Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor led a service broadcast on Radio 4's Sunday Worship programme to mark the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. The service was a mixture of meditations by the Cardinal and Mgr Mark Langham, and music sung by Westminster Cathedral's choir. The idea for the service came from the BBC after it learned of the anniversary and a conference at Worth Abbey in July. It was not, as suggested in this morning's Financial Times, some implicit attempt to send a message to Pope Benedict. In its article, the FT insinuated that the choice of "Gaudium et Spes" was in some way intended to put distance with Rome, because of Pope Benedict's supposed opposition to the Second Vatican Council. In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger was a peritus - theological expert - at the Council and was heavily involved in the drafting of "Gaudium et Spes". Since becoming Pope, Benedict XVI has cited the Second Vatican Council 15 times in his first 50 days, according to John Allen, the Vatican watcher. The FT attempts to present the Cardinal's meditation as "strongly, if implicitly" in opposition to the direction the Pope has indicated the Church should take. But it is impossible - comparing the Cardinal's texts with Pope Benedict's - to imagine in what that opposition might consist. Sunday's Worship was simply what it appears to be: a celebration of the anniversary of a major conciliar document. See ICN for the text of the Cardinal's two four-minute meditations, with the commentary by Mgr Mark Langham, the Cathedral Administrator Source: Archbishop's House
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