The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. Matthew 13, 31-32
We, disciples of Jesus, faithful Catholic members of the people of God, assembled in Rome on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council,
aware of the many challenges posed by our changing world,
being sensitive to the 'signs of the times',
considering the present situation of our Church and its difficulties in meeting these challenges,
conscious that any behaviour of Christians and of our Church contrary to the evangelical message diverts the world from the Spirit of Jesus and prevents it from recognizing the strength of the Gospel,
recognizing our own weaknesses and deficiencies, but confident in the strength which faith in Jesus gives us
and furthermore being responsive to the appeals made by Pope Francis, who is strengthening consultation processes in the Church,
after praying to the Holy Spirit, in following Jesus and with the spirit of Vatican II and of the Pact of the Catacombs in mind,
(a) to work for the further renewal of our Church so that she testifies to the Spirit of Jesus and the strength of the Gospel to meet the challenges of our time, and
(b) to contribute to the reorientation of our world especially by giving a voice to the poor and the marginalised, so that it may become a world of peace, justice and solidarity, a world that respects our planet as our common home, and allows every person to blossom in their individuality and deepens the value accorded to their humanity.
Press release, Rome, December 7, 2015
Update in the spirit of the “Pact of the Catacombs” signed by 42 bishops at the end the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago
“We are ready to help Pope Francis to implement the Second Vatican Council now. Another Church for Another World is possible!”
A Declaration has been adopted by more than 100 delegates of catholic reform movements worldwide from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas who gathered at the Council 50 Conference in Rome, November 22-24, 2015. At this conference prior to the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council (December 8, 2015), they assessed the current state of the Roman Catholic Church, future directions, and its engagement with contemporary global issues.
In this process the delegates associated themselves with the “Pact of the Catacombs” which was originally signed by 42 bishops just before the end of Vatican II, in which they made their personal commitments as bishops to the Council’s ideals. Although the “Pact of the Catacombs” was subsequently signed by some 500 bishops it was almost totally forgotten during the last two pontificates. Council 50 delegates affirmed the teachings and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council that defined a new position for the church engaged with today’s world, especially in the constitution “Gaudium et Spes” (Joy and Hope).
The ‘Council 50’ gathering in Rome from 20-22nd November, sought to shine new light on the seeds of the Second Vatican Council, marking 50 years since it closed.
“We are ready to help Pope Francis implement the Second Vatican Council now” declared the 100 delegates representing worldwide catholic reform movements.
Grass roots groups from every continent worked on a combined declaration and will continue networking in 2018 in Latin America and in 2021 in Africa.
Reform movements from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas gathered last weekend in Rome for a lively and inspiring conference. The aim of ‘Council 50’ was to relight the flame of the Second Vatican Council and make visible the prophetic voice of the ‘people of God’ that has continued to thrive despite 35 years’ of suppression during the last two pontificates. The assembled group consisted of priests and lay people as well as men and women religious. Together, they demonstrated the great potential to revive the Church so that we can better contribute to healing many of the urgent problems in the world.