Pope Francis on Vatican II anniversary: ‘May the Church be overcome with joy’

Pope Francis on Vatican II anniversary: ‘May the Church be overcome with joy’

Pope Francis presides at a memorial Mass of St. John XXIII, which also marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, at St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 11, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican City, Oct 11, 2022 / 13:04 pm (CNA).

On the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to leave behind criticism and anger and to live the faith with joy.

“May the Church be overcome with joy. If she should fail to rejoice, she would deny her very self, for she would forget the love that begot her,” the pope said during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 11.

“Yet,” he continued, “how many of us are unable to live the faith with joy, without grumbling and criticizing? A Church in love with Jesus has no time for quarrels, gossip, and disputes. May God free us from being critical and intolerant, harsh, and angry. This is not a matter of style but of love. For those who love, as the Apostle Paul teaches, do everything without murmuring.”

The Mass marked the 60th anniversary of the day the Second Vatican Council was opened by St. John XXIII on Oct. 11, 1962. The council closed on Dec. 8, 1965.

Oct. 11 is also celebrated as St. John XXIII’s feast day in the Catholic Church.

In his homily, Pope Francis encouraged members of the Church to return “to the council’s pure sources of love.”

“Let us rediscover the council’s passion and renew our own passion for the council,” he said. “Immersed in the mystery of the Church, Mother and Bride, let us also say, with St. John XXIII: Gaudet Mater Ecclesia.”

Francis also warned Catholics about the strategy of the devil, who sows weeds of division among the faithful. “Let us not succumb to his flattery, let us not give in to the temptation of polarization,” he urged.

“How many times since the council have Christians gone out of their way to choose a side in the Church, not realizing that they were tearing their Mother’s heart,” the pope said. “How many times have they preferred to be ‘supporters of their own group’ rather than servants of all, progressives and conservatives rather than brothers and sisters, ‘of the right’ or ‘of the left’ rather than of Jesus; standing up as ‘guardians of the truth’ or ‘soloists of novelty,’ rather than recognizing themselves as humble and grateful children of holy Mother Church.”

All people are children of God and our brothers, he added. “The Lord does not want us this way: We are his sheep, his flock, and we are so only together, united. Let us overcome polarization and guard communion, let us become more and more ‘one,’ as Jesus pleaded before he gave his life for us.”

Pope Francis noted that there is always the temptation to start from one’s self and one’s agenda, rather than from God and his Gospel.

We “let ourselves be caught up in the winds of worldliness in order to chase the fashions of the moment or to turn back the time that Providence has granted us,” he said. “Yet let us be careful: both the ‘progressivism’ that lines up behind the world and the traditionalism — or ‘indietrism’ — that longs for a bygone world are not evidence of love, but of infidelity.”

“Let us rediscover the council in order to restore primacy to God, to what is essential: to a Church madly in love with its Lord and with all the men and women whom he loves; to a Church that is rich in Jesus and poor in assets; to a Church that is free and freeing. This was the path that the council pointed out to the Church,” he said.

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