February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

International Symposium on Implementation of Vatican II

    VATICAN CITY, FEB 25 (ZENIT).- The third and last in a series of symposiums convoked by John Paul II to prepare the Church's Jubilee "examination of conscience" began today to discuss a decisively important theme: the implementation of Vatican Council II. The previous symposiums in this series considered the Church's relation with Judaism and the history of the Inquisition.

    In the end, what is being undertaking is a real examination of conscience, which must respond to questions already posed by John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter of preparation for the year 2000, "Tertium Millenium Adveniente." To what degree has the word of God become the soul of theology and inspiration of Christian life? Is the liturgy lived as the source and culmination of ecclesial life? Is the lived experience of the Church being consolidated, giving space to charisms, ministries and different forms of participation by the people of God? What is the Church's relation with the world?

Leap to Third Millennium

    The first to address these questions was Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Vatican Jubilee Committee, who asserted that the Jubilee must help the Council maintain its initial impetus. "The Council seems to fade from a horizon that is changing today," the Cardinal stated in his report, which he was unable to read in person as he is accompanying the Holy Father on his pilgrimage to Egypt. In reality, "the only road the Church can take is to enter more profoundly and faithfully into the Council and have the courage to make the leap into the third millennium of Christian history." The Cardinal, who served as an "expert" during Vatican Council II, called that event as "a summit from which God pointed out the road to his people and challenged them, as he did from the summit of Sinai."

35 Years Later

    In 1985 John Paul II convoked an extraordinary Synod to make an examination of conscience 20 years after the Council. Bishops from all over the world had the opportunity to make a serious and profound analysis, noted Bishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary general of the Vatican Jubilee Committee. Consequently, the current international symposium will focus on the implementation of the Council "from the 1985 Synod up to the present Great Jubilee of 2000."


    The first magisterial conference was given by Professor Hermann J. Pottmeyer, of the University of Bochum, Germany. He entered fully into the current theological debate on the idea of the Church as communion, a formulation used in 1985 to identify the Church by the Council. Various theologians are criticizing this terminology. Some consider the communion as a type of ecclesiastical centralism, which could go against the image of the Church as People of God, mentioned in the Conciliar Constitution, "Lumen Gentium." According to this group, that Council contribution is being ignored at present.

    Quoting John Paul II's Magisterium, Professor Pottmeyer explained the meaning and profound implications of the dimension of communion at all levels of the Church's life, which has nothing to do with ecclesiastical centralism. At the end of his talk there was greater understanding of the Pope's query in "Tertium Millennium Adveniente," where he requests an examination of conscience on the space being given to charisms, ministries and the ways of the People of God's participation. The danger that must be avoided is that of falling into a kind of "democratism" or "sociologism" that makes of the Church a philanthropic association, forgetting her origin and mission.

    This afternoon began with Jean Vanier's testimony. He is the founder of the Arc Community, an institution in which physically and mentally handicapped people live with those dedicated to their care. Through these people, especially the innocence of those with Down Syndrome, Jean Vanier, a layman, has been able to understand the most profound passages of Scripture, which reflect the wonder of God over man's smallness. It is in that love of God that genuine communion is rooted.

    A debate began following Professor Pottmeyer's presentation. More than 20 experts from around the world participated, speaking about topics ranging from theological research to inculturation. ZE00022508


February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41

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