Popes Francis, Benedict XVI, and John Paul II have called the present a time of New Evangelization for the Church and have stressed the importance of catechesis for this mission. John Paul II claimed that this renewal of the Church’s mission is grounded in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Nevertheless, approaches to catechesis in the conciliar and postconciliar era have varied greatly, as evidenced by the shifts in catechetical practice effected by the modern catechetical movement. Just as the dominant forms of theology changed from neo-scholastic to anthropological approaches so, too, did catechesis move from catechism-based approaches to more anthropological models based upon human experience.
In light of this context, Catechesis for the New Evangelization examines the theological foundations of catechesis in the Church’s understanding of divine revelation and its reception by the human person, especially as found in the conciliar constitutions, Dei Verbum and Gaudium et Spes. After drawing norms on divine revelation from these documents, it traces the history of the modern catechetical movement in order to compare this history with the conciliar norms, highlighting the renewal’s strengths and weaknesses.
These steps prepare the way for the main part of the book: an examination of the anthropology of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II. Ultimately, his anthropology provides an understanding of the person that can unite divine revelation and human experience in a way that takes what is best from the modern catechetical movement, while developing the ministry in a way that can be fruitful for the New Evangelization.
Pedraza’s book is not only an incisive look at modern catechetical history and theory. It also touches upon some of the most important theological topics of the past century, including the neo-scholastic crisis, the proper interpretation of the Council, the relationship of nature and grace, and the modern understanding of the imago dei, with the research and competency appropriate for scholarly interest and the accessibility needed for educated practitioners in catechesis.
Western liberal societies are characterized by two stories: a positive story of freedom of conscience and the recognition of community and human rights, and a negative story of unrestrained freedom that leads to self-centeredness, vacuity, and the destructive compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a more meaningful role in assisting liberal societies in telling their better story?
Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it can. In The Church and Secularity he considers the meaning of secularity as a shared space for all citizens and asks how the Church can contribute to a sensitivity to—and respect for—human dignity and human rights. Drawing on Augustine’s City of God and Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes, Gascoigne interprets the meaning of freedom in liberal societies through the lens of Augustine’s “two loves,” the love of God and neighbor and the love of self, and reveals how the two are connected to our contemporary experience.
The Church and Secularity argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a positive way and that its own social identity, rooted in Eucharistic communities, must be bound up with the struggle for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its forms.
The conversation of this book is structured around five major documents from the Second Vatican Council, each of which Barth commented upon in his short but penetrating response to the Council, published as Ad Limina Apostolorum. In the two opening essays, Thomas Joseph White reflects upon the contribution that this book seeks to make to contemporary ecumenism rooted in awareness of the value of dogmatic theology; and Matthew Levering explores the way in which Barth’s Ad Limina Apostolorum flows from his preconciliar dialogues with Catholic representatives of the nouvelle théologie and remain relevant to the issues facing Catholic theology today. The next two essays turn to Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation; here Katherine Sonderegger (Protestant) reflects on scripture and Lewis Ayres (Catholic) reflects on tradition. The next two essays address the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, which touches upon central differences of Catholic and Protestant self-understanding. Christoph Schwöbel (Protestant) analyzes visible ecclesial identity as conceived in a Protestant context, while Thomas Joseph White (Catholic) engages Barth’s Reformed criticisms of the Catholic notion of the Church. The next two essays take up Nostra Aetate: Bruce Lindley McCormack (Protestant) asks whether it is true to say that Muslims worship the same God as Christians, and Bruce D. Marshall (Catholic) explores the implications of the Council’s reflections on the Jewish people. The next two essays take up the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes: John Bowlin (Protestant) makes use of the thought of Aquinas to consider the promise and perils of the document, while Francesca Aran Murphy (Catholic) engages critically with George Lindbeck’s analysis of the document. The next two essays explore Unitatis Redintegratio: Hans Boersma (Protestant) asks whether the ecumenical intention of the document is impaired by its insistence that the unity of the Church is already present in the Catholic Church, and Reinhard Hütter (Catholic) systematically addresses Barth’s questions regarding the document. The noted ecumenist and Catholic theologian Richard Schenk brings the volume to a close by reflecting on “true and false ecumenism” in the post-conciliar period.
