Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Vatican II

Pope John XXIII at Vatican II
Fifty years ago today, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  It surprised many that this “caretaker” papacy would launch such a sweeping endeavor as Vatican II.  In fact, Pope Blessed John XIII died on third of the way into the conclave, but he believed that the Roman Catholic Church required aggiornamento or “updating”.

Having been born towards the conclusion on Vatican II, I have no personal recollections of the way the Church was prior to Vatican II.  My cursory knowledge as a child caused me to conclude that Vatican II translated the mass into the local languages (vernacular) and stopped the use of High Altars with priests back to the congregation. I was aware of people who were put off by the Novus Ordo liturgy and longed for the Tridentine  rituals, but that just seemed like an old translation.  It was only when I started to study Vatican II that I had a better appreciation for the fruits of the council and how strongly disappointment from the right and the left remain today.

Bishops meeting in Plenary Session of Vatican II
Over three years, some 2800 bishops from 116 countries met, debated (in Latin) and produced 16 documents.  Instead of automatically taking the preparation work from a cautious curia, the Council regrouped in geographical zones and requested a thorough re-thinking of the Council’s agenda.  But regional politics was serendipitously curtailed by seating, which was by seniority rather than delegations.

Unlike other councils, Vatican II did not define any dogma or pronounce anything anathematic.  The documents used word of persuasion and inclusion, like People of God or “brothers and sisters” rather than top down neo-scholastic theological statements.

 While keeping true to the essence of the Church in scripture, holy tradition and the Magisterium, Vatican II renewed the vision of what it means to be Church.

  READ MORE at DC-LausDeo.US

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