Not Jingle Bells, But The Sound of Traditionalist & Modernist Hearts Breaking Simultaneously

Still playing catch-up.

In his year-end address to the Curia, Benedict explains Vatican II for all concerned. Asia news translation is a little awkward, but you can get the gist.
The question arises: Why has the reception of the Council been so difficult for such a great portion of the Church up until now? Well, all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its correct hermeneutic, on the right key to interpretation and application. The problems of reception have arisen from a struggle between two conflicting forms of interpretation. One of these has caused confusion; the other, in a silent but increasingly visible way, has brought results, and continues to bring them.

As he will do, the Pope begins with the history of the question

In the great debate concerning the human being that characterizes modern times, the Council had to dedicate itself specifically to the subject of anthropology. It had to raise questions on the relationship between the Church and her faith, on the one hand, and man and the modern world on the other (ibid, pp. 1066 s.). The question becomes still clearer, if in the place of the generic term of "today's world", we choose another more precise one: the Council had to find a new definition of the relationship between the Church and the modern age.

This relationship started out difficultly with the Galileo trial. It broke completely, when Kant defined “religion within pure reason” and when, in the radical phase of the French Revolution, an image of the state and of man was spread that practically intended to crowd out the Church and faith. The clash of the Church's faith with a radical liberalism and also with natural sciences that claimed to embrace, with its knowledge, the totality of reality to its outmost borders, stubbornly setting itself to make the “hypothesis of God” superfluous, had provoked in the 19th century under Pius IX, on the part of the Church, a harsh and radical condemnation of this spirit of the modern age. Thus, there were apparently no grounds for an positive and fruitful agreement, and drastic were also the refusals on the part of those who felt they were representatives of the modern age.

I interrupt here to note a recurring minor theme of Benedict's prep-papal writings: the hope he sees in America as a source of a path out of European nihilism.
However, in the meantime, the modern age also had its development. It was becoming clear that the American Revolution had offered a model of the modern state that was different from that theorized by the radical tendencies that had emerged from the second phase of the French Revolution. Natural sciences began, in a more and more clear way, to reflect their own limits, imposed by their own method which, though achieving great things, was nevertheless not able to comprehend the totality of reality. Thus, both sides began to progressively open up to each other. In the period between the two world wars and even more after the second world war, Catholic statemen had shown that a modern lay state can exist, which nevertheless is not neutral with respect to values, but lives tapping into the great ethical fonts of Christianity. Catholic social doctrine, as it developed, had become an important model between radical liberalism and the Marxist theory of the state. Natural sciences, which would unreservedly profess to its own method in which God had no access, realized ever more clearly that this method was not comprehensive of the totality of reality and thus opened once again their doors to God, knowing that reality is greater than naturalistic method and what it can embrace.
He goes on to say that the Council really addressed three pressing questions. What is the relationship between Church and Science? What is the relationship between Church and State? And how does the Church understand tolerance? I'll end up citing the whole thing if I continue. Do RTWT.