Denver, Colo., Oct 10, 2017 / 14:01 pm
Fifty-five years ago, on October 11, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII began the Second Vatican Council at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
The council was not called to resolve a dispute about doctrine or dogma. It was not called amidst controversy or division. Instead, Pope St. John XXIII said that the Holy Spirit inspired the Second Vatican Council to address one "major interest" in the midst of changing times and changing cultures: "that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with great efficacy."
Indeed, the Second Vatican Council did not change the teachings of the Church at all. It drew out and clarified truths embedded in the fabric of the Gospel. It offered Christian responses to new challenges. It sought new ways to express the meaning of Christ's Incarnation, and the meaning of our own lives.
As Pope St. John XXIII began the council, he reminded the Church that "the whole of history and of life hinges on the person of Jesus Christ. Either men anchor themselves on Him and His Church, and thus enjoy the blessings of light and joy, right order and peace; or they live their lives apart from Him; many positively oppose Him, and deliberately exclude themselves from the Church. The result can only be confusion in their lives, bitterness in their relations with one another, and the savage threat of war."