The Pope affirmed this in a message today to participants in an international conference being held in Rome on "Vatican II in the Pontificate of John Paul II."
The event is sponsored by the St. Bonaventure Theological Faculty and the Institute for Documentation and Study of the Pontificate of John Paul II.
Benedict XVI wrote that "all of us are truly debtors of this extraordinary ecclesial event," and that for him it was "an honor to participate as an expert."
"Making divine salvation accessible to the man of today was for Pope John the fundamental motive for convoking the council, and it was with this perspective that the fathers worked."
From God's heart
In this context, the German Pontiff praised his Polish predecessor, saying that "in the council [John Paul II] made a significant personal contribution as a council father," and that later he became its "primary executor during the years of his pontificate, by divine will."
John Paul II "took up practically in all of his writings, and even more in his decisions and actions as Pontiff, the fundamental urgings of the ecumenical council Vatican II, of which he became a qualified interpreter and coherent witness," he added.
The council, Benedict XVI continued, "came from the heart of John XXIII, but it is more accurate to say that in the end, as with all the great events in the history of the Church, that it came from the heart of God, from his salvific will."
"The multifaceted doctrinal heritage that we find in its dogmatic constitutions, in the declarations and decrees, moves us even now to go deeper in the Word of God to apply it today to the Church, keeping in mind the needs of the men and women of the contemporary world, who have an extreme need to know and experience the light of Christian hope."
The Holy Father expressed his hope that the conference participants approach "the conciliar documents to seek in them satisfactory answers to many of the questions of our time."
"The ultimate goal of all our activities should be communion with the living God," he concluded. "In this way as well, for the fathers of Vatican II, the ultimate goal of all of the elements of renewal of the Church was to guide toward the living God, revealed in Jesus Christ."