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John 13:34

love one another as I have loved you

John 13:34

Monday, October 22, 2012

Message from Bishop Peter - Vat II

Faith and Life E-newsletter
Catholic Diocese of Wollongong
October 2012
Updated Diocesan Calendar
October / November 2012

We have updated the October / November 2012 Diocesan Calendar. The updated calendar includes revised dates as well as venue details for the upcoming Vatican II e-Conference at Chevalier College in Bowral.

You can download the updated October / November Diocesan Caldender here. The link in the October Faith and Life E-Newsletter that was emailed out last week has also been updated for the new calendar.

Click here for details on the upcoming Vatican II e-Conference and to download a flyer.

Message from Bishop Peter Ingham on the 50th Anniversary Vatican II

I want to highlight the 50th anniversary of that great ecclesial event, the II Vatican Council and the opening of the Year of Faith.  Our Year of Grace neatly dovetails with both of the above especially when you remember Bl John Paul II called Vatican II "the great grace of the 20th Century" (NMI 57) and indicated the Council was a compass by which we can set our direction for the 21st Century. Pope Benedict said on 11 October, "Living faith opens the heart to the Grace of God which frees us from pessimism".

I hope and pray that we will all renew our acquaintance with the 16 Documents of Vatican II. Again the Pope said, "The true legacy of Vatican II is to be found in its texts....draw from them the Council's authentic spirit."

The Council documents are a vast treasure chest into which we have all dipped, but as Bishop Michael Putney said, "not everyone took out the same treasures". So he suggests we look at the total Gift of Grace the Council was.

Bishop Michael prefers we look at Vatican II as if it were a tapestry.  We need to stand back and see the whole picture lest we see only the parts we like, but miss how those fit into the whole picture.  We also need to look at Vatican II through the lens of our long and rich tradition of Catholic Faith and Culture.  Pope Benedict said the Council sought "to proclaim the truths of the Faith in a renewed way all the while keeping intact their perennial content."

Council Items

The Council offered us a new way of relating to God, of deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ plus a new way of thinking about the Church.  Bl John XXIII had a beautiful vision of our loving mother, the Church, offering us the medicine of mercy not of severity!  He indicated that the sacred deposit of Christian Doctrine....which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored in a way which responds to the needs of our times.

Vatican II told us we are the "pilgrim People of God" journeying through history - meaning we have to go forward together to the future God holds out for us.  To go on ahead on our own is not the way, nor is it to circle the wagons and be defensive. The Pope also said "The journey is a metaphor for life, and the wise wayfarer is one who has learned the art of living and can share it with others".  He also referred to the thirst for God, a thirst for the ultimate meaning of our life.

Jesus is the Light of the Nations (Lumen Gentium) leading us, the People of God.  We belong together, we are the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head or we are adrift, we are the building of the Holy Spirit.

The Council re-focused us on the rich understanding of our Triune God and made the role of the Holy Spirit clearer for us.


Vatican II helped us to understand Communio which is exemplified in the interrelationship of the Persons in the Holy Trinity.  Our own Communio in our personal relationship with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit should keep us in Communio with one another and co-responsible with all the baptised for the mission of Jesus Christ.  We Christians serve the wider world by sharing this Communio with others.


Vatican II also helped us to focus on Dialogue.  Do you recall that Paul VI in 1964 wrote a positive Encyclical "Ecclesiam Suam" on the meaning of respectful dialogue within the Church and with all sectors of our world?  It is still very relevant and practical for today.  When we truly listen to another to understand their point of view, we discover not only who they are, but we can also discover who we are! Often in such an exchange, we utter things really important to us that perhaps we had never articulated so clearly before.  Ecclesiam Suam deserves re-reading!

When we look back there were four purposes why Bl John XXIII called the Council: - to invigorate our Christian living by strengthening our relationship with God; - to adapt the Church's structures to the needs of the times (aggiornamento); - to foster unity (within the Church, with other Christians, with people of other faiths, with all); - to be in mission, to evangelise.

On the Council's 50th Anniversary, Pope Benedict XVI said: "The true meaning of Vatican II was and remains faith in Jesus Christ, the Apostolic Faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and to all people in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history".

With my best wishes and blessings for a happy anniversary.


Most Rev Peter W Ingham DD



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