The Revolution of John XXIII: The Second Vatican Council (Review)

Have you ever wanted to know more about the Second Vatican Council but didn’t feel you had the time to read up on all the documents?

Have you ever wondered why the Church held the Second Vatican Council?

Are you interested in learning more about one of our most recent canonized saints?

DVD John XXIII and IIVCIf you answered yes to any of the above, then I have the documentary for you! At just under an hour long, The Revolution of Pope John XXIII: The Second Vatican Council is a great overview of both the Council and Pope St. John XXIII.

This film consists of original footage interspersed with interviews with several cardinals, a journalist, and a historian. I especially loved hearing the first hand accounts from some of those interviewed who witnessed the Council themselves. This documentary had an overall positive outlook on the Second Vatican Council but did not overlook the challenges of implementing the new norms and some of the failures that resulted.

There is a lot of information packed into this 55 minute film and I learned a lot while watching it. I had no idea how long it took just to prepare for the start of the Council (3 years!), how many people attended (roughly 4,000),and the number of topics originally slated to be discussed was also overwhelming (70 to be exact) with no clear theme or connection between many of the topics. And this librarian’s heart was warmed at seeing the walls of card catalogs and rows of book stacks where the more than 2800 topic proposals were organized and analyzed (it took two years just to do that!).

I enjoy learning about history and this film appealed to my interest in viewing historical events in the context of larger world events. I was pleased that this documentary did just that addressing the influence of World War II, the increasing secularization of the world at the time, the growth of Communism and rejection of religion, and then looking at how the world changed following the Council and how the Church has been equipped to deal with the ever growing secular world.

I really liked the positive vibe I got from this documentary. It did address the problems and challenges, but the overall tone was optimistic and this made for an excellent account of the Council and it’s influence on the modern Church. As a lay person, and one who grew up knowing only the Novus Ordo Mass, it became even more clear to me just how important the lay person is to the Church, all a result of the Second Vatican Council. That was my biggest takeaway from this documentary.

I definitely learned a lot, more than I expected actually. The film met my expectations and actually exceeded them in many ways. I feel like I have a clearer picture of the man that Pope John XXIII was (the second time I watched the film, I started thinking of him as a lovable grandfather) and a good overall understanding of the Second Vatican Council. This film would make a great intro to the Council for any group study on the Second Vatican Council documents or an academic class on the Council and its documents. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more, especially if you enjoy history.

The film can be purchased through Ignatius Press.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this DVD from Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for this review.