Pope Supports "Hermeneutic of Continuity" Approach to Vatican II in Letter

Praises Archbishop Marchetto as “Best Interpreter” of the Council

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Pope Francis has written a warm letter of commendation to the author of a book on the Second Vatican Council which criticizes the “Bologna School” – an approach that considers the Council to be a “hermeneutic of rupture.”

The author is Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, a former Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and distinguished scholar of Vatican II, who wrote the famous work: ‘The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council.’

In common with the position of Benedict XVI, the book supports the notion that the Council represented a “hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity” with the Church’s tradition rather than one of rupture between the pre- and post-conciliar periods.

The letter, sent to the prelate on October 7, 2013, was made public on November 12, on the occasion of the presentation in Campidoglio of the book published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), entitled “Papal Primacy and Episcopate: From the First Millennium to the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council – Studies in Honor of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto.”

Following is the unabridged text of the Letter. Translation by ZENIT.

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Dear Monsignor Marchetto,

With these lines I wish to make myself close to you and to join the ceremony of the presentation of the book “Papal Primacy and the Episcopate: From the First Millennium to the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council.” I ask you to feel me spiritually present.

The theme of the book is a tribute to the love you have for the Church, a loyal and at the same time poetic love. Loyalty and poetry are not objects of commerce: they are not bought or sold, they are simply virtues rooted in the heart of a son who feels the Church as Mother, or to be more precise, and to say it with an Ignatian family “air,” as “the hierarchic Holy Mother Church.”

You have manifested this love in many ways, including correcting an error or imprecision on my part, — and for this I thank you from my heart –, but above all it has been manifested in all its purity in the studies made on Vatican Council II.

Once I said to you, dear Monsignor Marchetto, and today I wish to repeat it, that I consider you the best interpreter of Vatican Council II. I know that it is a gift of God, but I also know that you have made it fructify.

I am grateful to you for all the good you to us with your witness of love for the Church and I ask the Lord to reward you abundantly.

I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.

Vatican, October 7, 2013



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