There is broad support today for the idea that biblical scholarship ought to be informed by the faith of the Church and serve the life of the Church. In a word, it should be ecclesial. There is far less agreement, however, when one asks how this goal is to be achieved and what ecclesial exegesis ought to look like. In 1988, Joseph Ratzinger put forth his “Method C” proposal, calling for the development of a new exegetical and hermeneutical synthesis. This would be neither a retreat to the patristic-medieval approach (Method A) nor the continued hegemony of the historical-critical approach (Method B). The latter must be purified of its positivism through a transformational encounter with the former, so that the gifts of both might be released for the life of the Church. Such a synthesis, Ratzinger claimed, would require the philosophical, theological, exegetical, and hermeneutical work of “at least a whole generation” of scholars.
Gregory Vall has devoted over thirty years to the development of ecclesial exegesis, and the present volume represents the mature fruit of his labor. Over against those who treat Dei Verbum as Vatican II’s endorsement of the historical-critical method, he demonstrates that the dogmatic constitution actually points to something very much like Ratzinger’s Method C. Employing a dialogic movement between the inductive-exegetical and the deductive-dogmatic, Vall offers nine studies that bring to the surface issues such as the relationship between Old Testament and New Testament, literal sense and spiritual sense, and Scripture and Tradition. While Vall brings theological knowledge and hermeneutical skill to the quest for Method C, he also provides a great deal of valuable exegesis of both testaments. Ecclesial Exegesis is not simply another book of theory. It demonstrates how Method C can be done.
In 1965 the Second Vatican Council declared that God loves the Jews. Before that, the Church had taught for centuries that Jews were cursed by God and, in the 1940s, mostly kept silent as Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. How did an institution whose wisdom is said to be unchanging undertake one of the most enormous, yet undiscussed, ideological swings in modern history?
The radical shift of Vatican II grew out of a buried history, a theological struggle in Central Europe in the years just before the Holocaust, when a small group of Catholic converts (especially former Jew Johannes Oesterreicher and former Protestant Karl Thieme) fought to keep Nazi racism from entering their newfound church. Through decades of engagement, extending from debates in academic journals, to popular education, to lobbying in the corridors of the Vatican, this unlikely duo overcame the most problematic aspect of Catholic history. Their success came not through appeals to morality but rather from a rediscovery of neglected portions of scripture.
From Enemy to Brother illuminates the baffling silence of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, showing how the ancient teaching of deicide-according to which the Jews were condemned to suffer until they turned to Christ-constituted the Church's only language to talk about the Jews. As he explores the process of theological change, John Connelly moves from the speechless Vatican to those Catholics who endeavored to find a new language to speak to the Jews on the eve of, and in the shadow of, the Holocaust.
Contemporary scholars often refer to “the event of Vatican II,” but what kind of an event was it? In this first book of the new CUA Press series Sacra Doctrina, Matthew Levering leads his readers to see the Council as a “theological event”—a period of confirming and continuing God’s self-revelation in Christ into a new historical era for the Church.
This is an introduction to Vatican II with a detailed summary of each of its four central documents—the dogmatic constitutions—followed by explanations of how to interpret them. In contrast to other introductions, which pay little attention to the theological soil in which the documents of Vatican II germinated, Levering offers a reading of each conciliar Constitution in light of a key theological author from the era: René Latourelle, SJ for Dei Verbum (persons and propositions); Louis Bouyer, CO for Sacrosanctum Concilium (active participation); Yves Congar, OP for Lumen Gentium (true and false reform); and Henri de Lubac, SJ for Gaudium et Spes (nature and grace).
This theological event is “ongoing,” Levering demonstrates, by tracing in each chapter the theological debates that have stretched from the close of the council till the present, and the difficulties the Church continues to encounter in encouraging an ever deeper participation in Jesus Christ on the part of all believers. In this light, the book’s final chapter compares the historicist (Massimo Faggioli) and Christological (Robert Imbelli) interpretations of Vatican II, arguing that historicism can undermine the Council’s fundamental desire for a reform and renewal rooted in Christ. The conclusion addresses the concerns about secularization and loss of faith raised after the Council by Henri de Lubac, Joseph Ratzinger, and Yves Congar, arguing that contemporary Vatican II scholarship needs to take these concerns more seriously.
