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Second Vatican Council

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Second Vatican Council

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The intervening period between the first and second Vatican Council was a time for both social and religious revolution. After World War Two, the new medium of television bought the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Liberation debate and many other social and political issues into the lounge rooms of millions of people every night, sparking debate and fanning the flames of change. The Christian world did not escape this mood of change and in an unprecedented response, the Second Vatican Council was held. Between the time of the First Vatican Council and the Second Vatican Council the church was very conservative, traditional and remained virtually unchanged. The First Vatican Council addressed issues like rationalism and liberalism, and attempted to keep them separate from Catholicism. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2012) However, in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, concepts such as liberalism, communism, secularism, humanism, ecumenism and equality were all hot button issues that were affecting both the secular and religious world. Pope John felt that the First Vatican Council failed to address the pastoral aspects of the faith, so the Church decided to re-evaluate its practices and try to modernize the Catholic tradition by incorporating aspects of these ideologies into Catholicism. (Voice of Vatican 2, 2012) These religious paradigm shifts still influence our world today to a significant extent as topics discussed during the Council such as ecumenism, secularism, liberalism and equality continue to evolve within the Church today.

Vatican 2 was destined to be a radical shift from the conservative spirit which had overcome the First Vatican Council, and the general consensus was that the time was right for a review of the Churches practices. (González, Justo L. The Story of Christianity. Vol. 2, 1985) While the initial catalyst of the council was Pope John XXIII, many external changes in the secular world played a significant role in assembling the council. Since...