The apostles and presbyters at the Council of Jerusalem felt that they were guided by the Holy Spirit. The bishops at Vatican II had the same conviction.

Friday, 5/23/14
The first reading recounts the follow-up on the Council of Jerusalem in the year 50 a.d.. They prepared a single page report on the council, telling the world that they saw it as God’s will to let converts become Christians without following the rules of the Jewish religion. 

Addressing the Gentile world, the apostles and presbyters sent out a message saying, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and us not to place on you any burden.”
It is interesting to compare that report with the decisions published by the twentieth Ecumenical Council held at the Vatican between 1962 and 1965.
It’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is thirty-seven pages long. It requires a simple form for our liturgies so that “the Christian people should be able to understand them with ease and take part in them fully.”
Its declaration on Religious Liberty is fourteen pages long. At the heart of it we read, “The Vatican Council decrees that every human person has a right to religious freedom.”
Its Constitution on the Church is seventy-seven pages long. Describing the Church, it states, “All in different ways to it belong or are related: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God to salvation.” The Church, like Christ himself, is part human, part divine. It is the people of God.
The Constitution on Divine Revelation is fifteen pages long. It states, “To compose the sacred books God chose certain men who, all the time he employed them in the task, made full use of their own powers.”
The final document of the Vatican Council is ninety-eight pages long. It has many beautiful passages. I most often refer to paragraph 19 that states, “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to commune with God. The invitation to converse with God is addressed to him as soon as he comes into being.”
Those twenty-four hundred bishops who met at the Vatican for four years believed that the Holy Spirit was leading them to express God’s truth on all modern matters. Their decisions have not been enthusiastically received. I went to our Catholic Book Store in St. Augustine, asking for a copy of the decrees of Vatican Two, but the ladies had not heard of them.

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