Tuesday, January 27, 2009


H.H. Benedict XVI

On January 25th 1959 Blessed John XIII called upon the bishops of the Church to gather in the Vatican in council. This gathering of the Catholic episcopacy is known today as the Second General Council at the Vatican. The impact of both the actual teaching of the Council and the event itself have been monumental for the Church in the late XXth Century and early XXIst Century. With fifty years of perspective on the events of the Council how are we to understand this Council, how can we make sense of Vatican II.

The Vatican's daily paper, the L’Osservatore Romano, in its editorial on the anniversary puts the Council in proper perspective by quoting the Holy Father who attended as a young priest at the Council:

The latest Pope, Benedict XVI, who participated fully and enthusiastically at the council as a very young theologian, laid out the Catholic interpretation of the council in 2005: an event that is read not in the logic of a discontinuity that would make it absolutely isolated from tradition; but rather in the logic of a reform that opens it to the future. A council that, like all the others, should be inserted into history and should not be made into a myth, inseparable from its documents, which from the historical point of view cannot be set in opposition to a supposed ‘spirit’ of Vatican II.