At the General Audience the Pope reflects on the fundamental lesson of the Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council documents remain “a compass in our time too that permits the Barque of the Church to put out into the deep”. The Pope said this at the General Audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, 10 October, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the ecumenical assembly, which will coincide with the opening of the Year of Faith.
Borrowing the words of John Paul II – who described Vatican II as a “great grace” and “a sure compass” for the Church – Benedict XVI recalled the need to return to the conciliar texts, “liberating them from a mass of publications which, instead of making them known, have often concealed them”. Only in this way, according to the Pope, is it possible to approach the ecumenical assembly as if it were “a great fresco, so to speak, painted with the great multiplicity and variety of its elements under the guidance of the Holy Spirit”. And “still today we continue to perceive the extraordinary wealth of that moment of grace”, the Pope said, “to discover in it particular sections, fragments, pieces of the mosaic”. For Benedict, XVI, who “witnessed it directly” by participating in it as a peritus, Vatican II remains “a unique experience” in which was revealed the face of “a living Church” who set herself “to learn from the Holy Spirit, the true driving force of the Council”.
For our epoch, “marked by forgetfulness of and deafness to God”, that historic event has a “simple” and “fundamental” message to announce: “Christianity in its essence consists of faith in God which is Trinitarian Love, and in a personal and community encounter with Christ who orients and gives meaning to life”. Everything else “flows from this”.
“The Second Vatican Council is a strong appeal to us to rediscover every day the beauty of our faith, to know it deeply for a more intense relationship with the Lord, so that we may live our Christian vocation to the full.