In Observance of "Lumen Gentium" Anniversary

“A Milestone in the Journey of the Church”

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2004 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today when praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. Today, last Sunday of the liturgical year, is celebrated the solemnity of Christ King of the universe.

The fathers of the Second Vatican Council looked to him when, on Nov. 21, forty years ago now, they promulgated the dogmatic constitution which begins with the words “Lumen gentium cum sit Christus,” Christ is the light of nations.

“Lumen Gentium” constituted a milestone in the journey of the Church on the paths of the contemporary world and stimulated the people of God to assume, with greater determination, their responsibilities in the building of that Kingdom of Christ which will only have its fulfillment beyond history.

2. The evangelical animation of the temporal order is, in fact, a duty of every baptized person, in particular of the lay faithful (see “Lumen Gentium,” Nos. 31,35,36,38, etc.). Useful aid for this mission is, also, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published just this year by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to which I renew the expression of my gratitude.

3. To achieve its objective, however, every human effort must be supported by prayer. Today, “Pro Orantibus” Day is observed. I commend to most holy Mary the communities of contemplative life, which I greet with affection. May these brothers and sisters of ours never lack the spiritual and material support of all the faithful.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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