Vatican II

Who called the council? Provide background of the Pope who called the council. Who got elected during the Council? Provide background on this new Pope.

1a. Pope John XXIII

1b.Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born on November 25, 1881, into a family of peasant farmers in Sotto il Monte, an Italian village near the town of Bergamo. He studied for the priesthood at the Bergamo diocesan seminaries and the St. Apollinare Institute in Rome and was ordained in 1904. From 1904 to 1914 he was secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo and taught Church history at one of the local seminaries. In World War I, Father Roncalli was drafted into the Italian army and served as a hospital orderly and chaplain.

1c.Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini of Milan 1d. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestants.

Why was it called?

Vatican II was called by Pope John XXIII in order to refresh the means that the Catholic Church used to preach the Gospel, while also retaining the messages taught. It was called with the proclamation of the apostolic constitution Humanae Saultis. He described it as “letting air into the church.” This Council met 4 time from 1962-1965. 2900 bishops attended, as well as observers from other churches. This addressed all aspects of church life. When John XXIII died, Pope Paul VI continued the council. The council proclaimed 4 constitutions(the Church, on Divine Revelation, on Liturgy, and on the Church in the Modern World), 9 decrees(on the pastoral office of bishops, on missionary activity, on ecumenism, on the Eastern Catholic Churches, on the ministry and life of priests, on priestly formation, on the appropriate renewal of religious life, on the apostolate of the laity, and on the instruments of social communication or media) and 3 declarations(religious freedom, on the Church and non-Christian religions, and on Christian education)

How did the council change the structure, Mass procedures, or doctrines of the Church?

-All members of Clergy have equal roles in the church

-The Pope and bishops share in the teaching and governing of the church

-All members of the church are called to be saints

-Calls for active participation from all members of the church

-Called for steps to help members actively participate

-Members should understand the historical context and literary forms of scripture

-Calls members to stress that the “authentic interpretation” of God’s word has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone

What major documents were issued by the Council or Popes?

a. Dogmatic Constitution of the Church- Emphasizes the community of the Church. All members of the Church have equal dignity and complementary roles in the Church.

B. Dogmatic constitution on divine revelation- Encourages the responsible use of contemporary methods of understanding the historical and literary context of Scripture. It also emphasizes that Scripture and Tradition are linked but not independent sources of Revelation.

C. The sacred constitution on the liturgy- The liturgy is the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed. It calls for the full, conscious and active participation by all members of the Church. It also opened the door for vernacular liturgy and other changes to foster active participation.

D. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World- Considered the dignity of the human person in the light of Christ, causes of contemporary atheism, the nature of the common good, social justice and other such issues.


1.What are St. John XXIII’s nicknames? Why does each apply?

-Good Pope John- cracked jokes and visited prisons and hospitals

2. What were the three most progressive and long-lasting changes made by St. John XXIII?

-Took away rule allowing only 70 cardinals

-Created a diocesan synod for Rome, the drafting of a new code of Canon law an an ecumenical council

3. What reasons did St. John XXIII give for calling the Second Vatican Council?

-He believed the Church needed to update herself in order to meet the urgent spiritual needs of the world

4. How long did Vatican II last? Where was it held?

-Vatican II lasted October 11, 1962- December 8, 1965

-Held in St. Peter's basilica

5. What is Lumen gentium? Why was it significant?

-One of the dogmatic constitutions from Vatican II, gives all church members equal treatment and dignity

6. What is Dei verbum? What Catholic teaching did it emphasize?

-divine constitution on divine revelation, using contemporary methods to explain the teachings of the church

7. What does the document Sacrosanctum concilium discuss?

-It called for the active participation from all members on the Church

8. To what was the document Gaudium et spes written in response?

-It was a response to Pope Bl. John’s desire that the church be more directly at the service of the world

9. What pope was elected during Vatican II and saw it through to the end?

- Paul VI

10. How did Bl. Paul VI help improve relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church?

- He implemented its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestants, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements.

11. What steps did Bl. Paul VI take to implement the teachings of Vatican II?

-He met with two archbishops of Canterbury and with Patriarch Athenagoras in Constantinople

12. What was so significant about Humanæ Vitæ?

-It was had the greatest impact on human life. Supported procreation.

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