11.10.

1962: Beginning of the Second Vatican Council

1962: Beginning of the Second Vatican Council
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 11 October 1962
  • On this day, Pope Saint John XXIII solemnly declared the Second Vatican Council open. He appealed to the participants to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity when drawing up the new documents. The Council truly did manage to modernize the Catholic Church and its decrees continue to have a great effect on Catholic believers to this day.

The Second Vatican Council was solemnly declared open on this day in 1962.

It was the greatest council gathering in the history of the Catholic Church. The Council was opened by Pope (now Saint) John XXIII (born as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli).

As many as 2,625 experts on Christian theology were present at the sessions which represented an incredibly large number at that time.

It was the 21st ecumenical council in the history of the Catholic Church, and the second one to take place in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican (the First Vatican Council was opened back in 1869).

The Second Vatican Council has to this day remained the last council of the Catholic Church to be held, thus making its decrees still applicable to Catholic believers.

It is interesting that as many as four future popes participated at the Council. These included Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini (future Pope Paul VI), Bishop Albino Luciani (future Pope John Paul I), Polish bishop Karol Wojtyła (future Pope Saint John Paul II), and German priest Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI). Reverend Ratzinger was a theological adviser at the council.

Pope Saint John XXIII opened the Council with the Gaudet Mater Ecclesia (Mother Church Rejoices) declaration. In his speech, the said that the Church has to teach the message of Jesus Christ in light of the ever-changing trends of the modern world.

He appealed to the participants to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity when drawing up the new documents.

Sadly, Pope Saint John XXIII didn’t live to see the end of the Council. He died in 1963, and his work was continued by Venerable Pope Paul VI (the aforementioned Giovanni Battista Montini). The Second Vatican Council lasted until 8 December 1965, i.e. over three full years.

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