivifying a hitherto moribund Church, to viewing it as heretical), the basis for one’s views begins with a factual account of the event itself.

The author of this work had access to recordings of all the public sessions as well as more or less free access to many of the key actors in the drama, inside and outside the Conclave. He was a true insider in the good sense of that word and he produced a balanced study, not surpassed in the years since.

The Church has changed enormously since the Council closed and many serious problems have arisen, from an ongoing loss of numbers in the priesthood and monastic callings, to financial and sexual controversies, among others. Some have blamed the reforms of the Council for these problems; others argue that without the Council they would have been worse.

In any case, the Council did spawn its share of the dissent which is sure to accompany any major event of this sort. The most significant dissent has come from Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre whose views can be accessed in the following works:

“I Accuse the Council”
“Against the Heresies”
“They Have Uncrowned Him; From Liberalism to Apostasy – the Conciliar Tragedy”

Rev. Wiltgen’s book as well as the above offerings from Archbishop Lefebvre, along with many other books of interest to students of the Council and of the Church, can be accessed at Angelus Press (

My own personal interest in these events stems, in large part, from an interest about the world of the Traditional Catholics. The term refers to those, such as Archbishop Lefebvre, who reject in various measures the results of Vatican II and who retain the practices and rites, including the Latin Mass, of the pre-Vatican II Church.

In general, I am fascinated by those voices which, seemingly alone, stand in opposition to the major trends and movements of any day and age, oftentimes against enormous pressures. What is it about such people that leads them to say “Non, I will not go along. I will not comply.”. There are political, social, and religious views which they espouse, of course, but there is also a type of character behind them (not to psychologize such dissenters, just to point out that the urge to conform is strong in any age and the dissenters resist the compulsions of that urge while others simply “go along” with whatever the latest “thing” is.)

Examples throughout history abound, from the leaders of the Reformation, the anabaptists who dissented from the main line of the Reformation, the Dissenters in 17th century England who rejected, in various measures, the official Church of England, the American Revolutionists, the anti-slavery agitators, the Vietnam War protesters, and the anti-vaxxers of recent years.

For my part, about a decade ago, I decided not to participate in the consensual standing for the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem at sports contests (as a videographer, I was attending at least a couple of such events each week during the school year). This was several years before Colin Kaepernick’s own individual protest.

I could respect Kaepernick for his actions. I have little to no respect for those today who “take a knee” along with all their teammates because it is the “new thing”. And don’t even ask me what I think of Donald Trump who sought to demonize Kaepernick and others (like me!) for refusing to stand when it was not the “thing” to do. Certain right-wing pols make a lot of political noise about saluting the flag while in the past (the 1950s) the thing was loyalty oaths, as if pro forma recitation is what it takes to make one a “patriot” or a “good Christian”.

Whatever one thinks of such dissent (for many, it is seen as unpatriotic), the world needs dissenters, religious or otherwise. Imagine if no one had dissented over the mRNA “vaccine” and the various government mandates; imagine where we would be now. Bad as things are, without the dissenters, things would be far worse. Think about that the next time Trump or some other demagogue seeks to make political capital out of unpopular protests, even seemingly uncontroversial ones like refusing to stand for the national anthem!

Those of us who have dissented in recent times against the burgeoning medical tyranny can take inspiration from other such dissenters, including those Catholics who held their ground against what they saw as the onslaught of modernity emanating from Vatican Council II.

4 thoughts on “Vatican II”

  1. If you are interested in further reading about the “trads” (also called retrogrades) you might like Martin Malachi’s “faction” book Windswept House. He was also an insider and his novel was written like a thriller. Vatican II is far darker than just a change in church doctrine. Murder, child sex abuse rings, satanic rituals, homosexual orgies, blackmail, assassination plots, and political positioning for power in globalist government are all behind the takeover and destruction of the church.

  2. Wellsprynge– I was delighted to see your avatar face show up here today, as I knew your review was on the way. Welcome! As always, this is excellent. Thank you.

    By the way–my favorite dissenter, though I knew too. little about him, is Martin Luther.

    Dissent for dissesnt’s sake is pointless. But it’s hard to argue that well-reasoned, empirically grounded impassioned dissent can be a force for good. What gives one man the moral fortitude to withstand the orthodoxy of the day while so-called dissenters wither? I suppose God only knows, though certainly man has many theories.

    The dissenters who most interest me, currently, are those from science. Heterodox scientists who bucked the prevailing “settled science” and gathered evidence for an opposing claim. Most names I can’t recall, but some examples are the fellow who showed the “no new neurons” was false. He was so strongly abused that one of the most famous neurophysiologists of the day argued against him with nothing more than ad hominem attacks. Guess what? Adult brains produce new neurons. Another is still controversial and that’s the plaques cause Alzheimers explanation. Evidence shows they do not, and evidence also shows that the original purporter of an alternative hypothesis lost all of his funding, if I recall. I could go on.

    I myself think it’s right to not willy-nilly accept every new thing that comes down the pike. It’s also wrong to not give fair consideration to well-thought out new alternatives.

    1. It should be obvious who my favorite dissenter is – that would be Sofya Perovskaya. She might be better known except she was not much given to theorizing, writing, etc.

      Even adjusting for the tmes (early 16th century), I am not sure you would have found M. Luther and/or his views, to be very much to your liking. Truth to tell, though, a lot of dissenters were not very likable people and their views oftentimes quite extreme, even repugnant, to modern sensibilities. Perovskaya, though she was an assassin, may actually have been an exception in this regards.

      1. “Perovskaya, though she was an assassin…”

        Well, that was worth a giggle. Thanks.

        My poorly informed feelings about Luther are no doubt colored by the fact that I was raised a Lutheran. So I’m curious to know why you think he/his views wouldn’t be to my liking.

        Talk about Luther reminded me that I have a book, Great Sermons on the Birth of Christ by Celebrated Preachers (1963) which includes a 1530 one by Luther.

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