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Without Vatican II, ‘the Church today would be a small sect,’ says cardinal

“If we did not have that point of reform that was the Second Vatican Council, the Church today would be a small sect, unknown to most people”

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the relator general of the Synod on Synodality, has said that he is convinced that the Second Vatican Council “saved the Church.”

“If we did not have that point of reform that was the Second Vatican Council, the Church today would be a small sect, unknown to most people,” Cardinal Hollerich said in an interview with the Spanish news outlet Vida Nueva published on Oct. 17.

The archbishop of Luxembourg added that he believes that if Vatican II had not taken place the Church “would have been reduced to a group that performs beautiful rites, but that nobody knows anything about.”



“Today we must adapt to the changing mindsets. People are still interested in the Gospel and we must rediscover the authenticity of being true disciples of Jesus,” he said.

When asked about resistance to the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Hollerich replied that “the strongest comes from the traditionalists, who curiously are also a postmodern phenomenon.”

“They choose only one point of reference in history, without looking before and after. They forget how the growth of tradition develops. It is a bit like what happens with Netflix series: they tell you a part of the story, but invented, not real,” he said.

“That’s why it’s no coincidence that traditionalist movements attract young people from France and the United States.”

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Cardinal Hollerich currently serves as the president of the commission of European bishops’ conferences. Pope Francis chose the Luxembourg cardinal and Jesuit to serve as relator general of the ongoing Synod on Synodality, which was recently extended to 2024.

The cardinal said that he is very happy with the working document for the continental phase of the Synod on Synodality that is expected to be published in late October or early November “because of how it reflects the synodal Church model.”

“All of Francis’ synodality comes from the council: it is a treasure to actualize the Church,” he said.

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