More Than 50 International Scholars, Clerics and Journalists Publish an Open Letter in Support of Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider

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Catholic Family News, since its founding has never ceased to call upon the hierarchy of the Church to recognize the destruction wrought by the Second Vatican Council and to do something to correct the errors and dangers that stem from it. In these dark times, two brave voices have been raised up among the episcopacy who have called, although in different ways, for a critical appraisal of this unique event in the history of the Church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have been for some time issuing statements calling for a correction of the Second Vatican Council. Not surprisingly their excellencies have received harsh criticism and unjust insults as a result of their fortitude in preaching the truth out of season.

On July 15, 2020, a group of 50 scholars, journalists, dignitaries, and clerics published an Open Letter in Support of these two bishops. Among the initial signatories are prominently the Italian church historian Professor Roberto de Mattei (and CFN contributor), the U.S. Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and professor of law, Andrew P. Napolitano, as well as his fellow law professors Brian McCall (and CFN Editor-in-Chief) and Paolo Pasqualucci, well-known Catholic book authors such as Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (and CFN contributor), Jose Antonio Ureta, Henry Sire, and Dr. Taylor Marshall, the retired Oxford Research Fellow Father John Hunwicke, numerous other priests, as well as journalists such as Matt Gaspers (CFN Managing Editor), Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli, Jeanne Smits, and John-Henry Westen of LifeSite News.

The letter which is reproduced below is being published simultaneously in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Other priests and scholars interested in having their name added to the official list of signatories to this Open Letter may contact [email protected] 

Everyone who supports the Open Letter can add their name to the Petition to the Holy Father and the Entire Hierarchy supporting the Open Letter.
Below is the full text of the Open Letter. We at CFN are honored to support this effort and only wish that long time editor of CFN John Vennari (RIP) could have seen this day when two bishops call openly for this reconsideration of Vatican II. This has not been seen for decades since Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer joined to call on John Paul II to return to Tradition.


Open Letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider

July 9, 2020

Your Excellencies:

We the undersigned wish to express our sincere gratitude for your
fortitude and care for souls during the ongoing crisis of Faith in the
Catholic Church. Your public statements calling for an honest and open
discussion of the Second Vatican Council and the dramatic changes in
Catholic belief and practice that followed it have been a source of hope
and consolation to many faithful Catholics. The event of the Second
Vatican Council appears now more than fifty years after its completion
to be unique in the history of the Church. Never before our time has an
ecumenical council been followed by such a prolonged period of
confusion, corruption, loss of faith, and humiliation for the Church of

Catholicism has distinguished itself from some false religions by its
insistence that Man is a rational creature and that religious belief
encourages rather than suppresses critical reflection by Catholics.
Many, including the current Holy Father, appear to place the Second
Vatican Council—and its texts, acts, and implementation—beyond the reach
of critical analysis and debate. To concerns and objections raised by
Catholics of good will, the Council has been held up by some as a
“super-council,” (1) the invocation of which ends rather than fosters
debate. Your call to trace the current crisis in the Church to its roots
and to call for action to correct any turn taken at Vatican II that is
now seen to have been a mistake exemplify the fulfillment of the
episcopal office to hand on the Faith as the Church has received it.

We are grateful for your calls for an open and honest debate about
the truth of what happened at Vatican II and whether the Council and its
implementation contain errors or aspects that favor errors or harm the
Faith. Such a debate cannot start from a conclusion that the Second
Vatican Council as a whole and in its parts is per se in
continuity with Tradition. Such a pre-condition to a debate prevents
critical analysis and argument and only permits the presentation of
evidence that supports the conclusion already announced. Whether or not
Vatican II can be reconciled with Tradition is the question to be
debated, not a posited premise blindly to be followed even if it turns
out to be contrary to reason. The continuity of Vatican II with
Tradition is a hypothesis to be tested and debated, not an
incontrovertible fact. For too many decades the Church has seen too few
shepherds permit, let alone encourage, such a debate.

