German bishops assure Vatican but vow to proceed with reform
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Two weeks ago, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a stern reprimand of a Belgian priest, and the ensuing Vatican II conference issued a series of stern admonitions to bishops, priests and people of the Church worldwide.
On Tuesday, the pope told the bishops of his intention to proceed with his own reforms, including the implementation of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which he said must be seen as “a fundamental and indispensable step in the universal moral renewal of the Church.”
The Vatican did not say when the changeover would begin in the church, stating only that it was “a fundamental and irreversible change.” Bishops have until Feb. 22 to inform priests and religious their communities that the transformation is underway.
Pope Benedict said the reform was necessary, saying, “we must be willing to look at the future of the Church.”
He said the Second Vatican Council was not a “dogmatic” council but an assembly, and that the Holy Spirit had revealed to the council “a new path of renewal for the Church.”
He also said the council sought to “reinforce its faith in the Holy Scriptures” and that “the Church is a living body and she needs a renewed life.”
The Holy Father warned that changes in the “structure of the church” had not kept pace with the challenges of the culture.
He said changes would have to take place “on both the individual and institutional levels” in order to prepare the way for a “complete renewal” of the Church. He said it would take time, prayer and commitment to the change “from within and without us.”
Pope Benedict said he would seek help “from a wide spectrum of persons” to make the change “