It was thought that, after the Council, sunny days would come for the history of the Church. Nevertheless, what came were days of clouds, of storms, of darkness, of searching, of uncertainty.—St. Pope Paul VI, on June 29, 1972, speaking about the disappointed hopes of many Catholics in the years following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

“The virtual Council was stronger than the real Council… this Council created many calamities.” —Pope Benedict XVI, address to the priests of Rome on the Second Vatican Council, given on February 14, 2013 (link), two days after Benedict announced his resignation from the papacy. In his address, Benedict told the priests that there was not one Council, but two… (link)

    It is our task… to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and the Church is really renewed.” —Pope Benedict XVI, Ibid.


    Letter #119, 2022, Friday, December 2: Vatican II

    An intense debate over the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) has gone on now for 57 years, from 1965, when the Council ended, until the present.

    It is right that the debate go on.

    Indeed, it is necessary, to shed light on everything that happened and was decided at the Council, in order to bring clarity to what the Council really said, and really did, and really intended.


    The reason there has been an intense debate, sometimes even acrimonious, stems from the fact that there were two Councils — as Pope Benedict has repeatedly explained to us — the virtual Council (the Council of the journalists) and the true Council, as it was.

    The Council was, Catholics believe, truly carried out under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    But the Council also was, as reason and study reveals, also carried out under the continual and powerful influence of various other great, and not so holy, spiritual and political forces of the world of the 1960s, and since.

Pope Paul VI. (2022, November 23). In Wikipedia. (link)

    This is why Pope Paul VI, the Church’s highest authority, and the pontiff who ruled over the Church during the last three years of the Council, and closed the Council, could exclaim with evident pain and sorrow in 1972, seven years after the Council’s close: “… It was thought that, after the Council, sunny days would come for the history of the Church. Nevertheless, what came were days of clouds, of storms, of darkness, of searching, of uncertainty… We tried to dig abysses instead of covering them …” (link)

    And, showing his very deep concern, Pope Paul added — and he did this quite publicly, in St. Peter’s Square on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — “We would say that, through some mysterious crack—no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation.”

    So “doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation,” existed in 1972, and they have continued to trouble the life of the Church ever since.

    In short, the problem of the “reception of the Council” stems from an evident discrepancy, testified to by Paul VI on June 29, 1972, and by many others on many other occasions, between

    (1)the hopes expressed by the highest authorities in the Church about what the Council would accomplish — essentially, bring about a “new springtime” in the life of the Church, almost, one might say, a “new Pentecost,” a “new outpouring of the Holy Spirit” — and

    (2) what actually happened… in the words of Paul VI, “days of clouds, of storms, of darkness.”


    The “Two Councils”

    This explains why Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly told us that there were “two Councils.”

    One was real, the other virtual.

     One was the Council as it really was, the other was the Council as it was “reported by the journalists.”

    This makes very clear that there is a need to study the matter and distinguish between the “two Councils.”


    Here is how Benedict summed up his hour-long remarks on February 14, 2013:

    “There was the Council of the Fathers — the true Council — but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media.

    “So the Council that immediately, effectively, got through to the people was that of the media, not that of the Fathers.

    “And meanwhile, the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellect, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council — as I said — moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics.

    “The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the “people of God”, the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all… popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help.

    “This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: “Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world”. Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of ​​the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith. And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

    “And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized… and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council.

    “But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church.

    “It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us.

    “I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious! Thank you.

    Benedict XVI

    Meeting with Roman Clergy

    February 14, 2013


    The True Council

    There have been many good histories of the Council, but still, there is much that remains unknown.

    And that is why we at Inside the Vatican are now launching a project of research and analysis, as a service to the Church, to try to understand more clearly what really happened at the Council. (If you would like to support this work, click here.)

    We hope to explain how the media covered the Council, how the various groups at the Council organized themselves, and what the goals of the various groups were — all in the hope of providing a service to the Church.

     In the first place, we place this work at the service of the Holy Father, to enable prudent decisions to be taken now, a half century later, about contested and complex matters, including the question of the liturgy, but also the very complex question of the relationship of the Church to the world, and to other religions.

    Today’s letter, then, containing an interesting essay by American Catholic researcher David Wemhoff.

    It is a first, and quite preliminary, contribution to this project of shedding light on what happened at Vatican II, why it happened, and how it should be understood by Catholics today, and in the decades and centuries to come. —RM   

    [continued below]

    In Mary, we find many answers to our confusion, our malaise, our doubt, our sinfulness, our estrangement, from God and from ourselves… if we would but look to her!

