The First Vatican Council
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Summary: It was the twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, and one of the most important events in her historical development since the Council of Trent, held three centuries before.
 
 

The First Vatican Council was convened in 1869 by Pope Pius IX and ended in 1870. It was planned in utmost secrecy for about four years. Pius IX had commissioned the cardinals resident in Rome to render him their opinions as to the advisability of a council—the majority pronounced in favor of it, and dissident voices were rare.

The purpose of this Council was to deal with the contemporary problems of the rising influence of rationalism, liberalism, materialism and inspiration of Scripture. Besides these purposes it was also setting out to define the Catholic doctrine, and explore the dogma of papal infallibility.

Even though in 1854 this doctrine of papal infallibility had been used to define the Immaculate Conception of Mary as dogma, the proposal to define papal infallibility itself as dogma met with resistance. The reason for this was not because of a lack of belief in this idea, but because some considered it inopportune to take that step at that time.

For all practical purposes, the working sessions of the Council ceased on July 18, 1870, the day on which Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility. In the seven months between December and July, some 700 Catholic priests met in 86 general congregations and four public sessions to discuss the aforementioned topics.

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On April 24, 1870, the dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith Dei Filius was adopted unanimously. Also, a group of 35 English-speaking bishops succeeded in amending the opening phrase of the first chapter to include reference to Apostolic roots. On July 13, 1870, the section of infallibility was voted on, and on July 18, 1870, the vote was finalized in favor of this document, Pastor Aeternus.

The dogmatic constitution states that the Pope has “full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church,” and that when he “speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals” (Chapters 3:9 and 4:9).

Discussion of the rest of the document on the nature of the Church was to continue when the bishops returned after a summer break, however, the Franco-Prussian War put a halt to these plans. The swift German advance and the capture of Emperor Napoleon III disabled France from being able to protect the Pope’s rule in Rome.

On September 20, 1870, the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome and annexed it. One month later on October 20, Pope Pius IX suspended the Council indefinitely. It was never reconvened and formally closed in 1960 prior to the Second Vatican Council.

 


 

1. Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963. The main aim was to achieve greater lay participation in the Catholic Church's liturgy

2. The Inter Mirifica Decree included pastoral directives to use media as a witness, included church policy on media, overturning previous Church position about liberty of the press( (oppressing it because some media was poisonous to the public), but it was not completely overturned because of pope Benedict XVI who accused mass media of producing “poison”), and influencing social communications and later documents pertaining to other decrees about the variety of freedom allocated to it.

3. A representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model

4. One of the most important interventions in Vatican II, made before the assembly of more than 3,000 Bishops, was that of Card. Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne. In it, he strongly criticized the methods of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, renamed after Vatican II as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Card. Frings' intervention received a standing ovation by the majority of the assembly, primed to give this response.

5. Unitatis Redintegratio is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism. It was passed by a vote of 2,137 to 11 of the bishops assembled and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964. The title in Latin means "Restoration of Unity" and is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with major Catholic documents.It contained views on policy revisions, problems of reformation communities, and problems of separated brethren.

6. The decree recognizes the right of Eastern Catholics to keep their own distinct liturgical practices. It also exhorts Eastern Catholics to "take steps to return to their ancestral traditions." This aspect of the decree was directed against Latinisation.

7. One of the principle documents of the Second Vatican Council. It includes the following information; Ecclesiology, People of God, Collegiality, Priesthood of the faithful, Universal call to Holiness, Mariology, Issues surrounding the document, Conservative reaction.

8. The abstinence from food and drink for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. Originally this meant complete abstinence even from water and medicine from midnight. Only those receiving viaticum were dispensed from this law. Pope Pius XII in 1953 reduced the fast to complete abstinence from solid food but permission for liquids (except alcohol) up to one hour before Communion. Pope Paul VI in 1964 further reduced the precept to complete abstinence up to one full hour before actually receiving Communion, but allowing water and medicine to be taken any time up to reception of the sacrament. In 1973 the Holy See further reduced the fast to fifteen minutes before Communion for the sick and advanced in age, and for those attending them if the hour's fast would be too difficult.

9. The decree established that all persons have a fundamental right to religious liberty, that the state has a responsibility to uphold this, and that the declaration has its roots in divine revelation, therefore Christians are called to an even more conscientious respect for religious freedom. The key issue was not religious freedom itself: almost all parties in the various arguments supported some kind of religious tolerance. The dispute was over the traditional understanding of the relationship of the Catholic Church to secular states and how it supported relations with “confessional” states such as Spain and Italy. The declaration presented a view that fully supported the model of the Church in the United States and the UK, while allowing for confessional states, and freely stated that it was based on development of doctrine from recent popes. Doctrinal development went from being somewhat suspect to a bedrock theological concept with Vatican II.

10. Gaudium et Spes, Ad Gentes, and Presbyterorum Ordinis

11. The title means "The Importance of Education" in Latin and includes dictation on the following: The meaning and right to and Education, Christian education, The authors of education, Various aids to Christian education, The importance of schools, The duties and rights of parents, Moral and religious education in all schools, Catholic schools, Different types of Catholic schools, Catholic colleges and universities, faculties of Sacred sciences, Coordination to be fostered in scholastic matters.

12. Pope Paul VI (1965-10-28). Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-christian religions - Nostra Aetate. Holy See.. retrieved 10/06/2013

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