Bishop of Shrewsbury recalls 50th anniversary of opening of Vatican II

The Year of Faith offers Catholics the chance to profess “the faith in fullness and with new conviction, confidence and hope”, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has said.

The bishop was speaking at a Mass marking the opening of the year at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians and St Peter of Alcantara, in Shrewsbury yesterday.

He recalled that the Rt Rev William Grasar, the then Bishop of Shrewsbury, set off to the Second Vatican Council in 1962 to join more 2,000 bishops for an event that would last over three years.

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“It was a sobering moment,” Bishop Davies said. “The world stood on the brink of nuclear destruction. The Cuban nuclear crisis was described as the most dangerous moment in human history.”

He said the bishops gathered in St Peter’s Basilica under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to “explore the will of Christ in these extremely challenging times”.

Bishop Davies said Pope John XXIII did not ignore or despair at the modern world, like his predecessors, but called the Council to rediscover the faith at that difficult time.

Now, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council, “the Pope wishes to highlight again the Council’s debates and mission, inviting the dioceses to open up the Catechism of the Catholic Church”, the bishop said.

He urged Catholics in his diocese to witness to their faith in daily life.

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