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In emotional final address to Rome clergy Pope says true meaning of Vatican II is finally emerging

By on Friday, 15 February 2013

Pope Benedict blesses the Roman clergy at the end of his address (AP)

Pope Benedict blesses the Roman clergy at the end of his address (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken openly about the greatest achievements of the Second Vatican Council in his final address to the priests of the Diocese of Rome.

The Pope, who will step down on February 28, praised as “an act of providence” the Council’s decision to make liturgy as the adoration of God, its first order of business, but he criticised what he called misunderstandings of the liturgical reform the Council fostered.

The Pope said that celebrating the Mass in a modern language does not suffice to make its mysteries intelligible and an external participation by the laity in worship does not necessarily produce “communion with the Church and thus fellowship with Christ.”

Pope Benedict XVI also said the press mispresented the Council as a political struggle for “popular sovereignty” in the church. This “council of the media” was responsible for “many calamities, so many problems, so much misery,” the Pope said. “Seminaries closed, convents closed, liturgy trivialised.”

But the Pope said that the “true council” which was based on faith, is today “emerging with all its spiritual strength,” and he called on his listeners to “work so that the true council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realised and the Church is really renewed.”

The talk gave Pope Benedict a chance to underscore one of the major themes of his pontificate almost at its end. In a landmark speech during his first year as Pope, he had proclaimed the importance of reading Vatican II in continuity with the Church’s millennial traditions, not as a radical break with the past. His efforts to promote such interpretations have culminated in the current Year of Faith, which opened last October on the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.

In his speech to the clergy, Pope Benedict highlighted some of the Council’s greatest achievements as well as difficulties in their implementation. He praised the document Dei Verbum, on the interpretation of Scripture, as one of the Council’s “most beautiful and innovative” documents, but said “there is still much to be done to arrive at a reading of Scripture that is really in the spirit of the council,” because many scholars continue to read the Bible as a merely human book, without reference to faith or the Church’s teaching authority.

The Pope also told an anecdote about the late Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne who, when Blessed John XXIII once summoned him to Rome, “was afraid he had perhaps said maybe something incorrect, false and that he had been asked to come for a reprimand, perhaps even to deprive him of his red hat,” the Pope said.

Instead, Cardinal Frings received Blessed John’s praise, and later brought the future Pope Benedict with him to the Council as his personal adviser.

Before the Pope’s talk, the several thousand priests in the Vatican’s audience hall greeted him with a standing ovation and a shout of “Long live the Pope!”

Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the vicar of Rome, then read a short tribute to the Pope, likening the occasion to the departure of St Paul from Ephesus in the Acts of the Apostles.

The cardinal cried as he concluded, telling the Pope, “in the name of all the priests of Rome, who truly love the Pope, that we commit ourselves to pray still for you and for your intentions, so that our grateful love may become, if possible, even greater.”

  • Peter

    We live in an unprecedented age.

    Our faith is strengthened by evidence.

    The scientific discoveries of the last hundred years are vindicating the ancient doctrines of the Church that creation had a beginning, began from nothing and is finite.

    How else could the Church have taught these doctrinal truths over the centuries in the face of opposition and adversity from all quarters unless they were divinely revealed to her?

    The scenario has changed.   Enemies are on the run.   They are reduced to spouting lies, lies such as science refutes God.

    But real science is truth and as such complements the doctrinal truths of the Church.   Truth cannot contradict truth.

    We live in unprecedented times.  There is now evidence that God exists through his divine revelation.

    As Pope Pius XII said:

    “Hence, creation took place in time.  Therefore there is a Creator.  Therefore God exists!”

    These words were spoken 60 years ago and they resonate more powerfully today than ever before.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Oh, now it’s the MEDIA who distorted Vatican II!

    It wasn’t the liberal-left Rhine Cardinals and Bishops, it wasn’t the priests who went mad, it wasn’t any of them who despoiled the Churches, gave us a “banal” liturgy, threw out our entire Catholic culture and way of life, protestantised our worship, taught heresy after heresy, ripped up the Missals, threw out the Holy Water, introduced theologies explicitly condemned by the pre-Council Magisterium, emptied the seminaries, convents and monasteries: it was the MEDIA.

