Interesting thread developing below.
Stop by here.
To stir the pot even further, remember this:
The essay was written by James Hitchcock. He's not known to channel for Hutton Gibson, for pete's sake. For example, try this defense of another council document, Lumen Gentium. For more, try this.
He's entitled to a respectful hearing, and to rebuttals that go beyond "the Council was protected from error." (1)
Well, yeah....so what?
That doesn't mean that the document is going to fully address any particular issue, nor does it mean that a document won't downplay aspects of church teaching.
See, e.g. Cantate Domino's failure to reference the established requirements for committing a mortal sin. Also see Sacrosanctum Concilium, which has led to dozens of attempted clarifications and revisions, as well as a liturgy war now in its second generation. Try here and here for the differing interpretations of that foundational decree. Try to space out your time between reading the two perspectives so as to avoid vertigo.
Nor--and I think this is Dr. Hitchcock's point--does it mean that a conciliar document, by virtue of its emphasis, incompleteness or even flaws--isn't especially susceptible to distortion or interpretation in all manner of disastrous ways.
The essay strikes me as a reasonable, respectful argument that GS suffers from particular weaknesses that mandate discussion and critical analysis. This should not be a problem--unless reasoned, respectful critiques are only permitted for the declarations of the other twenty ecumenical councils.
(1) Nor, for that matter, do I think GS should be regarded as a "risible piece of _____." It does condemn modern evils--e.g., GS 27, 51.