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Eleven years ago, Msgr. Brunero Gherardini had already made a filial
request to Pope Benedict XVI: “The idea (which I dare now to submit to
Your Holiness) has been in my mind for a long time. It is that a
grandiose and if possible final clarification of the last council be
given concerning each of its aspects and contents. Indeed, it would seem
logical, and it seems urgent to me, that these aspects and contents be
studied in themselves and in the context of all the others, with a close
examination of all the sources, and from the specific viewpoint of
continuity with the preceding Church’s Magisterium, both solemn and
ordinary. On the basis of a scientific and critical work—as vast and
irreproachable as possible—in comparison with the traditional
Magisterium of the Church, it will then be possible to draw matter for a
sure and objective evaluation of Vatican II.” (2)

We also are grateful for your initiative in identifying some of the
most important doctrinal topics that must be addressed in such a
critical examination and for providing a model for frank, yet courteous,
debate that can involve disagreement. We have collected from your
recent interventions some examples of the topics you have indicated must
be addressed and, if found lacking, corrected. This collection we hope
will serve as a basis for further detailed discussion and debate. We do
not claim this list to be exclusive, perfect, or complete. We also do
not all necessarily agree with the precise nature of each of the
critiques quoted below nor on the answer to the questions you raise, yet
we are united in the belief that your questions deserve honest answers
and not mere dismissals with ad hominem claims of disobedience
or breaking with communion. If what each of you claims is untrue, let
interlocutors prove it; if not, the hierarchy should give credence to
your claims. 

Religious Liberty for All Religions as a Natural Right Willed by God

  • Bishop Schneider: “Examples include certain expressions of the
    Council on the topic of religious freedom (understood as a natural
    right, and therefore positively willed by God, to practice and spread a
    false religion, which may also include idolatry or even worse)….” (3)
  • Bishop Schneider: “Unfortunately, just a few sentences later, the Council [in Dignitatis Humanae]
    undermines this truth by setting forth a theory never before taught by
    the constant Magisterium of the Church, i.e., that man has the right
    founded in his own nature, ‘not to be prevented from acting in religious
    matters according to his own conscience, whether privately or publicly,
    whether alone or in association with others, within due limits’ (ut
    in re religiosa neque impediatur, quominus iuxta suam conscientiam agat
    privatim et publice, vel solus vel aliis consociatus, intra debitos
    , n. 2). According to this statement, man would have the
    right, based on nature itself (and therefore positively willed by God)
    not to be prevented from choosing, practicing and spreading, also
    collectively, the worship of an idol, and even the worship of Satan,
    since there are religions that worship Satan, for instance, the ‘church
    of Satan.’ Indeed, in some countries, the ‘church of Satan’ is
    recognized with the same legal value as all other religions.” (4)

The Identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church and the New Ecumenism

  • Bishop Schneider: “[I]ts [the Council’s] distinction between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church (the problem of “subsistit in
    gives the impression that two realities exist: the one side, the Church
    of Christ, and on the other, the Catholic Church); and its stance
    towards non-Christian religions and the contemporary world.” (5)
  • Bishop Schneider: “To state that Muslims adore together with us the one God (“nobiscum Deum adorant”), as the II Vatican Council did in Lumen Gentium n.
    16, is theologically a highly ambiguous affirmation. That we Catholics
    adore with the Muslims the one God is not true. We do not adore with
    them. In the act of adoration, we always adore the Holy Trinity, we do
    not simply adore “the one God” but, rather, the Holy Trinity
    consciously—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Islam rejects the Holy Trinity.
    When the Muslims adore, they do not adore on the supernatural level of
    faith. Even our act of adoration is radically different. It is
    essentially different. Precisely because we turn to God and adore Him as
    children who are constituted within the ineffable dignity of divine
    filial adoption, and we do this with supernatural faith. However, the
    Muslims do not have supernatural faith.” (6)
  • Archbishop Viganò: “We know well that, invoking the saying in Scripture Littera enim occidit, spiritus autem vivificat [The letter brings death, but the spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6)], the
    progressives and modernists astutely knew how to hide equivocal
    expressions in the conciliar texts, which at the time appeared harmless
    to most but that today are revealed in their subversive value. It is the
    method employed in the use of the phrase subsistit in: saying a half-truth not
    so much as not to offend the interlocutor (assuming that it is licit to
    silence the truth of God out of respect for His creature), but with the
    intention of being able to use the half-error that would be instantly dispelled if the entire truth were proclaimed. Thus“Ecclesia Christi subsistit in Ecclesia Catholica” does
    not specify the identity of the two, but the subsistence of one in the
    other and, for consistency, also in other churches: here is the opening
    to interconfessional celebrations, ecumenical prayers, and the
    inevitable end of any need for the Church in the order of salvation, in
    her unicity, and in her missionary nature.” (7)
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Papal Primacy and the New Collegiality

