Instead, he said, the mission of the Church is “moral, spiritual, but not detached from this world, that is, deeply human and living in and with the crises of humanity,” and the pope “is not at the head of a power, although he is a recognized international figure as well; not even the life of the Church can be translated in a nutshell.”
Cardinal Filoni noted that for “over a century, the Church’s interaction with the world has been extensive “because, from the institutional point of view, it no longer deals with emerging empires or new nations, and there is no episcopate that deals with simply of the religious and humanitarian life of their populations.”
According to the cardinal, a watershed moment was the speech of St. Paul VI at the Campidoglio — the city hall of Rome — on April 16, 1966. In that speech, the pope put aside the idea of “supremacy in the derivation of the temporalism of the Church,” and instead, “he advocated the vocation and mission in universal projection.”
“Not only the papacy, but the whole Church, bishops, religious, baptized faithful, together regained awareness of themselves and their Christological vocation,” said the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Second Vatican Council had, in fact, “completed a more comprehensive development of all realities starting from dignity, linked to the person and his freedoms,” he said. Therefore, “institutions were no longer in the first place.” In this way, “relations with the world, with non-Christian religions, with the Jewish world, ecumenism itself lost the rust deposited by negativities and, at the same time, the missionary spirit opened its perspective and was reformulated with a proposal respectful of the contemporary world, a place of restlessness in search of answers.”
With these results, “the moral and spiritual role of the pope had emerged enormously, relying even more on the widespread existence of a Church now present on all continents, with the features of their peoples and with native hierarchies and languages.”