US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Major Documents of Vatican II

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1. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium): The church is a mystery, or sacrament, the whole People of God, in whose service the hierarchy is placed. The authority of pope and bishops is to be exercised as a service and in a collegial mode. Bishops are not simply the vicars of the pope, and the laity participate fully and directly in the church's mission.


Signs of the Times: A timeline of Vatican II

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1959

January 25 - After celebrating a Mass for Christian unity, Pope John XXIII announces his intention to call the 21st ecumenical councilor of the Roman Catholic Church. John envisioned the council as "an invitation to the separate [religious] communities to seek unity, for that is what many souls long for."


Vatican II at 50: A look back at its highlights

By Paul Boudreau | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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In our December 2005 issue, Paul Boudreau reflected on the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of its opening this year, Boudreau takes a fresh look back at the important moments from Vatican II.

Like a good neighbor: The lessons of the Good Samaritan

By Paul Lakeland | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The Good Samaritan points the way to a humbler, holier church.

We need more humility in the church today. It is a sad truth that these days we live in a divided church, as we do in our society in general, where deep differences prevent people of the same faith from talking to one another or even worshiping together.


Readers sound off on the best and worst of Vatican II

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More than 2,000 website visitors to USCatholic.org offered their take on the Second Vatican Council for our October Reader Survey. Although we don't normally include reader feedback online, the sheer volume of responses--and the widely divergent opinions expressed by survey respondents--prompted us to offer a wider sampling of those responses.


Keep the faith

By Bishop Francis A. Quinn | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Disease and disaster might challenge our belief in God, but despite all that, we must keep the faith.

One of the most memorable moments of my life was when I conferred the sacrament of confirmation on 20 youths in San Francisco’s Children’s Hospital—children ranging from 4 or 5 to 16 years of age who were dying from leukemia. I was apprehensive about how these young ones would feel about receiving confirmation.


Glad You Asked: Who are the doctors of the church?

By Joel Schorn | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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While there are several definitions of the word "doctor," they all go back to the Latin word for “teacher.” It is this meaning whence doctors of the church variety come.

It also points to one of their chief characteristics, what is usually referred to as “preeminent learning.” Their expounding of the faith has been deemed sound and of benefit to the whole church. In other words, you can trust a doctor when it comes to theology doctrine.


Glad You Asked: Are there other kinds of "catholic" churches?

By John Switzer | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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James Joyce said it best in Finnegans Wake that “Catholic means here comes everybody.”

Our word “catholic” comes from a Greek adjective meaning “universal” and “together for the good of all.” Early Christians applied it to the church, and our earliest written example comes from Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, in the first decade of the second century.


From Isaiah to Economic Justice for All: A brief history of social justice

By Kristen Hannum | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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From the saints to popes and bishops to theologians, Catholic thinkers have long made the case for social justice, tracing its origins to scriptural accounts from the Old Testament exhortations on justice to Christ’s example of love and outreach to the marginalized.

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