Past, Present, Future: Reflections from a Second Vatcian Council Father
In Spiritu Sancto, Blessed Pope Paul VI’s closing Apostolic Brief at the Second Vatican Council on December 8, 1965, described the Council’s importance for addressing the “pastoral needs” of the Church and for “nourishing the flame of charity…to reach not only the Christians still separated from communion with the Holy See, but also the whole human family.” More than fifty years later, Pope Francis’ deep pastoral concern for a Church that is merciful and engaging allows these words, and indeed the teachings of the Council itself, to resonate with even greater clarity and urgency.
As a Canadian Father of the Council, Bishop Remi De Roo experienced the sparking of this flame firsthand. A self-described “pilgrim” of the Council in the years since its closing, he has kept alive its goal of aggiornamento or the renewal of the Church as it relates with the world. Sharing Pope Francis’ understanding that ‘the Church is not an organization born out of an agreement between some persons” but “the work of God, born out of his desire to bring all mankind to himself, Bishop De Roo’s reflections on the Council “Past, Present and Future” will help us to know its fruits with new eyes, ears and hearts.
About Keynote Speaker, Bishop Remi J. De Roo
At 92 years of age, Bishop Remi J. De Roo is a “Pilgrim of the Second Vatican Council”. Appointed Bishop of Victoria in 1962, Bishop De Roo was immediately called to Rome to participate in the dramatic proceedings of the history of the Catholic Church. As Bishop, he carried an extensive list of activities, including Member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and first Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission. As a Council Father, he is the last surviving bishop to have participated in all four sessions that spanned from 1962 to 1965. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology in Angelicum University in Rome and is the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees.
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