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Catholic Dictionary




The twenty-first ecumencial council of the Catholic Church, first announced by Pope John XXIII, on January 25, 1959. He opened the council on October 11, 1962, and the first session ended on December 8 of the same year. After Pope John's death, June 3, 1963, Pope Paul VI reconvened the Council for the next three sessions, which ran from September 29, to December 4, 1963; September 14 to November 21, 1964; and September 14, to December 8, 1965. A combined total of 2,865 bishops and prelates took part in the Council proceedings, although 264 could not attend, mainly from Communist countries. Among the sixteen documents issued by the Council, the four constitutions--on divine revelation, the liturgy, and two on the Church--were the basis for the rest.