Vatican II

Movement of the Holy Spirit

The movement of God’s Holy Spirit was seen in the External factors that lead up to the Council.

Topic Information Signs of the Holy Spirit
World Wars- New horrors During the years of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, the world was involved in the greatest wars human history had ever seen. Over 10 million men were killed in WW1 and over 60 million soldiers and civilians were killed during WW2.  Countries were devastated and millions were left homeless. Many new weapons were introduced: tanks, machine guns, aerial warfare, submarines and chemical weapons. The world had never seen such widespread devastation and monstrous loss of life. The determination not to sink to such depths again. The Knowledge that we share a human dignity.
The Holocaust Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), the totalitarian dictator of Germany, hated the Jews and actively persecuted them in Germany when he became the leader. He sanctioned the widespread killing of Jewish People – the Final Solution – through extermination mainly through the gas chambers of his Death Camps. Over 6 million Jews were victims of the holocaust under Hitler’s regime. A Call To Reverence Every Human Life
Nuclear War In August 1945, the United States of America dropped 2 atomic bombs upon the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The aim was to accelerate the end of the Pacific war. These bombs killed, almost instantly, over 80,000 people in each city. Thousands more suffered from the radiation burns and related illnesses for years afterwards. The world had never seen such a devastating weapon of mass destruction. A real fear emerged from this recognition of a nuclear threat. When the Soviet Union began to manufacture nuclear weapons these super-powers fostered the Cold War.     Courage To Address A Real Danger Of Annihilation
Immigration and Emigration After the Second World War millions of people desired to seek a new life far removed from war devastated Europe. This began the largest migration movement the world had seen as people voyaged to Australia, Canada, South America and the United States. This influx brought immense changes to these countries as they sought to assimilate the large number of immigrants. It also modified somewhat the identify and character of each country.   Right Judgement about people, family and personal issues.
Independence Movements Large sections of Africa and Asia had been part of the European Imperial Empires of Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal, up to the time of World War 2. From the 1940s many of these countries began measures to actively seek and eventually gain their independence and self-government. (India – 1947, Kenya – 1963, Malaysia – 1957, Sudan – 1956, Tanzania – 1961, Myanmar – 1948). The people of these countries could now craft their own identity and celebrate their culture with less European themes and connections.   Right Judgment about the future of nations.
Communication Since the 1920’s film and radio had become an important part of people’s lives. By the 1950’s nearly every family in the developed world had a radio in their home. During the 1930s television sets were being developed, and in the 1950s they began to be a feature in modern homes. These new forms of communications meant that news could be immediately shared. The death of a President, scientific discovery or the venture beyond the earth’s atmosphere became a nightly news event. People became more aware of the world beyond their town or city.     Wisdom of God seen in the sharing of, and the right to, information.
United Nations After World War 2 there was an urgent aspiration to prevent such a massively destructive conflict occurring again. In 1945 delegates from the world’s countries met and began to form the United Nations: a representative body of all countries that would convene regularly and strive towards peaceful resolutions of disagreement. The first meeting was held in October 1948. This body outlined its general principles for collaboration and dialogue: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   The Wisdom Of God
Air Travel With the increased use of aeroplanes during World War 2 this form of travel greatly developed after the war. People could easily and quickly move across the world expanding economic, academic and political contacts. The world became a smaller place and access to distant regions increased.     Wonder And Awe At Human Endeavours.
Communism Communism was spreading across the world, especially after the Second World War. The Soviet Union (Russia) controlled many countries in Eastern Europe; China had also become a Communist country. This political ideology rejected democratic principles and threatened many countries. As an atheistic political philosophy the Communist movement rejected some religious beliefs and persecuted people who practiced a religion.   Understanding And Right Judgement
Cold War The ‘Cold War’ was the tense and hostile relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States of America between the end of World War II and the demise of the Soviet Union (1988-1991). It was a period of estrangement and ‘standoff’ given that great nations had the nuclear capability to destroy each other several times over.   Other countries became embroiled in this ‘Cold War.’ The Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962), just days before the Council opened, highlighted how perilous was the silent stand off between these nations.   Courage and Understanding

The movement of God’s Holy Spirit was seen in the Internal factors that lead up to the Council.

Topic Information Signs of the Holy Spirit
Scripture In the 19th Century scripture specialists were beginning to search for a richer understanding of the Bible through some new scholarly approaches: Textual criticism explored the original wording of the scriptures; historical criticism studied the date, context and intention of each book; form criticism analyzed the styles of biblical speech and writing.   These studies challenged a merely literal interpretation of the scriptures (literalism or fundamentalism). Initially, the Church was cautious of this ‘Modernist’ approach towards scripture but in 1943, Pius XII recognized and affirmed this scholarship in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu.     Understanding
Liturgy The lead up to the Second Vatican Council was marked by a growing Liturgical Movement: the scholarly study of the liturgy and its pastoral development. It encouraged members of the Church to celebrate actively in Catholic worship.   From 1905, there began some slight changes to the celebration of the Latin Liturgy:  -the laity were encouraged to receive the Eucharist more regularly- not merely twice a year.  -the selection of music played during liturgical celebrations marked a return to Gregorian chant and polyphony and a rejection of elaborate concert pieces.  -in the 1950s, the Easter liturgies were simplified somewhat; some prayers were reduced and the Vigil was restored to the Saturday evening, no longer a morning. – the practice of dialogue mass in Latin was spreading, i.e., people made the responses in Latin   Wonder and Awe
Ecumenism At the Council of Trent, the Church had tried, and failed, to bring the Protestant Churches back to unity with the Catholic Church.   At the beginning of the 20th Century both Catholic Protestant theologians were discussing the separation of the churches.   Ecumenism was a worldwide movement among orthodox and protestant Christians seeking to work together to accept Jesus as Lord and savior. This undertaking, prompted by the Holy Spirit, planned to eliminate barriers and strive towards unity through prayer, dialogue and other initiatives.   This Ecumenical movement was a new and welcome development within the Catholic Church. Saint John XXIII guided the church to accept the E or cumenical movement. Right Judgement
Relations with the Jews For centuries there had been a certain antipathy between Catholics and Jews, mostly based on prejudice and ignorance. Jews in many countries and at different times across the centuries were isolated, persecuted and blamed for the death of Jesus.   Historical and scriptural study revealed that ‘some’ Jewish officials plotted against Jesus, not the entire religious leadership.   The term ‘holocaust’-something completely burnt up, though originally referring to an Old Testament sacrifice, was applied, after the Second World War, to the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis. This event is also known as the Shoah, Hebrew for catastrophe or calamity.    Encouraged by the work of Cardinal Augustine Bea (1881-1968) and St John XXIII (pope 1958-1963) the Second Vatican Council addressed the common religious heritage that binds Jews and Christians together.   Courage
The Active Laity In the twentieth century the laity were becoming more active within the Catholic Church. Youth movements emerged like the Young Christian Worker and social movements like Catholic Action.   These movement’s fostered scripture study, an active participation within the liturgy and engagement in local political and social issues.   Knowledge

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