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above: Gargantua at table, illustration by Gustave Doré from Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais (public domain)

Polemics & Exchanges

A Conciliar Critique, Etc.

It is significant but not surprising that Ross Douthat in his book The Decadent Society and reviewer John M. DeJak (“A Decadent Diagnosis,” August 2020 Chronicles) both overlooked the pivotal impact of Vatican II and Catholic social doctrine.

These two liberal landmarks changed the religious and cultural focus from duty to freedom; from truth to inclusiveness; from repentance to rationalization; from gratitude to entitlement; from hierarchy to equality; from objective morality to subjective morality; from capitalism to socialism; from religion to politics; from God-given rights to manufactured rights; and from traditional Catholicism to the false religion of social justice.

As I see it, the only way out of this doomsday scenario is a renaissance of traditional Catholicism. Currently, what is most needed is an ongoing exposé of Vatican II and Catholic social doctrine as seed beds of disunity, heresy, confusion, and decadence.

George J. Koenig
St. Francis, Wis.


Mr. DeJak Replies:

The task of the reviewer is to observe, laud, critique, condemn, lament, discourage, or recommend the book he is considering within certain space constraints. Given such limitations, one must be selective in what he chooses to address. Mr. Koenig’s letter seems to imply that the Second Vatican Council is some sort of “third...

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