Vatican tries to rekindle faith 50 years after Council


CALL FOR THE FAITHFULL. Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful gathered for a candlelight procession to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council – the church meetings that modernized the Catholic Church but whose true results are still hotly debated – in St. Peter’s square, at the Vatican, Thursday, October 11, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI denounced the “spiritual desertification” that has taken root in the Christian world and urged the faithful to return to the “letter” and “authentic spirit” of the council. AP/Gregorio Borgia

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican celebrated the 50th anniversary on Thursday of a Council that changed the face of Catholicism, as it tries to rekindle the religious fervour of the time amid rising secularism.

Hundreds of bishops from around the world held a solemn procession through St Peter’s Square, after which Pope Benedict XVI celebrated an open-air mass to announce a new global “Year of Faith” for the first time in 45 years.

“If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was 50 years ago!,” the pope told gathered crowds.

“Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual ‘desertification’. We see it every day around us. This void has spread,” he added.

The day will close with a torchlit procession along the main avenue leading to the steps of St Peter’s Basilica and an unusual evening greeting from the pope from his apartment window, echoing those dramatic days of 1962.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople also attended along with 14 of the original “fathers” from the 1962 Council.

The Beatles had just released their first single and James Bond had just hit the silver screen when 2,250 Catholic bishops from 116 countries met in Rome in 1962 to reform rituals and beliefs that appeared increasingly anachronistic.

Pope John XXII hailed the crowds of faithful on the night of October 11, 1962 with a famous heartfelt speech in which he called on believers to pursue “faith, hope, charity, love of God, love of brothers and the common good.”

The Second Vatican Council — dubbed Vatican II — only wrapped up in 1965 after adopting key reforms including the chance to celebrate mass in other languages than Latin and the idea of opening dialogue with other faiths.

Benedict was then Joseph Ratzinger, a 35-year-old German priest and among the most reformist voices at the Council. He has defended the achievements of Vatican II against traditionalist voices in the Church that still question it.

Reformists in the Church who campaign in favour of the ordination of women and allowing priests to marry, however, accuse the pope of becoming increasingly conservative and turning his back on the ideals of Vatican II.

In a personal remembrance published in the Vatican’s official daily L’Osservatore Romano the pope remembered October 11 as “a splendid day”.

“There was a general feeling of expectation in the air,” he said.

The pope also dismissed as “absurd” the claim that Vatican II marked a rupture with tradition and said it was “a positive step for changing times.”

The “Year of Faith” lasts until November 24, 2013 and is intended “to help believers in Christ to have a more informed and reinvigorated adherence to the Bible, especially at a time of deep change that humanity is experiencing”.

On Thursday, the pope described lack of faith as a desert-like void but said people should use the “experience of this desert” to re-kindle their belief.

“This is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world,” he said.

The 85-year-old pontiff also highlighted the achievements of international personalities, such as pious Catholic Urzua Iribarren, one of the 33 Chilean miners famously rescued from underground two years ago.

Among the other people to be recognised is Fabiola Gianotti, an Italian physicist in charge of the ATLAS programme at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, who announced the discovery of the “God Particle” this year.

At a closed-door meeting with the pope earlier this week, world bishops vented some of their frustration with the current state of the Catholic Church.

“We have lost credibility,” Italian Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, who heads up the pontifical council for evangelisation, said at the meeting.

“We have turned a life of faith and ritual into bureaucracy,” he said.

One European archbishop said: “Evangelisation has been hurt and continues to be impeded by the arrogance of its messengers. The hierarchy must shun arrogance, hypocrisy and bigotry.

“We must punish the errant among us instead of covering up our own mistakes,” he said, in an apparent reference to the child sex-abuse scandals in the Church, which involved bishops accused of protecting suspects.

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  • Joel A

    Funny to see Catholics and Protestants arguing who has the correct practices and beliefs.  There is no god.  God is an invention of men to control their people.  That is a scary picture of the pope by the way…

    • Rene

      “The fool says in his heart, God does not exist.” Psalm 14:1

      Here are some of influential atheists deathbed confessions;

      1. VOLTAIRE – The most influential atheist of Europe in
      his day – “I am abandoned by God and man I shall go to hell!”

      2. MIRABEAU – A leading political organizer of the
      French Revolution – “My sufferings are intolerable:…. that I may not think
      of eternity! O Christ, O Jesus Christ!”