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  • Bishop Schneider: “For example, the very fact that a ‘nota explicativa praevia’ to the document Lumen Gentium was needed shows that the text of Lumen Gentium, in
    n. 22, is ambiguous with regard to the topic of the relationship
    between papal primacy and episcopal collegiality. Documents clarifying
    the Magisterium in post-conciliar times, such as the encyclicals Mysterium Fidei, Humanae Vitae, and Pope Paul VI’s Creed of the People of God, were
    of great value and help, but they did not clarify the aforementioned
    ambiguous statements of the Second Vatican Council.” (8)

The Council and Its Texts are the Cause of Many Current Scandals and Errors

  • Archbishop Viganò: “If the pachamama could be adored in a church, we owe it to Dignitatis Humanae.
    If we have a liturgy that is Protestantized and at times even
    paganized, we owe it to the revolutionary action of Msgr. Annibale
    Bugnini and to the post-conciliar reforms. If the Abu Dhabi Declaration
    was signed, we owe it to Nostra Aetate. If we have come to the
    point of delegating decisions to the Bishops’ Conferences – even in
    grave violation of the Concordat, as happened in Italy – we owe it to collegiality, and to its updated version, synodality. Thanks to synodality, we found ourselves with Amoris Laetitia having
    to look for a way to prevent what was obvious to everyone from
    appearing: that this document, prepared by an impressive organizational
    machine, intended to legitimize Communion for the divorced and
    cohabiting, just as Querida Amazonia will be used to legitimize
    women priests (as in the recent case of an ‘episcopal vicaress’ in
    Freiburg) and the abolition of Sacred Celibacy.” (9)
  • Archbishop Viganò: “But if at the time it could be difficult to think that a religious liberty condemned by Pius XI (Mortalium Animos) could be affirmed by Dignitatis Humanae, or that the Roman Pontiff could see his authority usurped by a phantom episcopal college, today we understand that what was cleverly concealed in Vatican II is today affirmed ore rotundo in papal documents precisely in the name of the coherent application of the Council.” (10)
  • Archbishop Viganò: “We can thus affirm that the spirit of the Council is the Council itself, that the errors of the post-conciliar period were contained in nuce in the Conciliar Acts, just as it is rightly said that the Novus Ordo is
    the Mass of the Council, even if in the presence of the Council Fathers
    the Mass was celebrated that the progressives significantly call pre-conciliar.” (11)
  • Bishop Schneider: “For anyone who is intellectually honest, and is
    not seeking to square the circle, it is clear that the assertion made in Dignitatis Humanae, according to which every man has the right
    based on his own nature (and therefore positively willed by God) to
    practice and spread a religion according to his own conscience, does not
    differ substantially from the statement in the Abu Dhabi Declaration,
    which says:
    ‘The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and
    language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human
    beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to
    freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.’” (12)
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We have taken note of the differences you have highlighted between
the solutions each of you has proposed for responding to the crisis
precipitated at and following the Second Vatican Council. For example,
Archbishop Viganò has argued it would be better to altogether “forget”
the Council, while Bishop Schneider, disagreeing with him on this
specific point, proposes officially to correct only those parts of the
Council documents that contain errors or that are ambiguous. Your
courteous and respectful exchange of opinions should serve as a model
for the more robust debate that you and we desire. Too often these past
fifty years disagreements about Vatican II have been challenged by mere ad hominem attacks rather than calm argumentation. We urge all who will join this debate to follow your example.

