The Two Vatican Councils: Journey Of Faith In The Modern World

2535 words - 11 pages

Context of Vatican II

In the ever changing landscape of Europe who experienced the devastating effects of the two world wars resulted to a more aware Church to the ills of the society. These events in history gave birth to the social doctrines of the Church and to a more open church in understanding of the continually developing world. The Church was in an environment where the pace of development was accelerated. In that she witnessed the rise of the Third World, the rapid industrialization and the consumerist attitude of people that was aggravated by availability of television.
On January 25, 1959, John XXIII announced his intention to summon an Ecumenical council and in June 1960 the preparation began for the Second Vatican Council. His intention was to call a council that will allow the Church to adapt to the modern times and to unite Christianity but without precise plan on how the council would be. At first, people were unenthusiastic of a new council for what is the use of the council when the papal infallibility and supremacy was already defined by Vatican I. Many viewed the new vision of Pope John XXIII as a mere show of force and unity for there was “no specific trend in the society that the Church had to express her stand”. By the end of 1959 the Second Vatican Council prove sceptics wrong.
“ The general feeling in much of the church in early 1959 was that … be a largely ceremonial demonstration of unity … before the end of the year, the coming council had gripped the popular imagination, triggered wide-ranging discussion, and awakened hopes…were now ready to break open.”

Pope John the XXIII died on June 3, 1963 without witnessing the end and fruits of the council. The council that he had summoned was immediately continued by Pope Paul VI. The council had a total of four sessions and on Dec 8, 1965 “a solemn closing was carried out with a great feeling of hope.” The decrees and declarations that were promulgated by the council were sixteen in number which covered the issues on divine revelation, liturgy, religious liberty, non-Christian Religions, ecumenism, mass media, Christian community, the laity, Religious Life, and priestly formation.

The Document Dei Verbum

This document on divine revelation has six chapters that focused on revelation, Sacred Scripture (the Old and the New Testament), its interpretation and importance in the life of the Church. Chapter one professes what the Church believes about revelation itself, that by God’s goodness he choose to reveal himself and make known his plan of salvation to man. Through this goodness of God man ought in obedience to respond. In Chapter two, upholds that both Scripture and traditions are from one and the same divine source. The truth of the Scripture and interpretation of the Scripture is the subject of Chapter three. Chapters four and five deals with the Old and the New Testaments not as separate but states that the Old Testament is the preparation...

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