Would you believe it is now 50 years since the great Ecumenical Council of the Church called Vatican 2 opened on the 11th October 1962? The elderly John XXIII had been Pope for merely 90 days, when in January 1959 he made the first and completely unexpected announcement of his plan to convoke the Church’s 21st Ecumenical Council, and the first since Vatican 1(1869-1870). After 4 years of exhaustive preparation, on October 11th 1962 the Council finally opened. All the Bishops of the world were invited to participate, which they did accompanied by their theological advisers. In the opening address, the 80 year old Pope John XXIII gently chided the prophets of doom within the Church, and spoke of the world’s need for the medicine of mercy. The Council sessions lasted until 1965 after which 16 documents were published.
It is believed that the Council’s master and pivotal document was on the nature of the Church. It presents a panoramic and richly biblical view of the Church as the People of God. Another very important document was entitled ‘The Church in the Modern World’ which focused its’ attention on the whole human family, and the realities in the midst of which the family lives.
It was the dream of the Council that its’ vision would be implemented. When the ‘Association of Catholic Priests’ was formed in 2010, its’ aim was to bring about the reforms contained in the Vatican 2 documents. At present, this is being done by organising ‘Assemblies’ where the urgent issues facing Church and Society can be discussed, teased out and a way forward proposed. The first of these was held in May 2012i the Regency Hotel in Dublin where over a thousand people attended. Along with input from priests, many lay-people, both women and men gave input. A follow-up ‘Assembly’ has now been organised, this time in Cork city. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together all those who are committed to change, renewal, and reform in the southern dioceses. Real dialogue, talking and listening to one another will be the first step towards a new model of the Irish Catholic Church.
The event will have speakers outlining the current reality and will share a vision for the future. There will be plenty of opportunities for contributionsfrom the floor. The dream is that we find some way in which we can move forward together.
The day will begin at 10am and last not later than 4pm. The date is Saturday 13th October in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork City (Phone 021-4297000). The hotel is situated near the Little Island on the east side of the city. Admission is free, but lunch is not included. All are welcome to attend and contributed their insights- the wary, the unconvinced and the convinced!! For the hotel’s convenience it is necessary to register if attending at www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie The hope is that in coming together in the spirit of faith and trust we can begin the process of renewal which is so urgently needed. If anyone needs clarification on any point please contact any one of the following. We hope to see you there.
Matt Purcell (0504-44013)
Mary Maher (0504-22541)
Pat Russell (0504-26466)
Joe Putti (0504-34994)