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Aggiornamento means renewing tradition, not breaking with it, Pope says

Catholic World News - October 12, 2012

The “aggiornamento” proclaimed by Blessed John XXIII at the opening of Vatican II “does not mean breaking with tradition,” Pope Benedict XVI said on October 12. “Rather it is an expression of that tradition’s ongoing vitality.”

At a meeting with prelates who had participated in the deliberations of the Council, the Pope—who was himself a young “expert” at Vatican II—remarked that all those who were present have “memories inscribed in each of our hearts, of the period of the Council which was so lively, so rich and so fruitful.”

The Pope acknowledged that many Catholics have questioned whether “aggiornamento” was the right term to use in describing the work of the Council. “For my part I am convinced that the intuition which Blessed John XXIII summarized in that word was and remains correct,” he said. The Pope explained:

Christianity must not be considered as 'something that has passed,’ nor must we live with our gaze always turned back, because Jesus Christ is yesterday today and forever. Christianity is marked by the presence of the eternal God, Who entered into time and is present in all times, because all times are brought forth of His creative power, of His eternal 'today.’

Reflecting further on the term aggiornamento, the Pope said:

It does not mean reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times using the yardstick of what we like and what appeals to public opinion. Quite the contrary, just as the Council Fathers did, we must mould the 'today' in which we live to the measure of Christianity.

The Christian faith, the Pontiff said, is “always new” and “every young.” The vitality of the faith must be constantly renewed. “But this can only come from the strength of people who have deep roots in God,” the Pope cautioned. “It cannot come from those who adapt themselves to the passing moment, from those who chose the easiest path.”

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 13, 2012 1:14 PM ET USA

    It would be nice if this is declared definitively and retroactively. At Vatican II Father Ratzinger wore the secular suit and tie setting aside the distinguishing clerical garb and implicitly, perhaps explicitly, demonstrating a spirit different from that being described above. There is a clear and growing reliance and appeal in the "mainstream" to what two decades ago was considered no longer relevant. This new "aggiornamento" is not likely to go away any time soon. Pray for Pope Benedict.

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