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The Second Ecumenical Council, commonly abbreviated Vatican II, lasted from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965. The Council was not an ongoing event: it met in four ten-week periods that spread out over these three years. The idea for the council actually arose in the second week of January of 1959. According to David A. Yallop, it came up during a conversation between Pope John XXIII and his pro-secretary of state, Cardinal Domenico Tardini. The two of them were discussing world affairs: the implications of what Fidel Castro was doing to the Batista regime in Cuba; the state of France right after they had elected Charles de Gaulle as president; the Soviet Union’s sending of a rocket into orbit around the moon; the revolt in Algeria; the extreme poverty in many Latin American countries; and how Africa was changing, with new nations being created at fast speed. Pope John thought that the Catholic Church was at a crucial point in history in which most of the world was focusing on material things and turning away from spiritual matters. The pope reached the conclusion that reform was needed, and that the Vatican should call an ecumenical council to discuss the current situation in the world, and the role the Catholic Church should play in it. (18-19)


World Languages and Cultures