The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) is regarded by many in Protestant circles as one of
the most significant processes in ecumenical church history during the 20th century. At the
time hopes were high that closer cooperation was a reality to be embraced and achieved.
Concurrently, a younger generation of Roman Catholic theologians began to make their
mark on the ecumenical theological scene. Their work has provided a bridge between the
two ecclesiastical traditions, notwithstanding the subsequent negative response of the Roman
church hierarchy. Despite important advances, recent pontificates have destroyed much of the
enthusiasm and commitment to unity. This article examines the disjuncture in views regarding
the outcomes of the Council and points of contact with Protestant thinking.