Now all the players in the Council really entered into discussions, not only the Americas-United States with a strong interest in religious freedom. In the third period they told the Pope: "We can not go home without bringing with us a declaration on religious freedom passed bthe Council." The Pope, however, had firmness and decision, the patience to delay the text until the fourth period to reach a maturation and a fairly complete consensus among the Fathers of the Council. I say, not only the Americans had now entered with great force into the Council arena but also Latin America, knowing full well the misery of their people, a Catholic continent and their responsibility for the situation of the faith of these people. And Africa, Asia, also saw the need for interreligious dialogue: increased problems that we Germans - I must say - at the beginning had not seen. I cannot go into greater depth on this now. The great document "Gaudium et Spes" describes very well the problem analyzed between Christian eschatology and worldly progress, between our responsibility for the society of tomorrow and the responsibility of the Christian before eternity, and so it also renewed Christian ethics, the foundations. But unexpectedly, a document that responded in a more synthetic and concrete manner to the great challenges of the time, took shape outside of this great document, namely "Nostra Aetate". From the beginning there were our Jewish friends, who said to us Germans especially, but not only to us, that after the sad events of this century, this decade of Nazism, the Catholic Church has to say a word on the Old Testament , the Jewish people. They also said "it was clear that the Church is not responsible for the Shoah. those who have committed these crimes were Christians, for the most part, we must deepen and renew the Christian conscience, even if we know that the true believers always resisted these things”. And so, it was clear that we had to reflect on our relationship with the world of the ancient people of God. We also understood that the Arab countries - the bishops of the Arab countries - were not happy with this. They feared a glorification of the State of Israel, which they did not want to, of course. They said, "Well, a truly theological indication on the Jewish people is good, it is necessary, but if you are to speak about this, you must also speak of Islam. Only in this way can we be balanced. Islam is also a great challenge and the Church should clarify its relationship with Islam". This is something that we didn’t really understand at the time, a little, but not much. Today we know how necessary it was.
And when we started to work also on Islam, they said: "But there are also other religions of the world: all of Asia! Think about Buddhism, Hinduism ... ". And so, instead of an initial declaration originally meant only for the ancient people of God, a text on interreligious dialogue was created anticipating by thirty years what would later reveal itself in all of its intensity and importance. I can not enter into it now, but if you read the text, you see that it is very dense and prepared by people who really knew the truth and it briefly indicates, in a few words, what is essential. Thus also the foundations of a dialogue in diversity, in faith to the uniqueness of Christ, who is One. It is not possible for a believer to think that religions are all variations on a theme of "no". There is a reality of the living God who has spoken, and is a God, a God incarnate, therefore the Word of God is really the Word of God. But there is religious experience, with a certain human light of creation and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue and thus open up to each other and open all peoples up to the peace of God, of all his children, and his entire family.
Thus, these two documents, religious freedom and "Nostra Aetate" associated with "Gaudium et Spes" are a very important trilogy, the importance of which has only been revealed over the decades, and we are still working to understand this uniqueness of the revelation of God, uniqueness of God incarnate in Christ and the multiplicity of religions with which we seek peace and also an open heart to the light of the Holy Spirit who enlightens and guides to Christ.
I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers - the true Council - but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media. So the immediately efficiently Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council - as I said - moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics. The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the "people of God", the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all ... popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help. This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: "Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world". Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith. And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.
And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized ... and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.”