Piece on the anniversary of Vatican II, which began fifty years ago last week, and despite the best efforts of arch-conservatism over the past two popes, such as the stacking of cardinal appointments on the reactionary front benches, and reinforcing of old dogma dribbling war horses, the Church cannot really retract and hide its head in the sand indefinitely. We are moving forward as a global society, and there is a quiet and even reassuring positivism in Conrad Black’s writing that the best elements in the Catholic theological world will be the voices heard when Vatican III arrives, barring indefinite postponement, weather notwithstanding.
(see link at end)….After the lengthy and controversial reign of Pius XII, the 77-year-old Angelo Cardinal Roncalli, Patriarch of Venice, had been elected Pope John XXIII in 1958 on the theory that a man of his years would not cause too much drama. Roncalli was of humble origins, and had been widely admired for decades as a courageous Vatican diplomat and benign archbishop. He had, as nuncio to Turkey and Greece from 1935 to 1944, provided tens of thousands of visas to Jews fleeing the pogroms of the Third Reich to Palestine. Pius XII moved him in 1944 to Paris after de Gaulle had demanded the removal of the incumbent nuncio, Valerian Cardinal Valeri, for excessive coziness with the Nazi occupiers. Roncalli assiduously secured the retirement of several other bishops whom de Gaulle represented as unacceptably indulgent of the Nazis. So admired was he that when Roncalli was elevated to the cardinalate and named patriarch of Venice in 1953, French president Vincent Auriol invoked a rarely exercised privilege dating to the time of Louis XIV and in the Pope’s name and that of the secular republic to which he was accredited, conferred the honour on Roncalli in Notre Dame.
John XXIII announced the convening of a Vatican Council less than three months after his elevation, and it opened in 1962, after two years of preparation. He promised to “open the windows and let in fresh air.” Other Christians were invited to attend, and it opened 50 years ago this Thursday past, on Oct. 11, 1962. It had not proceeded far when John XXIII died, on June 3, 1963, and his successor, Paul VI, continued it.
The highlight of the sessions was a legendary polemical battle between liberal cardinal Joseph Frings, and the arch-conservative secretary of the Holy Office, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, who replied with great vehemence, and whose microphone was finally cut off, as he fulminated apocalyptically. (Frings was advised on this occasion by his fellow German, the rising ecclesiastical intellectual, Professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.)
The Council continued for two more years and absolved Jews of any greater responsibility for the death of Christ than Christians; “sanctification and truth” were deemed to flourish outside the “visible confines” of Catholicism, i.e., among the “separated brethren” in other Christian religions and in Judaism; and other religions, though not evaluated, were referred to in general in respectful terms….Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/13/conrad-black-the-true-meaning-of-vatican-ii/
Black gives off a certain sense of the Redemption, without the wild destructiveness, frontier style shoot-em-up of some Evangelical enthusiasts; a sense of the messianic that we are living in the End of Days? ….