Today is exactly 50 years since Pope John XXIII opened Vatican II, the most important worldwide church council since the early church. The Council ushered in a ground-breaking process of continuous Pentecostal renewal.
Among the most important breakthroughs:
- The move towards a more authentic church as opposed to a pyramid structure
- Greater prominence given to the Bible as the Word Of God.
- An assertion of concern for the poor and for the suffering of the world.
- A realisation that the church is part of the world and should not be isolated from it.
- Greater involvement of lay people in all sorts of church ministries.
- Local churches are to be self-governing autonomous units.
- Vernacularisation – the use of local languages instead of Latin – would be promoted.
- An emphasis on ecumenism – reaching out to other Christians, those of other faiths and people of goodwill.
- A universal call to holiness in the priesthood of Christ involving lay people, priests, religious and bishops.
Some conservatives in the church have since tried to roll back these reforms, but the process of renewal has been set in motion and will continue.