This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, which opened the Catholic Church's window onto the modern world. Among other things, it gave a larger role to lay people and updated the liturgy. But the changes provoked a backlash, the effects of which are being felt even today.
On Oct. 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII opened Vatican II, with a desire to let some fresh air into the Catholic Church. It was a revolution, especially for the nuns who were encouraged to go into the world and help the needy. But now the nuns are being censored, and a generational rift has emerged.
Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII shocked the world when he created the Second Vatican Council. Known as Vatican II, the council called thousands of bishops and other religious leaders to the Vatican, where they forged a new set of operating principles for the Roman Catholic Church. Today, the council's legacy is at once celebrated and carefully managed.
German Catholics are facing a stark choice: pay a church tax or forget about receiving the sacraments, including baptisms, weddings and funerals. Germany taxes registered Catholics, Protestants and Jews. In 2011, the tax raised $6.5 billion for the Catholic church alone. Progressives and liberals are up in arms over the German bishops' decree.
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