Vatican II changed
the way the Catholic Church was viewed throughout the world. The nature of the church itself changed when
it became not just the house of God but a “light for the world and the source
of salvation.”? This council of over 2000 bishops who met in Rome from 1962 to
1965 created 16 documents that changed the way the church was run and how
Americans worshiped within the church.
The end result of this project is to outline the top ten ways in which
the Catholic Church in the United States was changed by Vatican two.
what ways did the American Catholic Church change after Vatican two and how did
that transform the way that Americans worshiped?
this paper I hope to outline the ways in which the church changed after Vatican
two and how the American people embraced or denied the new ways it operated. The full and active participation in the
Mass, the focus not on the world but on family, the relationships with other
world religions, all changed. The structure of the church and the focus of the
worshipers had to shift dramatically and
it challenged the way in which normal people participated in their religion. Prior to this the church was a stronghold
that was focused on its own stability and well being, only engaging with the outside
world when proselytizing. With Vatican
two the church opened up and allowed church goers to pray with other religions
and listen to Mass in their native tongue.
While many embraced the change and celebrated the Church’s entry into
modern times, countless laity rejected the ideas and longed for the more
traditional church they grew up in.
Background and Theory
two is considered the most important change in the Catholic Church in recent
years because it altered the way that Catholics interacted with the world and
other religions. Everyday people began
to read scriptures at mass, priests turned to face the congregants, modern
instruments accompanied the liturgy. Most importantly the church began to talk
with government and scientific leaders of the time who were in the middle of
the space race.
In 1965 48.5 Million people in
the United States were reported to be catholic with over three million children
enrolled in Catholic schools. There were
over 58,000 priests in the United States at that time, and 55% of Catholic parishioners
attended Mass every week. Over 16.9 million people were served by Catholic hospitals
in 1965. Thus, the extent to which
Vatican two reached and affected people’s lives was massive.
Within the US the
reform was embraced in different ways.
California, while always being a more liberal state, did not embrace the
new ordinary mass with the same vigor as other states did. Yet, parishioners were
encouraged to embrace the social issues of the time and help with causes of the
day like the United Farm Workers Union, Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement.