Second Vatican Council facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum  (Latin)
Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg
Saint Peter's Basilica
Venue of the Second Vatican Council
Date 11 October 1962 (11 October 1962) – 8 December 1965 (8 December 1965)
Accepted by Catholic Church
Previous council
First Vatican Council (1869-1870)
Convoked by Pope John XXIII
President Pope John XXIII
Pope Paul VI
Attendance up to 2,625
Topics The Church in itself, its sole salvific role as the one, true and complete Christian faith, also in relation to ecumenism among other religions, in relation to the modern world, renewal of consecrated life, liturgical disciplines, etc.
Documents and statements

Four constitutions:

  • Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
  • Lumen gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)
  • Dei verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation)
  • Gaudium et spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

Three declarations:

  • Gravissimum educationis (Declaration on Christian Education)
  • Nostra aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions)
  • Dignitatis humanae (Declaration on Religious Freedom)

Nine decrees:

  • Inter mirifica (Decree on the Media of Social Communication)
  • Orientalium Ecclesiarum (Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite)
  • Unitatis redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism)
  • Christus Dominus (Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church)
  • Perfectae caritatis (Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life)
  • Optatam totius (Decree on Priestly Training)
  • Apostolicam actuositatem (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity)
  • Ad gentes (Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church)
  • Presbyterorum ordinis (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests)
Chronological list of ecumenical councils

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John XXIII started it in 1962. It lasted until 1965, when Pope Paul VI ended it. Four future popes took part in the council's opening session: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding Pope John XXIII took the name of Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II. Father Joseph Ratzinger, who was only 35 at the time, was there as a theological consultant. More than forty years later, he became Pope Benedict XVI.

Different things were discussed. These aimed at modernising the church, and opening a dialogue with other religions. Many people see these meetings as the most important event in the Catholic Church in the 20th century. They let Mass be in different languages.

Images for kids


Second Vatican Council Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.