Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Vatican II, "an event of light that radiates far" posed the " question of God ", one that still arises today, in an age in which, as Paul VI said in 1965 and Benedict XVI repeated today, " man is orientated toward the conquest of the kingdom of earth rather than of that of heaven; a time in which forgetfulness of God has become habitual, and seems, quite wrongly, to be prompted by the progress of science; a time in which the fundamental act of the human person, more conscious now of himself and of his liberty, tends to pronounce in favor of his own absolute autonomy, in emancipation from every transcendent law; a time in which secularism seems the legitimate consequence of modern thought and the highest wisdom in the temporal ordering of society".
A general audience dedicated to tomorrow's celebrations, for the start of the Year of Faith and 50 years since the Council. The Pope, speaking to 25 thousand people present in St Peter recalls being "an eye-witness" of that event: "I was a young professor of fundamental theology at the University of Bonn at that time, and it was the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Frings, a human and priestly point of reference for me, who took me with him to be his consultant theologian, later I was also appointed a council expert. It was a unique experience for me, after all the fervor and enthusiasm of preparation, I could see a living Church - almost three thousand Council Fathers from all parts of the world gathered under the guidance of the Successor of the Apostle Peter - at the school of the Holy Spirit, the true driving force of the Council. Rarely in history have we been able, as then, to almost concretely "touch" the universality of the Church at a time of great accomplishment of its mission to bring the Gospel to all ages and to the ends of the earth. "
It 'was "like a giant fresco, painted in its great diversity and variety of elements, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And just like before a great work of art, still today we continue to grasp that moment of grace, that extraordinary richness, to rediscover particular passages, fragments, pieces." An event that is "particularly rich even today" and the documents to which "we must return to free them from a mass of publications that often instead of making them known, have hidden them."
Phrases for the first time translated into Arabic, because a deacon read the Gospel passage that introduces the audience and a summary of the catechesis in that language.
"The first question he asked himself in preparing for this great event was how to start it, what specific task to assign to it. Blessed John XXIII, in his opening speech, on October 11, fifty years ago, gave a general indication: faith had to speak in a "renewed", more incisive way - because the world was rapidly changing - while keeping its perennial contents, without giving in or compromise. The Pope wanted the Church to reflect on her faith, on the truths that guide her. But this serious, in-depth reflection on faith, had to outline the relationship between the Church and the modern age in a new way, between Christianity and some essential elements of modern thought, not to conform itself to it, but to present to our world, which tends to move away from God, the need of the Gospel in all its grandeur and in all its purity. "
"We can see how the time in which we live continues to be marked by forgetfulness and deafness towards God. I think, then, that we must learn the simplest and most basic lesson of the Council, namely that Christianity in its essence consists in faith in God, which is love of the Trinity, and in the encounter, both personal and community, with Christ who directs and guides life: from which everything else follows. The important thing today, just as it was the desire of the Council Fathers, is that we can once again see - clearly - that God is present, He takes care of us, He answers us. And that, instead, when there is no faith in God, what is essential collapses, because man loses his profound dignity and that which makes his humanity great, against all reductionism. The Council reminds us that the Church, in all its components, has the duty, the mandate to transmit the Word of God that saves, so that the Divine call, which contains our eternal blessing, can be heard and welcomed. "
"The Second Vatican Council - concluded the Pope - is a strong call for us to rediscover the beauty of our faith every day, to know nourish a deeper understanding of it, a more intense relationship with the Lord, to truly live our Christian vocation ".