Today is the 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent.
Let’s think about this for a moment.
First, the day the Second Vatican Council opened Pope John XXIII gave an address to the world and to the Council Fathers which is now called Gaudet Mater Ecclesia.
In that address he said:
“The salient point of this council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.
“For this a council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith or the truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing, the manner in which these truths are set forth – in the same meaning and understanding – is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration, with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.”
Here is the full reference for those of you who have a spirit of discontinuity:
Blessed Pope John XXIII, Allocution “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia” on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council , 11 October 1962, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 54 (1962) 792
Also, recently Pope Francis sent His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller as his representative for the observance of the anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent.
In the official letter Francis sent to Card. Brandmüller the Pope wrote:
Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal”[interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).