Vatican II

A timeline

January/February 2012

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1959 June 5: Pope John XXIII announces his intention of convening an ecumenical council

World events
Fidel Castro becomes premier of Cuba
Hawaii becomes the 50th state
Karl Barth publishes Dogmatics in Outline
Films include Ben Hur and La Dolce Vita

1960 June 5: Preparatory commissions and secretariats for the council set up by motu proprio, meaning under the pope’s personal authority, to prepare draft documents for the council to consider

World events
US U-2 spy plane shot down over Russia
Belgian Congo granted full independence
John F. Kennedy elected president of the United States
Aboriginal peoples in Canada given right to vote without having to give up treaty rights
Films include Psycho and The Apartment

1961 Dec. 25: The council is formally summoned

World events
President John F. Kennedy inaugurates the Peace Corps
UN General Assembly condemns apartheid
Unsuccessful invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs
Berlin Wall constructed
Irving Stone publishes The Agony and the Ecstasy
Michael Ramsey appointed archbishop of Canterbury
Meeting of the World Council of Churches in Delhi
Films include West Side Story
Russian Yuri Gagarin orbits the Earth
Alan Shepard makes the first US space flight

1962 Oct. 11-Dec. 8: First session of the council meets

World events
Cuban missile crisis
Uganda and Tanganyika become independent
Films include Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra
Drs. F.H.C. Crick, M.H.F. Wilkins and J.D. Watson win Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for determining the molecular structure of DNA

1963 June 3: Pope John XXIII dies

June 21: Pope Paul VI elected; announces to continue the council
Sept. 29-Dec. 4: Second session of the council meets

World events
Civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama; Martin Luther King Jr. arrested and 3,000 troops called out by President Kennedy
200,000 Freedom Marchers descend on Washington to protest discrimination
Nuclear test ban treaty signed by the United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain
President John F. Kennedy assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas
Kenya becomes independent republic
Morris L. West publishes The Shoes of the Fisherman
Hannah Arendt publishes Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
Films include The Cardinal, The Birds and Dr. Strangelove
Beatlemania begins

1964 Sept. 14-Nov. 21: Third session of the council meets

World events
US destroyer attacked off North Vietnam’s coast; US aircraft attack North Vietnam bases
Race riots break out in cities across the US as reaction against enforcement of civil rights laws
UN Peace Force takes over in Cyprus
Films include Lord of the Flies, A Hard Day’s Night, Zorba the Greek and My Fair Lady

1965 Sept. 14-Dec. 8: Fourth session of the council meets

Dec. 4: Prayer Service for Promoting Christian Unity held at St. Paul Outside the Walls
Dec. 8: The Second Vatican Council is solemnly ended; extraordinary Jubilee Year proclaimed to familiarize the faithful with the teachings of the council

World events
Pope Paul VI addresses UN assembly in New York
Outbreaks of racial violence in Selma, Alabama; Martin Luther King Jr. leads march of 4,000 people from Selma to Montgomery
Race riots in Watts district of Los Angeles, 35 dead, 4,000 arrests
Thousands take part in student-led demonstration in Washington against US bombing of North Vietnam
Films include Help, Dr. Zhivago and The Sound of Music

Adaptation of a timeline compiled by Gary Macy, theology professor at the University of San Diego.

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