Investigating Vatican II is a collection of Fr. Jared Wicks’ recent articles on Vatican II, and presents the Second Vatican Council as an event to which theologians contributed in major ways and from which Catholic theology can gain enormous insigh
It was by far the most controversial document to emerge from Vatican II--Dignitatis Humanae, or the Declaration on Religious Freedom. Drafted largely by prominent Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, it represented a departure from previous Catholic teachings in that it acknowledged and accepted as normative the separation between Church and State and declared religious freedom a fundamental human right. In doing this, it set forth guidelines for the role of the Catholic Church in secular liberal and pluralistic societies.
Nearly four decades later, Hermínio Rico examines the continued relevance of this declaration in today's world, compares its most paradigmatic interpretations, and proposes a reconsideration of its import for contemporary church-society relationships. He offers a detailed analysis of how Pope John Paul II has appropriated, interpreted, and developed the main themes of the document, and how he has applied them to such contentious modern issues as the fall of Communism and the rise of secular pluralism. In addition, Rico sets forth his own vision of the future of Dignitatis Humanae, and how the profound themes of the declaration can be applied in years to come to help the church find a way to engage effectively with, and within, pluralistic societies.
Of interest to students of Catholic thought, church-society relationships, the legacy of John Courtney Murray, and the teachings of John Paul II, this book offers a fresh perspective on one of the most important documents in the modern history of the Catholic church.
Congar coined the term "total ecclesiology" in his ground-breaking outline for a theology of the laity, A Way towards a Theology of the Laity. In Mystery of the Church, People of God, Rose M. Beal argues that "total ecclesiology" is the necessary and appropriate lens for a comprehensive interpretation of Congar's ecclesiological project prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Beal works from Congar's published works from 1931 to 1954, as well as from unpublished texts from the same time period, to integrate and propose a comprehensive interpretation of his ecclesiological purposes and methods.
Pim Valkenberg Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1784.N67 2016 | Dewey Decimal 261.2
The contents of this book originated in a conference at the Catholic University of America in May 2015. The essays and lectures contained within focus on the relationships of the Catholic Church with the other "Abrahamic" faiths, primarily Islam and Judaism. There is some discussion of the Asian religions as well. This volume, in structure, loosely follows the document Nostra Aetate itself. The first part of the book gives a broad view of the document and its importance. The following parts concentrates on the relationships between the Catholic Church and the Asian, Muslim and Jewish religions. The concluding section of the book surveys the reception Nostra Aetate received in various ecclesial and academic contexts.
Priests: A Calling in Crisis
Andrew M. Greeley University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress BX1912.9.G34 2004 | Dewey Decimal 262.142
For several years now, the Roman Catholic Church and the institution of the priesthood itself have been at the center of a firestorm of controversy. While many of the criticisms lodged against the recent actions of the Church—and a small number of its priests—are justified, the majority of these criticisms are not. Hyperbolic and misleading coverage of recent scandals has created a public image of American priests that bears little relation to reality, and Andrew Greeley's Priests skewers this image with a systematic inside look at American priests today.
No stranger to controversy himself, Greeley here challenges those analysts and the media who parrot them in placing the blame for recent Church scandals on the mandate of celibacy or a clerical culture that supports homosexuality. Drawing upon reliable national survey samples of priests, Greeley demolishes current stereotypes about the percentage of homosexual priests, the level of personal and professional happiness among priests, the role of celibacy in their lives, and many other issues. His findings are more than surprising: they reveal, among other things, that priests report higher levels of personal and professional satisfaction than doctors, lawyers, or faculty members; that they would overwhelmingly choose to become priests again; and that younger priests are far more conservative than their older brethren.
