By Stefania Caterina and Tomislav Vlašić
Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
I hope you have had a good Christmas celebration and that you are well and content in Christ as you are listening to these words. We will continue our path. We know from well informed sources that before the opening of the Second Vatican Council, in the general audience of 5 April, 1961, in front of a crowded square Pope John XXIII openly expressed: “… some previously unknown voices, which are always voices descending from Heaven to Earth, voices that reflect the omnipotence of the Heavenly Father .” What voices are meant? You may understand through the text that we are going to read this evening that the Pope’s openness was much greater than the official history of the Council wants to tell us. Enjoy listening.
The passage is on page 276.
John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council
It was the task of Pope John XXIII, the elected successor of Pope Pius XII in 1958, to reveal to the world the third secret of Fatima in 1960 according to Our Lady’s request, but there was more than that. The new Pope found himself with delicate documents in his hands left by his predecessor, concerning the meetings he had had with the brothers of the universe faithful to God.
Pope John XXIII was a man of dialogue who believed that the Pope could not take important decisions without the agreement of the leaders of the Church in a spirit of collegiality. Therefore, he informed the most influential personalities of the Roman Curia about the content of the documents received by his predecessor and about the subject of the third secret of Fatima. That was, in fact, a fatal error that locked him in: those of the Curia who were against it showed all their opposition. Consequently, the Pope decided not to reveal anything in order not to generate clashes and divisions inside the Church; that would have been a scandal to the Christians and the whole humanity that was already very tried by the consequences of the war. Thus, in1960 the Pope did not reveal the third secret of Fatima leaving this task to his successors; nor did he consider revealing anything in regard to the life in the universe.
The Roman Curia has always been considered to be a centre of power which it really is. It is the heart of the Vatican State which is a real State, and as such it is present on the international scene having administrative, economic, military and intelligence bodies. The sovereignty belongs to the Holy See who is at the top of the Catholic Church, but it is also the centre of Christianity where the most important decisions are taken on a spiritual level for the life of the Church. The Vatican is a kind of absolute monarchy in which spiritual and temporal power coexist in the figure of the Pope who is the Head of State and the Pontiff of the Church. This combination of spiritual and temporal power has always existed along the history of the Church and has often created serious and embarrassing situations for the Church herself. I will not enter further into this aspect of which many scholars and historians have written at length.
I will tell you, though, that inside the Vatican walls many things have occurred, and will continue to occur, that have little to do with the evangelical spirit. Nevertheless, according to His promise, God has not permitted that the gates of Hell prevailed over the Church despite the devilish infiltrations inside the Vatican. In fact, Lucifer has never been idle but has been weaving his plots against the Church since his origins: from the first Christian communities until today he has never stopped infiltrating his men until reaching the heart of Christianity. The action of Lucifer within the Church consolidated and expanded over the centuries reaching the subtle levels of today. Men who are consecrated to him wander around the Vatican undisturbed; they have penetrated the most unthinkable places and it is increasingly difficult to unmask them. The faithful rarely notice them. However, God is also constantly in action within the Vatican walls: there are many holy people in the Vatican, more than you can imagine. They suffer because of the presence of evil, but they offer their suffering imitating their Lord, and so their suffering is redeeming. For now God accepts their affliction and lets evil act for justice and for the purification of the Church. Then He will intervene inside the Church, and there will be dark days for those who will have offended the Bride of Christ, that is, the Church. The intervention of God will be sudden, rapid and unstoppable. The evil committed by Lucifer will fall back on him and his collaborators. Everything will come to light. May the children of the darkness know it!
You, faithful children, who live and work inside the Vatican for the real good of the Church, be brave and do not fear anything: continue to do good; nothing of what you will have done will be lost. God is always with you.
Pope John was grieved by the turn the events had taken. Therefore, God decided to send again the faithful brothers to visit him in order to reassure him and give him the possibility to verify personally the existence of the work of these brothers. The encounter occurred in 1961 in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo in the presence of a witness. The Pope was hit by what he saw and heard. A period of collaboration with the faithful brothers and sisters began during which they helped him even at a distance. The obstacles, though, seemed insuperable and the announcement God was waiting for became increasingly unlikely. The Pope was afraid, as St. Peter had been in those days, of putting in danger the life of the Church herself. Just as it had happened after Pentecost, the brothers and sisters were dismissed by the Pope who asked them not to interfere again in the action of the Church. The brothers and sisters tried to convince him, but it was useless; once again they returned to where they had come from.
Refusing the help of the faithful brothers and sisters meant great harm for the Church. God saw that time was not ripe and that the Pope had acted out of fear and because of his human weakness. One more time He was patient with the men of the Earth; however, He drew good even from evil. The Pope had, in fact, understood from both the events of Fatima and from the encounters with the faithful brothers that the Church could not put off much longer the issue of the universe and that she had to open up to the new time. He developed the idea to convene an ecumenical council, that is, an assembly of all Christian bishops, to evaluate every aspect of the times and to indicate the Church new steps to be taken. It was a solemn event of extraordinary importance. In spite of numerous opponents, this time the Pope was determined and in 1962, one year before his death, he proclaimed the Second Vatican Council.
Lucifer and his friends, who had failed in preventing the Council, thought to exploit it to their advantage: they took action to impose their destructive ideas on the core of the Council to demolish the Church from inside and to create fractions and clashes between the participants. However, God did not permit it. There were contrasting views and also hard discussion between the Council Fathers, because there is no work of God in which the enemy will not try to infiltrate. All in all, though, the Council lead to a healthy opening of the Church towards the times and the people of all times. The Church abandoned the austere detachment towards humanity she had held until then to get closer to the events that took place in the life of the people.
