Second Vatican Council

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Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum  (Latin)
Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg
Saint Peter's Basilica
Venue of the Second Vatican Council
Date11 October 1962 (11 October 1962) – 8 December 1965 (8 December 1965)
Accepted by Catholic Church
Previous council
First Vatican Council
Convoked by Pope John XXIII
President Pope John XXIII
Pope Paul VI
Attendanceup to 2,625 [1]
TopicsThe Church in itself, its sole salvific role as the one, true and complete Christian faith, also in relation to ecumenism among other religions, in relation to the modern world, renewal of consecrated life, liturgical disciplines, etc.
Documents and statements
Four constitutions:

Three declarations:

Nine decrees:

Chronological list of ecumenical councils

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. [2] The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is both a historical period, as well as the ensemble of particular socio-cultural norms, attitudes and practices that arose in the wake of the Renaissance—in the "Age of Reason" of 17th-century thought and the 18th-century "Enlightenment". Some commentators consider the era of modernity to have ended by 1930, with World War II in 1945, or the 1980s or 1990s; the following era is called postmodernity. The term "contemporary history" is also used to refer to the post-1945 timeframe, without assigning it to either the modern or postmodern era.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholics around the world. As a sovereign entity, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is sovereign. It is organized into polities of the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

Contents

Several changes resulted from the council, including the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, and the universal call to holiness, which according to Pope Paul VI was "the most characteristic and ultimate purpose of the teachings of the Council". [3]

Consecrated life is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by believers who wish to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church". The Code of Canon Law defines it as "a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honour, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory."

Ecumenism Cooperation between Christian denominations

The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is also often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form.

The Universal Call to Holiness is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that all people are called to be holy, and is based on Matthew 5:48 – "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.". In the opening pages of the Bible, the call to holiness is expressed in the Lord's words to Abraham: “Walk before me, and be blameless”.

According to Pope Benedict XVI, the most important and essential message of the council is "the Paschal Mystery as the center of what it is to be Christian and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons". [4] Other changes which followed the council included the widespread use of vernacular languages in the Mass instead of Latin, the subtle disuse of ornate clerical regalia, the revision of Eucharistic (liturgical) prayers, the abbreviation of the liturgical calendar, the ability to celebrate the Mass versus populum (with the officiant facing the congregation), as well as ad orientem (facing the "East" and the Crucifix), and modern aesthetic changes encompassing contemporary Catholic liturgical music and artwork. Many of these changes remain divisive among the Catholic faithful. [5]

Pope Benedict XVI 265th pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as head of the Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "pope emeritus" upon his resignation.

Paschal mystery

The Paschal mystery is one of the central concepts of Catholic faith relating to the history of salvation. Its main subject is the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the work God the Father sent His Son to accomplish on earth. According to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The Paschal Mystery accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of His Son Jesus Christ." The Catechism states that in the liturgy of the Church which revolves around the seven sacraments, "it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present."

Liturgical year annually recurring fixed sequence of Christian parties and festive seasons

The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.

Of those who took part in the council's opening session, four have become popes: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding John XXIII took the name Pope Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II; and Father Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who became Pope Benedict XVI. [6] [7] [8]

Pope Paul VI Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978

Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential advisors of Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini later became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.

Pope John Paul I 263rd Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope John Paul I was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City from 26 August 1978 to his death 33 days later. He was the first pope to have been born in the 20th century. His reign is among the shortest in papal history, resulting in the most recent year of three popes, the first to occur since 1605. John Paul I remains the most recent Italian-born pope, the last in a succession of such popes that started with Clement VII in 1523.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

In the 1950s, theological and biblical studies in the Catholic Church had begun to sway away from the Neo-Scholasticism and biblical literalism which a reaction to Catholic modernism had enforced since the First Vatican Council.[ citation needed ] This shift could be seen in theologians such as Karl Rahner, Michael Herbert, and John Courtney Murray who looked to integrate modern human experience with church principles based on Jesus Christ, as well as others such as Yves Congar, Joseph Ratzinger and Henri de Lubac, who looked to an accurate understanding of scripture and the early Church Fathers as a source of renewal ( ressourcement ).

Biblical studies academic field

Biblical studies is the academic application of a set of diverse disciplines to the study of the Bible. For its theory and methods, the field draws on disciplines ranging from archaeology, ancient history, cultural backgrounds, textual criticism, literary criticism, historical backgrounds, philology, and social science.