    The man has taken leave of his senses or is in radical flight from reality mode. 

  • ThePharmacistofLanceArmstrong

    The Holy Father’s analysis is incomplete. It’s no coincidence that Karl Rahner and John Courtney Murray both ended up on the cover of TIME magazine owned by Henry Luce. This magazine enjoyed links with the CIA and Murray enjoyed connections not only with Luce but also with the Kennedys. When we throw in Fulton Sheen’s seemingly uncritical acceptance of the Council, a picture begins to emerge of a series of Faustian pacts not only with the media but MORE significantly with the American political establishment and its “American Century” project. The pact was delivered in Dignitatis Humanae, authored by Murray himself, then sealed by Paul VI’s visit to the USA in 1965.
     
    Paul seemed to understand better than John Paul and Benedict the danger of this alliance and by 1971 was already denouncing the pact as the “smoke of Satan” but could do nothing to halt the chaos emanating from it. A similar patter of ineffectiveness emerged under the last two papacies.
     
    We are now in a situation where the Catholic Church is being chased out of the public square even within the USA itself whose model as a benign, post-enlightenment democracy Fr. Murray sold to the Council Fathers back in 1963 as one with which the Church could do business in the interests of the common good and thus could promote wherever the Church enjoyed influence. It is a situation of total  irony and not lacking in significance that with the breakdown of the above relationship, Russia is looking far more attractive to the Church nowadays.  

  • licjjs

    benedict

    Remember this was an informal talk with his priests.  The way I interpret the Pope’s claim that there was a ‘council of the media’ is that it was precisely because there was a veritable flood of stuff – in print, on tv, from the pulpit etc – that priests and bishops, theologians and ‘professional’ catholics listened to, were engulfed by, were seduced by, and this is precisely what led to the trivialising of the liturgy, the closing of seminaries and convents etc etc.  He is not letting the ‘mad’ bishops and priests off the hook, he is saying that the omnishambles came about because people – bishops, priests, laity – did not immerse themselves in a spirit of faith in what the Holy Spirit was teaching us but in a false ‘spirit of the council’ which was disseminated by the media – taken in its broadest sense.  How often have you heard: ‘the Council says….’ when, in fact, it was Cardinal so-and-so who said it to the ‘Tablet’ or even the ‘Catholic Herald’.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    There is ample proof Licjjs that the Rhine Bishops came to Rome with a liberal-Modernist programme already worked out. Remember that the very first act of the council was to throw out the Schema that has taken more than two years to prepare. 

    To blame the media is to deliberately falsify history. The Council remains untouchable.

  • Ghengis

    John Paul II made Joseph Bernadine of Chicago a Cardinal (served 1982- 1996) who vandalized Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral by taking out statutes, high altar, communion rails,  and stained glass windows, all in the name of Vatican II. This pattern repeated itself over and over with others of his appointees (Rembert Weakland, in Milwaukee for example). I ask what kind of organization tears apart its own churches? Clearly JPII was not a good judge of character given that many of his appointees also turned out to be practicing homosexuals as was the case with the two men listed above. We must stop being naive and recognize that Catholicism is something we must defend and preserve not just hope it will all work out on its own.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    “If I were Pope I would……

    If I were Pope(s) are so insolent!….that these rush in where Angels fear to tread!

    WHY NOT THESE START THEIR OWN CHURCHES?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Berardine and Weakland were the two high American Churchmen who appointed many homosexuals to positions of power in the American Church. Both of them practicing sodomites. 

  • Ghengis

    Editors: Have the decency to explain rationally why you deleted my post: So much for free and civil discussion.

