The history of the Council itself here perhaps shows a tragic fracture within the Church that is still present today?
I would say yes. The bishops wanted to renew the faith, to render it more profound. But other forces also made themselves felt increasingly, particularly the press, which gave gave an entirely new interpretation to many questions. At a certain point, people asked themselves: if the bishops can change everything, why can’t we do it too? The liturgy began to crumble, slipping into a kind of latitude, and it was quite quickly evident that, here, the positive intentions were pushed in another direction. After 1965, therefore, I felt that it was my responsibility to make clear what we had really wanted and not wanted.
As someone who had participated in the Council and shared responsibility, did you not also have remorse of conscience?
Certainly we asked ourselves if we had done the right thing. That was a question that we put to ourselves, especially when everything came unhinged. Cardinal Frings later had strong qualms of conscience. I, instead, have always maintained the sense that what we had said and approved was right and could not be otherwise. We acted in the right way, even if we didn’t properly appreciate the political consequences and the concrete effects of our actions. We thought too much as theologians, and we didn’t reflect on the repercussions that our ideas would have externally.
Was it an error to convoke the Council?
No, it was right, without doubt
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