David Gibson Responds to Ross Douthat on Vatican II

On October 12th, the New York Times published Ross Douthat’s NYT column stating that Vatican II was necessary, was a failure (in that it did not achieve its stated goals), and cannot be undone. David Gibson, Director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture, responded to Douthat on Twitter. With his permission, we reproduce his string of tweets.


  1. David Gibson makes a lot of good points. But a few things should be pointed out. While he rightly criticizes Douthat in the 10th tweet about his “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, but only does so after engaging in the same fallacy himself a few tweets earlier (4th and 6th tweets).

    In regard to synods, history is full of synods that have been condemned, so to say those gatherings are always a work of the Spirit is a stretch to put it charitably. Perhaps blasphemy if you attribute the Holy Spirit to the Cadaver Synod.

    As for the Holy Spirit protecting an ecumenical council, probably the only guarantee is that outright error is avoided in the proclamations, not that the ecumenical council is guaranteed to bear an abundance of fruit.

    This is not to criticize V2, the Church after 2150 can begin to discern its successes and failings.

    And one of the contenders for most failed council would be the Council of Ferrara-Florence.

    1. Though its precursor sessions in Basel were a seminal event in the history of Western scholarship in terms of the international-level gathering of scholars and what might be called “Creatives” these days, including Greeks. Didn’t do much good for the Church(es) as such, but . . .

      1. Thanks–I guess that I should have read the intro, my bad…but when I had initially googled him he didn’t come up in a list of David Gibsons. The only “religious” DG was a Protestant minister in Aberdeen, and him responding to the column didn’t make sense.

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