Friday, December 23, 2005

Pope Benedict's epoch-making speech on Vatican II

"The End of the 'Post-Conciliar Church' - Day Two - THE EPOCH-MAKING SPEECH" declares Rorate Caeli (Dec. 23, 2005), giving some idea of the importance some Catholics are attaching to the Pope's recent speech. Elaborating, he comments:
The "mainstream Catholic press" in America ("conservative" as well as "liberal") does not seem to have realized the importance of the explosive speech that Pope Benedict gave yesterday (see here). With the exception of Sandro Magister's blog (in Italian), no Catholic news outlet or papal blog has highlighted the real focus of the speech."
An English translation is available online at Magister's blog where one reads the following: Pope Ratzinger Certifies the Council -- The Real One," at www.chiesa (December 23, 2005):

In his pre-Christmas address to the Roman curia, Benedict XVI demolishes the myth of Vatican II as a rupture and new beginning. He gives another name "reform," to the proper interpretation of the Council. And he explains why."
Benedict XVI has voiced his opinions on Vatican II formally on two occasions, says Magister: the first was on Thursday, December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception; the second was Thursday, December 22, during the traditional meeting between the pope and the Vatican curia for the exchange of Christmas greetings. The first, according to Magister, was the "overture." The address to the curia was "the main act."

In his homily on December 8, pope Joseph Ratzinger focused his attention on "the inner structure" of Vatican Council II, and the Marian aspect in understanding that stucture.
But in his address to the curia on December 22, Benedict XVI went to the heart of the most controversial question. He asked:

"Why has the reception of the Council been so difficult for such a great portion of the Church up until now?"

And he replied:

"The problems have arisen from a struggle between two conflicting forms of interpretation. One of these has caused confusion; the other, in a silent but increasingly visible way, has brought results, and continues to bring them."

He called the first form of interpretation "the hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture." The second he called "the hermeneutics of reform."
He criticized the first of these at its very roots, while illustrating the reasons for and validity of the second, says Magister.

Pope Benedict's speech, "Two forms of interpretation have struggled with each other..." is carried in it's entirety by www.chiesa (scroll down for Benedict's speech).

Liturgical discontents have long known that the former Cardinal Ratzinger has on occasion described the Novus Ordo Missae as a "rupture" in liturgical tradition. What a genuine "reform" of the Traditional Latin Mass would mean remains to be seen. If the Eucharist is the source and summit of a Catholic's life, that would be, of course, only the beginning. The "reform" would need to embrace everything from catechesis to the priesthood to a renewed understanding of secular vocation in the life of the laity.

[Tip of the hat to James P. Caputo: Gratias tibi ago!]

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