This post is a further ‘Vatican II’ quotation from the memories of a bishop who attended Vatican II which I will be soon be posting a book review on. Although I tend to not agree with everything this particular bishop stood for, that does not mean I don’t recognize the good that he did do.
Bishop Remi De Roo describes his time at and insights into the Second Vatican Council in Rome in the following quotation. “Vatican II also broadened our perception of what is known as the Real Presence. This refers to the sacred host, but it also includes the multiple other ways in which Christ is always present: in the person of the minister, in the sacraments and the Word, and in the total assembly’s praying and singing. It is time that we move beyond a narrow and superficial theology that focuses on the tabernacles and host itself as if it were the only true presence of Christ.” “While our spiritual lives are centered on the Eucharist, I never heard a negative word about popular devotions at the Council: quite the opposite!” from Remi De Roo: Chronicles of a Vatican II Bishop. Novalis Toronto, 2012. pg. 59.
I think we should properly emphasis the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Catholic spirituality. That being said, Bishop Remi De Roo does make some important observations. A Fruit of Vatican II is the better understanding of the multiple modes of Christ’s presence to us in the Word of God, the person of the minister and the assembly as a whole.
What can also be gleamed from his memories is the fact that he never heard a negative word about devotions. Vatican II is often negatively charged with harming popular devotions among the laity. What should be said here is that these charges should be taken into consideration only with the larger picture of the desired outcomes wanted by Vatican II. The desired outcomes were to better emphasis the other modes of Christ’s presence and the active participation of the faithful. As Bishop De Roo points out, he did not recall any negative comments about devotions, just positive developments and understanding of the theology of the sacred mysteries.