In his opening address on December 11, 1961, John XXIII proclaimed two main themes, peace between peoples and social justice, themes that addressed not only Catholicism but the whole world.
These themes were also central to his signature encyclical, Pacem in
Although the council issued two dogmatic constitutions, one on the church (Lumen Gentium) and one on revelation (Dei
Verbum), the remaining constitutions, decrees, and declarations were pastoral, ecumenical, modernizing, and world embracing in spirit and manner. There were no anathemas or condemnations, as had been the custom of most previous councils. The council exhibited a confident church looking to reform itself and to offer to the world a vision of the Gospel that Christ transmitted to his disciples.