Biblical literalism A term used differently by different authors concerning biblical interpretation

Biblical literalism or biblicism is a term used differently by different authors concerning biblical interpretation. It can equate to the dictionary definition of literalism: "adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense", where literal means "in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical".

First Vatican Council synod

The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This, the twentieth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned on 20 October 1870. Unlike the five earlier general councils held in Rome, which met in the Lateran Basilica and are known as Lateran councils, it met in the Vatican Basilica, hence its name. Its best-known decision is its definition of papal infallibility.

At the same time, the world's bishops faced challenges driven by political, social, economic, and technological change. Some of these bishops sought new ways of addressing those challenges. The First Vatican Council had been held nearly a century before but had been cut short in 1870 when the Italian Army entered the city of Rome at the end of Italian unification. As a result, only deliberations on the role of the papacy and the congruent relationship of faith and reason were completed, with examination of pastoral issues concerning the direction of the Church left unaddressed. [9] [10]

Italian Army land warfare branch of Italys military forces

The Italian Army is the land-based component of the Italian Armed Forces of the Italian Republic. The army's history dates back to the unification of Italy in the 1850s and 1860s. The army fought in colonial engagements in China, Libya, Northern Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, Abyssinia before World War II and in World War II in Albania, Balkans, North Africa, Russia and Italy itself. During the Cold War, the army prepared itself to defend against a Warsaw Pact invasion from the east. Since the end of the Cold War, the army has seen extensive peacekeeping service and combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter, recently deployed in UN missions. The headquarters of the Army General Staff are located in Rome opposite the Quirinal Palace, where the president of Italy resides. The army is an all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Italian unification political and social movement that consolidated different Italian states into a single state

Italian unification, also known as the Risorgimento, was the political and social movement that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. The process began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and was completed in 1871 when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

Pope John XXIII, however, gave notice of his intention to convene the Council on 25 January 1959, less than three months after his election in October 1958. [11] This sudden announcement, which caught the Curia by surprise, caused little initial official comment from Church insiders. Reaction to the announcement was widespread and largely positive from both religious and secular leaders outside the Catholic Church, [12] and the council was formally summoned by the apostolic constitution Humanae Salutis on 25 December 1961. [13] [14] In various discussions before the Council convened, John XXIII said that it was time to "open the windows [of the Church] and let in some fresh air". [15] He invited other Christians outside the Catholic Church to send observers to the Council. Acceptances came from both the Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestant denominations as internal observers, but these observers did not cast votes in the approbation of the conciliar documents. [16] [lower-alpha 1]

Chronology

The interior of Saint Peter's Basilica. Prior to these years, the basilica was illuminated using beeswax candles, suspended on high chandeliers. Second Vatican Council by Lothar Wolleh 005.jpg
The interior of Saint Peter's Basilica. Prior to these years, the basilica was illuminated using beeswax candles, suspended on high chandeliers.

Preparation

Pope John XXIII's announcement on 25 January 1959 in the chapter hall of the Benedictine monastery attached to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome of his intention to call a general council came as a surprise even to the cardinals present. [18] [19] The Pontiff pre-announced the council under a full moon when the faithful with their candlelights gathered in St. Peter's square and jokingly noted about the brightness of the moon.[ citation needed ]

He had tested the idea only ten days before with one of them, his Cardinal Secretary of State Domenico Tardini, who gave enthusiastic support to the idea. [20] Although the Pope later said the idea came to him in a flash in his conversation with Tardini, two cardinals had earlier attempted to interest him in the idea. They were two of the most conservative, Ernesto Ruffini and Alfredo Ottaviani, who had already in 1948 proposed the idea to Pope Pius XII and who put it before John XXIII on 27 October 1958. [21]

Actual preparations for the Council took more than two years, and included work from 10 specialised commissions, people for mass media and Christian Unity, and a Central Commission for overall coordination. These groups, composed mostly of members of the Roman Curia, produced 987 proposed constituting sessions, making it the largest gathering in any council in church history. (This compares to Vatican I, where 737 attended, mostly from Europe.) [16] Attendance varied in later sessions from 2,100 to over 2,300. In addition, a varying number of periti (Latin : "experts") were available for theological consultation—a group that turned out to have a major influence as the council went forward. Seventeen Orthodox Churches and Protestant denominations sent observers. [22] More than three dozen representatives of other Christian communities were present at the opening session, and the number grew to nearly 100 by the end of the 4th Council Sessions.

