International Symposium

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Pontifical Theological Faculty of “Saint Bonaventure-Seraphicum”, Rome - 28th, 29th and 30th October 2008

“I am most pleased at the choice of a theme which unites two topics of special interest for me: on one hand, the Second Vatican Council, in which I had the honour of participating as an expert, and on the other hand, the figure of my beloved predecessor, John Paul II, who made a significant personal contribution to that Council as a Council Father. He then became, by divine will, the primary executor of this Council through the years of his Pontificate.

These are the words of Pope Benedict XVI from his message which opened the International Symposium “Vatican II in the Pontificate of John Paul II”, October 28-30, 2008, organized by the Pontifical Faculty of Theology “St. Bonaventure – Seraphicum” in Rome, and sponsored by the Center for Documentation and Research for the Pontificate of John Paul II. The message was addressed to Friar Marco Tasca, the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, present at the opening of the Symposium.

There were three days filled with intense summaries and discussions on the Second Vatican Council, seen in the light of the figure of Karol Wojtyła, who was, first of all, an active participant as the Archbishop of Krakow, and then a convinced animator of the Council principles during the more than twenty-six years of his Pontificate.

“One cannot talk about Vatican II without mentioning John Paul II, just as it will not be possible to speak about John Paul II without making a strong reference to Vatican II. In this Council the Church wanted to make itself present in the world and, with the help of God, John Paul II made this dream a reality for all.”

This was emphasized by the President of the Faculty Friar Zdzisław Kijas at the conclusion of the symposium which was opened by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State for the Vatican. Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow and Karol Wojtyła’s secretary for forty years, was actively present for the whole symposium.

Numerous and competent conferences were held by significant personalities from the religious and lay world. They were all intent on giving authoritative contributions and points for reflection on themes such as the dignity of the person, bio-ethics, women, the family, politics, relations between faith and reason, and Christian identity, drawing from the heritage of the past but looking ahead to the future and towards the new and daily challenges that every person has to face whether it be in their private or public lives.

For details on the program and the speakers, visit the website