Monday, 29 June 2009

Bishop Koch on Vatican II

In an article in the July 2009 Newsletter for the Diocese of Basel in Switzerland, Bishop Kurt Koch, the President of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, has written an article which gives a forthright reply to a recent petition for the "unqualified acceptance of the council." He says:
Right from the start, the expression "unqualified acceptance" irritates me because I don’t know anyone — myself included — to whom it would apply.
He then gives examples from the Council to which many "vocal defenders" would not give "unqualified acceptance", the first two being the instruction that the Latin language should be retained in the Liturgy, that Gregorian Chant should be given pride of place.

Here is the closing paragraph:
It would not be difficult to lengthen this litany. Even so, it should be obvious why I demand more honesty in the current debate about the council. Instead of accusing others, and even the Pope, of wishing to go back to before the council, everyone would be well advised to look over their own books and reassess their own personal position on the council. Because not everything that was said and done after the council, was therefore done in accordance with the council—and that applies also to the diocese of Basel. In any case, the last few weeks have illustrated to me that a primary problem in the current situation has been a very poor, and in part very one-sided understanding and acceptance of the council, even by Catholics that defend the council "without qualification." In this regard we all—once more including myself—have a lot of ground to make up. Therefore I again repeat my urgent request: More honesty please!
Many thanks to Fr Z for posting a translation of the text of the Bishop's piece. See: What moves me? (German original text.)

Bishop Koch has been in the news before. In 2004, he referred to a letter written by a group of Swiss intellectuals calling on Pope John Paul II to retire, "disgusting" and "tasteless". In 2007, he publicly defended the "subsistit document" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, drawing sharp criticism from Swiss Protestants. He has also been in the news for not opposing Muslims building minarets in Switzerland - but took the opportunity to call for greater religious freedom for Christians in Muslim countries.
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