In his book “Prometheus, the religion of man” Fr. Alvaro Calderón presents Vatican II as being essentially a humanism, disguised as Catholicism by officials of the Church. This disguise gave unprecedented authority to the humanism and called for unprecedented skill to put it together. Now humanism arose in the 14th century to defend purely human values against the supposedly inhuman demands of the poverty, chastity and obedience of the Catholic Middle Ages, and also against Church authority supposedly treating human beings like children. So to affirm human dignity, humanism will assert human liberty, and it will give rise to liberalism in the 17th and 18th centuries, to super-liberalism in the 20th and 21st centuries. To the false liberty of this super-liberalism Vatican II will strive to adapt the true Church of God. Thus the Council will “liberate” man’s mind by subjectivism, his will by “conscience” and his nature by having it served by grace instead of lifted by grace.
Subjectivism is the error of making truth independent of the object and dependent instead on the human subject. Ultimately this results in sheer madness, which Vatican II wanted to avoid, but it wanted enough subjectivism to guarantee freedom of thought. So it resorted to the “inadequacy of dogmatic formulae.”
Now it is true that no human words can possibly tell or express the fullness of divine realities, but words can tell something, for instance “God exists” is true, while “God does not exist” is false. Therefore words are not wholly inadequate to express dogmas, in fact if I believe in a number of dogmas expressed in words, as the Church demands of a Catholic, I can save my soul. But Vatican II (Dei Verbum) says that God reveals Himself, not a doctrine in words, and He Himself is known by subjective experience, not by objective words. Thus doctrines may come and go without touching the realities behind them, and so Vatican II can change the dogmas without supposedly departing from Truth or Tradition! Therefore all kinds of theology are licit, and all kinds of religions! So Christianity’s superiority is merely cultural!
So how does Vatican II liberate the will? It is already liberated. If there is no more truth or falsehood, then it is equally true or false that stealing and lying are wrong. Ultimately, again, this position ends in sheer madness, so how will Vatican II affirm the liberty of the mind and yet steer clear of the dissolution of all morals? By “conscience.” Within every man’s heart, but without words, speaks God by a moral inclination towards good and away from evil in a manner to which no words can be adequate, yet with an unchanging substance down all the ages. Thus my will is not fettered by the Ten Commandments from outside me, but I will incline freely from inside, thus remaining free to do what is right. But in reality, will I? – what about original sin? In reality, morals are objective, they are rational and they can and must be expressed in universal rules. Mere subjective “conscience” is far too weak to stand up to original sin.
Finally, how does Vatican II put God’s grace below, instead of above, man’s nature? “Grace perfects nature” is a classic Catholic principle, so grace perfects man by repairing his highest quality, his freedom, which is enslaved by sin. So the grace of Christ liberates and serves the nature of man, revealing man to himself (Gaudium et Spes,#24), by the Incarnation. But did not the Incarnation firstly reveal God to man?
In conclusion, Fr Calderón shows how Vatican II, while fundamentally humanistic, embellishes humanism with Catholic decorations: liberty, yes, but in God’s image! Subjectivism, yes, but of inner truth including the mystery of God, which reveals man’s own mystery! Conscience, yes, but naturally partaking of Eternal Law, so that men naturally fulfil it, so that God’s will is bound to be in line with man’s will! Grace, yes, but perfecting man’s nature by freeing us from the slavery of sin! Thus how much more beautiful is humanism made by the riches and heritage of the Church!