It is common to find conservatives trying to explain Vatican Council II as a continuation of the previous Magisterium of the Church. They refuse to listen to any explanation coming from traditionalists saying the opposite.
Conservatives think that traditionalists are not objective. Traditionalism, according to them, would interpret everything that happens in the Catholic Church under a pessimistic light.
Here we present a document written by Fr. Hans Kung showing that Vatican II was the fruit of a long and semi-secret work that aims to change the entire Church. This current of ideas would have "hibernated" for decades and returned to the light again after the anti-modernist and anti-progressist persecutions. It triumphed when it placed Angelo Rocalli on the papal throne as Pope John XXIII.
We hope that this document will open the eyes of some conservatives to the reality.
Top right is a facsimile of the book cover; at right, a photocopy of the Portuguese text. Below, we present our translation.
"With regard to Vatican II, how could we have reached this turnaround .... if there had not been a long preparation before the Council, a sort of hibernation? John XXIII, a charismatic in the Seat of Peter, was the wick for a new veracity in the Church .... How could he have unleashed this process unless, long before the Council, there were not people - both known and anonymous - who accumulated the material that made the spark become a flame? ....
"We have every reason to bow our heads with respect and gratitude before the Christian commitment of those silent heroes of the struggle for a renewed veracity. .... They suffered from the distortions and false attitudes that were in the pronouncement of the Gospel, the doctrine, the liturgy, the pastoral work, the ecclesiastical order, asceticism, and relations with other Christians and the world, but they did not give up. Suspected, impeded, discredited, branded as heretics, persecuted and exiled by co-brothers, shepherds, and theologians in the Church, they carried on their work as best they could! Singled out as dangerous, extremists, ultra-radicals, heretics, revolutionaries, they always advanced as far as they were permitted, and, at times, even further. ....
"Many times - sometimes only after decades, at other times, only after death - a gesture of gratitude was shown toward them; some of them were rehabilitated only by Vatican Council II ....
"What a few started with modesty and insignificance and what slowly succeeded in taking hold with great efforts, has now developed and multiplied many times over: in the renewal of theology, the liturgy, and Church life in general. ....
"It has been proven that those harbingers of a new truth were not people on the fringe, lonely outsiders, but rather the vanguard troop of an army which, though undoubtedly slow, were determined to forge ahead. With regard to this army, some official representatives of theology and the Church leadership have proved to actually be a rear guard."
(Veracidade - O Futuro da Igreja, Sao Paulo: Herder, 1969, pp. 161-162).