What Did Vatican II Really Change?

Edited and compiled by Keith Green

Last Days Ministries, Box 40, Lindale, TX 75771-0040

The Roman Catholic Church is very proud of two distinct things: 1) that

it has never changed, and 2) that it has changed very much! I realize that

number 2 seems to contradict number 1, but anyone who has studied church

history even briefly, will be able to grasp what I'm trying to say.

First, Rome is very emphatic about making clear these unalterable


A. That she is the original and only church founded by Jesus Christ

upon the earth.

B. That her head, the pope, has the authority handed down from the

"first pope," Simon Peter, through "apostolic succession," (1) to sit in

the place of Jesus as the undisputed leader of all true Christians on


C. That her traditions and interpretations of scripture are the only

basis for forming the rules and guidelines that Christians everywhere

should live by.

D. And that her dogmas and doctrines, although they can be clarified,

enlarged, or re-stated for the sake of changing times, can never, ever be

abolished, contradicted, or altered. They are quite literally, "Canon


On the other hand, modern Roman Catholics are immensely pleased with

the reforms and evolution they have seen in their Church, especially since

the cataclysmic "Second Vatican Council" (more commonly know as "Vatican

II"). They point to how much has been done to open the way for "all

Christians everywhere to finally come together!" This, of course, does

seem very exciting, especially since Rome has been largely on the defensive

since the Reformation. Starting with the Council of Trent in 1546, there

has been one papal decree after another, which has completely make it

impossible (even forbidden) for Catholics to have any "fellowship" with


Ah, but "time heals all wounds" they say, and like everything else, the

giant chasm between Protestant and catholic now seems with the passing of

centuries, to appear like just a "little misunderstanding." And Vatican

II, which included such sweeping reforms as allowing Mass to be said in the

common local language, and no longer forbidding Catholics to read a

Protestant Bible, or attend a Protestant church service, seemed to make the

differences between Rome and the rest of the fragmented Christian world

look very petty.

As you probably might guess, I do not believe this to be the case. In

fact, in my research and studies I have only found the opposite to be true,

Yes indeed, the Catholic Church is changing! It has probably never changed

so much in all its history as during the past generation, but it has not

changed one, single, solitary doctrine! Each and every point of dogma that

has alarmed evangelical theologians for the past 400 years remains the

same, exactly as written, and in full force!

But because of all the changed garments, all the reformed liturgies and

ceremonies, and the resulting freedom of worship, Catholics everywhere (as

well as many Protestants) have mistakenly believed that something

substantial has really changed! But this is not a surprise, it has

happened before many times in history. When you change the key, the

instruments, or the rhythm of a song, almost everyone will believe you

have a new song. Only those who listen carefully to the lyrics, or who

know their music well, will realize that yes, the style is different, but

the song is the same!

The whole thing seems so sad to me, when I realize how very few there

are among Catholics (and Protestants) who really know what Roman

Catholicism teaches. It is truly shocking! And what's even more alarming,

is the potential for the devil to pull the wool over people's eyes because

of their ignorance.

I have received many letters from Catholics in response to the first

three Chronicles, which have basically said this: "The Catholic Church has

really changed! why not use the current beliefs and teachings that are a

result of Vatican II?" Believe me, in each of my articles, I was doing

just that! I would be a fool to be refuting doctrines and teaching that

are no longer being used. But because Catholic worship is based so much on

ritual, ceremony, and symbolic outward forms, the average Catholic believes

with all his heart that when he sees these surface things altered, that his

church has really changed! You have only to look at the documents of

Vatican II to see that this is not the case.

The Need for Vatican II


In the early 1960's, the Vatican knew that there was a need to give the

Church a face-lift. Many of its policies seemed out of place, and most of

its forms of worship were stiff and outdated. There was a feeling among

the bishops that the Church needed to evolve with the times, and there was

also a growing to re-unite with Rome, that she was going to have to give

herself a more pleasant and appealing appearance. There was also criticism

from her own ranks that her doctrines needed to be clarified and "re-

stated" in a more simple and less dogmatic tone than previous councils had


Thus the Second Vatican Council was called by Pope John XXIII in 1962,

and continued under Pope Paul VI until 1965 when it issued "The Documents

of Vatican II," each on different aspects of church teaching and doctrine.

The spirit and attitude of these documents were remarkably different from

any the Roman Church had ever produced. They were full of scriptural

references, and did not include any blatant "curses" on those who did not

agree (as previous councils had done). They were revolutionary in freeing

individual parish priests to conduct Masses in the way they best could

reach the local culture and community. This, as well as changes in church

administration and religious freedom were the main results of the Council.

In the following years, there were other changes that proceeded out of

Rome as a result of the new attitudes which were born from Vatican II.

These included the removal of the strict requirement to refrain from eating

meat on Fridays (and also the command to fast during Lent). Although these

practices were still encouraged, they were now optional instead of

mandatory. The whole Church seemed to be loosening up. And ecumenical

leaders the world over were beginning to see the light at the end of the

church-unity tunnel.

