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Papal reflections highlight special L'Osservatore Romano edition on Vatican II

October 10, 2012

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has published a special edition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, including recollections of the Council by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican newspaper rarely carried a signed article by the Roman Pontiff. The contribution by Pope Benedict to the special edition on Vatican II is actually a preface, written by the Pope this summer, to a collection of his written work from the period covered by the Council.

At the opening of Vatican II, the Pope recalled, the procession of Council fathers was a memorable event, and the participation of bishops from all around the world provided “an image of the Church of Jesus Christ which embraces the whole world.” The Council as a whole, he said, counteracted the impression that the Catholic Church “appeared weary and it looked as if the future would be determined by other spiritual forces.”

As the Council opened, the Pope said, it was “the episcopates of Central Europe – Belgium, France and Germany–that came with the clearest ideas.” For these bishops the central issue to be addressed was liturgical renewal. However, he continued, two other key issued arose during the Council’s deliberations. One was a statement on “religious liberty, which was urgently requested, and also drafted, by the American bishops in particular.” The other was Nostra Aetate, a statement addressing concerns that were crucial to Jews and other non-Christians.


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