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Pope Francis: prelate who stresses hermeneutic of continuity is best interpreter of Vatican II

November 15, 2013

“The best hermeneutics of the Second Vatican Council” has been done by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Pope Francis said in a letter dated October 7 and released November 12.

The Pontiff wrote the letter on the occasion of the publication of a new book by Archbishop Marchetto, who served as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People from 2001 to 2010.

“You have manifested this love [for the Church] in many ways, including correcting an error or imprecision on my part – for which I thank you from my heart –but above all it is manifest in all its purity in studies done on the Second Vatican Council,” Pope Francis added in the letter, which appears on the website of the Zenit news agency.

In its description of Archbishop Marchetto’s The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council, published in English in 2010, the University of Chicago Press states:

This important study by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto makes a significant contribution to the debate that surrounds the interpretation of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Archbishop Marchetto critiques the Bologna School, which, he suggests, presents the Council as a kind of “Copernican revolution,” a transformation to “another Catholicism.” Instead Marchetto invites readers to reconsider the Council directly, through its official documents, commentaries, and histories.

In a recent essay published in L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, wrote that the interpretation of the Council offered by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto is more relevant than ever. Archbishop Marchetto, wrote Cardinal Koch, has “taken up and deepened the hermeneutic of reform supported by Pope Benedict XVI.”


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  • Posted by: gary.brisebois1104 - Nov. 22, 2013 7:58 PM ET USA

    For the people who liked things the way they were, Vatican II certainly felt like a discontinuity. But at its most basic, the council sought to reverse the militarism, triumphalism, Jansenism, clericalism, rationalism, and authoritarianism which were pervasive, and which were not authentic elements of the Catholic faith. So there are elements of discontinuity "now" with what things were like "then", but Tradition is broader than "the way things were when I was a kid." Viva la theologie ancienne!