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Vatican III? Where?


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There are many good arguments against quickly convening a Third Vatican Council--a notion beloved of Catholics who occupy the portside cabins on the Barque of Peter.

The most obvious is that Catholicism has barely begun to digest the teaching of Vatican II on the nature of the Church, the universal call to holiness, and the reform of the episcopate, the priesthood, consecrated life, and the lay vocation in the world. Until the dramatic change in Catholic self-understanding that Vatican II mandated is fully internalized and implemented--until the Church understands itself as a mission, not as an institution that has a mission (as one among many things it does)--there seems little sense in convening Vatican III.

One might also argue that another ecumenical council would be a distraction from the evangelical mission to which Vatican II called the Church, and especially the Church's bishops. As it is, bishops spend far too much of their time in meetings. Would the preaching of the Gospel, which, according to Vatican II, is the first responsibility of bishops, be advanced by gathering the entire world episcopate into a global mega-meeting for three or four months of the year, over a period of years?

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