"Christ is the light of the nations." So are the first words in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium. As I have been rereading the Vatican II documents in preparation for the 50th Anniversary of the Council I have been again surprised by their beauty and readability. The Bishops, and those that wrote and re-wrote Lumen Gentium, did a wonderful job of describing the Church (people of God) and its hierarchy. I would bet that many fans of Vat II have not read this very important Constitution. I would exhort all Catholics to read (at least) the four Constitutions that the Council Fathers approved.
In the First Vatican Council, the infallibility of the Pope was a big topic but that Council ended early due to the Franco-Prussian War. The Second Vatican Council takes up that issue once again and expounds upon it. While Lumen Gentium affirms everything that was said at Vatican I about the Pope's decision making power it also includes the notion of collegiality, saying that the best pronouncements in the Church come from the Pope and Bishops working together. Lumen Gentium also has an entire chapter describing the role of the Laity - something no other council in the Church's history attempted.
So here are some questions:
- Did you know that Vatican II affirms the doctrine of papal infallibility?
- What do you know about "religious assent" and "full submission"? What is the difference and what does it mean for Catholics?
- Do you know what the Council says about the role of the laity in the Church?
- Were you aware that the Council (in Lumen Gentium) opened the door for the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate?
Please let me know what questions you have about the Second Vatican Council in the comment section.