In a special message from Pope Benedict XVI to the participants of the conference “Vatican Council II: Perspectives for the Third Millennium,” the Holy Father renewed his call to promote a correct interpretation of the Council in order to put its numerous fruits into practice.
In the message, sent in the Pontiff’s name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Pope Benedict XVI sent his cordial greetings to the nearly 800 participants gathered at the “Antonio Raimondi” Hall in Lima, saying he hoped the outcome of the meeting “would help deepen the understanding of the Council’s message, thus bearing forth abundant fruits of renewal and holiness in the Church.”
“In giving thanks to God for the gift of the Council—the most important ecclesial event of the 20th century,” the message continued, “we should find in it the source of an authentic renewal that would make it possible to address the challenges the Church and humanity face in the Third Millennium.”
The message, signed by Cardinal Sodano, noted that the interpretation of the Council needs to be “guided by a correct hermeneutic” and with the conviction, “affirmed by the Council itself, that all renewal in the Church consists essentially in an increase in fidelity to her vocation.”
“Today it is possible to look upon the Second Vatican Council with gratitude, as the Holy Father Benedict XVI has noted, and if we read it and receive it under the guidance of a correct reading and a proper interpretation, it will increasingly become a force of the ever-needed renewal of the Church,” the message indicated. “In this sense the Council is at once a gift and a challenge.”
“With these vivid desires, and invoking through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, abundant divine gifts upon the participants in this Conference, the Holy Father warmly imparts his apostolic blessing,” the message concluded.
The conference on Vatican II, which ended on January 22, was attended by a number of significant figures in the Church, including Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, Archbishop Alcides Mendoza Castro—the youngest bishop who attended the Council, Bishop Amaury Castanho of Jundiai, Brazil; Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, Pedro Morandé of Chile, member of the Pontifical Academy of Science: Vicente Espeche Gil, member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and former Argentine ambassador to the Holy See.
The keynote speaker at the conference, Luis Fernando Figari, who is also a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, recalled that Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out that “nobody can deny that in vast parts of the Church, the reception of the Council has been problematic.”
“The unfortunate existence of an incorrect understanding of the Council has led the Magisterium to denounce on many occasios the deviations and false readings. The Supreme Pontiffs have repeatedly encouraged a correct reading of the Council that expresses the vitality of the Church,” Figari said.
““The Council teaches that the separation between the faith one professes and one’s daily life must be considered as one of the greatest problems of our time,” he added. “The Council’s response is that of a faith lived out daily that gives glory to God,” Figari said in conclusion.