A Catholic priest celebrating Tridentine Mass, the form of the Mass prevalent before the Council, during the elevation of the chalice after the consecration. Missa tridentina 002.jpg
A Catholic priest celebrating Tridentine Mass, the form of the Mass prevalent before the Council, during the elevation of the chalice after the consecration.

Opening

Pope John XXIII opened the Council on 11 October 1962 in a public session and read the declaration Gaudet Mater Ecclesia before the Council Fathers.

What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith, without forfeiting that accuracy and precision in its presentation which characterized the proceedings of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council. What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men's moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms. For this deposit of faith, or truths which are contained in our time-honored teaching is one thing; the manner in which these truths are set forth (with their meaning preserved intact) is something else. Roncalli, Angelo Giuseppe, "Opening address", Council, Rome, IT.

13 October 1962 marked the initial working session of the Council. That day's agenda included the election of members of the ten conciliar commissions. Each would have sixteen elected and eight appointed members, and were expected to do most of the work of the Council. [23] It had been expected that the members of the preparatory commissions, where the Curia was heavily represented, would be confirmed as the majorities on the conciliar commissions. [24] [25] Senior French Cardinal Achille Liénart addressed the Council, saying that the bishops could not intelligently vote for strangers. He asked that the vote be postponed to give all the bishops a chance to draw up their own lists. German Cardinal Josef Frings seconded that proposal, and the vote was postponed. [25] The first meeting of the Council adjourned after only fifteen minutes. [26]

Commissions

A contemporary Mass in modern practice. As versus populum became the common posture and gesture practised after the council. Note that the priest faces the congregation, while the vestments and religious artwork are less intense and ornate. Jerusalem (5564340698).jpg
A contemporary Mass in modern practice. As versus populum became the common posture and gesture practised after the council. Note that the priest faces the congregation, while the vestments and religious artwork are less intense and ornate.

The bishops met to discuss the membership of the commissions, along with other issues, both in national and regional groups, as well as in gatherings that were more informal. The schemata (Latin for drafts) from the preparatory sessions were thrown out, and new ones were created. [27] When the council met on 16 October 1962, a new slate of commission members was presented and approved by the Council. [24] One important change was a significant increase in membership from Central and Northern Europe, instead of countries such as Spain or Italy. More than 100 bishops from Africa, Asia, and Latin America were Dutch or Belgian and tended to associate with the bishops from those countries. These groups were led by Cardinals Bernardus Johannes Alfrink of the Netherlands and Leo Suenens of Belgium. [28]

Eleven commissions and three secretariats were established, with their respective presidents: [29] [30] [31] [32] [33]

  • De doctrina fidei et morum (Commission on the Doctrine of Faith and Morals), Alfredo Ottaviani;

Issues

After adjournment on 8 December, work began on preparations for the sessions scheduled for 1963. These preparations, however, were halted upon the death of Pope John XXIII on 3 June 1963, since an ecumenical council is automatically interrupted and suspended upon the death of the Pope who convened it, until the next Pope orders the council to be continued or dissolved. [34] Pope Paul VI was elected on 21 June 1963 and immediately announced that the Council would continue. [35]

Second period: 1963

In the months prior to the second period, Pope Paul VI worked to correct some of the problems of organization and procedure that had been discovered during the first period. This included inviting additional lay Catholic and non-Catholic observers, reducing the number of proposed schemata to seventeen (which were made more general, in keeping with the pastoral nature of the council) and later eliminating the requirement of secrecy surrounding general sessions. [35]

Pope Paul's opening address on 29 September 1963 stressed the pastoral nature of the council, and set out four purposes for it:

During this period, the bishops approved the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium , and the decree on social communication, Inter mirifica . Work went forward with the schemata on the Church, bishops and dioceses, and ecumenism. On 8 November 1963, Josef Frings criticized the Holy Office, and drew an articulate and impassioned defense by its Secretary, Alfredo Ottaviani.[ citation needed ] This exchange is often considered the most dramatic of the council[ citation needed ] (Cardinal Frings' theological adviser was the young Joseph Ratzinger, who would later as a Cardinal head the same department of the Holy See, and from 2005–13 reign as Pope Benedict XVI). The second period ended on 4 December.

Saint Pope Paul VI presiding over the introductory ingress of the Council, flanked by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (left), Cardinal Camerlengo Benedetto Aloisi Masella and Monsignor Enrico Dante (future Cardinal), Papal Master of Ceremonies (right), and two Papal gentlemen. Second Vatican Council by Lothar Wolleh 001.jpg
Saint Pope Paul VI presiding over the introductory ingress of the Council, flanked by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (left), Cardinal Camerlengo Benedetto Aloisi Masella and Monsignor Enrico Dante (future Cardinal), Papal Master of Ceremonies (right), and two Papal gentlemen.

