Archbishop William E. Lori's article on the Second Vatican Council ("Not a break but a continuum," Aug. 18) fails to mention Pope John XXIII who convened the council. Instead Mr. Lori refers to Pope Paul II. According to Archbishop Lori, Pope Paul II reports the council as "historically a thing of the past, but spiritually still in being."
In fact the church has been trying to put the "spirit" of that gathering behind them ever since the death of John XXIII. The Second Vatican Council was not just a meeting of bishops, as reported in the article, but included laity and women of the church. (My father was a participant in two separate sessions, one on world peace and the other on families. )
The Second Vatican Council was held in a spirit of new "revelation," a movement toward universal wholeness, catholicity. At last, people were recognizing that God did not stop speaking to creation with the last of the prophets and with the written words of those who remembered Jesus and His teachings. Pope John XXII was acknowledging God's word in creation. It was a time when the work of Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, Heisenberg and others were shedding light on what the mystics had been telling us for centuries, and the main teachings of Jesus: "we are one in spirit."
Words of John XXIII :
"It is not that the gospel has changed; it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have ... were enabled to compare different cultures and traditions, and know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead."
"Peace on Earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order."
The theologians of the time Teilhard de Cardin and Karl Rahner were sharing amazing and joyous ways that science was revealing our intimate relationship with God and all of creation. Instead of welcoming this intimacy, and recognizing, as John XXIII says, that everyone in creation is equal, the church quickly tried to put the flame back in the box.
The Church has left us to stumble our way to the evolutionary love and union the God of Love created for us.
I find this very sad. What incredible missed opportunity. Thanks to writers and philosophers like Diamund O'Marchu, Ilia Delio, Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox, DePak Chopra, Henri Noueen, Judy Cannato, and many others there is a community of belief and of "catholicity." A God of Love is a God of Unity.
As John XXIII, who seems to be forgotten by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, said in his encyclical Pacem en Terris: "may Christ inflame the desires of all men to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through His power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them."
Barbara Risacher, Joppa