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Vatican II

By Vatican.com 5/22/2018

What is Vatican II?

The Second Vatican Council, known to many simply asVatican II, was the twenty first Ecumenical council of the Roman CatholicChurch. In other words, Vatican2 was a council of Roman Catholic Church Bishops, Cardinals Leaders and theologians who met for a series of conferences during which they discussed and made decisions about issues important to the Roman Catholic faith, the Vatican and the Pope and Papal Office at its head. Vatican II decisions, as all of theEcumenical councils, are binding to the whole Roman Catholic Church.

When was Vatican II?
The Second Vatican Council was convoked by Pope JohnXXIII and concluded under Pope Paul VI. A long and arduous undertakinginvolving many people and much work, Vatican II took place over several yearsbetween 1962 and 1965. Participants in Vatican 2 met formally in St. Peter’sBasilica and informally, for detailed discussions, in several locations inRome, Italy (many of which belong to the Vatican and are considered part of theVatican State) as well as within Vatican City itself.

Why is it called VaticanII?
The word “Ecumenical“ stated above, originating inAncient Greek, actually means the entire inhabited world and was used inAncient Rome, long before the Vatican became home to the Pope, to refer to theRoman Empire since Ancient Rome saw itself as the center of the inhabited world. Ever since the Christianization of the Roman Empire,the Roman Catholic Church has taken over much of the Roman institutionallanguage and structure. Now, with the Vaticanbeing the seat of authority and power of the Church, an Ecumenical Council,such as Vatican II, refers to a council of the entirety of the Roman CatholicChurch - a world Catholic conference called for and headed by the Pope of Romein the Vatican.

What was Vatican II all about then?
Over the course of its history, the Roman CatholicChurch held several Ecumenical Councils. These councils were platforms forresolving debates over matters of faith and deciding upon matters of the futureand the paths the Pope and Vaticanwill take. Those who study Vatican II documents can tell you that the SecondVatican Council focused on matters of faith such as Liturgy and the use oflanguages other than Latin in prayer, the role of Bishops and matters ofscripture, belief and missionary activity. But Vatican II also focused on howthe Vaticanand the Roman Catholic Church relates to the world, to other Christiandenominations and even to different religions. In its four constitutions andnine decrees Vatican II changed, explained and set many approaches regardingthese matters. There are individuals and groups, even within the CatholicChurch, who do not accept all of the teachings of the Second Vatican Counciland there is still a lively debate about many of the issues it addressed. Butone thing can be said for certain, Vatican II proved to be a historic council.Vatican II changes the attitude of the Catholic Church regarding the rest ofthe world and started traditions of change and dialogue that are still ineffect today.

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