Out Of The Heart Flows The Issues Of Life Meaning "To an Authentic and Renewed Conversion": Vatican II and the Year of Faith (Part 3)

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"To an Authentic and Renewed Conversion": Vatican II and the Year of Faith (Part 3)

“Hermeneutics of continuity and reform”

According to Benedict XVI, the Second Vatican Council can fulfill its potential for the renewal of the Church only if we interpret and implement it guided by a correct hermeneutic (Porta Fidei, no. 5). In an address to the Italian bishops’ conference in May 2012, Benedict identified this “true hermeneutic” as “the hermeneutic of continuity and reform.” This dual hermeneutic points to the essentially dual nature of the Second Vatican Council and is the “key” to unlocking the inner dynamics of the Council.

The fundamental goal of the Council was to preserve and transmit Catholic teaching “in continuity with the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church” (Benedict XVI). Pope John XXIII. he made this clear in his opening speech to the Council on October 11, 1962, when he declared: “The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be preserved and taught more effectively.” In accordance with this directive, the council fathers carefully examined, further developed and handed down to succeeding generations – while preserving completely intact – the unchanging doctrine of the faith in a series of authoritative documents called dogmatic constitutions. So, the first key to a correct understanding of II. of the Vatican Council is to understand that it was first and foremost a dogmatic (teaching) Council of the Magisterium in faithful continuity with the 2,000-year tradition of the Church.

Another key term in “correct hermeneutics” for the correct understanding and implementation of the Council is “reform”. At crucial moments throughout the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit inspired certain reforms in liturgical rubrics, canon law, church governance and pastoral discipline in order to renew the Church and help it better fulfill its mission in the context of the times in which it finds itself. The Second Vatican Council was inspired by the Holy Spirit to address the needs of the Church in the modern world. Carefully preserving and handing down the deposit of faith, the sacred liturgy, the sacraments and prayer in unbroken continuity with the ancient tradition of the Church, the Second Vatican Council introduced many liturgical, pastoral and disciplinary reforms in the life of the Church in order to enable the Church to carry out more effectively its mission of teaching, governing and consecrating believers and the evangelization of non-believers in the context of the modern world. Therefore, another key to a correct understanding of the Second Vatican Council is to keep the liturgical, pastoral and disciplinary reforms of the Council within the framework of doctrinal and liturgical continuity.

Unfortunately, the full potential of the Council for the renewal of the Church has not yet been realized due to the general failure to interpret and implement it guided by the right hermeneutics. The application of a false “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” led to widespread confusion and error regarding the Second Vatican Council, with disastrous consequences for the faith of millions of Catholics. Pope Benedict reminded the Italian bishops that only by applying the correct “hermeneutics of continuity and reform”, by listening and following the instructions of the Parliament, the Church can find a way to meaningfully respond to the challenges of the modern world.

Proclaim the faith anew

By proclaiming and celebrating the Year of Faith, Benedict XVI reminded the Church today to look to the Second Vatican Council as a “safe compass” to chart its course through the stormy and troubled waters of our time. In his audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, on the eve of the opening of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict stated: “The documents of the Second Vatican Council, to which we must return, freeing them from the mass of publications that often hid them instead of publicizing them, are also in the compass to our time, which allows the Core of the Church to sail into the deep in the midst of storms or on quiet and calm waves, to sail safely and reach its destination. “

Calling us “to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the only Savior of the world” during this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI invited us to return to the fundamental foundations of our Christian faith, which the Second Vatican Council proclaimed anew to the modern world. Benedict said that “we need to learn the simplest and most fundamental lesson of the Council: namely, that Christianity in its essence consists of faith in God, which is triune love, and in a personal and joint encounter with Christ, who directs and gives meaning to life. . Everything else flows from this.” The Pope further stated: “What is as important today as it was for the Council Fathers is that we see – once again and clearly – that God is present, that he cares for us and that he responds to us . And when, instead, a person lacks faith in God, he essentially collapses because he loses his deep dignity.”

While the “eclipse of God” is slowly darkening our modern age and with it a “deep crisis of faith”, while man is becoming less and less aware of God’s existence and his fundamental need for God, the fundamental truths of our Christian faith were proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council – and again announced to the Church and the world in our time of popes John Paul, Benedict and Francis – it shines brighter and brighter: God exists. He is real. He loves us and hears our prayers. Man is an essentially religious being created in the image and likeness of God, and only in a relationship with God, his Creator, does man discover his true identity and dignity and understand the true meaning and purpose of life. Only God can satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart, as St. Augustine wrote: “You created us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Faith in God is essential for the well-being of man and society. Man cannot be saved by his own efforts. Christ is “God-with-us”, “the only Savior of the world”, the only hope for humanity. Salvation comes only from Christ through His Church. All Christians are called to holiness of life (hence the “universal call to holiness”) and to find new ways of preaching the Gospel in our modern world (hence the “new evangelization”).

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