Holy Popes in Unholy World
On the Debate about the Role and Transformation of Papal Service in Modern Times
The historian Tomáš Petráček in his introductory text examines the paradox, how is it possible that the Church, led in present times by so many holy popes, faces the fact – at least in the West – of increasing alienation of many people. The author outlines the development of the Papal power in relation to the worldly power from the Middle Ages; he highlights especially the Pian era (1775–1958), and thoroughly presents how a rejection of modernity led to the alienation of the Church to the modern world. Vatican II is then seen as a successful, even if late, coping with modernity, and Pope John XXIII as a truly transitional pope, who closed the epoch of the Pian papacy, having yet an aspiration to overcome the era of the Constantine Church and the Tridentine one, the pope who opened for the Church the way to the future. Finally the author on the ground of the historical development outlines his own idea of papal holiness in the relation to his completely unique and specific service.
The Authority of the Councils in the Ancient Church
The patrologist David Vopřada works in his study on the finding that the celebration of the ecumenical councils permeate through the whole Church history as a red thread, and that councils represent the most important expressions of ecclesial communion (communio) from the beginning of the Christianity to the present time. The Second Vatican Council aroused a special interest, even among scholars and hierarchy, who began to deal more intensively with the issue of synodality in the Church. The author therefore in his study examines the ancient councils and their authority as a living source of inspiration for the modern time and for the perception of Vatican II. He deals with general questions of the meaning of the council, with their course, with principles of synchronic and diachronic consensus, with Church reception of councils, with relation of the councils and papacy in ancient times, with the revision of the conciliar outcomes, with the presence of non-bishops, etc.
Audacity and Accountability
Popes and the Second Vatican Council
The study scours in detail the story of Vatican II, and reflects the relationship between the Council (the Conciliar Fathers) and the Popes, as manifested primarily in the process of adoption of certain documents (e. g. on ecumenism, religious freedom, etc.). The author deals with preconditions of launching the Council outlined by the Popes Pius XI and XII, with a birth of idea of the Council by John XXIII, and his role in its convocation and formation. On the work of Paul VI there is shown the complicated relationship between the Papacy and the Council, the need of the Pope to intervene in the affairs of the Council and to equalize pressures surged at the time. On the comparison of Vatican I and II the author shows a profound transformation in the mentality of the Conciliar Fathers, as well as the one of Popes. He concludes with a statement that among the fruits of the Council belongs awakening of priests, religious and laity, which returns the Church her diversity and creativity, and turns her towards her authentic tradition.
Survey – Popes and Councils
The Revue Salve addressed a range of important personalities of the European Catholicism (H. Bortnowska, W. Bretschneider, F. X. Halas, J. cardinal Meisner, J. Rybář, M. Sievernich, K. Skalický, B. T. Viviano OP, M. cardinal Vlk) and asked them a few questions:
1) Can you recall any particular feelings or impressions associated with the announcement of the Second Vatican Council?
2) Convocation of the Council is associated with the personality of John XXIII. How do you see his contribution to the convocation and course of the Council? What would you describe as his heritage? Does his personality mean, for you personally, any inspiration?
3) The actual continuation of the Council and its further progress depended on the decision of Pope Paul VI. How would you assess his contribution and role in the conciliar and post-conciliar Church development?
4) How would you compare Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II with regard to personal holiness, piety, integrity of life, meditative depth, and also with regard to the ability to perceive problems of the Church and to help in solving them?
5) Does not the influence of strong personalities of the Popes (the ones of 20th century, as we know them) affect the principle of collegiality in the Church, on which Vatican II put stress again? How should be the power of Pope’s of personality in the Church manifested in a new way?
6) What is, for you personally, the most important part of Vatican II legacy?
Above the Princes and the Kings?
Changes of Visual Image of the Papacy after Vatican II
Both Popes John XXIII and his successor Paul VI sent the world clear and understandable signals of change in spiritual climate within the Church, when gradually abandoned some traditional, yet monarchical, aspects of Papal ceremony (e. g. kissing shoes, use of sedan chairs, coronation with tiara, etc.). The Conciliar Popes and all their successors began consciously to emphasise the pastoral dimension of the papal service and collegiality with other bishops. The study focuses on the visual changes in the symbolism of papal ceremonies, and on the changes of its perception from the pontificate of Pius XII to the Pope Francis.
Annibale Bugnini and Renewal of the Liturgy
The article is intended to be a cameo of an Italian priest and bishop Annibale Bugnini (1912–1982), who worked on the renewal of the Roman liturgy in the 20th century. The author draws primarily on the Bugnini’s own texts and on the memoires of his colleagues. Although Annibale Bugnini did not participate in the work of the Vatican II, he was a member of the commission preparing and launching the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, and there are on his person and work well perceptible both the sources and consequences of the first Conciliar Document.
Cuius concilium? Quae reformatio?
Vatican II and the Struggle for its Interpretation
Vatican II is subjected to various interpretations. This article presents the theological debate about the meaning of the Council in the course of last fifty years. This relatively short period brings about a good many of controversies. What happen at Vatican II? Did happen anything at all? What are the consequences of the Council? The author subsequently presents key figures involved in the battle for meaning of Vatican II: from theological advisors of the Conciliar Fathers (periti), through bishops, Roman Curia and Popes, to contemporary academic theologians. The article shows that the history of the interpretation of Vatican II resembles to a pendulum swinging from one side to another. Whatever interpretation leads the discussion (conservative or liberal; hermeneutics of continuity, discontinuity or reform), it is largely dependent on the policy applied by the centre of the Church in Rome. In any case, an ongoing debate proves that the Council is a significant ‘event’ in the recent Church history.