The Parallel Council: The Anomalous Beginning of the Second Vatican Council by Paolo Pasqualucci. Trans by Peter Waymel. Gondolin Press, 2018. Pp. 96.
There is no dearth of history books when it comes to presenting Vatican II in ‘liberal’ terms. But the same cannot be said of the ‘conservative’ side. Ralph Wiltgen’s ‘The Rhine flows into Tiber’ and the relatively recent one of Roberto de Mattei’s ‘The Second Vatican Council – an unwritten story’ are a few classical works that presents the ‘real’ story of Vatican II. The latter work especially is a true landmark in the field as it opened many new avenues to analyse the 21st Ecumenical Council without any ‘prejudice’. The work under review follows the same path of analysing ‘both the violation of concilar legality and the delegitimization of the constituted authority’ (Foreword).
This volume was earlier published under the title “II Concilio Paralello’ as a series (seven continuous issues) in the famous ‘Si Si No No’ in 2001. The author, Paolo Pasqualucci, former professor of Philosophy of Law in the University of Perugia, authored many books and some of them were published by Editrice Ichtys (SSPX - Italy).
‘On the fatal October 13, while Msgr. Felici, Secretary of the Council, was explaining the procedure to be followed, Cardinal Liénart, one of the members of the Presidency, unexpectedly stood up and asked for the floor, interrupting the speaker. The first president of the Council (first because he was the eldest), Cardinal Tisserant, who presided over the congregation, denied it to him in accord with regulations, because the congregation had met to vote and not to decide whether to vote. The French prelate then grabbed the microphone and said, apparently:“Excusez-moi, je vais la prendre quand même [Excuse me, I’ll take it anyway]”. And he read, to the applause of a part of the assembly, a declaration in which he asked that the vote be postponed and the Episcopal Conferences be allowed time to consult on the suitability of the candidates’. (p. 45)
What happened after is a history and so is what happened before this ‘rebellion’. This volume explores precisely this violations of legality in 1st three chapters and the next four chapters deal with how the schema on Revelation (de fontibus revelationis) was rejected under the same rebellious banner.
What is the role of ‘good Pope John’ is discussed in chapters 3, 25.
When the novators (Rhine Fathers, if you prefer) made several requests which were contrary to canon law and to the ecclesiastical and the divine constitution of the Church, the pope must have refused. “For the pope to yield to such requests would have meant compromising his authority, resulting in a serious loss of prestige of the papal institution. And this, as we know, is precisely what happened.” (p. 46). The role of ‘good Pope John’ is deplorable and not without guilt.
The role of Cardinal Bea (who is aptly named, 'éminence grise' of the council) is shocking. (chapter 6).
What does an administrative body (Bea’s secretarial) have to do with verifying the schemas that one related to faith is still an unanswered question.
The title needs a brief explanation. Here we are not dealing with the two council theory as proposed by Pope Benedict XVI (the real council - hermeneutic of continuity and the council of media - hermeneutic of rupture). Here the author contrasts ‘the Parallel Council’ with ‘the prepared council’ (the one prepared meticulously under Cardinal Ottaviani and approved by the Holy Father)
This book is highly technical and as such demands a patient study. It is a highly recommended work. We hope that the ‘the Parallel Council’ will find many readers and we are confident that they will all appreciate the supernatural prudence of our beloved founder when he rightly titled his interventions: ‘I accuse the Council’.
Fr. Therasian Babu SSPX