Fifty years ago on 8 December Vatican II ended. As Pope John XXIII began the council with his famous Moon speech, Paul VI ended it with a bunch of messages to all types of people Council Fathers, Rulers, Men of Thought and Science, Artists, Women, Poor, sick and Suffering, Workers and The Youth.
To the Council Father: Paul reminded that they have been working for all these people over the past four years. These Constitutions that they came up with are for all people these can be seen in Gaudium et spes.
To the Rulers of the World: The Council recognized their office but said that God is the source of their office. Paul also tasked them to be promoters of order and peace among all people.
To those of Science and Thought: The Council says that they are seekers of truth and that the church is a companion on the path with the scientists. May they seek the light of tomorrow with the light of today until they reach the fullness of light
To Artists: The Council addresses this to all types of artist (poets and writers, painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, those devoted to the theater and the cinema) saying that if you are friends of genuine art, you are our friends. The church asks for artists to not turn their back on the Church and not be open to the Spirit since the world needs beauty in order not to sink into despair.
To Women: The Council speaks of the Vocation of women, saying that with the World changing so much it is important for women to have a role is it as they are able to bring the humanity out of the inhuman (technology) and stay the hands of men as we grow ever closer to the destruction of the world.
To the Poor and Sick: The Council says that they are not alone and are the preferred members of the kingdom.
To the Workers: The Council acknowledges that they have played a role in the changing of the world and the Church need workers to come back and trust as well as understand them.
Finally To the Youth: The Church looks towards them with Confidence and love as the Church knows that it is the Youth which will be the future. The Church is anxious that the youth try to build up a society which respect the dignity, the liberty and the rights of individuals.
How have the fifty year been? Well under the guidance of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis we have gotten to where we are today. John Paul II helped begin the interpretation, Benedict XVI anchored it in the tradition of the Church and Francis has brought the message to the heart and out to all people. Vatican II, brought the church into the modern world, It was the opening of a window to let in a breeze, this freshened up the Church a bit but over time some people have been critical of the Spirit of Vatican II by saying that it is a distinct break with the tradition as so much of what have come from have been a sort of forgotten. Some could say that it’s like a Protestantization of the Church at least that’s what I would call it as an American. However from the looks of it Pope Francis has been making some moves but it’s really to soon to say what impact Francis has had.