Did We Really Need Vatican II? | Russell Shaw | CWR blog
Many of the common objections to the Council overlook the serious crisis it sought to address
Why did we need the Second Vatican Council? Did we need it at all? Hearing those questions, most Catholics who’ve thought about Vatican II would probably cite renewing and updating of the Church as solid reasons for the ecumenical council.
That answer isn’t wrong. But a half-century after Vatican II (it took place between 1962 and 1965) it’s clear that a much larger purpose was at work, with Church renewal and updating its handmaids.
You start to see that when you consider a common objection to the council:
"Other ecumenical councils were convened to handle particular problems. Early councils dealt with heresies about Christ. In the 16th century Trent had to respond to the Reformation. Vatican I in the 19th century faced the challenge to the authority of the pope and the bishops—but it was interrupted and didn’t say much about bishops.
"By contrast, there was no crisis requiring Vatican II. By the middle of the last century, the Church was strong and united in the faith. So this was a council that wasn’t needed. Wouldn’t it have been better to leave things alone?”
No, it wouldn’t. The Church faced a grave problem then—indeed, it still does—and an ecumenical council was required to address it. What problem?