According to Church teaching, no Pope could presume to interpret any Council except through the lens of continuity with the past.
The Hermeneutic of Continuity espoused by Pope Benedict has renewed the energy of the Second Vatican Council and, given that what seemed to be the Council's fruits of decline in so many areas of Church life, has enabled us to begin to understand the council in a new way - one that is breathing fresh life into the Church for the very reason that it is a more faithful interpretation (orthodox). Deacon Nick makes the excellent point that it is not denying reform but interpreting it in the light of the wider and older Church.
But now it seems that those with the ageing liberal agenda are attempting a fight back. The Tablet carries an attack on the Hermeneutic of Continuity this week - an attack ably rebuffed by Deacon Nick at Protect the Pope.
Here is part of the Tablet's pejorative re-interpretation:
The Pope has repeatedly emphasised that there is more than one way of understanding Vatican II, and not all understandings are equally valid. Some remarks he made in 2005, not long after his election, have been understood as favouring, and maybe even wanting to impose, a highly conservative interpretation of what the council achieved. He appeared to contrast a “hermeneutic of continuity”, of which he approved, with a “hermeneutic of rupture”, which he rejected. But that itself is a conservative interpretation of what he actually said. The words of his Christmas Address to the Roman Curia that year were much more nuanced. He fully acknowledged the tension between continuity and reform that characterised much of the council’s debates, with more continuity in one place, more reform in another. There is no papal mandate for imposing a hermeneutic of continuity on all of it – the view that the council fundamentally changed nothing. Such a serious distortion of the council’s work would amount to a rejection of it.
"There is no papal mandate for imposing a hermeneutic of continuity."
Really? I think the Pope did indeed receive such a mandate...
"Thou art Peter
and upon this rock I will build my Church
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."