Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) on the First Session of Vatican II

The first session of the Second Vatican Council ended on December 8, 1962. Worship magazine carried this report on the proceedings, written by then-Professor Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI. His report is striking for the optimism and enthusiasm it shows toward the prospect of liturgical reform.

“The First Session” by Joseph Ratzinger



  1. Thank you, Anthony.

    [A pity about the number of typos in the PDF of Ratzinger’s text]

    The most striking thing about this document is the way in which Ratzinger acclaimed the establishment of bishops’ conferences as an ecclesial and canonical entity, a position which he completely repudiated later when he damned the conferences as having no theological basis and accused them of subverting the power of individual bishops. Methinks he must have felt threatened by them, in somewhat the same way as he felt threatened by the student uprisings in 1968 and began to backtrack onto a traditionalist ecclesiological path instead of the progressive line he had generally followed up to that time. I think in retrospect we can say that a prefect of the CDF, let alone a pope, who acts out of fear of the way Catholicism is growing and developing is not a good thing for the life of the Church.

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