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Vatican Two Fifty Years on Lectures

Vatican Two Fifty Years on Lectures

Vatican two- Fifty years on



The Adult education department of Clifton diocese has started a course of lectures on the second Vatican council known as Vatican 2. The lectures are still ongoing and if you check with the diocesan website you will see that there is another one scheduled for May 15th 2012. So it is still not too late to go along and hear and reflect upon the heritage that this famous church council produced. I have been along to three of them so far and they are of the highest quality and there is always an opportunity for questions at the end of each session. Those attending the lectures are from all around the diocese and there are indeed people from our own parish besides myself who have been attending. Indeed, you may also recognise or even know the master of ceremonies, it is our own Father Chris1 I am sure he would be glad to see you and you will be made most welcome.

Many people will not realise the changes that Vatican Two made to the church as it is the only way they have understood the church. However, each part of the churches life and mission was scrutinised and discussed with some great departures from the way things had been before. The most obvious one for those who remember is the change of mass from Latin to the vernacular, so that everyone could understand and participate in the celebration of the mass.

Indeed, October 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican Two), the 21st such General Council of the Catholic Church. This Council (1962—65) is widely regarded as the most significant event for the Catholic Church since the Reformation in the 16th century. Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council to update the Church and restore the unity of all Christians. He did not want to change the essential beliefs of the Catholic Church, but new ways of expressing the faith, such as in the liturgy, and communicating its teaching to the modern world. He believed his action in calling a Council was a consequence of a prompting of the Holy Spirit and, as the Council progressed, many of the participating bishops genuinely sensed the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that they thought of the Council event as a New Pentecost. Pope Benedict XVI, a young theological consultant at the Council, has spoken of the Council in recent times as one of reform and renewal within the continuity of two thousand years of Catholic Tradition.

The first session was launched by Bishop Declan who talked upon the Church being drawn deeper into its relationship with God. Then we had Father James Harvey SJ on ‘for the life of the world Vatican Two and the mission of the Church today’. This was followed by Father Timothy Menezes who spoke on ‘a vision for a living liturgy- past, present and future’.

The last session I attended was given by Professor Paul Murray of Durham University on the section of Vatican Two that looked at ecumenism, and the way in which the church encouraged us to engage in dialogue with other Christians, this was most enjoyable and presented by such an expert in this field. The lecture in May is a follow on from this in the way in which the church engages with those of other faiths like the Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and the  followers of Islam etc which is a highly relevant topic in the context of the multi faith and multi- cultural society in which we now live. So do come along, there is still time to look back upon the legacy that is Vatican Two.


Bernard Price  


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