      3. THOMAS HOBBES – Political Philosopher and Skeptic – “I
      am about to take a fearful leap in the dark!”

      4. THOMAS PAINE – The leading atheistic writer in the
      American Coloniesv – “O Lord, help me! Christ, help me!…..for I am on
      the edge of hell here alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been
      that one.”

      5. SIR THOMAS SCOTT – Chancellor of Great Britain – “I
      thought there was neither God nor hell; now I know and feel that there are
      both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgement of the Almighty!”

      6.. THOMAS CARLYLE“ – I am as good as without hope; a
      sad old man gazing into the final chasm.”

      7. ALDAMONT – “My principles have poisoned my friends!

      8.  Svetlana Stalin daughter of Josef Stalin – “My
      father died a difficult and terrible death.. God grants an easy death only
      to the just.”

      9. WILLIAM E. HENLEY – An atheist, wrote a famous poem “Invictus”,
      the last two lines are most quoted:

      “I am the master of my fate;

      I am the captain of my soul.” 

      Most are not aware that William Henley later committed suicide. (1849-1903)

      Jesus said; I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25.

      • UrHONOR

        YOU sound like a parrot.  You can not express anything without relying on other peoples’ ideas.  Mag-isip ka ng sarili mo at hindi yang pasandal-sandal ka sa kaisipan ng iba.  Binigyan kia ng kalikasan na na sa pagitan ng mga balikat mo…gamitin mo yan…hindi yan dekorasyon lamang, pren.

      • Rene

         It seems your idol is No. 9 – William E. Henley.

        If I rely only to myself and speak the same as you do. I’d rather keep my mouth shut.

      • UrHONOR

        SEEMS has no value.  That’s true, YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, parrot.

      • Rene

        Your mouth stinking like your anus. That’s what made people unclean according to the bible.

      • UrHONOR

        HAHAHA…lumabas dib ang tunay na kulay ng bible touting scout!  TAGALOGIN mo na lang baddyng dahil nagkakandarapa ka na sa ka-i-inglis na hilaw-na-hilaw ang dating.

        Ganyan ang karaniwang ba-bible-bible na mga baddy…kapag nauusubusan na ng argumentum, tumitikwas at pinamamalas ang tunay na anyo na karumaldumal.  NASAYANG lamang ang panahon ko sa pagpatol sa isang robot at parrot na tulad mo.  Babayu, baddy!

      • Rene

         Nobody cares.. Ikaw ang nakisali sa usapang pang mature.. That’s the right thing to do if you are bankrupt of good ideas, QUIT.

  • GlenMJacob

    Funny indeed how bloggers arguing about the Bible. Did anybody says how the Bible was assembled or put into place by the bishops of Emperor Constantine? Man is the one who decide which one of the scriptures be included by voting. As you can see everyone can pluck a passage in the bible to support their argument to be argued by another coming from the same book! You decide folks. My question did JC knew about the dinosaurs? How about the atoms and the Big Bang.

    • Rene

       In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
      John 1:1-4

      • GlenMJacob

        Indeed, sounds great!. Did it answer the question I forth forward? Very generalized statement.

      • Rene

        The Word is Jesus Christ.

        About your question for the dinosaurs; “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:3

        About the big bang; And God said, “Let there be light, “and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

        About the atoms; Albert Einstein in all his fame on his Special and General theory of relativity confessed – “He who finds a thought that lets us penetrate even a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been grated great grace.. . God is calculating but He is not

      • GlenMJacob

        Very pleasing to the ears but no proof. Again very generalized statement. Now have you noticed that the RC creed was modified to include “the unseen” because we are now talking about the dark matters.

      • Rene

         The inclusion the “unseen” in the Apostle’s Creed is centuries back before the discovery of dark matter. Yeah, proof that the church is of the past, at the present and of the future.

      • GlenMJacob

        What was the reason why it was removed then re-inserted again? Did they doubted the first and original version? Again proof that man is the one who put forward and selected the scriptures from all the writings of the early Christians. Why did they suppress the other writings of the early Christians. Definitely there is a motive behind that.

      • Rene

         Definitely, the motive of the RCC in declaring the books that comprises the whole bible is salvation.