  • Ghengis

    Cardinal Joseph Bernadine of Chicago vandalized the city’s Holy Name Cathedral by taking out the statues, stained glass windows, high altar, and paintings in his wreckovation project. Rembert Weakland did the same in Milwaukee. Both of these were appointed by JPII which begs the question of whether proper judgment was used in appointing these men which clearly interpreted VII to mean that we must dismantle our Cathedral and Church buildings. We must all be vigilant against such abuse.

  • karlf

    “lies such as science refutes God” Really? But science does refute the Catholic teachings of Original Sin.

  • ThePharmacistofLanceArmstrong

    It would be more accurate to say that the Bishops of the Rhine and in particular their theologians came to the Council confused and even demoralized. They bore all the responsibility for starting two World wars. If your country has been bombed to bits by a victorious opponent, millions of your countrymen lying dead around you and then you are told that you are the one to blame for all of this then what do you expect? There is bound to be a reaction or questioning of traditional values.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Please back up your claim with evidence

  • FabioPBarbieri

    If that was the worst that Bernardin and Weakland had done, it would not be so bad. Unfortunately, what they did to the priesthood and the teaching and social environment of the Church in America was much worse, amounting to homosexual predominance. Now Pope John Paul II had had some very unhappy experiences with the Communists in his native country, where it was common practice to charge with homosexuality any priest the government did not like. So, early on in his papacy, he deliberately failed to pay attention to secret informations about the sexual habits of certain candidates for promotion. Eventually he realized his mistake (apparently, whenever he ran into Cardinal Mahoney of LA, he used to mutter “Hollywood” in a displeased tone), but by then it was too late.

  • karlf

    The Church claims that concupiscence originated as the direct result of Adam’s sin, and the original condition of human nature – which was wholly good – was thus corrupted. We now know however, (thanks to scientific progress) that we are evolved apes, and our behavioural instincts evolved in the same way, and with those of other animals, by the process of natural selection.
    To point out that we have evolved to be more intelligent, more self aware, with a greater consciousness and more complex social interactions, does not nullify these facts in any way.

  • karlf

    The Church claims that concupiscence originated as the direct result of Adam’s sin, and the original condition of human nature – which was wholly good – was thus corrupted. We now know however, (thanks to scientific progress) that we are evolved apes, and our behavioural instincts evolved in the same way, and with those of other animals, by the process of natural selection.
    To point out that we have evolved to be more intelligent, more self aware, with a greater consciousness and more complex social interactions, does not nullify these facts in any way.

  • Ghengis

     Thank you for that brief point of history; I had never understood why JPII appointed so many practicing homosexuals as Bernadine and Weakland among many others in my country.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O6LTA43SFNSWPKSNSRDDHYNUCQ J

    There is no Holy Father but God. The pope is a sinful man just like all other men. “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God”. There is none Holy but God the Father, The Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Do not call a man, Holy Father.

  • No more NO!

    Google Dr Grady McMurtry.  Watch his presentations on YouTube.
    He proves that the science is NOT about us being descended from Apes – but rather, that those who would prefer the power being removed from Christ’s Church and given instead to THEMSELVES, are making monkey’s out of US! LITERALLY!

    Grady McMurty – a member of Mensa, was SO intelligent, that he was teaching University Students about Evolution when he himself was only 12 YEARS OLD!!!  He realised that there is no proof to back up Evolution, – it just simply does not exist.

    Christ said, that unless we believe “the writings of Moses” we are not likely to believe His own words!  Well, the writings of Moses are the first 5 books of the Bibles, – as a Christian you should  KNOW that.  There is no contradiction in terms at play here.  A Christian, is directly finding fault with the entire reason for Christ’s incarnation, if they believe that we are “evolved from Apes”

    The Bible states that we are created in God’s image and likeness.  Are you saying that God took billions of years to finally create something a mirror-image of Himself?  What a lot of phooey!  Since God is all-knowing, infinite perfection, and super-human in intellect – it is laughable to think that an Ape (which is still with us today – swinging through the trees in the jungle)  could have evolved into a Man.

    Created Matter does not “evolve” over time It decays!  

