Pope: Vatican II is the Magisterium of the Church

Vatican News reports on Pope Francis’s address to members of Italy’s National Catechetical Office:

“The catechesis inspired by the Council,” said Pope Francis, “is continually listening to the heart of the man, always with an attentive ear, always seeking to renew itself.”

Pope Francis insisted: “The Council is the Magisterium of the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, or you interpret it in your own away, according to your desire, you do not stand with the Church.” He asked that there be no concessions “to those who try to present a catechesis that does not agree with the Magisterium of the Church.”


  1. Thank you for not quoting the part of the speech in which the pope presents the ordination of women as an example of ruinous departure from the church’s magisterium. I know many of us readers would have been scandalized by his words there.

    1. Hi Alex,

      That wasn’t included in the report at Vatican News so I didn’t know about it. Thanks for alerting me to it.

      Readers can find the entire address in Italian here: https://www.chiesacattolica.it/968876-2/

      Francis speaks at some length of those bishops who led the faithful to reject Vatican II because they were supposedly the true Catholics. Then he says “today they ordain women.” Then he says the most severe attitude of guarding the faith without the magisterium leads to ruin. It is possible, as you suggest, that he is referring to both examples he just cited. It is also possible, and seems more likely to me, that “today they ordain women” is more parenthetical, and leading to ruin refers to those traditionalists supposedly “guarding” the faith, since “guarding the faith” is more redolent of the language and attitude of traditionalists.

      Here is the excerpt:
      “A me fa pensare tanto un gruppo di vescovi che, dopo il Vaticano I, sono andati via, un gruppo di laici, dei gruppi, per continuare la “vera dottrina” che non era quella del Vaticano I: “Noi siamo i cattolici veri”. Oggi ordinano donne. L’atteggiamento più severo, per custodire la fede senza il magistero della Chiesa, ti porta alla rovina. Per favore, nessuna concessione a coloro che cercano di presentare una catechesi che non sia concorde al magistero della Chiesa.”


      1. I see your point. I still think however that my interpretation is more likely given what Pope Francis said in an interview on September 10,2019:

        “After the First Vatican Council, for example, the last vote, the one on infallibility, a well-sized group left and founded the Old Catholic Church so as to remain “true” to the tradition of the Church. Then they developed differently and now they ordain women. But in that moment they were rigid, they rallied behind orthodoxy and thought that the council had erred.”

        This makes me think that he is in yesterday’s statement making the point with the example of the Old Catholics after Vatican I that people who leave the church in order to maintain doctrinal purity end up going farther and farther from orthodoxy.

      2. Father
        May I check that we are in step? Your sentence: “Francis speaks at some length of those bishops who led the faithful to reject Vatican II because they were supposedly the true Catholics” refers to Vatican 2 but the excerpt below refers to Vatican 1: “dopo il Vaticano I”.
        I suspect that those who “reject” Vatican II as rupture from tradition are not “ordaining women”.
        The discourse is on the Vatican website in Italian and Spanish.
        I wonder how the choice of languages is made.

      3. Hi Peter,

        You are correct, Pope Francis is referring to the bishops after Vatican I who did that, and they are the ones who now ordain women. My impression is that he was using them as an antecedent to people doing that also after Vatican II, which was his larger point. But your are right to note that the example he cited is about Vatican I.


  2. Thank you Father
    Perhaps the point to take on board is that it is better to be with Peter on the Appian way as correction will come. Those who cut themselves from the Church risk getting lost.
    If I were in the Underground Church in China the question would be very delicate.
    God bless, Peter

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