The Seismic Council

News: Video Reports
by Aidan O'Connor  •  •  October 11, 2022   

60 years of aftershocks

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It's been more than half a century since Vatican II rocked the world, with many Catholics still losing their footing due to ongoing aftershocks.

With us now is Aidan O'Connor to kick off Church Militant's deep dive into this epic event.

Thanks Kim. All this week, Church Militant will be looking back at the Second Vatican Council: what it actually presented and how it affected the laity.

In tonight's In-Depth Report, we'll take a closer look at the Council itself and the culture it encountered.

This week marks 60 years since the Second Vatican Council opened with great fanfare in the Eternal City.

Pope John XXIII first announced the council in 1959 and set the process into motion.

After three years of laborious planning, on Oct. 11, 1962, the pope convoked what is now known as Vatican II.

This second ecumenical or worldwide council, held in Rome, came almost a century after Pope Pius IX convoked the First Vatican Council in 1868.

Not counting the Apostles' First Council in Jerusalem around A.D. 50 — Vatican II was the 21st universal council.

Pope John used the term "aggiornamento" or "updating" to describe the assembly's purpose, and whispers of change soon swept through the world.

One year into the council, John XXIII died, and Pope Paul VI eagerly took the reins.

The Council lasted more than three years, with over 2,000 bishops — known as Council Fathers — gathering for a total of four sessions.

John F. Kennedy, former US President: "As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant."

Vatican II was launched at the height of the Cold War and against the backdrop of the burgeoning sexual revolution. But Council Fathers made little mention of these menaces, focusing instead on ecumenism, the liturgy and religious life.

They crafted 16 documents — four of which were Church Constitutions:

  •  Dei Verbum, which concerns divine revelation
  • Lumen Gentium, on the nature of the Church
  • Sacrosanctum Concilium, on the liturgy; and
  • Gaudium et Spes, concerning the Church in the modern world

Vatican II also generated nine decrees and three declarations, among which are:

  • Nostra Aetate, on non-Christian religions
  • Apostolicam Actuositatem, on the laity — a topic never before discussed at a council; and
  • Other documents addressing seminaries and the renovation of religious life

Nearly 50 years after our Lady appeared at Fatima, Mary was proclaimed Mother of the Church during the assembly's third session.

Before closing the Council in 1965, Pope Paul VI launched the so-called reform of the Roman Curia and introduced the cause of his predecessor, John XXIII, for beatification.

The Second Vatican Council was marked by exuberant optimism and anticipation of a "new springtime" for the Faith.

But not long after the Council ended, these hopes were dashed, and the so-called Spirit of Vatican II began haunting the Church.

And it's this that's so crucial to understand — the difference between what Vatican II actually did and what was done in the name of Vatican II.


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