The Spirit acts in the great and solemn events within the Church; He governs them beyond any human organisation. The Church is composed of two clearly different parts: one part is human and composed of men, women, ideas and actions; the other part is divine and the grace of the Holy Spirit acts within it. One part is visible and the other invisible. The first is necessary for the Church to incarnate on Earth what the grace inspired her; the second is the life of the Church herself, the vital lymph without which the Church could not define herself as such. The harmonious union of the human and the divine part form together the identity of the Church that should manifest the life of God that flows among all His members through their words and actions. Yet, things have not always turned out that way; many, too many, times the human part has prevailed to such a extent that the image of the Church shown to the world was neither credible nor holy. The action of evil and the superficiality of many believers have separated the words and the actions of the Church from the divine source that should inspire her. There remained the words and the actions of men devoid of God’s force. The talks and the actions as such are good but no different from those of other humanitarian organisations.
What moves the Church is the life of the Most Holy Trinity; that life is constantly communicated to her through the Holy Spirit and present in the Sacraments. The assembly of the believers in Christ draws from that life and can define itself as Church; otherwise it is just an association as many others that work in favour of humanity. However, the Church is not a set of people who join together to pursue a useful purpose; nor is it a noble foundation that keeps the memory of the founder, Jesus Christ, alive through virtuous works. Even less the Church is a centre of power, as she unfortunately often presents herself; the only power residing with the Church is that of grace, which does not create neither apparatuses nor hierarchies, but is distributed equally among the members according to the originality of each and for the spiritual growth of everyone.
The Church is not a people of subjects in a monarchy; they are the holy people of God, generated by the Sacrifice of the Cross, fed by the Sacrifice of the altar and sanctified by the action of the Holy Spirit. Everything else may be nice and useful but not necessarily divine. Not all that is done in the name of the Church may be called Church.
During the Second Vatican Council the wind of the Holy Spirit blew forcefully to lead Peter’s boat, the Church, out of the shoal waters of an old and creaky apparatus. The Church was cleared of her sins in virtue of an extraordinary grace granted by God. She was given the opportunity to make a new start, more agile and fresh, towards the novelty of the time that could already be anticipated after the extraordinary events of the Pope’s encounters with the faithful brothers to God. Only courage was needed by the Church hierarchy and the believers to leave behind the past and to dive into a new life. Divine assistance would not have lacked. However, it did not occur: neither the hierarchy nor the people showed any courage despite the good will of many. In addition to this came the discussions between conservatives and progressives as well as discord that caused wounds which Lucifer did not fail to rub with salt. The Council remained a memorable event, a collection of documents, good books and countless quotations to study and to draw material from for nice sermons.
However, the Spirit does not blow in vain and the seed sown will blossom sooner or later. The divine novelty expressed in the Council will not remain buried forever under a mountain of paper, words, sermons and wise quotations. The Council was not intended to create generations of scholars and experts or new subjects of study in seminaries. It served to bring forth new men, Christians that were conscious and determined to live their vocation responsibly; new people for a new time. Therefore, the wind of the Holy Spirit will blow again and disperse forever the dust accumulated along the years. What God wanted to reveal through the Second Vatican Council will shine in all its beauty; it will finally be understood by the people of God without the need of distinguished professors to explain repeatedly what they have not completely understood themselves.
The Second Vatican Council ended under the pontificate of Paul VI. With difficulty the Church began to move towards the renewal determined by the Council. It is a path not yet completed to this day in spite of the good will of many.
During the pontificate of Paul VI the Church had to deal with many difficulties given by the world’s situation. Paul VI was a reserved Pope who seemed shy; actually, he was an innovator: he was able to launch many initiatives that would be fully implemented in the years to come.
I would like to repeat what I have already said many times: we do not want to criticize anyone. It is up to God to judge; yet, let us reflect on history. Our reflection is in line with Pope Francis who has spoken about the fifteen spiritual weaknesses of the Church. We have to think about that. What does it mean when a Pope refuses grace? God wanted to involve the whole Church through the great events of the 20th century: the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, the revelation of the Divine Mercy, the apparitions of Our Lady at Ghiaie di Bonate. Then, as I told you, God gave the grace of sending the faithful brothers to speak directly to the Pope who could touch them with his hands and see them with his eyes as the apostles saw the Risen Lord. No other testimony may be possible if there is no inner openness. Refusing grace has consequences. We will speak about this in the next meeting. We do not know if the faithful brothers visited the Pope again; there are no documents about it. We have not been told, but we have been shown that grace has changed its action to awaken the people: it works with single individuals, nuclei, groups and communities, by raising awareness and by awakening the people so that they may respond, because this truth is not any truth. It is the truth that has to manifest itself to set the whole universe in motion towards the recapitulation in Christ; as we will see further on in the book, God will carry on and He will not stop. Let us all get involved and learn from history. Let us respond on a personal level and join in the name of Jesus to pray with one, two or three other persons together to invoke God and ask Our Lady to request from God the grace to know, to understand and to give our response.
I bless you; may this reflection help all of us live fully this last week of the year; may all the children of God in the whole universe and on Earth reach greater awareness through grace; may they get to know this truth and respond to God’s call so that a free people be born: a renewed people that is able to discern and live according to the laws of God; in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.