While the picture Greeley paints should radically reorient the public perception of priests, he does not hesitate to criticize the Church's significant shortcomings. Most priests, for example, do not think the sexual abuse problems are serious, and they do not think that poor preaching or liturgy is a problem, though the laity give them very low marks on their ministerial skills. Priests do not listen to the laity, bishops do not listen to priests, and the Vatican does not listen to any of them. With Greeley's statistical evidence and provocative recommendations for change—including a national "Priest Corps" that would offer young men a limited term of service in the Church—Priests offers a new vision for American Catholics, one based on real problems and solutions rather than on images of a depraved, immature, and frustrated priesthood.
Sin in the Sixties
Maria C. Morrow Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX2260.M68 2016 | Dewey Decimal 202.2
Confession reached its peak attendance in the early 1950s, but by the end of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of the sacrament plummeted. While this decline is often noted by historians, theologians, priests, and laity alike - all eager to provide possible explanations - little attention has been paid to another dramatic shift. Coincident with the decreasing popularity of the sacrament of penance in the United States were changes to non-sacramental penitential practices, including Lenten fasting, Ember Days, and the year-round Friday meat abstinence. American Catholics - sometimes derisively called Fisheaters - had assiduously observed Friday abstinence, regardless of ethnicity or geographic location.
The goal of this volume is to begin writing Central and Eastern Europe back into the story of the Second Vatican Council, its origins, and its consequences. This volume assembles - for the first time in any language - a broad overview of the place of four different Communist-run countries - Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia - in the story of the Council. Framing these is an account of how the Cold War impacted the Council and its reception. The book engages with both English-language scholarship and the national historiographies of the countries that it examines, offering a global lens on the present state of research (covering all relevant languages) and seeking to propel that research forward. All of the chapters draw on both non-English secondary literature and original primary sources - some published, some archival.
What Happened at Vatican II
John W. O'Malley Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BX830 1962.O46 2008 | Dewey Decimal 262.52
During four years in session, Vatican Council II held television audiences rapt with its elegant, magnificently choreographed public ceremonies, while its debates generated front-page news on a near-weekly basis. By virtually any assessment, it was the most important religious event of the twentieth century, with repercussions that reached far beyond the Catholic church. Remarkably enough, this is the first book, solidly based on official documentation, to give a brief, readable account of the council from the moment Pope John XXIII announced it on January 25, 1959, until its conclusion on December 8, 1965; and to locate the issues that emerge in this narrative in their contexts, large and small, historical and theological, thereby providing keys for grasping what the council hoped to accomplish.
What Happened at Vatican II captures the drama of the council, depicting the colorful characters involved and their clashes with one another. The book also offers a new set of interpretive categories for understanding the council’s dynamics—categories that move beyond the tired “progressive” and “conservative” labels. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the calling of the council, this work reveals in a new way the spirit of Vatican II. A reliable, even-handed introduction to the council, the book is a critical resource for understanding the Catholic church today, including the pontificate of Benedict XVI.
From one of our foremost church historians comes an overarching analysis of the three modern Catholic councils—an assessment of what Catholicism was and has become today.
Catholic councils are meetings of bishops. In this unprecedented comparison of the three most recent meetings, John O’Malley traverses more than 450 years of Catholic history and examines the councils’ most pressing and consistent concerns: questions of purpose, power, and relevance in a changing world. By offering new, sometimes radical, even troubling perspectives on these convocations, When Bishops Meet analyzes the evolution of the church itself.
The Catholic Church today is shaped by the historical arc starting from Trent in the sixteenth century to Vatican II. The roles of popes, the laity, theologians, and others have varied from the bishop-centered Trent, to Vatican I’s declaration of papal infallibility, to a new balance of power in the mid-twentieth century. At Trent, lay people had direct influence on proceedings. By Vatican II, their presence was token. At each gathering, fundamental issues recurred: the relationship between bishops and the papacy, the very purpose of a council, and doctrinal change. Can the teachings of the church, by definition a conservative institution, change over time?
Councils, being ecclesiastical as well as cultural institutions, have always reflected and profoundly influenced their times. Readers familiar with John O’Malley’s earlier work as well as those with no knowledge of councils will find this volume an indispensable guide for essential questions: Who is in charge of the church? What difference did the councils make, and will there be another?