‘Men, women and schools of thought have reformed and/or revitalised the Christian tradition.’ How well does this statement reflect the impact on Christianity of ONE significant person or school of thought, other than Jesus? Pope John XXIII was a highly influential, religious leader in the Catholic Church, whom was elected Pope on 28th October 1958. Although he was thought to be a transitional pope, John XXIII was often addressed as the ‘good pope’ due to his significant involvement in Catholicism. He challenged the role of the Catholic Church and emphasised the importance of interfaith dialogue. John XXIII’s most significant impact is the creation of the Second Vatican Council, which taught the Catholic Church to “open the windows” to engage with the modern world. Pope John XXIII was also passionate in promoting social justice, world peace and human rights. The statement clearly defines the impact John XXIII contributed to, as he reformed and revitalised the Christian tradition to adapt to the modern world of the 1960s, as well the ecumenism of all Christian denominations.
Before the opening of Vatican II on 11 October 1962, the Church was separated from the secular world, as it was considered that everything not within Christianity was corrupt. Even so, sectarianism between different Christian denominations was very strong. Mass had also been spoken in Latin since 1570, and the laity were not supposed to read the Bible, and were merely observers to the liturgy, as all the ministries were done by the clergy.1 Since 1870, no Pope had an official engagement outside the Vatican, and mostly focused within the Catholic Church, however John XXIII changed this concept completely. He worked to reform the Catholic Church by calling the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Vatican II was the first council of any sort in over 100 years, and in its course, over 2500 bishops attended the four sessions convened. Vatican II was considered “an engagement with the modern world...
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