Greetings Seekers, I remember it well! October  10th, 1962, when the Good Pope John XXIII called the bishops from across the world to gather in St. Peter’s Basilica.  There within the ancient eternal city – shocking at the time- not only clerics, but religious brothers and sisters, as well as lay men and women, even non-Catholics gathered to dialogue and pray to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the 20th century.  No one could have imagined the outcome. 
We watched the Vatican on TV, heard the rumors of change and as the years went on, felt the fallout from those who feared what was to be a metamorphosis for Catholics world wide. It’s fair to say that we all still are wrestling with the meaning and implications of the Vatican II Council. 
Sixteen documents were the literary tribute of the Council, documents that changed the Catholic governance structures, our relationship to one another, how we celebrated Eucharist and understood what was meant to be members of this most ancient family of Christ.  16 documents of Vatican II Council

     
Opening the Church to the World~

New York Times Opinion Page
By JOHN W. O’MALLEY
Published: October 10, 2012
Olimpia Zagnoli
Excerpt from The New York Times:
 

The church validated for the first time the principle of religious freedom and rejected all forms of civil discrimination based on religious grounds. Thus ended an era of cozy church-state relations that began in the fourth century with Emperor Constantine.

Before the council, Catholics were not only forbidden to pray with those of other faiths but also indoctrinated into a disdain or even contempt for them. (This was, of course, a two-way street.) Now, for the first time, Catholics were encouraged to foster friendly relations with Orthodox and Protestant Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims, and even to pray with them. The council condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and insisted on respect for Judaism and Islam as Abrahamic faiths, like Christianity.
John W. O’Malley, a university professor at Georgetown and a Jesuit priest, is the author of “What Happened at Vatican II” and the forthcoming book “Trent: What Happened at the Council.”

Access the full article at The New York Times.