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Pope Francis emphasizes that Second Vatican Council is the work of the Holy Spirit

April 17, 2013

In a weekday Mass homily devoted to docility to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis preached that the Second Vatican Council “was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit,” according to excerpts of the homily published in a Vatican Radio report.

Reflecting on St. Stephen’s words before his martyrdom (“you stiff-necked people … you always resist the Holy Spirit”), Pope Francis recalled that Jesus rebuked the disciples on the road to Emmaus and that “a beautiful tomb” was built for the persecuted prophets of the Old Testament.

“The Holy Spirit upsets us because He moves us, He makes us walk, He pushes the Church to move forward,” the Pope continued during the Mass, which was offered for Pope Benedict on his birthday. “And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: Ah, how nice to be all together!”

Pope Francis continued:

We want to tame the Holy Spirit. And that is wrong. Because He is God, and He is the wind that comes and goes and you do not know where. He is the power of God, what gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But move forward! And this bothers you. Comfort is more beautiful…

[It seems] we are all content [in the presence of the Holy Spirit]. It is not true. This temptation is still [present] today. Just one example: we think the Council. The Council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit. Think of Pope John: he seemed a good pastor, and he was obedient to the Holy Spirit, and he did that. But after 50 years, have we done everything that the Holy Spirit said to us in the Council? In the continuity of the growth of the Church which was the Council?

No, we celebrate this anniversary, we make a monument, but that does not bother us. We do not want to change. What is more: there are voices that want to go back. This is called being stubborn, this is called wanting to tame the Holy Spirit, this is called becoming fools and slow of heart.

“Even in our personal lives,” the Pope added, “the Spirit prompts us to take a more evangelical path.”

“Do not resist the Holy Spirit,” he continued. “It is the Spirit that makes us free, with that freedom of Jesus, with the freedom of the children of God!”

Pope Francis concluded, “Do not resist the Holy Spirit: this is the grace that I wish all of us asked the Lord: the docility to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that comes to us and makes us go forward in the way of holiness, the holiness of Church which is so beautiful. The grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. So be it.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 21, 2013 9:34 PM ET USA

    It is a sad thing that we, among the most highly educated lay Catholics in the history of the world, living among protestants, who seem to get things done in spite of the fact that they do not even believe in a "priesthood" have to continually scapegoat the bishops and the priests for the failure of Vatican II.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Apr. 18, 2013 8:12 AM ET USA

    Bishop Schneider quotes Trent: “The holy synod, shaken by the many extremely serious evils that afflict the Church, cannot do other than recall that the thing most necessary for the Church of God is to select excellent and suitable pastors; all the more in that our Lord Jesus Christ will ask for an account of the blood of those sheep that should perish because of the bad governance of negligent pastors..." This is the concern today, and it's central to the Church's salvific mission of love.

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Apr. 18, 2013 12:00 AM ET USA

    The HHS mandate repudiates and denies the free exercise of religion in accord with one's conscience. Thus, as an American I strongly agree with the Pope that we "have not done everything that the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council." In "Dignitatis Humanae" the Vatican II Fathers write, "it is wrong for a public authority to compel its citizens by force or fear or any other means to profess or repudiate any religion or to prevent anyone from joining or leaving a religious body.

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 17, 2013 6:24 PM ET USA

    It isn't the prompts from the Holy Spirit that bother me. It is looking back at the times when I mistook my ego for God's will. The evidence shows that of many of the clergy have the same problem. We know that the Bishops and pastors implemented many changes that had nothing to do with the documents of Vatican II. In doing so, they drove many loyal Catholics from the Church.