A Catholic Monthly Magazine

On Fifty Years after Vatican II

Pope Benedict XVI“AGGIORNAMENTO” DOES NOT BREAK WITH TRADITION BUT EXTENDS ITS VITALITY VIS 14/10/2012

“Fifty years on from the opening of that solemn gathering of the Church”, Benedict XVI added, “some people may ask themselves whether that term aggiornamento was perhaps, from the very beginning, not entirely appropriate. For my part I am convinced that the intuition which Blessed John XXIII summarised in that word was and remains correct. Christianity must not be considered as ‘something that has passed’, nor must we live with our gaze always turned back, because Jesus Christ is yesterday today and forever. Christianity is marked by the presence of the eternal God, Who entered into time and is present in all times, because all times are brought forth of His creative power, of His eternal ‘today’.

“For this reason”, the Holy Father went on, “Christianity is always new. We must never see it is a fully mature tree sprung from the mustard seed of the Gospel; a tree which has grown, given its fruits and one day grows old as the suns sets on its life energy. Christianity is, so to speak, a tree ... that is ever young. This constantly updated vitality, this ‘aggiornamento’, does not mean breaking with tradition; rather, it is an expression of that tradition’s ongoing vitality. It does not mean reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times using the yardstick of what we like and what appeals to public opinion. Quite the contrary, just as the Council Fathers did, we must mould the ‘today’ in which we live to the measure of Christianity. We must bring the ‘today’ of our times into line with the ‘today’ of God.

THE “UNFORGETTABLE WORDS” OF BLESSED JOHN XXIIIVIS 14/10/2012

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII

The Holy Father began. “On this day fifty years ago I was in the square looking up at this window where the Good Pope, Blessed John XXIII, appeared and addressed us with unforgettable words, words full of poetry and goodness, words from the heart.

“We were happy, full of enthusiasm. The great Ecumenical Council has begun and we were certain that a new springtime for the Church is in the offing; a new Pentecost with a new and powerful presence of the liberating grace of the Gospel”.

CONCILIAR DOCUMENTS: A COMPASS TO GUIDE THE SHIP OF THE CHURCH VIS 10/10/2012

“The documents of Vatican Council II are, even in our own time, a compass guiding the ship of the Church as she sails on the open seas, amidst tempests or peaceful waves, to reach her destination. Rarely in history has it been possible, as it was then, to touch almost physically the universality of the Church at a moment of peak fulfilment of her mission to carry the Gospel into all ages and unto the ends of the earth”.

The Holy Father also mentioned the four conciliar Constitutions, describing them as “the four cardinal points of our guiding compass”: “Sacrosanctum Concilium” on the sacred liturgy, which speaks of the centrality of the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Church; “Lumen Gentium” which highlights the Church’s fundamental duty to glorify God; “Dei Verbum” on divine Revelation, which speaks of the living Word of God that unites and animates the Church throughout history, and finally “Gaudium et Spes” which deals with the way the Church transmits to the world the light it received from God. 


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