But in the midst of all this, a few ardent Christians still stubbornly

pointed out that although the procedure and the language of the Mass might

have changed, the meaning of it still remained very much the same. And

though the outward forms and words used by Rome had been altered much, the

things she taught and believed had only been confirmed and repeated in the

soft and soothing tone of the Vatican II documents.

The Charismatic Movement


And then came the "charismatic renewal" seemingly out of nowhere! With

the Pope's blessing, Catholics were taking part in charismatic Masses,

speaking in tongues, prophesying, singing and shouting side by side with

Evangelical Protestants! Everyone was so excited - they thought, "Now

we've got the devil licked!" Why, doctrine wasn't important anymore, that

was for seminary students and old, stuffy theologians! but as the

excitement started to quiet down a little, the Protestants noticed that a

few of their Catholic brothers and sisters were still praying to Mary, and

were even offering prayers for their dead relatives in the prayer meetings.

It soon became apparent that unity was not going to be as easy as it

had seemed at first. Protestants began to make inquiries, and they started

bothering their Catholic friends too much with questions like, "Do you

think the Pope is saved?" As you can see, the whole future of the

ecumenical movement hinges on this all-important question: "Can a Roman

Catholic be considered a genuine believer (according to the Bible), and

still believe the things the Roman Church teaches?"

The Things That Vatican II Did Not Change


To help answer that question, we have prepared a list of teachings and

practices (see next page) that have been adopted and perpetuated by the

Roman Catholic Church over the last 1600 years. It is important to note

that not one of these were altered at all by the Second Vatican Council.

A Scholar Looks at Vatican II


Dr. Loraine Boettner, noted Evangelical authority on Roman Catholic

doctrine, takes an in-depth look at the documents of Vatican II in the

preface to the fifth edition of his book Roman Catholicism. Dr. Boettner


"The Second Vatican Council, which closed late in 1965, made changes in

the liturgy, administrative practices, and in the matter of religious

freedom. It repeated the claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the only

true church, although it did recognize that other churches contain some

elements of truth.

"But Pope John XXIII, who called the first session, and Pope Paul VI,

who presided over the later sessions (as well as several prominent cardinal

and theologians), took care to emphasize that no changes would be made in

the doctrinal structure of the Church. However, Pope Paul did promulgate

[declare] one new doctrine, which asserts that `Mary is the Mother of the

Church.' The primary purpose of the Council was to update the liturgy and

administrative practices and so to make the Church more efficient and more

acceptable to the 20th century world.

"The introduction of the `New Mass,' for instance, brought about a

change in language - Latin is no longer required, except in the prayer of

consecration. But as Protestants, it is not important to us whether the

Mass is said in Latin or English or Swahili - it is not the language of the

Mass that we object to, it is its content and meaning. (See Chronicle II,

`The Sacrifice of the Mass').

"On previous occasions, Rome has changed her tactics when old methods

became ineffective, but she has never changed her nature. In any religious

organization, doctrine is the most basic and important part of its

structure, since what people believe determines what they do. An official

document, `The Constitution on the Church' prepared by the Council and

approved by the Pope, reaffirms basic Catholic doctrine precisely as it

stood before the Council met.

The doctrine of papal infallibility is restated. We are told that when

`by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith and morals...his

definitions, of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, are

justly called, irreformable (Article 25). The pope has lost none of his

powers. He remains the absolute ruler in the Roman Church. But if papal

decrees past and present are `irreformable, `what hope is there for real

reform in the Church of Rome?

Although many of these beliefs were practiced earlier than the dates

given, they did not become binding on all Catholics until they were

officially adopted by church councils and proclaimed by the Pope as dogmas

of faith. All dates are approximate.

1. Presbyter (or elders) were first called priests by Lucian...2nd


2. Prayers for the dead...A.D. 300.

3. The VENERATION (2) of angels and dead saints and the use of


4. The Mass as a daily celebration was adopted...394.

5. The beginning of the exaltation of Mary, and the first use of the

term "Mother of God" by the Council of Ephesus...431.

6. Priests began to dress different from the laity and to wear special


7. Extreme Unction (3) ...526.

8. The doctrine of purgatory was first established by Gregory the


9. Prayers began to be offered to Mary, dead saints, and angels...600.

10. The first man was proclaimed "Pope" (Boniface III)...610.

11. Veneration of the cross, images, and relics authorized...788.

12. Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by a priest was

authorized in...850.

13. Veneration of Saint Joseph...890.

14. College of cardinals begun...927.

15. Canonization of dead saints, first by Pope John XV...995.

16. The Mass developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance was made

obligatory in...11th century.

17. The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand,

Boniface VII...1079.

18. The rosary, or prayer beads copied from Hindus and Mohammadans) was

introduced by Peter the Hermit...1090.

