Riggio: 60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council

60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (11 October 1962 – 2022)

Tomorrow marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Pope John XXIII wanted it, continued it and closed it, in 1965, by Pope Paolo VI.

The event will be commemorated by Pope Francis who for the occasion invited to concelebrate the few bishops and priests still living, who participated in that Council

Mons.Crispino Valenziano, apostolic protonotary, present in the great council hall for the entire duration of the event, will concelebrate with the Holy Father, alongside our Bishop Mons. Emiliano Cagnoni, who being very old had obtained from the Secretariat of the Council to be assisted by his secretary.

Mons.Valenziano is the only living witness of our Diocese, but he is also one of the few who have been interpreters, scholars and teachers from university professorships of that extraordinary experience and teachings of Vatican II, in their publications, on all propitious occasions. .

Of these 60 years there are also my memories, even if limited to the first 10 and the last 30

I began attending Theology and Liturgical Studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo in Rome, on the advice of Mons. Valenziano and by the will of Bishop Cagnoni, just when the second session of the Council was taking place (29 September – 4 December 1963).

For a couple of times I went to see my Bishop at the Capranica College, but more often with my friends I met the Valencian professor (he had been our professor of History and Philosophy at the Lyceum in the Seminary of Cefalù), who informed us of what was happening in the and above all he transmitted to us the enthusiasm of that experience, which was causing a Weltanschauung within the Catholic Church and in its relations with the contemporary world.

A happy sounding board for the conciliar ‘events’ were the Pontifical universities of Rome: the drafts of the conciliar documents and. all the more reason, the definitive texts inspired the lessons and discussions on a daily basis, thus becoming tools of our cultural formation in the form of a workshop.

The writer experienced the charismatic enthusiasm of the Liturgical Institute, with the great Salvatore Marsili, Adrien Nocent, Burkhard Neunheuser, Benedictine monk professors, simultaneously with the definition and publication of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, December 4, 1963) and will never forget the ecclesiology of prof. Magnus Löhrer osb, in conjunction with the Constitution on the Church, including prior note! (Lumen gentiumNovember 21, 1964), followed the Dei Verbum (November 18, 1965) on the Word of God and the Gaudium et spes (December 7, 1965) on the Church in the contemporary world.

In addition to the four Constitutions, the Council also issued Nine Decrees: Inter Mirificaon the tools of social communication 04.12.63 – Orientalium Ecclesiarumon the Eastern Catholic Churches 21.11.64 – Unitatis Redintegratioon ecumenism 21.11.64 – Christus Dominuson the pastoral office of Bishops 28.10.65 – Perfectæ Caritatison the renewal of religious life 28.10.65 – Optatam Totiuson priestly formation 28.10.65 – Apostolicam Actuositatemon the apostolate of the laity 18.11.65 – Ad Genteson the missionary activity of the Church 07.12.65 – Presbiterorum Ordinis, on the ministry and priestly life 07.12.65; And Three Statements: Gravissimum Educationison Christian education 28.10.65 – Our Ætateon relations with non-Christian religions 28.10.65 – Dignitatis humanæon religious freedom 07.12.65,

The Council had answered the two fundamental questions that Pope John XXIII had posed to the 2,500 bishops gathered in St. Peter’s: Church of Christ, who you are and who you intend to be within you and in relations with the outside world today!

The conciliar answers, however, remain for the most part the prerogative of scholars, they find ample space in the official doctrinal references, in the theoretical affirmations of the pastoral plans … but they do not in the least affect the lived life of the people of God, who look elsewhere for what is not given to them. inside of.

But how could the Council bear fruits of holiness if the Hierarchy silenced it for the first 35 years and limited itself to periodically commemorating it in subsequent times?

It is as if the Hierarchy has been afraid of the Holy Spirit, which is like the wind, you do not know where it comes from or where it is going! Already during the Council, the conservative wing of the Bishops, the curials who had prepared the Documents to be approved, had feared that something radically different was happening. The pastoral wing that had the greatest theologians of the twentieth century behind (or in front?) Won!

A completely different thing happened in our Diocese and in most of the Italian Dioceses: the power groups within the local Clergy, while they claimed that the doctrine of the Council had always taught them (while we wept bitter tears if we were caught to read for example The theological meaning of the Liturgy by Cipriano Vagaggini or the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin), continued to train seminarians with the Tridentine approach and to prevent innovators from becoming bishops,

The courage of some young bishop, son of Vatican II, was not enough, because the forces of internal power were unequal: I was present as Secretary of the Presbyterial Council and I recorded the meeting that Archbishop Calogero Lauricella had in the episcope with the ‘ gota ‘of the local chapter clergy. To the bishop who affirmed his will to begin with the Liturgical reform already in the celebrations of the Cathedral, implying that this would proceed in the direction and organization of the entire Diocese, the ‘head’ of the capitular delegation asked: ‘But what guarantees do we have ? ‘. A silence followed that seemed like an eternity, until the young verbalizing know-it-all dared to take the Word: “And you, monsignor, who are you to ask your Bishop for guarantees? It seems to me that here the roles have been reversed | ”, he He dissolved the session in the greatest embarrassment and then things went as they continue to go today!

The Council of Trent, with its binding disciplinary force, while lacking an ecclesiology, gave great fruits of holiness and changed the customs of the whole of Europe. His verticalist spirituality is still taught and practiced by the Catholic Hierarchy, but for some time it has appeared sclerotic and unsatisfactory. The Second Vatican Council, with its extraordinary ecclesiology and a great impact with contemporary culture and society, is still ignored because it is that new wine that still does not find the suitable wineskins to contain it and rather attempts are made to water it with a minimalist attitude and irreverent that makes one doubt the good faith.

We are witnessing the return of a low-grade individualism, which arouses visceral sentimentality, cures the most disparate devotions, creates divinely impossible expectations, because that god does not exist, while Christ and His Word are deliberately neglected; all the prerogatives of the Son are attributed to the Madonna; except in the Liturgy, the Father is no longer prayed and the Holy Spirit remains a stranger, not even illustrious!

The Trinitarian scheme of liturgical prayer A-PER-IN-AD (A Patre, per Filium, in Spiritu, ad Patrem) which after the Council should have also ‘informed’ spirituality and individual prayer, remains totally unknown or deliberately neglected.

If the diocesan Synod, which has now entered its third phase, had placed itself as a verification of the conciliar spirituality and the style of power management, in a sacramental rather than hierarchical ecclesial structure, it could have been considered as a basis for the reconstruction of the Church of the future. ; instead trying to proceed by groping, mixing symbols and forging raving prayers, we will end up blaming the Holy Spirit for our foolishness as well.

Giusppe Riggio

Riggio: 60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council – MadonieLive.com