Vatican II remains largely a mystery to many Catholics. Professor Alberto Melloni of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, a guest of Radio Veritas, gave a talk on a book he wrote, called “Who’s Afraid of Vatican ll” at St Theresa’s Church in Edenvale.
He explained that the Second Vatican Council, also known as Vatican II, was a gathering of 2 500 bishops, the largest gathering on earth of equals for the Catholic church.
It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on 8 December 1965. “It was called a disaster by some and people still say the church is trying to recover from it after 50 years,” he said.
The aim was to address relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Melloni said Vatican II can be interpreted as a new Council, one different from those of previous tradition. “Its novelty was represented by its being more an event than a forum for the elaboration and production of norms. It can be called a new Pentecost, more than a collection of documents,” he said. Many people still refer to it as a Holy Printer event, with hundreds of documents just being printed, said Melloni.
Vatican ll, however, made the Bishops think. They were expected to go to Rome and simply approve all that was said, and then go home, as was the norm of the day. “This was a realistic expectation, but it did not happen. The Bishops were forced to think and there was a lot of dissent with the minority strongly expressing their concerns,” he said, with 69 of the 70 documents presented, being rejected within two days. “Many think Vatican ll is too little, too late, but 50 years on, now is the precise point of its reception.”