Archbishop Chaput's Reflections on Vatican II
"Will History Judge It a Success or a Failure?"
DENVER, Colorado, OCT. 14, 2005 (Zenit) - Archbishop Charles Chaput offered this commentary on the Second Vatican Council. Posted at the archdiocesan Web site, www.archden.org, it was adapted from his Sept. 27 talk on "The Council, the Church and the Vocation of Bishops."
* * *
Reflections on the anniversary of Vatican II close
December marks the 40th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. So these final months of 2005 are a good time to reflect on the needs of the Church in today's world and our own commitment to Catholic discipleship.
History is a powerful teacher. While all true ecumenical councils are important in the life of the Church, some failed to achieve their goals. The Council of Florence failed in the 15th century because the Western Church was badly divided and the Greek Church could not accept a union. The Fifth Lateran Council failed in the 16th century because it focused on the wrong issues. It did too little too late to change the conditions that led to the Protestant Reformation.
We need to ask ourselves this fall, as we consider the goals that the Second Vatican Council set for itself: Will history judge it a success or a failure? In opening Vatican II, Blessed Pope John XXIII said that, "the council now beginning rises in the Church like daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light." Pope John Paul II, who attended the council as a bishop, spoke many times about "crossing the threshold of hope" and a rebirth of Christian faith in the new millennium.
So far the evidence is mixed. One in every three new children born in "Christian Europe" today is Muslim. Except for Islam, religious belief and practice are declining across the continent. So are fertility rates. Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of Italian priests recently that the "so-called traditional Churches look like they're dying." In fact, in Europe's wealth and selfishness and refusal to have children, an entire civilization seems to be choosing to die.
Last month, Pope Benedict urged a group of new bishops to pray for "a humble trust in God and for the apostolic courage born of faith." In 2002, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that "a bishop must do as Christ did: precede his flock, being the first to do what he calls others to do and, first of all, being the one who stands against the wolves who come to steal the sheep."
Whether history judges Vatican II as a success or a failure finally depends on us -- bishops, clergy, religious and laypeople alike -- and how zealously we live our faith; how deeply we believe; and how much apostolic courage we show to an unbelieving world that urgently needs Jesus Christ.
We've been here before. Seventeen centuries ago, the great Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) could have failed. In reaffirming God's Trinitarian nature and the reality of the Incarnation, Nicaea deeply influenced not only the faith of the Church but the course of Western civilization. But that council, and all the long history that followed it, could have turned out very differently. It didn't, because of one man -- a young deacon and scholar at Nicaea named Athanasius of Alexandria, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Athanasius fought for the true Catholic faith at Nicaea and throughout his entire career. Hostile bishops excommunicated him. Emperors resented him. His enemies falsely accused him of cruelty, sorcery and even murder. He was exiled five times. And in the face of it all, he became the single most articulate voice defending the orthodox Catholic faith, which is why even today we remember him as "Athanasius contra mundum": "Athanasius against the world."
He never gave up. He had courage. He had the truth. And the truth won. He became one of the best-loved bishops and greatest saints and Doctors of the Church -- and the faith we take for granted today, we owe largely to God's work through him.
Now, that's my idea of a leader. That's my idea of a Catholic believer fully alive in Jesus Christ. And if bishops and their people choose to live that same apostolic courage once again -- beginning here and now -- then John XXIII's hopes for the council as a new dawn for Christian life really will rise in the Church as a light to the nations.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Chaput, Vatican II,
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Charlie Gard's mother opens up about the beautiful life of terminally ...
- Ten year old girl gives birth following rape in India
- Sen. Bob Corker joins ranks of seditious who want to overthrow a ...
- Feeling down? Here's how to change YOUR LIFE and THE WORLD from Navy ...
- St. Helena: Saint of the Day for Friday, August 18, 2017
- Daily Readings for Friday, August 18, 2017
- Article V could be invoked. Here's what you need to know about it HD ...
- Daily Reading for Saturday, August 19th, 2017 HD
- Pro-life wins in Texas with new law to protect religious freedom and the unborn HD
- Should history be rewritten to appease the angry? HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, August 18th, 2017 HD