The Council in Action: Theological Reflections on the Second Vatican Council

By Hans Kung; Cecily Hastings | Go to book overview

2
What Do Christians Expect of the Council?

WHAT DO CHRISTIANS expect of the Council? An often-heard answer to this question has been a terse "Nothing." At all events, nothing of decisive importance for our age. All this gorgeous pageantry of assembled prelates, one has heard people say, this thoroughly unevangelical, worldly spectacle of boasted Catholic unity for the benefit of the press, the picture magazines and the television cameras -- can one imagine Christ, the Lord of the Church, and his apostles, ever taking part in an event of that sort? Or again: How can one expect anything to come of a monolithic ecclesiastical party conference, where only one opinion is allowed to be expressed, where there has to be complete deference to the boss over every question, and where the only thing the assembly can do is proclaim how great and organized and virtuous and truthful it itself is, while condemning and excommunicating all other ideas? What is there to be expected of it in an age when almost one half of humanity is being welded into an even more rigid unity by the Communist oikoumene, and at the same time sealed off from the outside world; an age when new continents are competing for world leadership while Christianity, divided within itself, is seen to be only one world religion amongst others; an age in which the mastery not only of this earth but of the moon and the whole of space is at stake; an age, finally, in which we are threatened, after two world wars, with an atomic war that is liable to make a definitive end of all our

-17-

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