Rorate Caeli

Francis endorses the "hermeneutic of reform in continuity"
Papal letter praises critic of "Bologna School" as "best interpreter of the Second Vatican Council"

In his latest post for his personal blog, Sandro Magister publicized the text of a letter sent by Pope Francis to Abp. Agostino Marchetto, a former Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He is best-known as the author of The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council, which criticizes the "Bologna School' and champions the "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" as proposed by Benedict XVI, most notably in his speech of December 22, 2005.

Also striking is the thanks directed to Archbishop Marchetto for having corrected an unspecified "mistake or imprecision" of Pope Francis.

Here is Rorate's translation of the letter, with our emphases:

Dear Abp. Marchetto,  

With these lines I wish to be close to you and join myself to the act of presentation of the book “Primato pontificio ed episcopato. Dal primo millennio al Concilio ecumenico Vaticano II” [Pontifical primacy and episcopate: from the first millennium to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council"]. I beg you to consider myself spiritually present [there].  

The topic of the book is an homage to the love that you have for the Church, a loyal and at the same time poetic love. Loyalty and poetry are not an object of trade: they cannot be bought or sold, they simply are virtues that are rooted in the heart of a son who feels the Church to be a Mother; or, in order to be more precise, and saying it with an Ignatian familiar "tone", as "the Holy Mother the hierarchical Church".  

You have made this love manifest in many ways, including correcting a mistake or imprecision on my part - and for that I thank you from the heart -, but above all it is manifest in all your purity in the studies made on the Second Vatican Council. I once told you, dear Abp. Marchetto, and I wish to repeat it today, that I consider you to be the best interpreter [ermeneuta] of the Second Vatican Council.  

I know that this is a gift from God, but I also know that you made it bear fruit. I am grateful to you for all the good that you do for us with your testimony of love for the Church, and I ask the Lord that you be abundantly blessed.  

I beg you please not to forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you, and may the Virgin protect you.  

Vatican, October 7, 2013