Ratzinger Students Discuss Fidelity, Openness

Prelate Stresses Importance of Spiritual Life in Ecumenism

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The annual meeting of the «Ratzinger Schulerkreis,» a group of the Pope’s former students, focused on the Second Vatican Council priorities of fidelity and openness.

Archbishop Kurt Koch, the new president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the principal speaker for the meeting, reported this to L’Osservatore Romano. The Pope’s former students gathered Aug. 27 in Castel Gandolfo for their annual study circle, which concluded Monday.

Benedict XVI also participated in some of the discussions.

Archbishop Koch noted that the gathering had a clear conclusion: «Fidelity to tradition and openness to the future.»

He explained, «Fidelity to tradition, openness to the future is the most correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which continues to be the magna carta of the Church also in the third millennium.»

The speaker noted, «In the first session I proposed a reflection on how to read and interpret the Second Vatican Council, indicating the priority of an hermeneutics of reform.»

He added that this is an «issue which I took up again and developed in the second presentation, reflecting further, in particular, on the constitution ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ on the liturgy, precisely to show concretely how an hermeneutics of reform can be implemented.»

The two presentations were «followed by a debate of more than one hour, very interesting and rich in significant contributions,» the prelate reported.

According to Archbishop Koch, «one was able to understand how fundamental is the spiritual dimension of Christian life in all aspects. And this is true, from my point of view, also in the ecumenical dialogue, which is the most direct field of work before me.»

The archbishop commented briefly on a private audience he had with Benedict XVI on Monday. 

«We spoke of my new ecumenical challenge,» he said, «because the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is not an independent reality but it has a mandate from the Pope to see how dialogue can develop in the future.»

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