19. The Inquisition (5) of "Heretics" was instituted by the Council of

Verona...1184, and was legalized and promoted by the Fourth Lateran

Council in 1215.

20. The sale of Indulgences...1190.

21. The seven sacraments defined by Peter Lombard...12th century.

22. The dogma of transubstantiation was decreed by Pope Innocent III


23. Confession of sins to the priest at least once a year was instituted

by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council...1215.

24. The adoration of the wafer (host) decreed by Pope Honorius III


25. The The scapular (6) invented by Simon Stock of England...1251.

26. The doctrine of purgatory proclaimed a dogma by the Council of


27. Tradition is declared of equal authority with the Bible by the

Council Trent...1546.

28. The Apocryphal Books were added to the Bible by the Council of


29. The Immaculate Conception (7) of Mary was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX

in 1854.

30. Pope Pius IX condemns all scientific discoveries not approved by

by the Roman Church...1864.

31. Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals proclaimed

by the First Vatican Council...1870.

32. Pius XI condemned the public schools...1930.

33. Pius XI reaffirmed the doctrine that Mary is "The Mother of God"


34. The dogma of the Assumption (8) of the Virgin Mary was proclaimed by

Pope Pius XII...1950.

35. Mary proclaimed the Mother of the Church by Pope Paul VI...1965.

"The document on the Church repeats in substance the teaching of the

Council of Trent that `priests and bishops are the representatives of God

on earth...justly, therefore, they are called not only angels, but gods,

holding as they do the place of authority of God on earth.' (Catechism of


"In fact, no more sweeping claims were made by the Council of Trent

(1545-1563), nor by the First Vatican Council (1870), than are made in

these documents from Vatican II. Despite all the claims to the contrary,

the Council has firmly maintained the doctrine of the primacy of Peter (4)

and of papal succession. In his book, Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul expressed

his distress because of what some of the `separated brethren' (9) say about

the pope as the stumbling block in the way of church unity. He said, `Do

not some of them say that if it were not for the primacy of the pope, the

reunion of the separated churches with Catholic Church would be easy? We

beg the separated brethren to consider the inconsistency of this position,

not only in that, without the pope, the Catholic Church would no longer be

Catholic, but also because without the supreme decisive pastoral office of

Peter, the unity of the Church of Christ would utterly collapse.'

"We must say that at this point we agree with the Pope, at least to

this extent, that if the Roman Catholic Church were reformed according to

scripture, it would have to be abandoned. But the gross errors concerning

salvation still remain. Moreover, the Council did nothing toward removing

the more than 100 anathemas or curses pronounced by the Council of Trent on

the Protestant churches and beliefs. If there is to be any true unity,

surely this would seem the logical place to start."



We could not find a more fitting conclusion than Dr. Boettner's:

"The `Constitution on the Church' makes it abundantly clear that Rome

has no intention of revising any of her basic doctrine, but only of

updating her methods and techniques for more efficient administration and

to present a more attractive appearance. This is designed to make it

easier for the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant churches to

return to her fold. There is no indication that she has any intentions of

entering into genuine give-and-take church unity negotiations. Her purpose

is not union, but ABSORPTION. Church union with Rome is strictly a one-way

street. The age-old danger that Protestantism has faced from the Roman

Church has not diminished; in fact, it may well have increased. For

through this less-offensive posture and this superficial ecumenicism, Rome

is much better situated to carry out her program of eliminating opposition

and moving into a position of world dominance. AN INFALLIBLE CHURCH SIMPLY



1) The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ ordained the 12

apostles to the priesthood at the Last Supper, and to their successors,

the Roman priesthood, Jesus promised and guaranteed His continual

presence in their teaching and governing until the end of time.

2) Veneration - profound respect or reverence; worship - American Heritage

Dictionary, Webster's Dictionary.

3) Extreme Unction, or "Anointing of the Sick" - one of the seven

sacraments, in which a priest anoints and prays for one in danger of


4) The doctrine that Christ has given Peter the key role of lawful

authority...that Peter would be His chief ambassador, His authentic

vicar (pope), and this power continues to be extended to Peter's

successors through the ages - the popes.

5) Inquisition - the act of inquiring into a matter; an investigation -

American Heritage Dictionary. Lucius III decreed that bishops should

take action against heretics. A characteristic of this decree was that

a suspect, once convicted of being a heretic, was to be handed over to

the secular arm for punishment. Before the Inquisition ran its course,

historians estimate that 5 to 15 million people lost their lives

through torture and and execution (From: A History of Christianity in

the World by Clyde L. Manschreck).

6) Piece of brown cloth with a picture of the Virgin, supposed to contain

supernatural power to protect from all dangers, to those who wear it on

naked skin.

7) This doctrine maintains that the Virgin Mary was in the first instance

of her conception, preserved from all stain of original sin.

8) The Catholic dogma that Mary ascended bodily into heaven without dying.

9) The term used by Vatican II to describe the members of other non-

Catholic Christian faiths.

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