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Florence and the Council


La Pira wanted to make the city of Florence aware of the importance of the Council not only for the Church but for the whole world. He therefore organized a series of conferences, inviting theologians and intellectuals to speak to a crowded Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio.

At the inauguration of these meetings he had this to say about what they meant:


We believe (it is our ‘working hypothesis’) in the coming of a historical era distinguished by the unity and peace (and therefore ‘flourishing’) of all the peoples and all the nations on earth; that is, in the historical corroboration of the message of supernatural and historical hope given long ago by the Prophets of the Old and the New Testaments (from Isaiah to St Paul and St John); we believe, in accordance with the message of Pius XII and John XXIII, that this era (despite all) has already begun; and that it will ripen into a “historical summer” such as the human race has never witnessed! (…)

This is how Florence views the Vatican Council II: as a gigantic event destined to have a profound effect on the present and future history of the Church and Christianity, but also on that of all the peoples of the earth. The “way in” to the new era, a “lighthouse” destined to mark the cardinal points which guide the historic voyage of the entire family of peoples. And like the Council of Jerusalem, it has the entire world before it…

In the light of this message (and this ‘working hypothesis’) we see the ideal, and in a sense the organic, link between the Second Vatican Council and the Council of Florence in 1439, which was (apart from its immediate results) the Council of unity and peace between the two coessential parts of the body of the Church and of the nations: those of the East and of the West!