Pope marks sixtieth anniversary of Second Vatican Council

ROME — Pope Francis is commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the landmark conferences that introduced the two,000-year-old Catholic Church into the trendy period, amid continued disagreement about what the council taught that divides the devoted as we speak.

Francis is celebrating a Mass on Tuesday in honor of St. John XXIII, who convened the council and presided over its opening periods. Tuesday’s commemoration opens with a studying of John’s inaugural speech and ends with a re-enactment of the candle-lit procession that lit up St. Peter’s Sq. on the night time of Oct. 11, 1962.

On that night time, the “good pope” got here to the window of the Apostolic Palace and delivered his well-known “moonlight speech” to the hundreds of people that had gathered beneath. Whereas pre-Vatican II popes normally spoke in formal phrases, John shocked the gang with an impromptu, pastoral speech urging the devoted to go residence to their kids and provides them a hug and inform them “that is the caress of the pope.”

The council would final for an additional three years and outlive John, who died in 1963 of abdomen most cancers. However when it was over, council fathers had agreed to main modifications within the lifetime of the church, similar to permitting Mass to be celebrated in native languages slightly than Latin and strengthening the function of laity within the on a regular basis lifetime of the church. The council additionally inspired efforts to enhance relations amongst Christians and revolutionized the church’s relations with Jews, together with the step to take away the phrase “perfidious Jews” from the liturgy.

Francis, 85, is the primary pope to have been ordained after the council, and his priorities are very a lot impressed by it.

“Above all peace, above all of the poor church,” stated Vatican II historian Alberto Melloni. In a phone interview, Melloni additionally pointed to Francis’ insistence on a “synodal” or decentralized church, with an emphasis on laity. The latter is clearly evident in his choice to permit laypeople, together with ladies, to move Vatican places of work and within the the two-year “synod” course of during which peculiar Catholic devoted have contributed their ideas on the life and mission of the church.

However Vatican II nonetheless very a lot divides the church, with progressives seeing it as a break from the previous and conservatives seeing it as absolutely in keeping with church custom and chafing on the “spirit of Vatican II” progressive learn of it. Francis has in some methods exacerbated these divisions by re-imposing restrictions on the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.

“John XXIII didn’t convoke Vatican II to reinvent Catholicism,” writes church historian George Weigel in his new ebook “To Sanctify the World: The Very important Legacy of Vatican II.”

“As he put it in his opening handle, the council’s ‘biggest concern’ have to be the more practical presentation of Catholic fact in full” by a brand new language and vocabulary that could possibly be understood within the trendy world, Weigel wrote in excerpts just lately revealed within the Wall Road Journal.

Vatican II coincided with the Cuban Missile Disaster, when america and Russia got here as shut as they ever needed to nuclear battle. Waiting for Tuesday’s anniversary of Vatican II, Francis famous over the weekend that Russia is threatening to make use of its nuclear arsenal in its battle in Ukraine.

“Why can’t we be taught from historical past?” Francis requested. “Even in these occasions, there was grave battle and tensions, however they selected the trail of peace.”

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