Interpreter of Vatican II
October 25, 2005
This chapter discusses Pope Benedict XVI as an interpreter of Vatican II. The young Joseph Ratzinger was present at all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965 as a theological expert. In 1981 he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post he held until the death of John Paul II in April 2005. In his many publications, Ratzinger has continued to debate questions that arose during the council. The discussion divides the material into three stages: his participation at the council, his early commentaries on the council documents, and his later reflections on the reception of the council. After surveying these three areas, it examines his changing reactions to the four great Constitutions: those on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), on Revelation (Dei Verbum), on the Church (Lumen gentium), and on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes).
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