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Benedict XVI's night speech on Second Vatican Council

2012-10-12

"Good evening to you all and thank you for being here. On this day fifty years ago I was in the square looking up at this window where the Good Pope, Blessed John XXIII, appeared and addressed us with unforgettable words, words full of poetry and goodness, words from the heart.

We were happy, full of enthusiasm. The great Ecumenical Council had begun and we were certain that a new springtime for the Church was in the offing; a new Pentecost with a new and powerful presence of the liberating grace of the Gospel.

Today too we are happy. We have joy in our hearts but, I would say, it is perhaps a more sober and humble joy. Over these fifty years we have learned and experienced how original sin exists and is translated, ever and anew, into individual sins which can also become structures of sin. We have seen how weeds are also always present in the field of the Lord. We have seen how Peter's net also beings in bad fish. We have seen how human fragility is also present in the Church, how the ship of the Church is also sailing against a counter wind and is threatened by storms; and at times we have thought that the Lord is sleeping and has forgotten us.

This is part of the experience of these last fifty years. But we have also had a new experience of the Lord's presence, of His goodness and power. The fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Christ, does not devour and destroy, it is a silent fire, a small flame of goodness and truth which transforms, giving light and heat. We have seen how the Lord does not forget us. Even today, in His humble way, the Lord is present and brings warmth to hearts, He shows us life, He creates charisms of goodness and charity which illuminate the world and give us a guarantee of God's goodness. Yes, Christ is alive and is with us today. And today too we can be happy because His goodness does not die, it remains strong even today!

I make bold to echo the unforgettable words of Pope John: 'Go to your homes, give your children a kiss and say it is from the Pope'.

In this Year, from the bottom of my heart I impart my blessing upon you: 'Blessed be the name of the Lord'”.