Church Reform: “The Beginnings of the Beginning- or the end of the new song?”

This was sent to me last month by the German church reform group, “Wir Sind Kirche”. I delayed posting it at Queering the Church as I was not happy with the language of the English translation. (Provided by themselves). In terms of some current discussion here, it is particularly topical: responding to a comment in another post, I promised to prepare a post on how John Paul II was responsible for reversing many of the council’s reforms. That post is into fully ready, but I have been catching up on my reading, so Seibel’s words immediately recalled to my mind some of what I ahve been finding. I am posting below the text I received, lightly edited for language, together with my responses.

I have added at the end references to the sources I have used – which were jsut simply those that I had to hand. Any reasonable library will have many more.

Authorized short version of a talk held in Wurzburg on November 8th 2008 during the 24th assembly of the movement “We are Church” by P.Wolfgang Seibel SJ, observer of the Council and long-standing editor of the journal “Stimmen der Zeit”of the Jesuits in Munich.

Pope John 23rd called the Council because he was convinced that the Church was in dire need of fundamental reforms. The Council was intended to initiate a “Renewal of the whole Church”. The Pope was convinced that this reform could only be achieved by shared discussion, and open argument, and only if as many as possible lay people and office bearers were to contribute and introduce their knowledge and experience. He did not accept solving problems by directives or decree. The Church shall “renew itself under the guidance of the Holy Spirit incessantly” (GS21). It is “obliged to study the signs of the present time and to interpret them in the light of the holy Bible”
(GS4).

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