Vatican II’s call for renewal did not break with tradition, pope says
The Second Vatican Council’s call for “renewal” did not mark a break with tradition or a watering down of the faith, but reflected Christianity’s lasting vitality and God’s eternal presence, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Christianity is always young and in “perpetual bloom,” he said during an audience Oct. 12 with 15 bishops who participated in Vatican II between 1962-65. The private audience also included the patriarchs and archbishops of the Eastern Catholic churches and presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences, who were attending the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization.
Pope Benedict fondly recalled the council, saying it was a time that was “so vivacious, rich and fruitful.”
He praised Blessed John XXIII’s usage of the term “aggiornamento” or “renewal” for the church, even though, he said, it’s still a topic of heated and endless debate.
“But I am convinced that the insight Blessed John XXIII epitomized with this word was and still is accurate,” he said.
“Christianity must never be seen as something from the past, nor lived with one’s gaze always looking back, because Jesus is yesterday, today and for all eternity,” Pope Benedict said.
“This ‘renewal’ does not mean a break with tradition, rather it expresses a lasting vitality,” he said.
Renewal doesn’t mean watering down the faith, lowering it to fit modern fads or trends, or fashioning it to fit public opinion or one’s own desires, “rather it’s the contrary,” he said.
“Exactly as the council fathers did, we have to make the times in which we live fit the Christian event; we have to bring the ‘today’ of our time into the ‘today’ of God,” which is eternal, he said.
Vatican II taught the church that it always must speak to the people “of today,” he said. However, there is no easy way to do it; it has to be done by people whose lives are firmly rooted in God and who live their faith “with purity,” he said. [More]