This is a portion of chapter 12 of my book, Reflections on Radical Catholic Reactionaries (December 2002; revised second edition: 17 August 2013; slightly revised again in November 2023 for the purpose of the free online version).
The entire radical Catholic reactionary argument concerning the alleged “ambiguity” of Vatican II rests on an obvious and glaring fallacy: viz.,
P1 The Council says x (in its actual words).
P2 The "conservatives" (i.e., orthodox Catholics) interpret the words in a Catholic sense, consistent with sacred tradition.
P3 The liberals (or, modernists) interpret the words in a heterodox, un-Catholic, revolutionary sense.
C1 The words of the council must therefore lend themselves -- in their essence, intrinsically, and objectively -- to either interpretation.
C2 Since both readings occur in fact, therefore the council is deliberately ambiguous, and "compromises the faith."
The fallacy lies in C1, leading to further false assertion C2. It is not established by logic; nor is it proven that the council is the sole (or even primary) cause of what comes after it. One can see how fallacious this is, using the analogy of the Bible:
PP1 The Bible says x (in its actual words).
PP2 Catholics interpret the words in a Catholic sense, consistent with sacred tradition.
PP3 Protestants, and heretics such as Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons interpret (many of) the words in a heterodox, un-Catholic sense.
CC1 The words of the Bible must therefore lend themselves -- in their essence, intrinsically, and objectively -- to either the Catholic or the heretical interpretation.
CC2 Since both readings occur in fact, therefore the Bible is deliberately ambiguous, and "compromises the faith."
The reasoning is precisely the same in both cases. All Christian sects and heresies appeal to the Bible (and here we encounter the doctrinal and hermeneutical relativism of sola Scriptura). Likewise, liberals appeal to Vatican II. We would expect no less, since they also appeal to Scripture (even homosexual activists try to find support for their abominable viewpoints in Scripture, with some of the worst, twisted exegesis known to man).
Pro-abortionists find abortion in the U.S. Constitution, under a supposed "right to privacy" -- rather like the ersatz liberal alleged "spirit" of Vatican II. Just as the Bible in no wise teaches what pro-abortionists / childkilling advocates claim it does, so it is the case that Vatican II does not teach these damnable falsehoods, either.
One must look at the objective words of the council, interpreted through cross-referencing within its own documents, and the historical precedent of Catholic orthodoxy, just as one does with the Bible: through exegesis, hermeneutics, and the appeal to the apostolic tradition as a norm of authentic interpretation.
Reactionaries have it exactly backwards -- they locate the meaning of the conciliar documents in the liberal distortions and "co-opting" of them, which makes no sense at all; in fact, it is scandalous, coming from those who claim to be upholding tradition. It is as unseemly as taking a Mormon interpretation of Scripture as the criterion for proper biblical hermeneutics, then condemning the Bible because of the heretical and false nature of Mormon teaching.
See many defenses of Vatican II (search that term) on my Church web page. For much more on Catholic reactionaries, see my Radical Catholic Reactionaries vs. Catholic Traditionalism web page. "Reactionary" is not an "epithet." It's a carefully worked-out definition and sociological analysis, borne of more than 25 years of my own research and observation and personal debates.