The Council in the East

Jonathan Luxmoore

This article considers how the Second Vatican Council was viewed in Eastern Europe. The Council took place at a critical time for Eastern Europe, when the Church was still restricted and sometimes persecuted. The communist regimes took an intense interest in the three-year event and attempted to influence the course of the Rome debates, especially those with political and ideological implications. Jonathan Luxmoore is a freelance journalist based in Oxford and Warsaw.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council has been little commented on among Catholics in Eastern Europe, since the three year gathering was always viewed differently in this troubled part of the continent. Whereas in the West it was commonly interpreted as signalling a radical break with the past, in the East it was viewed as reaffirming the Church?s continuity, applying old truths and paradigms to new needs and conditions.
The contrast was essential to understanding the later attitude of the Polish Pope John Paul II and the contrasting interpretations of Vatican II which were a feature of his 26 year pontificate.

Eastern Europe?s communist regimes had taken an interest in the preparations.

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