Articles on Vatican II - Fifty years Later
One consequence of the Second Vatican Council was that it seemed to make everybody busier. More people became involved in more ministries, and the number of meetings exploded. Where the Church had previously been disengaged from the issues of contemporary society, it now seemed to have an opinion about everything.
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The Second Vatican Council, at least in the Western world, was followed by decades of dissension from authoritative Catholic teaching, a phenomena that did much to weaken the Church's evangelizing mission.
Last week's article focused on bishops as members of a sacred college, a college that has responsibility for the governance of the whole Church and its evangelizing mission throughout the world.
The third chapter of Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, was the most controversial section of any document produced by the Second Vatican Council.
If you have been following these articles on Vatican II's Constitution on the Church, you will likely have realized that the core message of the document is that God's plan of salvation is to offer eternal life to humanity through his Church.
When the bishops at the Second Vatican Council were presented with a second draft of the Constitution on the Church that referred to “the priesthood of all believers,” one cardinal spoke up to say the document should clarify that this priesthood is not priesthood “in the true and proper sense.”
One of the most unique – and most misinterpreted – emphases to come out of the Second Vatican Council was that on the People of God.
Where is the Church of God to be found? If the Church that brings salvation is a mystery, can it actually be found in the world, is it an invisible entity or is it simply a pious hope?
At its very heart, the Church is not a structure, but a mystery. The Church is not of human origin, but rather originates within the Holy Trinity.
The widespread understanding of the nature of the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council was that of a juridical body with a pyramidal structure that was external to the lives of baptized believers.