If you understand French, I highly recommend viewing this film while it’s still online:
It is called “La Guerre Perdue du Vatican?” and it is a 2-hour documentary by the French film-maker Patrick Benquet. There are many interesting interviews, from both traditionalists and progressives.
Benquet has strong socialist leanings, and he positions the “cold war” of the Vatican as taking place along the lines of the poor versus the wealthy. Hence liberation theology and the worker-priest movement play a major role in the drama. He interviews an elderly priest who had been a member of the movement until its suppression by Pius XII:
We are not priests of the cult – we are sent by Christ to be witnesses of the good news to the poor (Luke 2) – to bring the good news to the poor. The idea of Pius XII was that a priest is a man for the parish and for worship, full stop. It was tragic for us, because some deep connections, formed from living in solidarity, were entirely broken.
The connections with broader issues such as religious liberty and ecumenism and with the liturgy are well drawn. There is a lot of interesting historical footage, including some truly grim liturgies from both the conservative and progressive sides. There is coverage of the Lefebvrists, the FSSP, Opus Dei and the Legionnaires of Christ.
The film concludes with Pope Benedict at World Youth Day in Madrid, sheltering beneath a white umbrella as a storm rages around the platform he is standing on. An Austrian priest says
If the Church doesn’t ask itself these questions, if it doesn’t connect with modernity, it won’t survive. It will be nothing more than a museum, no longer a living Church.
And the narrator ends the film:
Rome has betrayed the promise of Vatican II. The Church is itself the problem. … The parentheses close again. The Catholic Church turns in on itself, incapable of surviving in the world, incapable of fulfilling the hope of Pope John XXIII.
Yes, the film is tendentious. And if your idea of Catholic social doctrine aligns neatly with that of the Acton Institute (e.g. that St Joseph was a well-off entrepreneur, a carpenter of the upper middle class), you will not like it. It leans somewhat on a ‘spirit of Vatican II’ idea, not just on quotes from conciliar documents. It supports these assertions, however, with extensive interviews from bishops and theologians who were present at the Council, including Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who had been a close friend and private secretary of Cardinal Roncalli, first as Patriarch of Venice and later as Pope John XXIII.
The film is well made and well worth watching for the historical footage alone. As far as I know, it is not available with English dubbing or subtitles. That is unfortunate; I hope someone will make this documentary more widely available.