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CNS special section
Vatican II at 40: Legacy and Hope

Bishops line the main aisle of St. Peterís Basilica during one of four sessions held between 1962 and 1965. (CNS/Catholic Press Photo)

Council's transformation of church continues to reverberate
Forty years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, the deep transformation it set in motion continues to reverberate through the church at every level.

Experts recall historic sessions
Three current U.S. bishops and a noted church historian remember their roles as scholarly experts appointed to assist the council's deliberations.

Paul VI saw council through its end

When Pope John XXIII died, the council had barely begun, but his successor reaffirmed the goal of church renewal.

Benedict XVI to shape implementation
Once a young adviser to a German cardinal at the council, Pope Benedict XVI in many ways embodies the full spectrum of the Vatican II experience.

  • Big changes for interfaith weddings
  • Parish minister is often lay -- and a woman
  • Liturgical changes go beyond pews
  • Religious education not what it used to be
  • Conveying historic event is challenge for teachers
  • Vatican II modernizes church-state ties
  • Collegiality: Debate continues today
  • Complete list of council documents
  • What is an ecumenical council?

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