A few cynics have taken a bankrupt view of Vatican II. In their eyes, it was a failure before it began on October 11, 1962, and this because it bad set itself the task of doing too much in too short a time, with inadequate preparation and against forces of traditionalism too entrenched to be overcome by the Holy Spirit Himself. The correct and realistic view, on the other hand, is that the Council was a success before it met in the first general congregation of its first session.
This hopeful appraisal is supported by several considerations. Vatican II, besides focusing the eyes of the world on the Church assembled in all her impressive solemnity and solidarity, has, by the very fact of being convoked, created a new atmosphere of amity and urgency with respect to the unity of all Christians. It has opened windows locked for centuries. It has provided an immense showcase for a display of the democratic side of the Church’s life. It has ventilated questions long shut away unanswered. And it has done this in a setting of overwhelming evidence of the faith, devotion, zeal, general competence and amazing catholicity of the bishops of the whole earth. Continue reading