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The Vatican II Council



Announced by Pope John XXIII in 1959, only a few months after his election in 1958, the Vatican II Ecumenical Council  opened on 11 October 1962 in St Peter’s, with an evening torchlight procession in the piazza and the memorable speech made by John XXIII, full of faith and of love of others (he sent a kiss to all children). 

Meanwhile the Encyclical Mater et Magistra had been published, while Pacem in Terris was published after the close of the first session and only a few weeks before the death of John XXIII.

The second session was inaugurated by Paul VI in 1963. Concerning the importance and meaning of this second session  La Pira wrote one of his most important letters  .

The third session took place in 1963, and the Council was solemnly closed in 1964.

The documents of the Council are:


Four  Constitutions:

Sacrosanctum Concilium (on the sacred liturgy)

Lumen Gentium (on the Church)

Dei Verbum (on the Revelation)

 Gaudium et Spes (on the Church and the modern world)

Three Declarations

Gravissimum Educationis (on Christian education)

 Nostra Aetate (on relationships with non-Christians)

 Dignitatis Humanae (on freedom of religion)

Nine Decrees

Inter Mirifica, 

Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 

Unitatis Redintegratio, 

Christus Dominus, 

Perfectae Caritatis, 

Optatam Totius, 

Apostolicam Actuositatem, 

Ad Gentes, 

Presbiterorum Ordinis.

For further information on La Pira and the Council  click here