Tag Archives: second vatican council

We are called to be the Church

John Hunt says Vatican II empowers the laity for role in the New Evangelization . . .

John J. Hunt

John J. Hunt

I have been reflecting on my younger years. You know, those formative, impressionable years of elementary school, high school and college that formed so much of who we become in adulthood.

I have vivid recollections of life as a young Catholic in the days preceding the Second Vatican Council. The Church had offered me a constancy of peace and comfort with her teachings. Our parish was a source of friendship and support to my entire family.

Ursuline sisters taught me in elementary school. Many of these good women had dedicated their lives to preparing young, often unruly minds for the responsibilities of life. Most were serving well past retirement age.

The challenges of the day were innocent and simple. I recall cramming for the Latin portion of my test in preparation for joining the ranks of altar boys. Memorizing the Confiteor was a challenge that I mastered with much prayer and repetition.

In the rectory there was a sense of fraternity, thanks to the pastor and three associate pastors. That climate contributed to a sense of comfort and continuity for my family and the entire parish community. Simply put, the parish provided a sense of stability. The Catholic Church was in the able hands of the clergy and religious.

Then, in 1965, the work of the Council Fathers concluded and a new era in the life of the Catholic Church commenced — the era of the laity. Vatican II documents are rich with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom that should guide the faith lives of all thoughtful Catholics.

The Council’s recognition that the life of the Church into the 21st century would necessarily be predicated upon the extent to which every faithful man, woman and child would live their faith publicly was an epiphany, the full extent of which has yet to be achieved.

This brings us to 2013. The “theory” of Vatican II is now being lived out as we lay men and women are called upon to be the Church at a time when secular society and government leaders seek to impose a false reality for Catholic Christians.

Our burden is heavy and spiritual martyrdom is a real possibility. But a faith built upon truth and nurtured by prayer and sacrifice can achieve the goals to which we all aspire — service to Our Lord and his Church on earth and eternity with Him in heaven.

JOHN J. HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are founding members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

Fifty years since Vatican II

Pope Benedict XVI opened New Evangelization synod and Year of Faith in October . . .

Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic Church of 2012 possesses “a more sober and humble joy” compared to the optimism that marked the Second Vatican Council’s opening 50 years ago,” according to Pope Benedict XVI.

“Over these 50 years we have learned and experienced how original sin exists and is translated, ever and anew, into individual sins which can also become structures of sin,” the Pope said during a candlelight vigil in St. Peter’s Square that marked the opening of the Year of Faith on Oct. 11.

“We have seen how weeds are also always present in the field of the Lord,” he added. “We have seen how human fragility is also present in the Church, how the ship of the Church is also sailing against a counter wind and is threatened by storms; and at times we have thought that the Lord is sleeping and has forgotten us.”

Year of Faith

The Holy Father spoke from the window of his study in scenes deliberately reminiscent of the opening day of Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962.

“On this day 50 years ago I was in the square looking up at this window where the Good Pope, Blessed John XXIII, appeared and addressed us with unforgettable words, words full of poetry and goodness, words from the heart,” Benedict recalled.

A young priest, he had participated in the Second Vatican Council as an academic adviser to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne. The Pope also recalled how the happy and enthusiastic crowds of 1962 were certain that “a new springtime for the Church was in the offing.

“Today too we are happy. We have joy in our hearts but, I would say, it is perhaps a more sober and humble joy,” he said.

Over the past half-century, he said, the Church has repeatedly witnessed “how the Lord does not forget us” but, instead, has brought forth new signs of life throughout the Church that “illuminate the world and give us a guarantee of God’s goodness.”

New Evangelization

A few days earlier, the Holy Father inaugurated the Synod for the New Evangelization. Bishops from around the world gathered in Rome to discuss and plan ways to implement the new evangelization in the Church and in their dioceses.

Two Legates attended the synod. Curtis Martin, Denver Chapter, attended as a consultor and Ralph Martin (no relation), Ann Arbor Chapter, attended as an expert. Both men are members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

The Pope officially opened the synod, under the theme “The New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Christian Faith” with the celebration of Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 7.

In his homily, Benedict reflected on Christ’s call to announce the Gospel around the world. He stressed the role of the Catholic Church, saying that the “Church exists to evangelize.”

