The council was not a rejection of past tradition…
“The voice of the past is both spirited and heartening. We remember with joy those early popes and their more recent successors to whom we owe so much … Their uninterrupted witness, so zealously given, proclaims the triumph of Christ’s Church, that divine and human society which derives from its divine Redeemer its title, its gifts of grace, its whole dynamic force.”
…but rather an attempt to proclaim the Christ’s truth with a new “energy.”
“We have every confidence that the Church, in the light of this council, will gain in spiritual riches. New sources of energy will be opened to her, enabling her to face the future without fear. By introducing timely changes and a prudent system of mutual cooperation, we intend that the Church shall really succeed in bringing men, families, and nations to the appreciation of supernatural values.”
“What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith, without forfeiting that accuracy and precision in its presentation which characterized the proceedings of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council. What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms. For this deposit of faith, or truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing; the manner in which these truths are set forth (with their meaning preserved intact) is something else.”
The Church does not reject science or advances in knowledge, but all human striving should be done with eternity in mind.
“[A]ll men without exception, both individually and in society, have a lifelong obligation to strive after heavenly values through the right use of the things of this earth. These temporal goods must be used in such a way as not to jeopardize eternal happiness.”
“Real [scientific] progress must not be impeded by a passing infatuation for transient things.”
The Catholic Church’s teaching should be proclaimed to all and not kept hidden.
“[The Church’s teaching] is a treasure of incalculable worth, not indeed coveted by all, but available to all men of goodwill. And our duty is not just to guard this treasure, as though it were some museum-piece and we the curators, but earnestly and fearlessly to dedicate ourselves to the work that needs to be done in this modern age of ours, pursuing the path which the Church has followed for almost 20 centuries.”
“The great desire, therefore, of the Catholic Church in raising aloft at this council the torch of truth is to show herself to the world as the loving mother of all mankind; gentle, patient, and full of tenderness and sympathy for her separated children. To the human race oppressed by so many difficulties, she says what Peter once said to the poor man who begged an alms: ‘Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, that I give thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk.’”
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Christ, through his Church, offers eternal happiness to all.
“[I]t is not corruptible wealth, nor the promise of earthly happiness, that the Church offers the world today, but the gifts of divine grace which, since they raise men up to the dignity of being sons of God, are powerful assistance and support for the living of a more fully human life. She unseals the fountains of her life-giving doctrine, so that men, illumined by the light of Christ, will understand their true nature and dignity and purpose.”
Christ desires unity for his Church, and for all people.
“[I]f we consider well the unity for which Christ prayed on behalf of his Church, it would seem to shine, as it were, with a threefold ray of supernatural, saving light. There is first of all that unity of Catholics among themselves which must always be kept steadfast and exemplary. There is also a unity of prayer and ardent longing prompting Christians separated from this Apostolic See to aspire to union with us. And finally there is a unity, which consists in the esteem and respect shown for the Catholic Church by members of various non-Christian religions.”
God has a plan.
“Present indications are that the human family is on the threshold of a new era. We must recognize here the hand of God, who, as the years roll by, is ever directing men’s efforts, whether they realize it or not, towards the fulfillment of the inscrutable designs of his providence, wisely arranging everything, even adverse human fortune, for the Church’s good.”