Throughout the 1950's, Catholic Bishops faced many challenges driven by technological, social and political change. The First Vatican Council, held nearly a century before, had been cut short, leaving a number of pastoral and dogmatic issues left unexamined. In 1959, Pope John XXIII announced that a Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican would be held. The Council opened in 1962 with 987 council members coming in from all over the world, ranging from Bishops with decades of experience to clergy who had only recently been ordained. The eventual impact of Vatican II on the Catholic Church was so great that it led one commentator to state it was as if, "the history of the Church were now to be divided into only two periods, pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II (Novak, 1962).
One aspect of Vatican II that gained the interest of researchers was that the votes cast were not evenly spread across all types of clergy but instead seemed to vary according to office, nation of service, and the amount of time they had served. In this learning module, we'll explore some of the ways in which the voting at Vatican II varied according to the geographic region in which Catholic Bishops served.
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