Year aims to boost the priesthood

Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a “Year for Priests” last June, saying its aim is “to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.”

It began on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 19, and is to conclude on that feast day in June 2010.

Fifty years ago today, Pope John called a council

Fifty years ago today, Jan. 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII surprised the world by calling for an Ecumenical Council. Vatican II would convene in 1962.

Ninety-three years passed between Vatican I (1869 -1870) and Vatican II (1962 -1965). Many believed the church had been doing quite well as it was, and should resist any enterprise that would disturb its temporal order.

But not Pope John XXIII.

So he convened a council, and it was a fresh and far reaching initiative for the church, although there were many people who believed that the church was doing very well as it was, and had no need for change.

To the contrary, these conservatives believed the church should resist any efforts that would disturb its good order of practice and doctrine—as governed by the Roman Curia. Their attitude was “not in my china shop!”