What Marshall omitted from Paul VI’s words…

Busted! How Taylor Marshall distorts what Paul VI really said about Vatican II

Abysmal research meets poor argumentation: Marshall holds up a copy of his book Infiltration in a July 16, 2020 video

Dr. Taylor Marshall has been busy cranking out YouTube videos and promoting his bestselling hack job Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within (2019). How much his research and analysis are worth, can be seen in one of his latest clips.

After a recent flare-up in controversies about the apostate fake Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Marshall released a 66-minute video entitled “Does Vatican II Contain Error? 3 Views on What to Do: Viganò, Schneider, Brandmüller” on July 16, 2020. In it, the Ph.D. in Thomistic philosophy essentially repeats what he wrote on p. 143 of Infiltration, namely:

Pope Paul VI promulgated Dignitatis humanae on 7 December 1965, and the next day he closed the Second Vatican Council and stated: “The magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements” [footnote: Pope Paul VI, Discourse closing Vatican II, 7 December 1965]. This effectively hamstrung the Council. It’s true that theological statements are made throughout the Conciliar documents. Yet the Council made no extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements. Nothing binding came from Vatican II. Paul VI clarified this a little over one month later when he explained: “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it has avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogma carrying the mark of infallibility” [footnote: Pope Paul VI, Audience of 12 January 1966]. By a divine miracle, the pope of Vatican II taught that Vatican II contained no extraordinary dogma and did not carry the mark of infallibility — meaning the documents of Vatican II are fallible and may contain error. Unlike the previous twenty ecumenical councils, the pope placed an asterisk next to Vatican II.

(Taylor R. Marshall, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within [Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2019], p. 143; italics given.)

We already took Marshall to task for this in our recent two podcasts unmasking Infiltration, but as Marshall repeats this again in his July 16 video, effectively misleading his audience, we decided to respond to it in a brief video rebuttal, released today:

Thanks to the internet, anyone can research for himself what Paul VI said in full and in context about the authority of Vatican II. To most people, however, it would never occur to do that, since Marshall comes across as competent, credible, and trustworthy. But is he?

Although it may appear at first sight that Marshall has a strong case, given the quotations he adduces from “Pope” Paul VI (1963-78), the fact of the matter is that Marshall has truncated the quotes, that is, he cut them short without even so much as alerting the reader of an omission by means of ellipsis dots (“…”). In other words, the unsuspecting reader has no way of knowing that he is being given a trimmed — and, as we will see, mangled — quotation.

This is where Novus Ordo Watch comes in.

Below we are reproducing the relevant passages in full. The parts Marshall did quote are rendered in blue font (the exact wording may vary somewhat due to different translations being used by our sources as opposed to Marshall’s), whereas the omitted portions are given in black. The most significant omitted parts are underlined:

But one thing must be noted here, namely, that the teaching authority of the Church, even though not wishing to issue extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements, has made thoroughly known its authoritative teaching on a number of questions which today weigh upon man’s conscience and activity, descending, so to speak, into a dialogue with him, but ever preserving its own authority and force; it has spoken with the accommodating friendly voice of pastoral charity; its desire has been to be heard and understood by everyone; it has not merely concentrated on intellectual understanding but has also sought to express itself in simple, up-to-date, conversational style, derived from actual experience and a cordial approach which make it more vital, attractive and persuasive; it has spoken to modern man as he is.

(Paul VI, Closing Speech for the Last General Meeting of the Second Vatican Council, Vatican.va, Dec. 7, 1965; underlining added.)

In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium. This ordinary magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents.

(Paul VI, Audience of Jan. 12, 1966; English translation from The Pope Speaks 11, n. 2 [Spring 1966], pp. 152-154; underlining added. Italian original here.)

What Paul VI really said, then, is actually in contradiction to what Marshall maintains in his book and in his video, namely, that the “Pope” placed a disclaimer (“an asterisk”) on Vatican II, such that its teachings were not actually binding and could be questioned by the faithful, even rejected.

For more information on a Catholic’s obligation to adhere to everything the Church teaches, not merely that which is proposed infallibly, see our post reproducing Canon George Smith’s 1935 article “Must I Believe It?”:

For more information about Vatican II and infallibility, please see John S. Daly’s blistering rebuttal of Lefebvrist star apologist Michael Davies:

It is important to understand that in Taylor Marshall we do not merely have a commentator making a hapless but innocent mistake about the authority Paul VI claimed Vatican II to have. We are dealing with a man who quietly omits text from a quote so that he can promote a position contradicted by what he omitted.

Merely omitting portions from a quote is not wrong necessarily. However, if it is done, ellipses must be used to indicate where text was omitted; and, in any case, it is never permissible to misrepresent the sense intended by the quoted author. This is standard academic practice. As a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Dallas (2011), Marshall is very well aware of this common-sense requirement.

Marshall’s Infiltration is filled with abysmal research, atrocious documentation, rash and unproven claims, errors, half-truths, and shoddy argumentation. Our most recent podcasts, TRADCAST 027 and TRADCAST 028, give a thorough review of the book and expose it as an utter train wreck:

Ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot of people out there who are currently taken in by Taylor Marshall. They think he’s found the holy grail and that his book is a work of careful research and serious erudition. Please spread the word that this is not so, perhaps by recommending that people watch our 12-minute clip exposing Marshall’s inexcusable distortion of Paul VI’s words on Vatican II. Pray that this will make them start wondering if perhaps Marshall isn’t the reliable, scholarly authority which he purports himself to be.

By the way: Just this morning it was annnounced that Taylor Marshall has been appointed to the “Catholics for Trump” advisory board. This comes roughly two weeks after President Donald Trump tweeted about Marshall’s interview on One America News.

By means of Infiltration, Marshall has catapulted himself into positions of (at least perceived) authority and influence.

It’s too bad he’s done so at the expense of truth.

Image source: youtube.com (screenshot)
License: fair use

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