Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Ratzinger and Vatican II: the untold story

Posted by Charles II on March 4, 2013

Paul Surlis, The Consortium:

Benedict, as Joseph Ratzinger, an expert at the council, explained and enthusiastically endorsed the reforming trends of the council. After each of the council’s four sessions, Dr. Ratzinger wrote a pamphlet-length account of what had transpired during the preceding session and these reflections were subsequently collected in a book, Theological Highlights of Vatican II

One of the great structural changes envisaged by the council was a transition from a centralized, monarchical papacy where one person, the pope, assisted by the curial cardinals, has absolute power over the universal church to a church that would be governed by the bishops of the entire church in union with the pope.

As part of collegiality it was intended that a synod representing the bishops of the universal church would be permanently in session and involved in church governance and would control the Curia, which would be forced to serve the pope and bishops as a civil service. However, the Curia reasserted itself after the council and now plays a dominant role in the universal Church.

A truly collegial church might well have avoided scandals…but unfortunately implementing collegiality and an independent synod of bishops is still a dead letter.

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) made it clear at the outset of his papacy that the role of the bishops was to assist him in his ministry, not to exercise any sort of independent governance with and under him as the council envisaged.

…Cardinal Ratzinger targeted theologians for repressive surveillance, and he engendered a mood of fear and anxiety …


A burning question is why did Dr. Ratzinger turn his back on council teaching and its progressive agenda? And the answer has much to do with the student revolt of 1968 which scared Dr. Ratzinger. The great deference shown to German professors gave way to jeering and cat-calls.

Now that Benedict is retired and the search for a new pope is underway, it is time to ask what the principal concerns of a pope should be. It is clear now from stories of scandals both financial and sexual within the Curia and the Vatican that structural reform is imperative.

Collegiality needs to be implemented

One Response to “Ratzinger and Vatican II: the untold story”

  1. Phoenix Woman said

    “A burning question is why did Dr. Ratzinger turn his back on council teaching and its progressive agenda? And the answer has much to do with the student revolt of 1968 which scared Dr. Ratzinger. The great deference shown to German professors gave way to jeering and cat-calls.”

    Kinda says it all right there.

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