Vatican II Session

From Vatican II to the Synod on Young People

“’Twelve bishops gathered with Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier for the first meeting,’ reads a contemporary report on the origins of group of bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) that took as its motto, ‘Jesus Christ, the Church and the Poor.’” writes Stefan Gigacz at La Croix International.

“These prelates ‘reviewed their lives and their thinking, as well as that of their churches and the Church, on the issues raised for them by the poor and the workers, and more radically by Jesus of Nazareth, the Carpenter,’ the report continues.

“Best remembered for the ‘Pact of the Catacombs‘ they later adopted, these bishops wanted to ensure that the Council tackled the ‘anguishing’ issues of poverty, the working class and world development.

“Convened by Bishop Charles-Marie Himmer of Tournai, Belgium and Bishop George Hakim of Galilee (later Patriarch Maximos V), the group first met on Oct. 26, 1962 at the Belgian College in Rome. Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier of Lyon was the group’s president.

“Inspired by Pope John XXIII’s phrase ‘the Church of the Poor,’ members saw themselves operating ‘as an extension of’ John’s 1961 social encyclical, Mater et Magistra (Church as Mother and Teacher of All Nations), following the see-judge-act method pioneered and popularized by Joseph Cardijn.


From the Vatican II ‘Church of the Poor’ group to the Synod meet on young people (La Croix International)


Second Vatican Council. (Photo by Lothar Wolleh/CC BY-SA 3.0)