Religion: Council of Renewal

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A fortnight hence in the Vatican, 2,600 bishops of the Roman Catholic Church will meet in a gathering so rare that only 20 others like it have been convened in the 20 centuries of Christian history. The purpose of the Second Vatican Council is what His Holiness Pope John XXIII, who has the Catholic prelate's traditional wariness of words that suggest drastic change, calls an aggiornamento—a modernization. This self-reform will affect the life, the worship and the discipline of every Catholic; just as importantly, it will affect the way the church looks to other Christians, and to the...

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