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Vatican daily explains link between lifting of excommunications and anniversary of Vatican II
Vatican daily explains link between lifting of excommunications and anniversary of Vatican II

.- In an editorial this Sunday, the L’Osservatore Romano underscored that the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to life the excommunications of four bishops ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is a “gesture of mercy” that should encourage the members of the Society of St. Pius X to embrace the Second Vatican Council, which “half a century after its announcement is sill alive in the Church.”

The editorial notes that “half a century ago, on January 25, 1959, the announcement of Vatican II by John XXIII was a great surprise which went beyond the confines of the Catholic Church.  By the next day, the Archbishop of Milan—who in 1963 would become Paul VI—defined the future Council as an ‘historic event of enormous importance’, that is, ‘important today, tomorrow, important for the nations and for human hearts, important for all the Church and for all of humanity.”

Paul VI, following the steps of John XXIII, “saw quickly and with clarity the historical and religious perspectives of Vatican II: the most vast assembly in history was conceived and opened by a 78 year-old Pope, a century after the interruption of Vatican I (desired by Pius IX of almost the same age), courageously fulfilling an idea that had been suggested under the Pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII.”

The editorial goes on to explain that the application of Vatican II has not been easy “because of the impact of the council decisions on the life of the Church, on the liturgy, on the mission, on the relations with other Christian confessions, with Judaism, with other religions, on the affirmation of religious freedom, on the attitude towards the world.” 

“The latest Pope, Benedict XVI, who participated fully and enthusiastically at the council as a very young theologian, laid out the Catholic interpretation of the council in 2005: an event that is read not in the logic of a discontinuity that would make it absolutely isolated from tradition; but rather in the logic of a reform that opens it to the future. A council that, like all the others, should be inserted into history and should not be made into a myth, inseparable from its documents, which from the historical point of view cannot be set in opposition to a supposed ‘spirit’ of Vatican II.”

The editorial, whose date of publication also coincided with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, highlights that “the good fruits of the council are innumerable and among these appears the gesture of mercy related to the bishops excommunicated in 1988.”

“A gesture,” the article explains, “that would have pleased John XXIII and his successors, in a pure offer that Benedict XVI, the Pope of peace, has wished to make public coinciding with the anniversary of the announcement of Vatican II, with the clear intention of seeing the painful fracture soon healed, an intention that will not be clouded by the unacceptable negative opinions and attitudes towards Judaism of some members of the community to which the Bishop of Rome has extended a hand.”

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