Lesson 5: The Aftermath of the Council, I


Divergent understandings of "renewal." Aggiornamento and "Ressourcement." The "spirit" of the Council.

The cultural context of "the Sixties" and its affect on the understanding of the Council.

Democracy in the Church. Post-conciliar understandings of the "people of God" and the "pilgrim Church." Making liturgy "relevant."

The crisis of priestly and religious life. The world and the cloister.

The Sexual Revolution and its affect on Catholic moral theology.

Suggested Readings

  • John Paul II -- Veritatis Splendor, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Redemptionis Donum, Chistifideles Laici, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Sources of Renewal.
  • Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-75.
  • Anne Carey, Sisters in Crisis.
  • Documents on the Liturgy, 1963-76.
  • Hebblethwaite, Paul VI.
  • Hitchcock, Decline and Fall.
    The Recovery of the Sacred.
  • Ralph McInerny, What Went Wrong with Vatican II?
  • Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report.
  • Janet Smith, Humanae Vitae.
  • Stacpoole, Vatican II Revisited.

Suggestions for Review

1) Identify ways in which "the Spirit of Vatican II, has been invoked to justify changes in the Church. Evaluate the authenticity of this "spirit" in the light of the actual texts of the Council.

2) Study the post-conciliar writings of one of the following: Hans Kung, Richard McBrien, Charles Curran, Rosemary Ruether. To what extent can their ideas be legitimately rooted in the decrees of the Council?

3) Based on Bugnini's book, trace the process by which liturgical change was introduced after the Council. Use the official Documents as a guide to this process.

4) Based on Bugnini's book and Hitchcock's Recovery discuss the proposition that the meaning of liturgical reform changed after the Council.

5) Based on Carey's book, discuss "renewal" as it occurred in religious life after the Council. To what extent did it follow the authoritative conciliar prescriptions?

6) Discuss the spirit of "the Sixties" and relate it to postconciliar understanding of renewal.

7) As a bishop, John Paul II was a participant in the Council. Based on his writings, discuss his understanding of the particular conciliar themes, as contrasted with the way in which those might be understood by his critics (e.g., Kung, McBrien).

8) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a leading "liberal" theologian at the time of the Council. In what ways did he later think that the promise of the Council was subverted or improperly understood?

9) Some "conservative" Catholics doubt or reject the authority of the Council, which they claim has borne bad fruit. How did Ratzinger deal with that claim?

10) Discuss ways in which the promise of the Council has, in your judgment, been fulfilled, e.g. the role of the laity in the Church, a higher level of real participation in the liturgy. Document your judgments.

11) Taking the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae as the focal point, discuss the ecclesiology of the post-conciliar Church in terms of papal authority, collegiality, the role of theologians, etc.

12) Based on Stacpoole's book, how did leading participants in the Council later view its affects?

13) How did Paul VI come to view the results of the Council?


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