The “spirit of Vatican II’ is a phrase that always causes me great consternation. It is my opinion that those who are less than pleased with what the Council Fathers actually had to say, which is communicated in the various Vatican II documents that flowed from the Council, constantly refer to what they ‘think’ the Council was saying as the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II.
I came across an interesting Blog by Tom Hoopes today that discusses this. It is entitled “The Death of the Spirit of (Pre) Vatican II” today. In the Blog Tom Hoopes discusses these words of Pope Benedict XVI: “It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength.”
Tom Hoopes explains how the true message of Vatican II was that:
- Lay people aren’t spectators to the priests and religious who are doing the real Catholic work; lay people are the front lines of the Church’s effort to sanctify the world.
- What happens inside church walls is not the be-all and end-all of Christian life. The Mass is the source and summit of a faith life that is mostly lived elsewhere.
The second Vatican Council did not call for lay people, including women, to be ordained as priests, or to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or to perform some visible role during Mass in order to truly live out their Catholic faith. No, the truth is that in fact Vatican II actually called on the lay faithful to take the gospel with them when they left Mass and share it with the world where they work and live. Effectively, open the doors and let the Church go out into the world.
You can read Tom Hoopes entire Blog here . . .