    Google for a list of Scientists who BELIEVE in Creation – and you will be amazed at how little you REALLY know about human intelligence and how it is NOT intelligent to believe ANYTHING simply “evolved” from nothing.  Anything intelligently designed has to have a source of Creation.  A box of Timex watch parts, will not simply put itself together, no matter HOW long you wait for it to do so!

    Dr John McKay is ANOTHER Creationist worth watching.

  • Charles Martel

     I agree, Benedict. This kind of stuff will not help to restore the Church. It’s just sad to hear the Pope claim that the true meaning of Vatican II is only just emerging. Where is the evidence for this? It’s just an assertion, a pious nostalgic nod to the Council of his youth. No one cares anymore. Young Catholics really couldn’t care less about this. It’s time to give the Council a decent burial and move on.

  • JabbaPapa

    I think the Holy Father’s point is that the local hierarchies listened to the media, rather than to the true intentions of the Council Fathers.

    But, dear Benedict, it’s rather uncharitable to describe our Holy Father, in these final weeks of his Pontificate, as a “man [who] has taken leave of his senses or is in radical flight from reality mode!!!

    As a traditionalist in Communion with our Holy Church, you should instead be grateful to this Pope for acknowledging this massive issue between the implementation of the Council and the Eternal teachings of our Church …

  • Sweetjae

    The very same reason why we DO NOT blame the Holy Bible for the bad fruits of Luther, Huss, Calvin, Wycliffe (all are ex-catholic clergy) and the spread of protestantism.

    The Holy Bible is ambiguous on subjects like Infusion by Grace, Justification, the nature of Holy Trinity, Mariology etc. But we don’t blame it for the rise of Protestantism.

    Martin Luther also used the same accusation against the Pope and Church, in fact he used the same Bible to prove the Church is wrong on her interpretations and ‘novel’ doctrines. So is there any difference between those who think are above the Pope and a duly convened Council?

    Benedict in order for your argument to be consistently logical you have no option but to blame the Holy Scripture as well.

  • Sweetjae

    The very same reason why we DO NOT blame the Holy Bible for the bad fruits of Luther, Huss, Calvin, Wycliffe (all are ex-catholic clergy) and the spread of protestantism.

    The Holy Bible is ambiguous on subjects like Infusion by Grace, Justification, the nature of Holy Trinity, Mariology etc. But we don’t blame it for the rise of Protestantism.

    Martin Luther also used the same accusation against the Pope and Church, in fact he used the same Bible to prove the Church is wrong on her interpretations and ‘novel’ doctrines. So is there any difference between those who think are above the Pope and a duly convened Council?

    Benedict in order for your argument to be consistently logical you have no option but to blame the Holy Scripture as well.

  • JabbaPapa

    science does refute the Catholic teachings of Original Sin

    WRONG !!!

    Science refutes the teachings of Biblical literalist fundamentalist Evangelical Young Earth Creationists — teachings invented, BTW, in the 19th Century

    Those teachings have nothing to do with Catholicism.

  • Sweetjae

    That is what I’m telling you all along. These people have no sense of gratitude to anybody except themselves. In most of their blogs, they even consider the excommunication of their founder as non-existent, some outright deny and condemned the Blessed JPII.

    They don’t even consider the ‘lifting’ of excommunication as an act of compassion of B16. In fact they believe they are INFALLIBLY right NOT the Magisteria of 5-Supreme Pontiffs NOT the Council but hey they won’t admit it, so I guess they have a pass like the modernists.

  • Sweetjae

    I also never understood why Jesus Christ appointed Judas Iscariot as the treasurer and one of the original 12 Apostles!

  • Sweetjae

    I care and the great orthodox Catholic majority who have deep fidelity to the Popes, the Church and all her Councils.

    The kind of stuff that will only restore the Church is for EVERY SINGLE Catholic whether liberal or ‘traditionalist’ to listen and obey the Teachings of the Church, period! It’s only themselves to blame not the Church nor her Councils.

