The Second Vatican Council Essay

805 words - 3 pages

The Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II as it is often called, was an Ecumenical Council, (which means it affected the worldwide Christian community) of the Roman Catholic Church. It began on October 11, 1962 under, Pope John XXIII with over two thousand attendants (Hollis 23). The council ended on December 8, 1965, with Pope Paul VI presiding over the council due to the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963. The council consisted of four different sessions convening in the fall of the four years during which the council took place. Topics discussed and debated throughout the council were issues concerning the church, the liturgy, revelation and scripture, and the clergy.

     The general sessions of the council would begin in late September or early October, and end in late November or early December. Special committees met during the remainder of the year to examine and assemble the previous work, and make preparations for the following session. The first session began on October 11, 1962 and ended on December 8, 1962 (Hollis 35). Issues that were deliberated on during this session were liturgy, revelation, the Eastern churches, and communication. After the first session successfully came to a close, planning for the next session came to a standstill when Pope John XXIII died on June 3, 1963 (Hollis 36). After the new pope, Pope Paul XI, was elected, he quickly declared that the council would continue. The second session began on September 29, 1963 and ended on December 4, 1963. One of the main themes emphasized was to promote Christian unity (Stacpoole 27). Until Vatican II the Church was split into may different factions and each was set in its own belief that they were the ‘one’ true church. After the council however, compromises and cooperation began to develop between the many denominations toward building the Christian community as a whole. Official documents concerning the liturgy and social communication were adopted during this session. The third session began on September 14, 1964 and ended on November 21, 1964 (Rynne 291). A select few religious and lay women were invited to this third session in order to incorporate different sections of the church. Ecumenism, Eastern Rite churches, and the constitution of the Church, missions, and ministries of priests were such topics discusses during this period. The fourth and last, period began on September 14, 1965 and ended on December 8, 1965 (Rynne 450). Issues...

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