In this assembly, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we wish to inquire how we ought to renew ourselves, so that we may be found increasingly faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Opening Message to Humanity, Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) has been called “The greatest religious event of the 20th century.” (St. John Paul II). More than 2500 bishops, 1000 reporters, and observers from around the world, gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica to discern the Church’s role in the modern world. Each fall, from October to December 8, cardinals, bishops, and theological advisors (periti) gathered under the servant-leadership of St. John XXIII. The dialogue, discussion, prayer, study, and discernment led to the promulgation of 16 earth-shaking documents including 4 Constitutions, 9 Decrees, and 3 Declarations.
In his opening homily at the Council (October 11, 1962) St. John XXIII described Vatican II as an “aggiornamento” a bringing up to date of Church practice with a call to renewal for the “People of God.” The themes and teaching of the Second Vatican Council maintain a continuity with Church Tradition inviting us liturgical reform, to holiness, to ecumenical dialogue, to form Christian conscience, to embrace the responsibilities of religious freedom, and to bring Catholic social teaching to the world through stewardship and discipleship in Jesus Christ.
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