The Second Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was the 20th century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church at the request of Pope John XXIII opens within the autumn 1962 and closed in December 1965 by the Pope Paul VI, who succeeded John XXIII, who died of cancer, in June 1963. Vatican II declares that the Church should not condemn any more, as in the past, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Citizen; it must on the contrary support without reserve the principles of equality, justice and freedom promoted by Jesus himself in his famous Sermon of the Beatitudes (Matthew: 4:23-5:12). What are required now is mercy and understanding and, above all, an outpouring of the riches which the Church has received from Christ. More than two thousand five hundred bishops came from around the world to vote in Rome on decisions which renew in-depth the face of the Church and the practice of the faithful ones. They proclaim the right of the human person to the religious liberty. In an astonishing text, they recognize the values contained in the other religions and invite the faithful ones to dialog with them; in particular with the Judaism which suffered so much from the Christian Anti-Semitism. The bishops do not define any more the Church like a hierarchical structure, but as people of equal faithful believers between them: the primacy of the pope remains intact, but the bishops, the clerks and the Laymen ones are invited to engage more in the life and the mission of the Church. The most significant Catholic change remains nevertheless the liturgical reform and the relegation of Latin to the profit of the local languages. The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican did not have freedom to settle three questions that today still remain without answer: authority of the pope, the marriage of the priests and divorced who get remarried. What Vatican II did in its influence of present day Catholic Perspectives.
Here s a good book to understand what was Vatican II: 101 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON VATICAN II, by Maureen Sullivan. Paulist Press Christian Books Distributors.
Filed under: The Church Catholic, Vatican II