5, 2012 Martin Mallon
The Vision of
video John posted on this forum on Sept 30, from America magazine, of
Ladislas Orsy, S.J., author and Professor of Law and Canon Law, talking about his
memories and experiences of Vatican II was inspirational and full of hope for
way he talked of the 2000+ bishops in the Council being hit by a “tsunami of
the Spirit” which
somehow shook and shakes the face of the earth helps to bring home the fact that
this was an Ecumenical Council, a human reality and a saving mystery, guided
fully by the Holy Spirit; not just a few bishops chatting together.
The Most Important Event at
felt that the most important event at the Council was the miracle at the first
session. Over two thousand bishops who did not know each other became a compact
community within a few weeks and under the impulse of the Spirit they became
aware of their power and out of that power they voiced an opposition to nearly
everything that was prepared and indicated that they wanted a new approach. That
is half of the miracle.
other half was that Pope John XXIII had presided over the preparation of the
schemata and had approved them, yet when he saw the bishops respectful request
for something different he opened up and let the bishops do as they wished. This
was a Pope who wanted to learn from his bishops, an excess of humility, which is
a good sign of sanctity.
tells us that the story in
suppose the equivalent today would be if the bishops of the world united and,
for example, threw out the new Mass translation, changed Church teaching on
contraception and changed Church discipline on priestly celibacy and women’s
ordination. Imagine the joy, hope and peace that would be experienced, fruits of
the Holy Spirit. The period when Vatican II was held must have been a great and
exciting time to be alive for Catholics used to the pre-Vatican II Church.
Work of the Council
goes on to tell us that the unfinished work of the Council consists of the fact
that the Pope called the Council for aggiornamento or updating. This word means
updating in a practical sense. What the Council has done is given a beautiful
vision of what the Church ought to be in this modern world, but at the same time
did very little of the practical order to fulfil this project, apart from the
according to Orsy, at the end of the Council there was a vision of what the
Church should be, but we did not inherit from the Council new structures, new
ways of operating which were proclaimed and promulgated, as to how to deliver
this vision. The Council left that to later generations, they did not have much
time. Orsy believes that the aggiornamento was not fulfilled because we did not
have the practical ordinances ordered from the Council. He did not feel this at
the time of the Council but has discovered that since.
Fulfil the Vision of the Council
fulfil the vision of the Council Orsy feels the most important development that
we need is in the episcopate. The bishops acted with due autonomy with Peter and
under Peter during the Council. What has been missing since the Council is that
the episcopate would carry on with this awareness, remembering that they
received their power at their ordination from the Holy Spirit; from no one else.
Therefore, their first responsibility is to the Spirit, not to the Pope, not to
the bishops’ conference, not to any other person and with that knowledge they
can gain from this discernment with the Spirit, help the Pope, help the other
bishops, the whole Christian community and the whole human race, because the
Church is involved so much in ordinary human problems.
believes that there is a lack of equilibrium in the Church; we need, by divine
right, unity, and the papacy is the principle of unity, we need, by divine law,
diversity, and the episcopate must be the source of legitimate diversity in the
Church. Importantly, Orsy warns that if the bishops ever became executive
officers of the papacy, they would not be fulfilling their vocations and the
whole Church would suffer. We need “So, shall I say, another miracle”,
according to Orsy.
bishops in today’s Church appear to be no more than “executive officers of
the papacy” which means that the whole Church is suffering. It is time for
Signs of the Times
first sign is turbulence. We are in a turbulent Church. But why? Because of the
tsunami of the Holy Spirit disturbing us. That means there is a lot of energy,
and so much of what is called “trouble” in the Church today, restlessness,
may come from divine energy under the surface which is trying to break to the
surface. Orsy thinks that it is reasonable to say that the time will come when
these energies will break to the surface and that somehow they will bring a new
quiet, a new calm, a new tranquility, to the Church, but it will be different
and it needs time.
Council wanted to reverse tendencies that go back, say, one thousand years and
that’s not easy. The Spirit is shaking up the Church in order to bring help,
the quiet light of God, the peace of God, the tranquility of God to the nations
and thus the Church can become Lumen Gentium, Light of the Nations.
was a hope filled part of the speech and
I pray that Orsy’s prophecy is fulfilled.
What can we do
now fifty years later?
is asked this question all the time and there is a simple answer; it is each of
us at his or her own place and time should look round and see is there some
opening to do something that he has creatively identified, and performed what is
necessary to bring the vision ahead. That means we are talking and complaining
too much instead of doing what we can here and now.
we each of us do what we can in our own way, the Spirit in one way or another
will notice that and will come to help. Amen.
us all take up Orsy’s challenge and do what we can in our own lives to make
the vision of Vatican II a reality.
to Ladislas Orsy at: http://www.americamagazine.org/content/video/video-index.cfm?series_id=1363