Research Paper: Catholic Religion Second Vatican Council Roles for Women

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¶ … Second Vatican Council and the Role of Women

The second Vatican council of the Roman Catholic Church took place from 1962 -1965 and symbolized the church's readiness to make changes in accordance with the state of the modern world. This conference was attended by 2,600 bishops and is considered the most influential religious event of the twentieth century. The council discussed and ratified 16 doctrines including the "Dogmatic Constitution of the Church." This is considered one of the most important of the doctrines in modern Catholicism and "proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of the Church." (H. Daniel -- Rops, 1962). It was defined by Pope John II in Apolstotic Letter Muliers Dignitatim, that the church considered motherhood and virginity to be major vocations of woman. Throughout the doctrines, the roles of the woman were clearly defined. In the council's outline it was noted that an alter girl would be permitted to collect offerings, proclaim scripture, except gospel, and lead congregational choirs. A woman may also play approved instruments and be seen as an usher throughout services. In addition to identifying woman's roles in the church, the council began to expand its role in communal affairs.

The council often referred to as Vatican II, called for a spiritual awakening which helped to include the affirmation of fundamental truths found in religions other than Catholicism. It also examined the different faces truth can be demonstrated through, for the common good of all. Diversity in practice and language, in an attempt to reach more people, was implemented and there was great emphasis placed on the duties of the different members of the clergy. This resulted in establishing the hierarchy of the modern church. The different positions and duties of parish officials were elaborated upon within the doctrines of the Vatican II. The council was a culminating event which took the church into the modern secular and religious world.

There are many positions found throughout the church parishes. The duties and responsibilities of each are specifically outlined and described as the following. A theological professor of a seminary is one who has a background in biblical studies, church history and philosophy. Secular universities have a very limited theology department, therefore studies in scripture and biblical authority are often found in seminaries.

The Parish Administrator is responsible for all clerical and bookkeeping work throughout the parish. They prepare appropriate financial statements, reports for the diocese and act as a liaison between the parish and outside groups. The Parish Administrator coordinates the calendar of events and reports and maintains communication for the vestry. This is generally a paid position and most parishes' require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field. Although this is still a male dominated field, in recent years some women have taken over this role in various parishes throughout the country.

A Parish Council member attends all meeting and trainings as a representative of the parish. They evaluate and recommend prospective programs to implement. They are open to input and become a liaison between to the members of the parish and the head administrator as to the effectiveness, and efficiency of the parish and its services. These positions are often held by women, and there are often separate woman council groups found throughout the church.

A Parish Associate is a minister in a validated ministry other than the local parish but wishes to maintain a relationship with the parish and keeps the ordination to the ministry.

A hospital chaplain is a position that "provides spiritual support in a hospital environment to patients, hospital staff and family members." A chaplain from the Catholic Church can provide communion and counseling concerning, sickness, death, and ethical issues surrounding organ donation. Chaplains may belong to a local… [END OF PREVIEW]

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