        According to Martin Luther;

        “We are compelled to concede to the Papist that they have the word of God; that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all.” (His commentary on John Chap. 14)

      • GlenMJacob

        Was it salvation or to control you and I? Collect monies and build palaces, kill (inquisition) anyone who does not believe, use as an excuse to go to war (crusaders ), molest children, kill elephants for the images, etc

      • Rene

        No. I am not controlled by the church. I have faith in Jesus Christ and His church.

      • GlenMJacob

        Excellent now we have in common. But faith alone is not enough.
        James 2:14-17

      • Rene

         I agree. Faith without good works is dead.

      • Rene

        The Word is Jesus Christ.

      • GlenMJacob

        This is the only passage among the books not supported by the other books. jC was never quoted to say this passage which makes you wonder if this passage was invented by the bishops of Constantine.

  • GlenMJacob

    By the way did I mention that the descendants of Peter believe that the center of the universe is the earth? Then took centuries to realize that they were wrong?

    • Rene

      The whole world, not only the Catholic Church believe the Ptolemaic Science that the earth is the center of the universe until proven by Galileo. But there was no Doctrine or Dogma of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church proclaiming that the earth is the center of the universe. It was a universal thought for centuries but not a Doctrine. Just like Newtonian physics was the accepted science in the 18th century until proven by Einstein in the early 20th century that Newtonian physics is not the true. Newton have not considered the time-space continuum. Did Einstein persecuted? No, because He did not attacked any institution believing Newtonian physics.

      • GlenMJacob

        Now I would suggest to re-examine your thoughts and answers. We are evolving and learning as we go along. Soon the theory of Einstein may be proven wrong. A particle can move faster than light was discovered. My point is that due to the bible and the interpretation of man have accused and sentenced an innocent man Galileo wrongly.

      • Rene

         As I have emphasized that Ptolemaic science was the universally accepted science during that time. It was not the RCC that teaches the earth is the center of the universe but only accepting it. The problem with Galileo is that he attack the integrity of the church as an infallible teacher on faith and morals whereas the thought on what is the center of the universe is not the work of the church and thus the persecution.

      • GlenMJacob

        Exactly the leaders of the church “accepting” the wrong theory. Which make you ask “do they really know what they are talking?

        Regarding the “the church as the infallible teacher of faith” have you heard about what has been going on recently with the RCC bishops and priest. Do they believe in god?

      • Rene

         Perhaps we can also ask the prestigious universities teaching Newtonian physics if they really know what they are believing. They are more accountable. Science is not the work of the church.

        As to the erring bishops and priests; Jesus said regarding the Pharisees – that they have the word of God but their deeds are far from the truth. Follow what they teach, not their deeds.

      • GlenMJacob

        In other words the church follows science.

        Now we have in common. It is the teachings of JC that is good as other good teachers before and after him. By the way, does god has fairness according to JC? What can you say about the parable of the prodigal son, parable of the workers in the vineyard, parable of the wedding feast (the man not wearing a wedding clothes was discriminated upon).

      • Rene

         God is just, fair and infinite in mercy.

        “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

      • GlenMJacob

        Have you reflected on the parables I just mentioned? You have not answered the question of fairness.

      • Rene

        I just came from a game..

        The parables of the prodigal son and workers in the vineyards shows the fairness of God and the envious nature of human. The older brother though he has been with  his father all the time became mad instead of celebrating that his lost brother has finally home. The squandering of the younger son is the wasting of his life into sin and not from real property divided as in estate or money.. The older brother represent some of us humans who are prone to envy to our neighbors who are blessed after squandering their life into sin and returning to God.

        As to the workers in the vineyard; the vineyard is the kingdom of God, the wage is life everlasting and each worker from the earliest to the last was offered by the merciful God the reward of eternal life. Now contemplate on this, what is the reason of the earlier workers to envy the last hired? Do they want them to suffer hell some time before going to heaven because they were hired last?

        And to the parable of the wedding feast, the bridegroom said “I do not know you.” We can refer this to Mt. 7:22 – 23

        “Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not speak in your name? Did we not cast out devils and perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them openly: I have never known you; away from me, you evil people!

        So what made them not worthy (not wearing wedding clothes) to be part of the banquet? Because they have the word of God but their hearts are full of evil desire.

        The parables demonstrated God’s infinite mercy and fairness. It also depicts some of human weaknesses; envy, jealousy, and evil desires.

      • GlenMJacob

        God is merciful, gracious, forgiving but not fair. Fairness is human not God. Fairness is invented by man.

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