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Vatican II and Benedict XVI

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 Contents - Nov 2005AD2000 November 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: A remarkable Catholic parish
National Press Club: Cardinal George Pell on the dictatorship of relativism - Cardinal George Pell
News: The Church Around the World
Sister Miriam Duggan: the Church's response to AIDS - Anh Nguyen
Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist: areas for remedial action identified - Peter Westmore
Thomas More Centre: Fifty years from Shadowlands: Childhood memories of the world of C. S. Lewis - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Call to Holiness: Contemplating the Eucharistic Face of Christ - Christine McCarthy
Letters: Myths exploded - Nola Viney
Letters: Church Music - Chris Wilson
Letters: New Zealand visitor to Brisbane - Leo Leitch
Letters: Gnostic gospels and the Da Vinci Code - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Example needed - Betty Griffin
Letters: Basic differences to overcome - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: SSPX response - Timothy Hungerford
Letters: Vatican II and Benedict XVI - Jim Howe
Books: The Incredible Da Vinci Code, by Frank Mobbs - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Philosophy 101 Meets Socrates, by Peter Kreeft - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: Stem Cells, by Norman M. Ford and Michael Herbert - Kerrie Allen
Books: More good reading from AD Books
Reflection: The concrete character of Christianity - John Young

The editor in chief of Britain's leading Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, writes that "the personal writings of Joseph Ratzinger offer a dazzling interpretation of Catholicism that, unlike Vatican II, might actually succeed in reviving it" (August AD2000).

All the recent popes have given Vatican II their full endorsement and pledged to carry forward its work. Vatican II is the way forward.

Thompson says the "dazzling" future lies not with Vatican II, and implies Benedict XVI might even agree. I am staggered by this shift in "Catholic" thinking that finds a willing audience, as editors of this stature know the preferences of their readers.

Does Thompson really imply that the popes were only giving lip service to Vatican II but really believed it to be less than "orthodox?" Or is he implying Benedict and John Paul had different appraisals of Vatican II?

Benedict XVI has certainly stressed his intention to carry on the work of John Paul II. The authentic Catholic sensibility is to be on the side of Peter, to stand with Peter even as a little child (as Jesus indicated to his disciples) with a heart full of love, of reverence, of faith in his words and in the words of Jesus' vicar on earth.

When we, in the interests of "orthodoxy," start to find excuses for not accepting the teaching magisterium, and start to take a casuistic approach, then I think we are drifting nearer to the position of the progressive theologians than we realise.

To oppose Benedict XVI's "Remnant" to John Paul II's "New Springtime" may look like a fascinating hermeneutic but it loses sight of Benedict's major orientation of continuity. Why shouldn't a remnant be a step on the way to a glorious springtime, as the tiniest buds prefigure, after the tree has lost all its flowers and even its coverage of leaves in a bleak winter of uncertainty.

Nor should we be too certain as to the composition of that "remnant." The tax collectors and the prostitutes ended up getting in whilst the Pharisees missed out. "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes..." (Jn 3:8). Are we looking to a remnant full of surprises (of the Spirit) that will usher in the glorious new springtime?

Rostrevor, SA

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 10 (November 2005), p. 15

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