  • Sweetjae

    You are a Protestant Mr. j right? Well, I wonder why Jesus Christ Himself called Abraham as FATHER Abraham.

  • Sweetjae

    Llicjjs, I totally agree with. The bias and lies of the Media about Christians in general is so astounding that when repeated becomes the ‘truth’ to so many that led them astray not sparing the clergy.

    Just look at the vitriol and hatred they hurled against the Pope and us in many blogs.

  • Parasum

    “Pope Benedict XVI also said the press mispresented the Council as a political struggle for “popular sovereignty” in the church. This “council of the media” was responsible for “many calamities, so many problems, so much misery,” the Pope said. “Seminaries closed, convents
    closed, liturgy trivialised.””

    ## “Closed” & “trivialised” not by the media, but by bishops (& closing such buildings is sometimes entirely appropriate). No one else has the authority to close or de-consecrate churches. The media didn’t hold “clown “Masses””, or “Wild West “Masses”” – some bishops did.
    It is not easy to see how the media can be blamed for – among other things – the quasi-abolition of the Old Mass. The media did not govern the dioceses of the Church, or “re-order” churches, or do away with choirs, or decide that ugliness was desirable in the Liturgy. How was the media responsible for the doctrinal confusion & misery that followed doctrinal reversals such as Dignitatis Humanae ? Were the media to blame for the failure of one bishops’ conference after another to support & teach & explain the teaching in Humanae Vitae ? Can the moral failures of X really be blamed on Y instead ? How were the media responsible for the great number of “Masses” offered using “cookies”, rather than valid matter ? The media did not make JP2 call the Assisi Abominations. Did the media give him the idea of making  dozens – 95, IIRC – of (pseudo-)apologies for various episodes in the Church’s past ?

    Even when every possible criticism of the media has been made, there is still a very great deal for which the media cannot be blamed. Are the media to blame for poor catechesis, or for the abolition of the missions ? If the Catholic media are to blame for anything, by – say – not thinking in a Catholic manner: why might that be ? If the Catholic media stopped being Catholic – why ? And if they did – what did the bishops do about it ?

    Bishops ought to have more spine than to be swayed by the media anyway. Whatever else can be said against Pius XII and his predecessors, they had courage, in plenty. Pius IX showed enormous courage in publishing the Syllabus of Errors, & in holding Vatican I; he had his priorities right. When the media are in the wrong or are propagating error or blasphemy & suchlike rubbish – then they should be ignored. What sort of bishop is afraid of mere men, anyway ? A successor of the *Apostles* has no right to be afraid of anything or anyone, save God Alone.

    Blaming the media for everything is no solution to anything. Were it not for the media, events uncovered in 2002 might still be going on, rotting the Church even more than they have. Kudos to the media for exposing those events.

  • Parasum

    “There is now evidence that God exists through his divine revelation.”

    ## Such as…?

  • Parasum

     ## How does it do that ? How can it do that ?  O.S. is not a matter of biology or of history. It does not depend on the historical reality of Adam & Eve. 

  • Sweetjae

    When I say ‘these people’ I don’t mean all.

  • Sweetjae

    Nobody is saying that everything must be blame to the Media but rather when Media starts to twist the truth, gross exaggeration and just being bias to Christians in general and by repeating the same lie it becomes the perceived ‘truth’ to so many people not sparing the educated, academia and religious.

    Can the moral failures of Luther and the Protestants be blame to the Holy Bible instead?

  • Kevin

    So when are we going to put an ape on trial for committing a crime?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    I urge all visitors to read this article: the first comment underneath is from an American Bishop.

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/02/fr-dariusz-okos-major-article-with-pope.html

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    It’s more than high time that a spade is called a spade. 

  • No more NO!

