Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Realistic look back

From Zenit, a little perspective from our holy Fatheron the place of the Vatican II council in the post-modern world.

Pope Surveys Post-Vatican II Trials

Aide Says He Gives Vision of Realism and Humility

VATICAN CITY, JULY 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he had great enthusiasm during the Second Vatican Council, but acknowledges the difficulties the Church has faced since those years.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi recounted the Pope's words during the most recent edition of the Vatican Television program "Octava Dies." The Vatican spokesman was commenting on the Holy Father's question-and-answer session last Tuesday with priests from two dioceses of northern Italy.

Father Lombardi recalled that the Bishop of Rome answered a priest who spoke of living through the Second Vatican Council, the hopes of "changing the world," and the difficulties of the succeeding years.

The Pontiff replied: "I also lived the time of the Council with great enthusiasm; it seemed that the Church and the world had met again. We had hoped a great deal -- but things showed themselves to be more difficult."

Father Lombardi affirmed that the question-and-answer session had a "relaxed climate of reciprocal confidence among those who have dedicated their lives to so many years of pastoral service in a difficult world that is in constant change."

In this context, "the Pope delineates with a few very effective sketches the Church's path of the last decades, profoundly interpreting it in the context of the contemporary world," the Vatican official added.

Real hope

Father Lombardi said Benedict XVI recalled "above all the cultural crisis of the West that exploded in '68, with the fascination for Marxism and the illusion of creating a new world, and the crumbling of the communist regimes in '89: the fall of the ideologies that did not give room to faith but rather to skepticism.

"The Christian proclamation has to come to terms with this context," the Vatican spokesman added. "And the Church faces it with realism and humility without ceding to the triumphalism of those who think that they have found the way to the new world.

"At the bottom of this is the humility of the Crucified, which will always be contrasted by the great powers of the world, but which generates a real hope that is manifested in the creative vitality of the Church: in her communities and her movements, in the new responsibility of the laity, in ecumenical relations, in liturgical and spiritual experiences.

"The Pope of great theological ideas and great cultural wealth is also the one who helps us to live the simultaneously humble and rich condition of the hope of the Church on its way, as he says: 'With our feet on the ground and our eyes turned toward heaven.'"

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