Pope Francis on Tuesday offered his most explicit support in his young papacy to the work of the Second Vatican Council, saying it was "a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit." He made his remarks in a homily at a Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence inside the Vatican.
He criticized those who resist change and "wish to turn back the clock" and "to tame the Holy Spirit," asking if, 50 years after the council, "we have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council?"
The answer is "no," Francis said, according to a Vatican radio report.
"We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don't want it to upset us. We don't want to change and what's more there are those who wish to turn the clock back." This, he went on, "is called stubbornness and wanting to tame the Holy Spirit."
Francis' homily was centered on the theme of the Holy Spirit and our resistance to it. It took its inspiration from the first reading of the day, which was the story of the martyrdom of St. Stephen who described his accusers as stubborn people who were always resisting the Holy Spirit.
He said: "The Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us, it makes us walk, it pushes the church forward." He said it's wrong to try to tame the Spirit, adding, "the Holy Spirit is the strength of God, it's what gives us the strength to go forward, but many find this upsetting and prefer the comfort of the familiar."
Nowadays, he went on, "everybody seems happy about the presence of the Holy Spirit but it's not really the case and there is still that temptation to resist it."
He concluded his homily by urging we not resist the pull of the Holy Spirit. "Submit to the Holy Spirit," he said, "which comes from within us and makes go forward along the path of holiness."