Third period: 1964

In the time between the second and third periods, the proposed schemata were further revised on the basis of comments from the Council Fathers. A number of topics were reduced to statements of fundamental propositions that could gain approval during the third period, with postconciliar commissions handling implementation of these measures.

At the end of the second period, Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens of Belgium had asked the other bishops: "Why are we even discussing the reality of the church when half of the church is not even represented here?," referring to women. [36] In response, 15 women were appointed as auditors in September 1964. [36] [37] Eventually 23 women were auditors at the Second Vatican Council, including 10 women religious. [37] [38] The auditors had no official role in the deliberations, although they attended the meetings of subcommittees working on council documents, particularly texts that dealt with the laity. [37] They also met together on a weekly basis to read draft documents and comment on them. [37]

During the third period, which began on 14 September 1964, the Council Fathers worked through a large volume of proposals. Schemata on ecumenism ( Unitatis redintegratio ); the official view on Protestant and Eastern Orthodox "separated brethren", the Eastern Rite churches ( Orientalium Ecclesiarum ); and the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church ( Lumen gentium ) 'were approved and promulgated by the Pope′.

Schemata on the life and ministry of priests and the missionary activity of the Church were rejected and sent back to commissions for complete rewriting. Work continued on the remaining schemata, in particular those on the Church in the modern world and religious freedom. There was controversy over revisions of the decree on religious freedom and the failure to vote on it during the third period, but Pope Paul promised that this schema would be the first to be reviewed in the next period.

Pope Paul closed the third period on 21 November by announcing a change in the Eucharistic fast and formally reaffirming Mary as "Mother of the Church". [39]

Fourth period: 1965

Eleven schemata remained unfinished at the end of the third period, and commissions worked to give them their final form. Schema 13, on the Church in the modern world, was revised by a commission that worked with the assistance of laymen.

Pope Paul VI opened the last period of the Council on 14 September 1965 with the establishment of the Synod of Bishops. This more permanent structure was intended to preserve close cooperation of the bishops with the Pope after the council.

The first business of the fourth period was the consideration of the decree on religious freedom, Dignitatis humanae , one of the more controversial of the conciliar documents. The vote was 1,997 for to 224 against, a margin that widened even further by the time the bishops finally signed the decree. The principal work of the other part of the period was work on three documents, all of which were approved by the Council Fathers. The lengthened and revised pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et spes , was followed by decrees on missionary activity, Ad gentes and the ministry and life of priests, Presbyterorum ordinis .

The council also gave final approval to other documents that had been considered in earlier sessions. They included the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation ( Dei verbum ), decrees on the pastoral office of bishops ( Christus Dominus ), the life of persons in religious orders (expanded and modified from earlier sessions, finally titled Perfectae caritatis ), education for the priesthood ( Optatam totius ), Christian education ( Gravissimum educationis ), and the role of the laity ( Apostolicam actuositatem ).

One of the more controversial documents [40] was Nostra aetate , which stated that the Jews of the time of Christ, taken indiscriminately, and all Jews today are no more responsible for the death of Christ than Christians.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ. Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone. [41]

A major event of the final days of the council was the act of Pope Paul and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras of a joint expression of regret for many of the past actions that had led up to the Great Schism between the western and eastern churches.

"The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council" (Paul VI., address, 7 December): On 8 December, the Council was formally closed, with the bishops professing their obedience to the Council's decrees. To help carry forward the work of the Council, Pope Paul:

Key content and issues

The abolition of Friday of Sorrows of the Virgin Mary (not to be confused with Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus) as unnecessary repetition before Palm Sunday is an example of changes in the Liturgical Calendar after the council. The Virgin of Hope of Macarena, in her imperial regalia, Spain. SemanaSantaSevillaAguas2.jpg
The abolition of Friday of Sorrows of the Virgin Mary (not to be confused with Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus) as unnecessary repetition before Palm Sunday is an example of changes in the Liturgical Calendar after the council. The Virgin of Hope of Macarena, in her imperial regalia, Spain.

