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Arcelli-Marchetto: COMMUNION. Reflections for an intra-ecclesial dialogue

Arcelli MarchettoSono lieto di annunciarVi l'uscita, ieri, della traduzione inglese del piccolo, recentissimo, volume mio e del Prof. Angelo Federico Arcelli, con titolo che così ora suona: COMMUNION. Reflections  for an intra-ecclesial dialogue, sempre a cura dell' Ed. Rubbettino. (Qui in Italiano)

Per illustrare in tale lingua la II Parte dell'opera, quella da me  composta, qui (v. infra) invio ad ogni buon fine la guida alla sua lettura. Con cordiali saluti e l'augurio di ogni Bene.
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                                   Introductory guide

The initial reference to a recent event, exemplary in the diversity of opinions found also within the Catholic hierarchy and among the people of God in the United States of America, which may also reflect differences in party affiliations, but that manifest the need for intra-ecclesial dialogue in the positions taken by the Magisterium and the relative timing, could bring us to the conclusion that the evaluation criteria, as well as each person’s different perceptions and priorities, also depend a great deal on different hermeneutics (=interpretation) in relation with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and on the ensuing Church-World relationships, involving Catholic morals and the
This problem of a concrete conciliar interpretation, is found everywhere in many people, even though in the United States it is revealed to a greater extent because of the ‘consistency’ of the Catholic Church to this day in that country and because of the forces supporting those who formed a majority and a minority in the Council, but who found, also thanks to the extraordinarily
effective mediation of Paul VI, an inspiration used by the Holy Spirit, the grace to approve all the documents almost unanimously.

In order to explain the use of the word ‘dialogue’ in the title of our paper, I will immediately add that it was in fact Paul VI’s Encyclical Ecclesiam suam on this topic that made a vital contribution to the Council in resolving the deadlock created by the debate on Gaudium et Spes (Church-World relationship).

However, this happy conclusion to the Great Synod – as I have always called it – unfortunately almost immediately ran into difficulties in continuing with this approach of ‘koinonia’ (Communion) for a service to the human family, in any case remaining the ‘Catholic Church’, an identity that is necessary not only for itself but also for the ecumenical movement. Cullmann reminded his Lutheran brethren of this by mentioning the ‘genius’ of Catholicism, that of knowing how to bring together (et...et) realities that for others remain aut...aut, that is the one or the other (see Agostino Marchetto, ‘The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: For a correct interpretation of the Council’, p. 324, end of footnote 8).
There were those who even thought that the divisions arose among the people of God because of the Council in question (cf. J. Ratzinger, Opera Omnia, vol. VII/2, pp. 433-500).

Regarding the fact that, since the Council the faithful have been less united than before, the eminent theologian set out the situation as follows: for some, the Council has still done too little and has lost its momentum everywhere; this has resulted in a combination of prudent compromises, a victory of diplomatic tactics over the impetus of the Holy Spirit, which does not want complicated summaries, but rather the simplicity of the Gospel. For others,
it is instead a scandal, a yielding of the Church to the evil spirit of an age in which the obscuring of the meaning of God is the consequence of its uncontrolled attachment to what is earthly (p. 433). These terms were already outlined by Ratzinger in1966, who added that: “Here we can only try and understand a little more precisely, in some points, the malaise that we have established as the current situation in the Church after the Council, thus formulating more clearly the task imposed on us by the present times” (p. 434).
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After having indicated the areas of malaise, our work addresses the core of the Catholic Church’s mission to achieve evangelization and integral promotion of human beings.
This requires an intra-ecclesial dialogue between its two equally legitimate tendencies, in themselves, one more sensitive to loyalty to the Word of God and to the Sacred Tradition and one more focused on the incarnation, so to speak, in the World of today, but which must both be and remain in communion with the Catholic Church.

This means applying the correct hermeneutics, finally expressed as the reform “not in rupture and discontinuity but, of the renewal, in the continuity of the one-subject Church”.
This implies, first of all, the need to overcome the historical and ideological gaps in the post-conciliar work of the ‘School of Bologna’ (see the first history of the historiography of the Council: Agostino Marchetto ‘The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council’, Li-
breria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 2005, p. 407), both with regard to the private Council Diaries, but above all because it was carried out without the support of official Documents that are fundamental for understanding the Great Synod, such as the Acts of its Governing Bodies and of the General Secretariat.

Nowadays, we can also make use of Pope Paul VI’s extraordinary source of knowledge, the Diary of Felici, Secretary of the Council, a publication that I edited. A recent article of mine on the conciliar minority bears witness to this, as confirmed by the ‘Diario Felici’, of the General Secretary of the Vatican II (see Annales Historiae Conciliorum, Heft 1, 2020, p. 113: Agostino Marchetto, ‘The Minority in Vatican II from the ‘Diary’ of Pericle Felici, the Secretary General’).
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One of the topics most subject to discussion in the Council and outside was the Declaration on Religious Freedom: it is the one to which the last part of my intervention is dedicated, which is rather long, but necessary if we want to clarify many things.
After having illustrated the valuable contributions to the conciliar discussion, especially those of Courtney Murray, Pietro Pavan and Monsignor Wojtyla, the conclusion summarises the issue and highlights the relevance of the theme even today, thanks also to the words of Archbishop Paul Gallagher, particu-
larly in relation to the ‘new rights’.

This is followed by a call for a clarifying discourse, for all Catholics who wish to remain so, about the ‘reception’ of Vatican II, with reference to the First Vatican Ecumenical Council and with a report on our part about a document (initially a secret one) of Bismarck that had misled, if not deceived.