Vatican Council, Second

views updated May 17 2018

Vatican Council, Second, or Vatican II (1962–5). A Roman Catholic council. In calling for an ecumenical council, Pope John XXIII spoke of his desire for aggiornamento in the RC Church, for ‘a new Pentecost’. He lived to see only the first session: the Council's work was concluded under his successor, Paul VI (pope 1963–78). The debates showed deep disagreements on many issues, sometimes leading to the rejection of draft schemata prepared before the Council. Sixteen documents were eventually produced, five of which are particularly important. The Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) gave a deep theological analysis of the nature of the Church, and defined the authority of bishops and the position of the laity. The Constitution on Revelation (Dei Verbum) outlined the nature of revelation, scripture, and tradition; it laid down canons for biblical interpretation and encouraged greater use of the Bible in theology, liturgy, and private devotion. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) dealt with the Church's attitude to human life and culture, and to marriage, economic development, war, and other contemporary issues. The Constitution on the Liturgy set out a theology of the liturgy and principles for reform (e.g. through wider use of the vernacular; see LITURGICAL MOVEMENT). The Decree on Ecumenism explained the RC Church's attitude to other Christians, and outlined a programme for reunion.

Despite the ensuing period of great turbulence, the Council succeeded in producing the greatest changes in the RC Church since the Council of Trent in the 16th cent.

Vatican Council, Second

views updated Jun 11 2018

Vatican Council, Second (1962–65) Twenty-first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. It was convened by Pope John XXIII to revive and renew Christian faith and move the Church into closer touch with ordinary people. Among the most significant results were the introduction of the Mass in the vernacular, a greater role for lay people, and a greater tolerance for other sects and other religions.