Pope Benedict XVI decried what he called the mistaken idea that leading a virtuous life was "boring" as he marked Thursday's 40th anniversary of the end of Vatican Council II, which sparked modernizing reforms in the 2,000-year-old Roman Catholic Church. Among those who were eager participants at the 1962-1965 council but who later questioned whether its legacy was too loosely interpreted by liberal clergy was a young German theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.
He praised his predecessors in the papacy for guiding the Church "on the route of authentic council (inspired) renewal, working ceaselessly for the faithful interpretation and implementation" of the council.
During a solemn anniversary ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, Benedict used his homily to talk about use of freedom and its relationship with evil.
"Man nurtures the suspicion that God, at the end of the day, takes something away from his life, that God is a competitor who limits our freedom and that we will be fully human only when we will have set him aside," Benedict said.
"There emerges in us the suspicion that the person who doesn't sin at all is basically a boring person, that something is lacking in his life, the dramatic dimension of being autonomous, that the freedom to say 'no' belongs to real human beings," the pontiff said.
In remarks after Mass, Benedict urged people to "overcome the temptation of a mediocre life, made of compromises with evil."