We pray that Our Blessed Mother, St. Peter the Prince of the
Apostles, St. Athanasius, and St. Thomas Aquinas protect and preserve
your Excellencies. May they reward you for your faithfulness to the
Church and confirm you in your defense of the Faith and of the Church.

In Christo Rege,  (signed)

  • Donna F. Bethell, J.D. 
  • Prof. Dr Brian McCall
  • Paul A. Byrne, M.D.
  • Edgardo J. Cruz-Ramos, President Una Voce Puerto Rico
  • Dr Massimo de Leonardis, Professor (ret.) of History of International Relations 
  • Prof. Roberto de Mattei, President of the Lepanto Foundation
  • Fr Jerome W. Fasano 
  • Mauro Faverzani, journalist 
  • Timothy S. Flanders, author and founder of a lay apostolate
  • Matt Gaspers, Managing Editor, Catholic Family News
  • Corrado Gnerre, leader of the Italian movement “Il Cammino dei Tre Sentieri”
  • M. Virginia O. de Gristelli, Director of C. F. S.Bernardo de Claraval, Argentina
  • Jorge Esteban Gristelli, editor, Argentina
  • Dr Maria Guarini STB, editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio
  • Kennedy Hall, book author
  • Prof. Dr em. Robert D. Hickson
  • Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Dr.rer.pol. Rudolf Hilfer, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Rev. John Hunwicke, Senior Research Fellow Emeritus, Pusey House, Oxford 
  • Prof. Dr Peter Kwasniewski
  • Leila M. Lawler, writer
  • Pedro L. Llera Vázquez, school headmaster and author at InfoCatólica
  • James P. Lucier PhD 
  • Massimo Magliaro, journalist, Editor of “Nova Historica” 
  • Antonio Marcantonio, MA 
  • Dr Taylor Marshall, author of Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
  • The Reverend Deacon, Eugene G. McGuirk 
  • Fr Michael McMahon Prior St. Dennis Calgary 
  • Fr Cor Mennen
  • Fr Michael Menner
  • Dr Stéphane Mercier, Ph.D., S.T.B. 
  • Hon. Andrew P. Napolitano, Senior Judicial Analyst, Fox News; Visiting Professor of Law, Hofstra University
  • Fr Dave Nix, Diocesan Hermit 
  • Prof. Paolo Pasqualucci
  • Fr Dean Perri
  • Dr Carlo Regazzoni, Philosopher of Culture, Therwill, Switzerland 
  • Fr Luis Eduardo Rodríguez Rodríguez 
  • Don Tullio Rotondo
  • John F. Salza, Esq., Catholic Attorney and Apologist
  • Wolfram Schrems, Wien, Mag. theol., Mag. Phil., catechist
  • Henry Sire, historian and book author
  • Robert Siscoe, author
  • Jeanne Smits, journalist 
  • Dr. sc. Zlatko Šram, Croatian Center for Applied Social Research 
  • Fr Glen Tattersall, Parish Priest, Parish of St John Henry Newman (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Marco Tosatti, journalist
  • Giovanni Turco, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Public Law at the University of Udine (Italy)
  • Jose Antonio Ureta
  • Aldo Maria Valli, journalist
  • Dr Thomas Ward, President of the National Association of Catholic Families 
  • John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief
  • Willy Wimmer, Secretary of State, Ministry of Defense (ret.)

Other priests and scholars interested in signing this Open Letter may contact [email protected] 


na1.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger 13 July 1988, in Santiago, Chile.
2. Concilio Vaticano II: Un discorso da fare (Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 2009), subsequently published in English as The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion. The excerpt here is taken from

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