Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Anniversary Almost Forgotten

49 years ago yesterday the most profound makeover of the Roman Catholic Church since the Council of Trent began in Rome.  Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, an unlikely individual to undertake such a pivotal event in history, called together some 2600 Bishops and teachers of the faith to deliberate upon a way to discern the signs of the times, modernize the approach of the Roman Church while sustaining the faith.  Without doubt there are many different perspectives upon the outcome of that Council.  Elected close to age 77 in 1958, John XXIII was thought to be a caretaker, someone to hold the chair of St. Peter while others prepared to lead Rome into the next decade.  He did not sit back but was energetic in the pursuit of many goals and tasks, especially the calling of the first Council in a hundred years.  He did not live to see it completed and his legacy was largely shaped by Paul VI, who succeeded him.  He remains the good pope and is as beloved today as he was fifty years ago.  He spontaneously erupted with an deeply personal and passionate call to his children, the faithful.

I feel your voices! Mine is just one lone voice, but it sums up the voice of the whole world.  And here, in fact, all the world is represented here tonight. It could even be said that even the moon hastens close tonight, that from above, it might watch this spectacle that not even St Peter's Basilica, over its four centuries of history, has ever been able to witness.

When you head home, find your children. Hug and kiss your children and tell them: 'This is the hug and kiss of the Pope.' And when you find them with tears to dry, give them a good word. Give anyone who suffers a word of comfort. Tell them 'The Pope is with us especially in our times of sadness and bitterness.' And then, all together, may we always come alive -- whether to sing, to breathe, or to cry, but always full of trust in Christ, who helps us and hears us, let us continue along our path.
Whatever your religion or feeling toward Vatican II, this was a moment of monumental change which few of the participants had any inkling of and its effect extended far past the boundaries of those in communion with the Bishop of Rome.


Chris said...

Indeed, Fr. Peters. Because of Vatican II and the influence exerted on it by the Protestants (6 Protestants from Tuebingen) were largely responsible for shaping the Novus Ordo Missa, and the influence it had, in turn, on Protestants, any possible unification of the churches to the Church is now impossible. Vatican II did irreparable harm to Christendom. Only its utter and complete repudiation will help to heal the wounds.

Terry Maher said...

If it's almost forgotten, it should be completely forgotten, or failing that, observed as a day of mourning.

John XXIII's fairly tale gushing is altogether typical of what was to come, and, on closer examination, also typical of what had been all along.

The hug and kiss of the Pope, the Pope is with us -- and what if Christ, well he helps us and hears us. Nice fellow, that Christ, what.

What twaddle from a decrepit celibate who has no children at all except in poetic and Platonic reveries.

Indeed, few of the participants had any inkling of what was to follow, and some of them have been in oh-oh mode ever since seeing what did follow. One of them is "Pope" now.

The fact is, it had been coming for decades, and the people who participated in that had every inkling of what was to come, and their only dispute is over how much and how far.

It's influence on us is self-inflicted. A counterpart to those who trade "Lutheranism" for a Willow Creek version of it, some on the other hand act as if finally this was the hoped for council at the outset of the Reformation, and trade "Lutheranism" for a Vatican II version of it.