“After having listened to Their Eminences the Cardinals, We announce,
We determine and We convene, on the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and our own authority, for the coming year 1962 the second Ecumenical and general Council of the Vatican, which will be held in the Vatican Basilica on the days that the Divine Providence will inspire us to determine.
We also desire and command that at this Ecumenical Council determined by Us, Our Beloved Sons Their Eminences the Cardinals, Our Honourable Brothers the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops, both resident and titular, from all parts of the world are present and likewise all those of the Church who have the right and the duty to be present at the Ecumenical Council.”
Words from Blessed Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis, announcing the Second Vatican Council on Christmas Day, 1961. It is fifty years later today, and, whether we are rabidly against it or adhere to a ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ which is not present in any of the Conciliar documents (or hold any position in between), the Council is unbelievably important in the Church’s recent history. The Council itself, which lasted until the end of 1965, and its fallout have changed the Catholic landscape in many ways. As we are slowly leaving the first five tumultuous decades following its closing, now is a good time to look back and devote some time on the facts of the Council and its content. What did the Council really say?, to make a pun on the title of a beloved fellow blogger’s writings.
There are many important writings and documents produced by the Council, and if not infallible, they are certainly very valuable for our Catholic life, identity and celebration. As the fiftieth anniversary of each one comes closer, and if the time is given me here in my little corner of the web, I intend to write blog posts about each of them. I intend to give a summary, analyses of their content and whatever else may be of interest and worth knowing. My intention is to help, in whatever small way I can, furthering knowledge of the actual Second Vatican Council, as opposed to what so many people think it was and said.
I’m in for the long haul, that much is certain. The anniversary of the Council’s first session won’t be until the end of next year, for example. But good things deserve the time doing them.
As for now, light a candle for Good Pope John this blessed Christmas, and stay safe.