There are worse ways to mark the passing of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, than by taking to heart these words from an unpublished interview by John Allen:
I began by explaining the gist of my project, which is to identify the most important forces shaping the future of the Catholic church over the next 100 years. Dulles did not hesitate to offer his candidate: “The internal solidification of Catholicism,” he said, a project that Dulles said began under Pope John Paul II and continues under Pope Benedict XVI.
I pressed Dulles to explain what he meant.
“Restoring clarity where there had been confusion in the period following the Second Vatican Council,” Dulles said. “Rebuilding a strong sense of Catholic identity, including a clear repudiation of the notion that church history can be divided into a ‘before’ and ‘after’ Vatican II. You can see this working itself out today in theology, in liturgy, in religious life ¦ both popes have emphasized the organic connection between the ‘now’ of the church and what came before.”
Read the whole interview. It is, as you would expect, very insightful.