After studying in Part II of The Religion of Man the New-Man that emerges from the Council, in Part III of his book on Vatican II Fr Calderón studies the Council’s Newchurch, a new Church indeed. The one true religion of the one true God was founded by Jesus Christ, Incarnate God, to “teach all nations” (Mt. XXVIII, 20), so as to reach all souls and save as many of them as possible. To adapt such an ambitious Church to modern man, to protect modern humanism, such a Church must be re-defined and down-sized, radically changed, while disguising the change. Therefore 1 Newchurch no longer has a mission to all mankind, and 2 i t will no longer interfere in the World-part of mankind. 3 Even in the Church-part of mankind it will no longer be the only church, and 4 it will need to be re-defined to fulfil its new role.
1 Catholic Tradition teaches that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Church” are two expressions for exactly the same reality. Both have the same mission of universal outreach. But to adapt that Church to a world in which it is less universal in reality every day, Vatican II will distinguish between the Kingdom of God which is universal in reality, being present invisibly in all men’s hearts, and the Newchurch which is universal only in intention, because it is all the time visibly building and extending the Kingdom in men’s lives. The Newchurch is also universal as being the “sacrament” or sign of the unity of all men (LG#1).
2 Here is where the Newchurch liberates worldly powers from any Church domination. The glorification of man made the “Kingdom of God” no longer potential to all men by baptism, but actual to all men by nature. Therefore nature has taken over from religion, and so Newchurch may signal the Kingdom’s universality but it cannot assert or claim it. Therefore politics are free from religion, and Newchurch need only purify them in their own domain. Here is Maritain’s Newchristendom, in which Mammon may take over the world, as we have seen since Vatican II. The Council was in fact the logical conclusion of the long decline of the true Christendom from the Middle Ages. But then Newchristendom is godless? No, Maritain’s New World, neither believing nor baptised, is still freed by Christ and heading for glory.
3 This liberal down-sizing of the Church is followed by the ecumenical down-sizing. Ever since Protestantism broke up the Catholic Church, the broken fragments have tried to re-unite. The true Church wanted and wants no part in their vain quest for their lost unity, unless they rejoin the Catholic Church, but the glorification of man makes the Newchurch glorify non-Catholics and want to reach out to them. So in non-Catholic Christians it will glorify the lifeless “traces” of Catholicism, still present but lifeless among them, e.g. among the Orthodox, valid Orders without jurisdiction; among the Protestants Scripture without authoritative interpretation; and it will make them into living “elements” (Unitatis Redintegratio). In non-Christian mankind it will find “seeds of the Word,” i.e. any truth and goodness which are sparks of the Word that “enlightens all men coming into the world” (Jn.I, 9) (Nostra Aetate), because all rational beings have been chosen out by God to glorify Him, and all chosen are saved.
But how can the Council upgrade in this way all non-Catholics without down-grading Catholics? By declaring that the all-embracing “Church of Christ” “subsists,” i.e. exists in some special way, in the Catholic Church (LG#8). But “subsists” is merely a verbal trick – if it upgrades non-Catholics, how can it not down-grade Catholics? If it does not down-grade non-Catholics, how can it up-grade Catholics?
4 Finally, how is the Newchurch to be re-defined to fulfil its new role? As “People of God,” necessarily democratic, so that the priesthood of Orders will be blurred into the “priesthood” of baptism (I Pet. II, 5) and all Newchurch will be priestly with a mission to all the World, and so that bishops will be promoted to govern the Church alongside the Pope (LG#22). Another word vague enough to correspond to the vagueness of notions of Newchurch is “Communion,” whose main activity is “Dialogue” with all men, so that nobody is ever wrong, and everybody can be nice to everybody else. Forget doctrine or truth!