    And therefore…

    Inside the Vatican presents a stunning new, 100-page special edition, MARY: Behold Your Motherjust now at the press, and available for preorder NOW.

    With the death of Pope Pius XII in October, 1958, and calling of the Council by his successor, John XXIII, the American elites sensed opportunity to expand their power by turning the Catholic Church into a purveyor of American ideas and policies, most notably the ideas behind the First Amendment. ” —David Wemhoff, an American lawyer and the author of the article published below. Wemhoff, a Catholic (he resides not far from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana) has done years of patient research to try to discover the relationships between American intelligence services and certain aspects of the Second Vatican Council

    Vatican II and the American Deep State (link)

    By David Wemhoff

    November 14, 2022

    Before he died, Robert Blair KaiserTime magazine reporter at the Vatican II Council, told me that the reporters were “participant-observers to influence the schemas.”

    This was part of a worldwide assault on Catholic doctrine, noticed years before, and Vatican II provided an opportunity for the American “deep state” and “globalists” to place the Catholic Church in their service.

    The Council was occurring within about 17 years after the end of the bloodiest war in history and that war was vivid in the minds of many participants.

    At the same time, the world was locked in the Cold War, a titanic struggle between two different world views — one represented by Soviet Communism and the other by America.

    The former was depicted as dark and foreboding, the latter as light and prosperous. The American media helped to paint that picture.

    Time magazine was the creation of Henry Robinson Luce. Luce was the son of a Presbyterian minister and could trace his lineage back to the American Revolution. He invented the newsmagazine with the founding of Time. 

    With the mentoring of Walter Lippmann, Luce put into practice the emerging science and systemization of psychological manipulation which used images, words, and emotions to shape, form, and influence views, ideas, and perceptions both in the United States and overseas.

    Luce’s magazines made him one of the most powerful and influential men in America, and eventually the world. It is said that there was not a day that he did not speak of the United States Constitution which came to represent the political manifestation of the organizing principles of American society, or in other words, the American ideology.

    At the heart of this ideology were the tenets of the First Amendment.

    Luce long had his eye on the Catholic Church with its doctrine of Church and State.

    The Church was both an obstacle to the designs of the plutocratic interests to rule America and the world, and at the same time an opportunity to facilitate that objective of greater power and control.

    Luce shared the sentiments of Paul Blanshard, whose book American Freedom and Catholic Power became the bible of anti-Catholic liberals.

    Blanshard observed that the priest was the “agent for Roman spiritual and political goods” and “is subordinate to the hierarchy.”[1] 

    The priest lent credibility to any idea, and a priest who was a theologian was even more of an authority. Blanshard understood the role of theology in helping the Church maintain its power. According to Blanshard,

“The Church’s philosophy of church and state is far more important than the continued existence of a bit of acreage which has its own postage stamps and flag. In fact, the philosophy of church and state espoused by the Vatican is the most important thing in the whole Catholic system because it determines the political and social policies which the bishops and priests will pursue throughout the world.[2]

    So, Luce and the socio-economic elites whose interests he advanced, needed a theologian to espouse approval of the American system of social organization. The American elites wanted the Church to approve the First Amendment with its Establishment Clause that disestablished any religion as the basis of the laws of a society, and that gave real power to the private interests with the free speech and free press clauses. That theologian would be John Courtney Murray, SJ, a professor at Woodstock College and editor of Theological Studies.

    A secret meeting was held on April 26, 1948 at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City, and hosted by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.[3] Representatives were present from Protestantism, Judaism and Catholicism. The main issue was the relation of church and state. Murray agreed there was a problem. When it came to church-state relations, Catholicism was the problem, not America, or as he later put it: “the Church-State problem is, in the very specific and unique sense, a Catholic problem – a Roman Catholic problem.”[4] By agreeing to provide “a more liberal interpretation” of Catholic doctrine on church and state relations, Murray embarked upon an enterprise that would eventually weaken in the minds of many Catholic leaders one of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith.

    [continued below]

    “Doctrinal warfare”

    Not long after, the United States Government, under the leadership of Dr. Edward Lilly, a wealthy Catholic professor at the Catholic University of America, devised a program of doctrinal warfare.

    Doctrinal warfare was considered “the central core of psychological warfare. Ideological or doctrinal warfare” involved a “planned attack against the basic hostile system conducted concurrently with a positive advocacy of basic ideas of our own system.”[5]

    Doctrinal warfare, in other words, was a way to reorder societies. Doctrinal warfare was not directed at “influencing mass behavior; in fact it is not immediately aimed at the masses, but at the decision makers and their staffs.”[6]

    It targeted the “developed mind. This mind, engaged in developing concepts and rationalizations and capable of projecting the same to others, possess the ability to clarify, analyze and synthesize” and one that would become “unsatisfied with their accepted ideology.”[7]

    By 1953, the plan was developed and contained in the classified document known as PSB D-33.

