This is a translation of the speech delivered Nov. 21 by Pope Paul VI at the closing session of the ecumenical council’s third session.
After two months of intense brotherly effort, we render thanks to God for the happy celebration of this Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, of which we conclude today the third session with this solemn and sacred assembly. Truly indeed, we must offer God the expression of our grateful and rejoicing souls for having granted us the great fortune of being present and, what is more, the fortune of ourselves giving consistency, meaning and fullness to this historic and providential event as humble and happy protagonists. Truly we may regard as spoken for us today the words of the Gospel: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see and the ears that hear what you hear” [Matt. 13, 16].
Here is present before us, in the persons of its shepherds followed by their respective flocks, the Holy Church of God, called together by Him through our voice. Here is the Catholic hierarchy on whom it is incumbent to form and guide the holy People of God, gathered together in one place, in one sentiment, with one prayer, one faith, one charity on their lips and in their hearts.
We shall never tire of admiring, nor shall we ever forget this incomparable assembly entirely intent on proclaiming the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, concerned only with re-evoking the blessed words of revelation and penetrating into their true and deep sense.
This is an assembly of men free like none other from self-interest and engaged in giving witness to divine truths; men as we are, weak and fallible, but convinced of being able to pronounce truths that admit neither contradiction nor termination; men who are sons of our own times and our own earth, yet above time and above earth in order to take upon our shoulders the burdens of our brothers and to lead them to spiritual salvation. This we do with a love greater than these same hearts that house it, with a strained effort that might seem foolhardy, but is full of serene trust in its search for the meaning of human life and history to give it value, greatness, beauty, union in Christ, only in Christ Our Lord!
Brethren, the fact that you are here is stupendous. It is stupendous for those who behold us from the outside. Never shall we behold a scene more impressive, more pious, more dramatic or more solemn. Continue reading