"This is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: ... the Gospel and the faith of the Church, of which the Council documents are a luminous expression, as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published twenty years ago." - Benedict XVI
At the onset of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father is praising the Council, the Conciliar Popes, the Documents.
How will the critics of the Council wiggle out of this? How many times I have heard extremely disparaging remarks from the pillars of orthodoxy of the Blogisterium regarding the Council? "It wasn't the most important council!" "It wasn't a doctrinal council!" "The council was a rupture!" "The council was infiltrated by Masons and protestants." "The council was protestant." "It was simply a pastoral counsel!" "Pope Paul VI was a bad pope." "John XXIII didn't intend this or that" - or worse. In the past 6 years of blogging I have heard these things and so many more condemnations and name-calling - yes - even from blogging priests, Walmart stock boys with distance-theological degrees, and unfortunately, I too came under their influence at times.
Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI who strengthens the faith of the brethren, and confirms the faith of those who have accepted Church teaching and remained faithful throughout the liturgical wars and doctrinal chaos.
Habemas Papam... listen to him.
Extracts from Benedict XVI's homily are given below.
"The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and profound convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce Him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God Whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter".
"Vatican Council II did not wish to deal with the theme of faith in one specific document. It was, however, animated by a desire, as it were, to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man. ... In his opening speech Blessed John XXIII presented the principal purpose of the Council in this way: “What above all concerns the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be safeguarded and taught more effectively. … Therefore, the principal purpose of this Council is not the discussion of this or that doctrinal theme, a Council is not required for that, ... [but] this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs of our time”.
"I have often insisted on the need to return, as it were, to the “letter” of the Council - that is to its texts - also to draw from them its authentic spirit, and why I have repeated that the true legacy of Vatican II is to be found in them".
"The Council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient. Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change. ... The Council Fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way; and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood. In the years following, however, many embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths.One cannot help but be impressed and deeply moved when one considers that this Pope was not only around, but already an esteemed theologian at the time of the Council, he was made a Cardinal in 1977, and since 1981 he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, until becoming Pope in 2005. He has been at the center of the Church since 1981, indeed, defending the Faith ever since.
"If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelisation, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! ... Even the initiative to create a pontifical council for the promotion of the new evangelisation ... is to be understood in this context. Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. ... But it is in starting from the experience of this desert ... that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us". - Vatican Information Service
Listen to him.
Allow yourself to be taught.