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Why is Vatican II so Significant in the Modern Church?
INTRODUCTION: VATICAN II
Vatican II was the 21st ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic
church, which became the symbol of the church's openness to the modern world.
The council was announced by Pope John XXIII on January 25, 1959, and held 178
meetings in the autumn of each of four successive years. The first gathering was
on October 11, 1962, and the last on December 8, 1965. Of 2908 bishops and
others eligible to attend, 2540 from all parts of the world participated in the
opening meeting. The U.S. delegation of 241 members was second in size only to
that of Italy. Asian and African bishops played a prominent role in the
council's deliberations. Only Communist nations were sparsely represented, the
result of government pressures. The average attendance at the meetings was 2200.
Vatican II, as we can clearly see from the above information, was a very
large and important meeting in the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican II has altered
the Roman Catholic Church more that any other council that took place. It has
great significance as it made the church more reasonable and realistic. The
Church, after the council, was much more down-to-earth and open-minded.
One of Vatican II's changes that took place was that Mass became
vernacular. This change was very important because it made people feel more at a
personal level when mass was held seeing as though the priest was speaking their
language. It made them feel more at home and increased their understanding and
ability to respond.
Another very major and important change that took place due to Vatican
II was the relationship with the Church and the world. "The Church is a human
organization steered by the Holy Spirit and composed of the gifts and talents of
its members. It is acknowledged that at this time the Church community has not
yet reached its highest potential and is faced with the limitations and of human
shortcomings and temporal constrictions. With an understanding of its abilities
and its boundaries, the Church seeks to work with the world community to come
closer to the life to which God calls the world." As this quote from one of the
Documents in Vatican II states, the Church need have a relationship with the
"outside world" as the Church itself is comprised of humans. And that the
Church having a good relationship with the outside world is necessary for the
Church to reach its highest potential.
These are some of the changes that took place in Vatican II and naming
all of them would not be necessary. The modern Church is the way it is because
most of what happened in Vatican II. Vatican II was what made the Church, what
we know it as now. Vatican II has molded the modern Church and has had most
influence on it. Therefore, it is explicitly obvious that Vatican II was what
made Church what we know as the "Modern Church." If Vatican II did not take
place, there would not be a "Modern Church."
Information obtained from the following sources:
1) Encyclopedia Britannica
2) Roman Catholic Church History
3) Various handouts in Religion Class
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