2.48 What was the Second Vatican Council?
The Second Vatican Council was a series of meetings of bishops from all over the world, held between 1962 and 1965. Together with the pope, they particularly studied the relationship between the Church and society. The overall aim was to respond to modern developments.
The Church actively sought new ways to explain the truth of the faith to the contemporary world. The truth itself does not change, but the way we speak about it does change in every era. Specific topics included economics, politics and the relationship between the Catholic Church and other churches, Christian communities and religions.
On the threshold of the third millennium Blessed John Paul II wrote: “I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the 20th century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning”. I think this is an eloquent image. The Second Vatican Council Documents, to which we must return, freeing them from a mass of publications which instead of making them known have often concealed them, are a compass in our time too that permits the Barque of the Church to put out into the deep in the midst of storms or on calm and peaceful waves, to sail safely and to reach her destination. [Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 10 Oct. 2012]