A fortnightly report of developments in religion

Who?

Some 2,600 members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy who will be voting, plus observers, consultants, and an assortment of other onlookers.

What?

The Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church.

When?

Beginning Thursday morning, October 11, and continuing through December 8; reconvening after Easter, 1963, and continuing into the month of June.

Where?

In Rome, Italy, with plenary sessions to be held at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Why?

For the announced purpose of bringing about limited internal reform whereby Roman Catholicism may become more relevant to the times and therefore more attractive to those outside the church.

How?

Through parliamentary assembly over which Pope John XXIII has veto power.

The Second Vatican Council, perhaps the most vastly organized and certainly one of the most significant conclaves in church history, opens in Rome October 11.

On that day some 3,000 members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy will march into the architecturally awesome St. Peter’s Basilica, largest church building in the world, to begin what they consider to be their twenty-first ecumenical council. They will be responding to the call of Pope John XXIII, who selected October 11—“the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”—because of its association with the third General Council at Ephesus in 431 when the doctrine of Mary’s divine maternity was upheld.

The first day will doubtless be marked by pomp and ceremony such as only the Roman penchant for spectacle can produce. What will happen thereafter remains a big question up to the eve of the council. Whatever develops, controversy seems an inevitable aftermath, and the ultimate impact is beyond measure. To the 550,000,000 on Roman Catholic ...

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