The Fiftieth Anniversary of Vatican Council II

Fifty years ago on October 11th, 1962, Blessed Pope John XXIII and more than 2,500 bishops and heads of religious orders from around the world gathered in St. Peter's Basilica for the opening session of the Second Vatican Council.

The Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. 

 It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. 
H/T to Fr Austin at A Concord Pastor Comments for a link here to a a new site, Conciliaria, under the direction of Deacon Eric Stoltz.

The Concilaria site says "you can relive the moving and hope-filled days of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council, we offer day-to-day coverage, utilizing archival reporting from that time, contemporary documents and special guest correspondents who will step into a time machine to report on the dramatic events as though they were there 50 years ago." 

Looks good !!

The second Vatican Council closed under Pope Paul VI (left) on December 8, 1965.


Of those who took part in the council's opening session, four went on to become pontiffs/Popes to date: 

The extraordinary year of 1978 saw three Popes: Great BBC article here..
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding Pope John XXIII took the name of Paul VI  (above left.)

Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I; He tragically died after only 33 days...

Bishop Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II; 

and Father Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who became Pope Benedict XVI.


Over a period of three years, Vatican II would issue 16 major "pronouncements" on such fundamental questions as the authority of the church's hierarchy, the interpretation of Scripture, and the proper roles of clergy and laity. Those documents, and the deliberations that produced them, have transformed how the Catholic Church understands and presents itself within the context of modern secular culture and society.

Because Vatican II was one of the monumental events in modern religious history, its golden anniversary will naturally be the occasion for numerous commemorative events, including liturgical celebrations, publications and academic conferences.

At a Vatican II exhibition at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, which opened in late January and will run until November 2013, the displays include original handwritten pages from Pope John's speech at the council's opening session, and a Vatican passport issued at the time to a young Polish bishop named Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II.

Vatican II is not merely of historical interest; it is very much a living issue in the church today.

Some people wonder if we need a Vatican III.

This October Pope Benedict has announced a "Year of Faith" to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and  the global observance will begin on 11 October 2012 and end on 24 November 2013, the Feast of Christ the King.

At its start, the it will also include a global Synod of Bishops,sometime in October with a focus on the New Evangelization.

In calling the third themed commemoration since his 2005 election, the pontiff said the focus was intended "to give renewed impulse to the mission of the whole church to lead people out of the desert... toward the path of life [and] the friendship with Christ that gives us life to the full."

The 13-month celebration "will be a moment of grace and challenge for our ever fuller conversion to God," Benedict added, "to strengthen our faith in him and announce him with joy to the people of our time."

America Magazine has begun a series of articles on The 50th anniversary of Vatican II beginning with this Introduction to Vatican II at 50 from here

and this one here entitled "Dialogue and Deliberation", an essay by Richard Gaillardetz of Boston College on “the enduring significance” of the council and its reforms. Professor Gaillardetz responds to contemporary skeptics who dismiss Vatican II as an aberrant enthusiasm of the 1960s. 

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