Catholicism is in crisis. If exceptional measures are not taken, the Catholic Church will die. That was the deep personal belief of John XXIII when he was elected Pope in 1958. Two months later, he announced to the astonished cardinals who had just elected him that he was going to convene a great Council in Rome – Vatican II.
Taking another look at what Vatican II was and what its repercussions have been helps us to understand the crisis and the dilemmas facing the Catholic Church today. What was at stake at the time was the very vocation of the Church and its identity. A deep disconnection had grown between the Church and the times.
This is the extraordinary story of the pope who understood that his house was falling down but who, in his attempts to renovate it, triggered a battle that it may well not survive.
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