“Such renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific ‘branches’ developed by it, that is, on the one hand the missio ad gentes or announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation, and on the other the new evangelization, directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life.”

The Pope reiterated the synodal assembly’s purpose to evangelize those who have strayed from the faith, saying its rediscovery can be a “source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life.”

In recalling the Second Vatican Council’s call to holiness for all Christians, Benedict said the call to holiness also helps us to contemplate the fragility, and even the sins of Christians. He emphasized that it’s not possible to speak of the new evangelization without “a sincere desire for conversion.”

The Holy Father concluded his homily asking the intercession of the saints and “great evangelizers” — particularly his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, referring to the late pope’s pontificate as “an example of the new evangelization.”

This article contains reporting from the Catholic News Agency

Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

Pope John XXIII was known for his charm, wit and for inaugurating Vatican II  . . .

Pope John XXIII

Feast Day: October 11
Beatified: September 3, 2000

Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli near Bergamo, Italy, the future pope was ordained a priest in 1904 and became a scholar in Church history. In 1925, Pope Pius XI named him nuncio to Bulgaria, and he proved a brilliant diplomat. He went on to serve as nuncio to Turkey, Greece and France. In 1953, Pope Pius XII made him cardinal and patriarch of Venice. He was popular, known for his wit, cordiality and approachable style. While not considered a strong papal candidate, he was elected pope at 77.

His brief pontificate (1958-63) included numerous reform efforts and several notable encyclicals including Pacem in Terris (1963), which preached “universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty.” But the chief event of his reign was convoking the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) to implement his vision of aggiornamento (renewal) — a new and vibrant presentation of the unchanging truths of the faith to the modern world.

He fell ill and died on June 3, 1963. When John XXIII was beatified in 2000, Pope John Paul II said of him, “The breath of newness he brought certainly did not concern doctrine, but rather the way to explain it. Christians heard themselves called to proclaim the Gospel with greater attentiveness to the signs of the times.”

This column is written for Legatus magazine by Dr. Matthew Bunson, senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and author of “John Paul II’s Book of Saints.”

How did Vatican II change the Mass?

45 years after Vatican II, there is a truer unity of ‘spirit’ & ‘law’  . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

Pope Benedict XVI continues John Paul II’s legacy of instructing the faithful about the true teachings of the Second Vatican Council and working with his bishops to ensure their faithful implementation. This  “restoration of the sacred” has most visibly affected the liturgy, for lex orandi, lex credendi – “the way we pray shows what we believe.”

Forty-five years after the Council closed, a truer unity of “spirit” and “law” is being achieved in what Catholics believe and how we pray. Truth is prevailing as the radical reformers who caused much confusion after Vatican II continue to retire from their university chairs and other posts of influence.

One obvious change stemming from Vatican II was the introduction of modifications in the Mass. The essence of the rituals for the sacraments was not changed, but the vernacular was introduced. Latin remained and still remains the standard, universal and official language for worship and doctrine. Countries can get authorization from the Vatican to translate the Mass and sacraments into the vernacular, and that was done after the Council closed. While the Council Fathers never intended the complete removal of Latin from the public worship and prayer of the Western Church, in practice, most American and European countries went 100% vernacular after the Council.

Since the reign of John Paul II (1978-2005), the true spirit of Vatican II was reclaimed by the actual letter of Vatican II. Many innovators had tried to justify their liturgical abuses by claiming they were being faithful to the “spirit” of the law without being slaves to the “letter” of the law. On the contrary, John Paul showed that the intent of the Council Fathers can be found in the documents they issued. He reminded us of the Church’s rich patrimony and heritage, from the Latin language to the elegant and edifying beauty of Catholic art and music.

Abuses came not from Vatican II or because of Vatican II, but from those who distorted the Council Fathers’ intentions and the implementation of the documents. Optional celibacy for priests of the Latin rite, ordination of women, allowing artificial contraception by married couples, removing the obligation to attend Sunday Mass every week, forbidding Latin in any public worship, getting rid of devotions to the Virgin Mary and the saints, removing statues from churches, removing altar (communion) rails, moving tabernacles from the sanctuary and forcing the priest to celebrate Mass facing the people were never required or mandated by Vatican II.

Reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007).