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The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) was a general assembly of the bishops and other ecclesiastical representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the second held since the 16th century. Pope John XXIII, attentive to the changing global context, called the Council as a means of renewing the Church and updating its pastoral practices in light of the needs of the modern era. The bishops present at the Council represented the increasingly global membership of the Church, and the Council's pronouncements shaped not only the internal life of the Church but its relationship with the cultures, states, civil societies, other Christian bodies, and other religions with which it interacts around the world.

The dramatic growth of Christianity in the non-European world in the 20th century was reflected in ...

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