Sign of the times (Catholic Church)

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Sign of the times is a phrase strongly associated with the Catholic Church in the era of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. It was taken to mean that the church should listen to, and learn from, the world around it. In other words, it should learn to read the 'sign(s) of the times'. This phrase, though it comes from the Gospel of Matthew was used in a somewhat novel way by Pope John XXIII when he convoked the council, in the statement Humanae Salutis.[1] It came to signify a new understanding that the Church needed to attend more closely to the world if it was to remain faithful to its calling, and marked a significant shift in theological method. The phrase has continued to be used in papal encyclicals by every pope since then.


  1. ^ Humanae Salutis