During his extensive homily, on the occasion of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrating the same day the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II Council, Pope Benedict said during the Mass celebrated in Saint Peters Basilica, that the Virgin Mary is “the key” to interpret the council documents.
The Holy Father began his homily reminding the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II council, which happened in the same Basilica of Saint Peters.
“A Marian framework that oversees the Council. Really, it is much more than a framework, it is a direction for its entire journey. It sends us back, as it sent the Council Fathers then, to the image of the Virgin who listens, who lives the Word of God, who preserves in her heart the words coming from God, and joining them together in a mosaic, learns to understand them (cfr Lc 2,19.51); it sends us back to the great Believer who, full of faith, placed herself in God’s hands, abandoning herself to His will; it sends us back to the humble Mother who, when the Son’s mission so required, put herself aside and at the same time, to the courageous woman who, when the disciples fled, stayed besides the cross.
The Pope remarked that still remains “ indelible in my memory the moment in which, listening to the words “‘Mariam Sanctissimam declaramus Matrem Ecclesiae’, ‘we declare Mary Most Holy as Mother of the Church,' spontaneously the Fathers of the Church were lifted from their seats and applauded, giving homage to Mary, our Mother, Mother of the Church.”
According to Pope Benedict, “the Council strived to tell us this: Mary is so interwoven in the great mystery of the Church, that She and the Church are inseparable as She is from Christ.”
In Mary Immaculate, we find the essence of the Church in an undeformed way,” the Pope added. We should learn from her, how to become “ecclesial souls,’ as the counciliar fathers expressed it.
In the evening, on the Spanish square in Rome, Pope Benedict will give homage for the first time in his pontificate to the image of the Imaculate Conception, presenting to her a bouquet of flowers.