It finally dawned on me that what happened after Vatican II was one of those periodic revolts among the lower clergy that cause great disruption. That is how the Reformation began, that’s how the Enlightenment began. Although some of the laity, mostly upper crust, and some of the hierarchy were involved, their reforms went ahead with very little respect for the opinions of those who they called “the people of God.”
That's a good point. A fish rots from the head, however, so there was obviously corruption at the top. But I think it would never have gone so far if it had not been promoted by lower level clergy. Some of them were the young products of corrupted seminaries; others were middle aged but had obviously gotten by in the world simply by disguising their opinions. I used to hear men like that preaching: you knew they believed not a word of their religion, but it was their job and they knew exactly how much they could get away with.
When the Church tried to stamp out modernism (which culminated in the evil aspects of Vatican II), it obviously didn't go about it the right way. Making these people take an oath didn't matter, because they didn't believe in oaths anyway. If you don't believe in God in the first place, what leverage does the Church have over you? It's hard to say why they wanted to go into the clergy. An easy living, perhaps; or possibly they started as believers and got corrupted. Or possibly it was the Devil, "who like a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour..."