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ROME. With his liturgical memorial (October 11) falling on the fourth full day of the Special Synod for Amazonia, which sometimes seems bent on recycling every tried-and-failed nostrum from the 1970s, it was inevitable that certain portside Catholic commentators would continue their effort to spin Pope St. John XXIII into a smiley-face, chubby Italian grandpa whose approach to the future of the Church was somewhat Maoist: “Let a thousand flowers bloom!”
If, however, the spinners had bothered to read the excerpt from Pope John’s opening address to Vatican II in the Divine Office for October 11, they might have been given pause. For after some opening words of thanks to divine providence for having brought the Council to its solemn opening, the pope had this to say: “[The] critical issues, the thorny problems that wait upon man’s solution, have remained the same for almost 20 centuries. Why? Because the whole of history and of life hinges on the person of Jesus Christ. . . .”
He then continued:
In these days . . . it is more obvious than ever before that the Lord’s truth is eternal. Human ideologies change. Successive generations give rise to varying errors, and these often vanish as quickly as they came, like mist before the sun. The Church has always opposed these errors, and often condemned them with the utmost severity. Today, however, Christ's Bride prefers the balm of mercy to the arm of severity. She believes that, present needs are best served by explaining more fully the purport of her doctrines, rather than by publishing condemnations. . . .
Desire - Catholic - Church - Council - Torch
The great desire, therefore, of the Catholic Church in raising aloft at this Council the torch of truth is to show herself to the world as the loving mother of all mankind; gentle, patient, and full...
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