    If we call ourselves “Christian”  how do we avoid being challenged  by THIS passage, in the N/T if we try to proclaim to one another that the Divinely inspired text in the Book of Genesis is not literally true.  Wouldn’t we be calling Our Lord God a liar?
    2 Timothy 3:16    All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,
    You suggest that it is to be considered “Fundamentalist”  to believe in the words of the Creation account – yet in the Gospel according to St John, Ch 5, Christ COMMANDS us to believe everything that has been revealed in “the Scriptures”
     St John, Chapter 5. (Douay Rheims Challoner v)
    [39] “Search the scriptures, for you think in them to have
    life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of ME. [40] And you
    will NOT come to me that you may have LIFE.”

    “[41] I receive glory not from men. [42] But I know you, that
    you have not the love of God in you. [43] I am come in the name of my Father,
    and you receive me not: if ANOTHER shall come in his OWN name HIM you will
    receive. [44] How CAN you believe, who receive glory one from another: and the
    glory which is from GOD ALONE, you do not seek? 

    [45] Think not that I will accuse you to the Father. There IS
    one that accuseth you, MOSES, in whom you trust.

    [46] For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe
    me also; for he wrote of ME. [47] But if you do not believe HIS writings, how
    will you believe MY words?
    “His writings” (Moses) are, The Books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
     Father’s Comments NB [39] Search the scriptures: Scrutamini. It is not a command for all to read the scriptures; but a reproach to the Pharisees, that reading the scriptures as they did, and thinking to find everlasting life in them, they would not receive him to whom all those scriptures gave testimony, and through whom alone they could have that true life.

  • Peter

    Pride is the root of sin.  There is no evidence of pride in the animal  kingdom only in man.  

  • Peter

    This again is an untruth.

    Science cannot demonstrate that animals exhibit pride which is the root of all sin in men.

  • Peter

    We know the universe had a beginning with the big bang; we know it is finite because it has been expanding for a finite amount of time; and a better understanding of quantum mechanics is leading us to the realisation that it began from nothing, i.e. no space and no time.

    Which is precisely what the Church as taught as doctrine for centuries in the face of constant opposition from scientists and philosophers who said the universe was infinite and eternal, and from pagans and gnostics who said that it was created from pre-existing material.

    The truth of divinely revelation to through Scripture and Tradition is now being vindicated by scientific knowledge, another form of truth, which is understandable because truth does not contradict truth.

    The stakes are now raised.  God is reachable through reason, which strikes fear into the heart of many.  Faith is reinforced beyond measure.  The world will never be the same.

  • Peter

    One can be a creationist and a Catholic, but the refutation of creationism is not the refutation of Catholicism.

  • Peter

    “The truth of divinely revelation to through Scripture and Tradition…” 

     should read 

    “The truth of divine revelation through Scripture and Tradition…”

  • karlf

    Dr Grady McMurtry has no scientific credibility whatsoever. Google it. Denying the overwhelming evidence for evolution won’t get you very far at all.

  • karlf

    Even if that were true, it doesn’t affect the validity of what I’m saying, as you can see.

  • karlf

    Why would we want to do that?

  • karlf

    The Catholic Church claims that concupiscence (i.e. aspects of human nature) originated as the direct result of Adam’s sin, and the original condition of human nature – which was wholly good – was thus corrupted.
    Science refutes these claims by showing that what we call ‘concupiscence’ had evolved, and therefore had always been part of human nature.

  • Tomvenour

    Well interjected Kevin – I think the very good point you are making is lost on Karif.

  • Tomvenour

    The original nature of the Ape is wholly innocent also. Humans are not apes and our desires are no doubt more complex, as complex as the spirit. But you cannot ever – I suggest – try to disprove God by scientific means. Science is of the world but the spirit is something ‘other’ Scientists are in essence telling fibs when suggesting they can disprove God, when they are always returning to the beginning of their scientific journey with yet more questions…

  • Tomvenour

    The Adam and Eve story is allegorical I believe. At what point would you choose to introduce the spirit and awareness into the Human evolutionary process? You can’t. I understand the churches teaching here to mean that awareness of good and evil and the indulging or ‘taking’ of the ‘fruit’ has opened a Pandoras box of desire that is so hard to extinguish it causes suffering – expulsion…