Liturgy

The first matter covered by the council was the liturgy, to emphasize "the primacy of God" and "the primacy of adoration", according to Pope Benedict XVI. He said that the most important essential idea of the Council itself is "Paschal Mystery (Christ's passion, death and resurrection) as the center of what it is to be Christian and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons, expressed in Eastertide and on Sunday which is always the day of the Resurrection. [4] " Thus, the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, which makes the Paschal Mystery present, is "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows". [43]

The matter that had the most immediate effect on the lives of individual Catholics, was the revision of the liturgy. The central idea was that there ought to be lay participation in the liturgy which means they "take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects". (SC 11) In the mid-1960s, permissions were granted to celebrate most of the Mass in vernacular languages, including the canon from 1967 onwards. [lower-alpha 2] The amount of Scripture read during Mass was greatly expanded, [45] through the introduction of multiple year lectionaries. Neither the Second Vatican Council nor the subsequent revision of the Roman Missal abolished Latin as the liturgical language of the Roman Rite: the official text of the Roman Missal, on which translations into vernacular languages are to be based, continues to be in Latin and it can still be used in the celebration. [46]

Ecclesiology

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church produced by the Council is entitled Lumen gentium .

In its first chapter, titled "The Mystery of the Church," is the statement that:

… the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as 'the pillar and mainstay of the truth.' This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him (Lumen gentium, 8).

The document adds, "Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines" (Lumen gentium, 8). The other characteristics of that period were described by Belgian Bishop Émile-Joseph De Smedt  [ fr ] as "legalism" and "clericalism", in what has been described as "one of the most dramatic moments of Vatican II". [47]

According to Pope Paul VI, "the most characteristic and ultimate purpose of the teachings of the Council" is the universal call to holiness: [3] John Paul II calls this "an intrinsic and essential aspect of [the Council Fathers'] teaching on the Church".

all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. (Lumen gentium, 40)

In his plan for the new millennium, Novo millennio ineunte , John Paul II said that "all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness" as the first priority of the Church. [48]

Scripture and divine revelation

The Second Vatican Council encouraged the scriptural reading of the Bible rather than relying solely on devotional writings, booklets and the lives of the Catholic saints. Lectio divina.jpg
The Second Vatican Council encouraged the scriptural reading of the Bible rather than relying solely on devotional writings, booklets and the lives of the Catholic saints.

The council sought to revive the central role of Scripture in the theological and devotional life of the Church, building upon the work of earlier popes in crafting a modern approach to Scriptural analysis and interpretation. A new approach to interpretation was approved by the bishops. The Church was to continue to provide versions of the Bible in the "mother tongues" of the faithful, and both clergy and laity were to continue to make Bible study a central part of their lives. This affirmed the importance of Sacred Scripture as attested by Providentissimus Deus by Pope Leo XIII and the writings of the Saints, Doctors, and Popes throughout Church history but also approved historically conditioned interpretation of Scripture as presented in Pius XII's 1943 encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu .

Bishops

The role of the bishops was brought into renewed prominence, especially when seen collectively, as a college that has succeeded to that of the apostles in teaching and governing the Church. This college was headed by the Pope.

Objections to the council

An illustrated 1911 Roman Missal reprint from its 1884 edition Missale Romanum Pustet.jpg
An illustrated 1911 Roman Missal reprint from its 1884 edition

The questioning of the nature of and even validity of the Second Vatican Council continues to be a contending point of rejection and conflict among various religious communities, some of which are not in communion with the Catholic Church. [49] In particular, two schools of thought may be discerned:

The most recent edition of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states that Catholics may not disregard the teaching of an ecumenical council even if it does not propose such as definitive. Accordingly, it also maintains the view that the present living Pope alone judges the criterion of membership for being in in communio with the Church. [51] The present canon law further articulates:

Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a Doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it. [52] [53]

Legacy

"Council ring" given by Pope Paul VI in 1965 to those bishops who had participated in the Second Vatican Council Bishop ring for Second Vatican Council participants 02.tif
"Council ring" given by Pope Paul VI in 1965 to those bishops who had participated in the Second Vatican Council
The head cornette, worn by a Polish nun habit in 1939, was later abandoned in 1964 after the sweeping aesthetic changes brought by the Second Vatican Council. Bundesarchiv Bild 121-0320, Krakau, Gefangnis Montelupich, Klosterschwester.jpg
The head cornette, worn by a Polish nun habit in 1939, was later abandoned in 1964 after the sweeping aesthetic changes brought by the Second Vatican Council.

