The Council after fifty yearsFATHER GEORGE WILLIAM RUTLER
The Council was almost a synonym for newness. It is less so now, after fifty years.
The Council was almost a synonym for newness. It is less so now, after fifty years. Of the 2,860 who gathered then, only 70 survive and of those, only 12 were able to attend the golden anniversary celebrations.
Much of the Council's teaching was warped by a heady optimism. The Council echoed Christ's promise, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5), but some took that to mean a gullibility about all new things. Optimism as an attitude is a pale imitation of hope, which is based on fact, just as is faith, which is "the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things unseen" (Hebrews 11:1). This is why Pope Benedict XVI chose the anniversary of the Council to begin a Year of Faith. Just as Pope John surprised the crowds in St. Peter's Square in the moonlit evening of his October 11 by speaking in an informal and grandfatherly way, so did Pope Benedict speak with remarkable spontaneity in the same spot on his October 11:
Pope St. Gregory the Great once spoke of the danger "in the urgency of these barbarous times" of the failure of priests to preach the truth. Our own times, with their many barbarous attacks on the Church and on life itself, disabuse any naïveté about the state of our nation and the world. This is why the Holy Father has summoned a Year of Faith, "not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (1 Peter 3:9). Then, on the evening of the first day of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict repeated the words of Pope John fifty years ago: "Give a caress to your children and say: this is the caress of the Pope."
Father George William Rutler. "The Council after fifty years." From the Pastor (October 21, 2012).
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.
Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses — Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.
Copyright © 2012 Father George W. Rutler
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