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Vatican II, the Catechism and the New Evangelization
On October 12, 1962, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, bore the headline “Chief Aim of the Council: To Defend and Promote Doctrine.” Indeed, the day before, Pope John XXIII delivered his long-anticipated address opening the Second Vatican Council. His words were uplifting and set a tone of openness to dialogue and appreciation for the benefits of progress. Vatican II, he said, was to be “predominantly pastoral in character” and focused on the Church relating effectively to the modern world, since “she must ever look to the present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world, which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate.” At the same time, the Council was to “to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral,” for “the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers.” The Holy Father charged the Council with transmitting the Church’s teachings in the language of God’s 20th Century flock. In 2012, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council and the 20th year of one of its spiritual offspring: the Catechism of the Catholic Church.