In a column published Monday, Italian analyst Sandro Magister of L’Espresso says Pope Benedict XVI favors a renewed interpretation of the II Vatican Council, unbiased by historical distortions.
According to Magister, “There exists great expectation about what Pope Benedict XVI will say in his homily at St. Peter’s on December 8, exactly 40 years after the end of the Council.” Magister notes that the diverse opinions about how to interpret the Council have given rise to the current strife within the Church. He points out that “on numerous occasions, Joseph Ratzinger has shown he does not share” the vision of those who believe the Council gave birth to a “spirit of reform” that never ends and that constantly breaks with the tradition of the Church.
Magister speculates that the Pope’s homily “will not address the issue from a historical perspective,” but part of what the Pope thinks can be found in the recent essay by Walter Brandmüller of the Committee of Historical Sciences, published—not by coincidence—by L’Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The essay underscores “the impossibility of historically and theologically sustaining an interpretation of Vatican II “as a totally new beginning, as if it were ‘super dogma’ that made everything else irrelevant.”
Magister’s complete column can be found at