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letters | reverberations in the catholic church

Renewal of Catholic Church shows many signs of progress

It is easy to understand the discouragement that many feel at the slow pace of renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council. James Carroll’s Sept. 30 op-ed “The church’s lost revolution,” however, fails to do justice to Catholicism’s progress in many areas.

For me, the clearest example of such reform is the new relationship between Catholics and Jews that the council inspired and to which Pope John Paul II brought unparalleled dynamism and commitment.

Carroll recalls with enthusiasm, as do I, Pope John XXIII’s 1962 opening speech to the council.

But Carroll may have forgotten the pope’s warning in that speech, which is as relevant today as it was then: “We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand. In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men’s own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fulfillment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs.”


Fortunately, God’s designs for the renewal of the church are still works in progress.

James Bernauer
Chestnut Hill

The writer is a professor and director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.