I was in London yesterday - this was taken looking upstream from Battersea Bridge. The occasion? To take part with a couple of hundred other liberally-minded Catholics in a new initiative called "Stand up for Vatican II". We were invited to come together to explore how we might reinvigorate the legacy of Vatican II and provide a platform to stand and declare our felt concern for our Church in the world today.
It was, Chair Frank Regan stressed, first and foremost a celebration of the growth we had experienced at the time of the Council. "Most of us here are a bit wrinkly and crinkly," he said. (There was no arguing with that!) "How do we hand on what we have received, so that the next generation will be able to build their Church in turn?"
Theologian Michael Winter urged us to work to make our parishes real communities. The danger was they were becoming larger and larger as priest numbers dwindled; whereas for people to know one another, an authentic parish community should comprise no more than about 70 people. In pre-Reformation times, Canterbury had 40 parishes: there were eight churches in King Street, Norwich, and even today Trumpington Street in Cambridge has six mediaeval church buildings.
"We are a mature society," he said, richly entitled to make non-violent protest: "Our own conscience has to be obeyed," as Joseph Ratzinger wrote in 1968.
And we can build the new within the shell of the old. Start by signing the petition!
P.S. There is also an Italian version of "Stand up for Vatican II", supported by a couple of cardinals.