Forty-five years after the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), ecclesial roles for Roman Catholic women have both evolved and remained the same. Some of the major concerns facing Roman Catholic women today include religious roles within ministry and reproductive rights.

In preparation for the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII issued Il Tempio Massimo, or Letter to Women Religious, in which the individual vocations, whether cloistered or not, were affirmed while strongly encouraging religious women who work in the areas of education and social service to obtain higher education degrees that would complement and support their particular vocations. In 1965, the council document Perfectae Caritatis, Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, encouraged religious women to situate themselves and their ...

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