It is a widely held belief that Vatican II's implementation immediately following the Council was not done well. In fact, in most parts of the Church, it was done very poorly.
Many times the teachings of Vatican II were (and still are, in some quarters) misused and not implemented properly because of the "spirit of Vatican II". This is an idea which posits the intentions of the Council Fathers were different from or implicit within the actual documents they wrote. It is used as a justification for many things which have caused problems throughout the Church in the last 40 years or so. This misunderstanding of the council was criticized by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They believe it is not consonant with the true spirit of Vatican II.
I am blessed to work with the generation that has the real spirit of Vatican II. The young adults of today are ready for the challenge of implementing the Council in the way it was meant to be implemented. There is a deep desire to engage modern culture in dialogue and take the Gospel to the streets. There is a vibrancy and a zeal that hasn't been this great in many generations.
I know that many people are pessimistic about the Church facing the problems of today, but the young adults who have such love for Christ make it impossible for me to hold the same kind of outlook. Yes, we have many problems in our Church, but the truth of Christ is being preached with great faith, hope and love right now! How can we not see that The Truth will triumph?
So, I challenge us all to call to mind the great things going on in our Church today. This isn't just a re-treading of the same-old model of the Church, but rather a thoroughly orthodox re-invigoration of the same Church, that speaks to today's men and women with truth, faith, hope, and love.
This is what John Paul II called the New Evangelization. The New Evangelization is an effort to re-evangelize peoples and cultures that were once Catholic with renewed fervor and in different ways that touch the culture of modern man.
This kind of evangelization is attractive to modern people. Which is what Vatican II ultimately wanted in the first place.
The real spirit of Vatican II = The New Evangelization.
It has taken us a long time to implement Vatican II correctly, but our young people are doing it.
This is cause for great hope.