    The doctrinal warfare program would seek to provide “permanent literature” and foster “long-term intellectual movements, which will appeal to intellectuals, including scholars and opinion-forming groups, to:

    “(1) break down world-wide doctrinaire thought patterns which have provided an intellectual basis for Communism and other doctrines hostile to American and Free World objectives.”[8]

    To do this, it would “Exploit local divergencies, heresies or policy disagreements within opposition systems.”[9]

    The Government intelligence agencies were to coordinate their efforts with the media and corporations.

    This was in time to help implement the plans for what we know today to be globalization. In 1952 and 1954 representatives of industry, banking, labor unions, intelligence agencies, federal government agencies such as the State Department, and others officially met unofficially at Princeton, New Jersey to discuss plans for making that happen.[10]

    American culture and ideas had to be inserted into societies so as to open the way for their economic development, or as some may say, economic colonization.

    With the death of Pope Pius XII in October, 1958, and calling of the Council by his successor, John XXIII, the American elites sensed opportunity to expand their power by turning the Catholic Church into a purveyor of American ideas and policies, most notably the ideas behind the First Amendment.

    Luce and his entourage already knew that changes were afoot in the Vatican before that time, as they had great intelligence of the happenings in the headquarters of the Catholic Church. For example, he and the American establishment, as well as US intelligence agencies, funded and supported Pro Deo University and its founder, Fr. Felix Morlion, OP. This institution of higher education was in Rome and taught young businessmen and other professionals from around the Catholic world of the benefits of the American system of social organization. Indeed, it was there in November, 1953 that Luce delivered his speech, “The American Proposition.” Written by Murray, the speech as delivered by Luce advocated for the First Amendment as the ideal of social organization. Essential to that ideal was the Establishment Clause which disestablished the Catholic Church and the Catholic religion (as well as any church or any religion) from society. This clause, with free speech and free press, gave real power in society, the culture, and even over the religions, to the powerful private interests, or the plutocratic class.

    In the Summer of 1962, just weeks before the start of the Council, Luce sent his chief lieutenant, Charles Douglas Jackson (“CD Jackson”), to Rome to investigate. Jackson had a history of working with media, intelligence agencies, and industry. He was a central figure in the confluence of the activities and interests of these three groups and also served as President Dwight Eisenhower’s speech writer. Jackson, privy to the internal workings of the hierarchy, remarked how the Church, “that tremendous mechanism all over the world,”[11] had to change to adapt to modern times.

    Author’s Note: My book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life and the American Proposition, explains the psychological and doctrinal warfare waged in the early stages of the Cold War against the Catholic leadership in an attempt to change Catholic doctrine, especially as to the proper relations between church and state. Catholic doctrine did not change, but there was fashioned a rhetorical and ideological weapon known as “the spirit of Vatican II” that has been used to distort Vatican II, mutilate Catholic doctrine, and bring confusion and suffering to many. More than seven years in the making with hundreds of footnotes from a multitude of sources, this two volume new edition with a forward by Dr. John C. Rao may be found on in either paperback or e-version.

    [1] Paul Blanshard, American Freedom and Catholic Power, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1949), 34.

    [2] Ibid.44.

    [3] David Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life and the American Proposition (South Bend, IN: Wagon Wheel Press, 2022), Vol. I, 93-97.

    [4] Untitled text of talk by John Courtney Murray that begins with “Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,” John Courtney Murray Papers, Box 6 File 445, Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Washington, DC.

    [5] “Terms of Reference, Ideological Warfare Panel,” OCB Secretariat Series Box 2 Folder “Doctrinal Warfare (Official) (File # 1) (4),” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

    [6] “Statement on Doctrinal Warfare Targets,” dated February 6, 1953, OCB Secretariat Series Box 2 Folder “Doctrinal Warfare (Official) (File # 2) (2),” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

    [7] Ibid.

    [8] PSB D-33 June 29, 1953, “U.S. Doctrinal Program”, Psychological Strategy Board, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

    [9] Ibid.

[10] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American PropositionVol. I, 469-480.

    [11] C.D. Jackson, “Overseas Report (Confidential) # 4 from CD Jackson,” dated August 7, 1962, CD Jackson Papers, Box 109, “World Trip, Transcripts, Italy, 1962,” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

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