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Few groups went through as much change because of the Second Vatican Council as did diocesan priests. This would not be apparent from reading any history of the four years of Vatican II. While there was much controversy over the theology of bishops' collegial authority and a lot of attention was given to the role of the laity, priests seemed to be the forgotten ones.
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One misshapen stereotype about the Catholic Church is that following the Second Vatican Council men's and women's religious orders went squirrelly, lost their sense of identity and went into a freefall of vocations. While there is a grain of truth in the stereotype and while large numbers of men and women did leave religious life in the years following the council, the decline in religious vocations had been underway for decades.