In addition to general spiritual guidance, the Second Vatican Council produced very specific recommendations, such as in the document Gaudium et Spes: "Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation." [54]

By "the spirit of Vatican II" is often meant promoting teachings and intentions attributed to the Second Vatican Council in ways not limited to literal readings of its documents, spoken of as the "letter" of the Council [55] [56] (cf. Saint Paul's phrase, "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life"). [57]

The spirit of Vatican II is invoked for a great variety of ideas and attitudes. Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong used it with regard merely to an openness to dialogue with others, saying: "We are guided by the spirit of Vatican II: only dialogue and negotiation can solve conflicts." [58]

In contrast, Michael Novak described it as a spirit that:

... sometimes soared far beyond the actual, hard-won documents and decisions of Vatican II. … It was as though the world (or at least the history of the Church) were now to be divided into only two periods, pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II. Everything 'pre' was then pretty much dismissed, so far as its authority mattered. For the most extreme, to be a Catholic now meant to believe more or less anything one wished to believe, or at least in the sense in which one personally interpreted it. One could be a Catholic 'in spirit'. One could take Catholic to mean the 'culture' in which one was born, rather than to mean a creed making objective and rigorous demands. One could imagine Rome as a distant and irrelevant anachronism, embarrassment, even adversary. Rome as 'them'. [59]

Dei Verbum reads, "Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on …", Vatican II did not deny previous councils' correctness.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II, in October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI declared the period from October 2012 to the Solemnity of Christ the King at the end of November 2013 a "Year of Faith", as:

...a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of John Paul II, 'have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition. ... I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning. [60]

See also

Notes

  1. There has been speculation that the Vatican somehow assured the Russian Orthodox Church that communism and the Soviet State were topics that would not be raised at the council. However J. O. Berlioz states that the real issue was the desire of the Russian Orthodox to be invited directly, instead of through the Ecumenical Patriarch. [17]
  2. Historically speaking, "Latin Mass" could be applied also to the various forms of Pre-Tridentine Mass from about the year 370, when the Church in Rome changed from Greek to Latin. [44]
  3. Representatives of this school of thought include Brunero Gherardini, who in 2009 petitioned the Pope for a review of Vatican II; Paolo Pasqualucci, who with other scholars subscribed Gherardini's petition; Roberto de Mattei, who wrote a history of CVII ("Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta")

Related Research Articles

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Catholic ecumenical councils

Catholic ecumenical councils include 21 councils over a period of some 1900 years. While definitions changed throughout history, in today's Catholic understanding ecumenical councils are assemblies of Patriarchs, Cardinals, residing Bishops, Abbots, male heads of religious orders and other juridical persons, nominated by the Pope. The purpose of an ecumenical council is to define doctrine, reaffirm truths of the Faith, and extirpate heresy. Council decisions, to be valid, are approved by the popes. Participation is limited to these persons, who cannot delegate their voting rights.

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In the Roman Catholic Church, the Synod of Bishops is an advisory body for the Pope. It is described in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) as "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:

Episcopal conference of Bulgaria is an ecclesiastical institution, consisting of bishops of the Catholic dioceses in the country. It is birritual because it includes in its composition dioceses in Latin and Byzantine-Slavic rites. Episcopal Conference in Bulgaria is the governing body of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria and performs almost the same features as the Holy Synod in Orthodox churches.

Roman Catholic–Eastern Orthodox relations

Catholic-Orthodox relations have warmed over the last century, as both churches embrace a dialogue of charity. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) ushered in a new era of relations for the Catholic Church towards the Eastern Church, fondly describing the Orthodox as “separated brethren” with valid sacraments and an apostolic priesthood. The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, encouraged local churches to prepare for future dialogue in the Third Pan-Orthodox Conference in Rhodes (1964), and has since engaged in several ecumenical efforts with the Vatican. Significantly, in 1965 Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople mutually lifted their respective excommunications.

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  4. 1 2 "Meeting with the Parish Priests and the Clergy of the Rome Diocese (14 February 2013) - BENEDICT XVI".
  5. Various feasts and devotional celebrations related to popular piety were revised or abbreviated as a result of the council. Examples of this are the revision of the novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the celebration of Friday of Sorrows in Lent.
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  19. Robert Mickens, "Surprise announcement of an elderly pope continues to reverberate today" in La Croix International (25 January 2019)
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  46. Redemptionis sacramentum, Rome, IT: Vatican, p. 112, Except in the case of celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.
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  56. Avery Dulles, Vatican II: The Myth and the Reality
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  60. Ratzinger, Joseph (2011-10-11), Porta fidei (motu proprio), Rome, IT: Vatican.

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