Sunday, August 12, 2007

All Against All: The Postconciliar Period Recounted by Ratzinger, Theologian and Pope

During his recent vacation, Pope Benedict XVI's met with local priests at the church of Santa Giustina Martire in Auronzo di Cadore, answering ten questions at length. Sandro Magister reports on the Pope's answer to a question on the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. In explaining the disappointment and disillusion in the decades since then, he says,
The periods following a council are almost always very difficult. After the great Council of Nicaea – which is, for us, truly the foundation of our faith, in fact we confess the faith as formulated at Nicaea – there was not the birth of a situation of reconciliation and unity, as hoped by Constantine, the promoter of the great Council, but a genuinely chaotic situation of a battle of all against all.

If such periods after councils are difficult, isn't it because they had been called to deal with an already-existing difficult situation? In the case of the First Council of Nicaea, the difficulty was the heresy of Arianism. Since Vatican II did not deal with heresy (SC 1), citing Nicaea I does not explain the decades of problems since. And if such difficulties are inherent in a post-conciliar period, then that would be a good reason not to call a council unless the Church faces a problem, like a widespread heresy, that defies any other solution.

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