On Tuesday, the 13th of March 2012, priests and deacons working in the diocese of Queenstown attended at Pallotti Farm a workshop presented by Fr Peter Knox SJ.
50 years after Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict XVI wants to start a year commemorating this turning point in the history of the Catholic Church by reflecting upon the message of that council, a message of joy and hope (Gaudium et Spes).
During an interesting presentation Father Knox tried to illustrate the atmosphere in the “Official” (Curial) Church and in the “Local” (pastoral) Churches during the preparation and the first sessions of that Council: a “conservative” section which wanted to round off Vatican I and a “progressive” section which wanted to see Vatican II as a rather pastoral council in the light of the “Aggiornamento” vision of Pope John XXIII.
Both parties had to see in that a Metanoia, a “changing of mind”, was more than urgent. Vatican II became a Council without dogmatic statements and without condemnations. It became a council where both parties really could go home with “Joy and hope”.
Joy (Gaudium) : Yes Vatican II gave the Church again its place in the world. After a long time, the Church had not to be any more into the defensive position, but could live in partnership in the modern world.
Hope (Spes): The Church has its own characteristics which can be very attractive to a world which is continuously on the search.
Fr Knox gave also some interesting information about the “Hope and Joy” movement in Southern Africa and left some contacts which could become very useful in the next future.
It became a very interesting day for all of us.
Fr Edward Tratsaert SAC