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Vatican II
Holy Spirit Interactive: Vatican II: A Walk-Through - The Final Session

Vatican II: A Walk-Through - The Final Session

The fourth and last session of the Council opened September 14th, 1965, and closed December 8th. By far the most active of the sessions, it issued two constitutions (divine revelation, modern problems of the Church), six decrees (duties of bishops, seminaries, life of religious, apostolate of the laity, priestly life, missions), and three declarations (the Church and non-Christian religions, Christian education, religious liberty).

The Council witnessed a dramatic demonstration of ecumenism on December 7th, when Pope Paul and the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I formally expressed their regret for the mutual excommunications pronounced by their predecessors. Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Cerularius, in 1054.

The documentary work of the Council, the fruit of laborious committee study, many preliminary versions, and countless revisions, is represented by sixteen final drafts, as follows:

Four Constitutions:

  • On the Sacred Liturgy (Dec. 4, 1963),
  • On the Church (Nov. 21, 1964),
  • Divine Revelation (Nov. 18th, 1965),
  • The Church in the Modern World (Dec. 7, 1965);

    Nine Decrees:

  • The Instruments of Social Communication (Dec. 4, 1963),
  • Ecumenism (Nov. 21, 1964),
  • The Eastern Catholic Churches (Nov. 21, 1964),
  • The Pastoral Duty of Bishops, (Oct. 18, 1965),
  • On the up-to-date Renewal of Religious Life (Oct. 28, 1965)
  • On Priestly Formation (Oct. 28, 1965),
  • On the Apostolate of the Laity (Nov. 18, 1965),
  • On the Ministry and the Priestly Life (Dec. 7, 1965),
  • On the Missionary Activity of the Church (Dec. 7, 1965),

    Three Declarations:

  • On the Relationship of the Church to non-Christian Religions (Oct 26,1965)
  • On Christian Education (Oct 28, 1965),
  • On Religious Freedom (Dec 7,1965).

    Concluded: Return to Index Page

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