Historiography of Early Christianity

Topics: Pope John Paul II, Catholic Church, Christianity Pages: 5 (1785 words) Published: November 6, 2012
Christianity is one of the oldest living religions and still remains the largest religious tradition. There have been many significant figures in history that influenced Christianity as a whole, Pope John XXIII for example who instigated Vatican II. Christianity is a living tradition as it seeks to influence every day adherents in their every day lives. Christianity consists of different denominations (Greek Orthodox, Catholic, High Anglican). However, all Christian denominations share a common gospel value -the belief in Jesus, this is what brings various Christian churches together and this unity is known as ecumenism. Pope John XXIII reintroduced ecumenism and it was very successful, due to the effects it had on Christianity and its adherents.

Pope John XXIII made some changes within the Catholic Church. Pope John XXIII removed the three ills of the church (Triumphalism- belief that the Catholic Church alone held the truth, Clericalism- The emphasis on clergy and exclusion of laity and Jurisdiction- legalism to the detriment of people), This was a very effective way of getting the laity involved in the church (esp. the youth) as the laity become active within the Church, lay people could take part in some sacred rituals of the church (alter server) and help distribute the Holy Eucharist. As for clergy, their job is to guide, nurture, and guard the laity, the clergy “is the shepherd of the flock”. As a result of these three Ills being removed, Christian adherents saw Catholicism as a denomination open to dialogue and a lot more welcoming than it was before.

The Liturgy had emphasis on sacredness of liturgy as a means of salvation. It had care in keeping liturgy uniform and Latin was used throughout world masses with priests performing and laity observing. During Post Vatican it changed, the liturgy was known as a celebration, vernacular languages were introduced to masses and everyone would participate, allowing diverse ministries. Hence, the adherents can understand the liturgy since it is now in their own language and practice the moral of the liturgy in their daily lives. As a result Catholic’s could reach out to other Christians spreading the message of God, and ensure that Christianity was a living religion not just one that was observed.

Along side the changes, Pope John XXIII's significant was ecumenism which directly involved all Christian adherents. Pre-Vatican II had told adherents that the Church is the true church of Jesus- no toleration of error. Also, Catholics were barred from reading works written by protestant reformers. Post Vatican II, encouraged ecumenical spirit; freedom of inquiry, joint study groups/prayer services, common edition of the Bible, respect for dignity of others. This allows all of the Christian adherents to unite and set aside different Christian denominational differences. The Bible Emphasis unity in Psalm 133:1“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”. Christianity benefited immensely form such a move because open dialogue took place between various denominations drawing them together instead of keeping up barriers. At this stage Christianity seemed to the world a living religion.

Pope John XXIII was involved in many world affairs, this had affected Christianity not just Catholicism because for the first time a Pope was outside of his office and focused on modern world affairs. During the Cuban missile crisis (1962) Pope John managed to ease the tension between the Kennedy administration and the Khrushchev regime. He broke the tradition of the pope as "prisoner of the Vatican" by travelling outside Rome. Perhaps most important of all, he showed trust in contemporaries: It was clear his concern was for the world and all humankind rather than solely for the Church.

On Christmas Day, Pope John XXIII made the first visit outside the Vatican since his illness, to the Bambino Gesu Hospital for children. There he spent 40 minutes walking from...
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