11 Oct:
Vatican II: This Time It’s Personal

The Second Vatican Council – a conference of senior Catholics that transformed the way Mass is given in Churches around the world – began on 11th October, 1962. 

The incentive of Pope John XXIII, who had been elected in his late seventies partly under the presumption that he would not do anything particularly radical, the Council split opinion between the Church’s traditionalists and modernists, spawning rancorous division which still echoes today.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly revisit John’s impromptu ‘moonlight speech’ in St Peter’s Square; consider how the Vatican needed to make reparations to Jews after the horrors of the Holocaust; and explain why some British literary figures, including Agatha Christie and Iris Murdoch, signed an open letter asking the new Pope to reverse the Council… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Pope John XXIII opens Vatican II’ (HISTORY, 2010): https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pope-opens-vatican-ii

• ‘Statement by Scholars, Intellectuals, and Artists Living in England’ (1971): https://web.archive.org/web/20161020002716/http:/www.institute-christ-king.org/uploads/main/pdf/england-statement.pdf

• ‘Pope John XXIII’ (British Pathé, 1962):