Benedict XVI: Vatican II was both meaningful and necessary
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
As the Church recently celebrated the 60-year anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI said that Vatican II not only was "meaningful" but "necessary."
The Pope Emeritus did so in a letter he sent to Father Dave Pivonka, the president of the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, which just hosted the 10th International Symposium, 20-21 October, on the theme 'The Ecclesiology of Joseph Ratzinger.'
The event at the US university was sponsored by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. Fr. Federico Lombardi, President of the Ratzinger Foundation, read the letter at the event.
'A new council proved to be necessary'
In the letter, Benedict said it was "a great honor and joy for me that in the United States of America, at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, an International Symposium is dealing with my ecclesiology, thus placing my thinking and effort in the great stream in which it has moved."
"When I began to study theology in January 1946," he said, "no one thought of an Ecumenical Council. When Pope John XXIII announced it, to everyone’s surprise, there were many doubts as to whether it would be meaningful, indeed whether it would be possible at all, to organize the insights and questions into the whole of a conciliar statement and thus to give the Church a direction for its further journey."
For the first time, Benedict continued, "the question of a theology of religions had shown itself in its radicality."
The same is true, the Pope emeritus acknowledged, for the relationship between faith and the world of mere reason.
"Both topics had not been foreseen in this way before," Benedict acknowledged.
Working toward a right understanding of the Church
The Pope Emeritus expressed his sincere hope that the International Symposium "will be helpful in the struggle for a right understanding of the Church and the world in our time."
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