50th Anniversary of the Opening of Vatican II
Tags: Jesuit, Jesuit Father John Courtney Murray, Jesuit Father John O'Malley, Jesuit Father Karl Rahner, jesuits, Second Vatican Council, Society of Jesus, Vatican II
October 11, 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, a historic event “animated by a spirit of reform,” according to church historian Jesuit Father John O’Malley.
The council’s four sessions and 16 landmark documents modernized the liturgy, renewed the priesthood and religious life, enhanced the role of lay Catholics, opened dialogue with other churches and non-Christians and identified the church as the “people of God” attuned to the problems and hopes of the world, according to Catholic News Service.
One Jesuit who had a “starring role” at the council, which ran from Oct. 11, 1962, to Dec. 8, 1965, was Cardinal Augustin Bea, the Jesuit rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, who eventually headed the Secretariat for Christian Unity. Cardinal Bea had been deputized by Pope John to ensure the council said something bold on the Catholic relationship with Jews and world religions. The result was one of the most important documents of the Second Vatican Council, “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Era”) on the relationship of the church to non-Christian religions.
There were also several Jesuit “periti,” or experts, who had a role at the council:
- Jesuit Father Henri de Lubac: A French Jesuit silenced from 1950 to 1956, Fr. De Lubac was a prolific scholar associated with the “nouvelle theologie” (new theology) school. At the council, he promoted the idea of “ressourcement,” which is a return to the sources of Christian wisdom and a deepening of the church’s understanding of itself. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1983.
- Jesuit Father Karl Rahner: This German Jesuit’s ideas are everywhere in the council documents. His conception of the Trinity, the idea of anonymous Christians, the pilgrim church and his rejection of the counter-reformation practice of developing positions by condemning other positions helped shape Vatican II.
- Jesuit Father John Courtney Murray: An American Jesuit theologian, he was one of the chief architects of the “Dignitatis Humanae.” The council basically adopted as official church teaching Fr. Murray’s theology of church-state separation and of religious freedom as a human right that the state is required to protect.
Here are some resources from the Jesuit world in honor of the anniversary:
Conferences & Symposia
- Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., is hosting “Vatican II After 50 Years: Dialogue and Catholic Identity” on Oct. 11-12, 2012.
- Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles is hosting the Vatican II at 50 Symposium: “The Church in the Third Millennium: Identity and Mission” on Oct. 11, 2012.
- Loyola Marymount is also hosting Western Conversations 2012: Jesuit Education in the Spirit of Vatican II on Oct. 12-14, 2012.
- The Woodstock Theological Center is hosting the symposium “What Role Did the Jesuit Scientists Play at Vatican II?” on Oct. 16, 2012, at Georgetown University.
- Fordham University in New York is hosting the lecture “50th Anniversary of Vatican II: Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy – Sacrosanctum Concilium” on Nov. 10, 2012, in Tarrytown, N.Y.
- The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, Calif.), along with the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, present “Vatican II: Recalling Our Past, Looking to Our Future,” which will include a number of events over the next three years, including year-long series of public lectures by speakers from across the country.
- The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs hosted Catholic Perspectives on Religious Liberty at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. last month and offers the following videos from the event:
Books, Publications & Websites
- Fifty distinguished authors, including theologians, journalists, spiritual writers, pastoral leaders and many Jesuit contributors, offer insights about the meaning of the council in “Vatican II: 50 Personal Stories,” drawing from personal experiences as witnesses or participants.
- Edited by Jesuit Fathers Jim Corkery and Gerry O’Hanlon along with Dr. Suzanne Mulligan, “Reaping the Harvest: Fifty Years after Vatican II” examines the impact of the teachings of Vatican II on the church at the time and its continuing effects today.
- Edited by Jesuit Father Walter M. Abbott, “The Documents of Vatican II With Notes and Comments by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Authorities” provides translations of all 16 council documents in English, along with introductions and commentaries by noted Roman Catholic bishops and council experts and essays by Protestant and Orthodox clergy and scholars.
- Two books by Jesuit Father John W. O’Malley: “What Happened at Vatican II” gives a brief, readable account of the council from its start to its conclusion and “Vatican II: Did Anything Happen?” provides a collection of analyses of the council.
- Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education magazine devotes its latest issue to “After 50 Years: The Living Spirit of Vatican II”.
- America magazine:
- Aggiornamento 2012: The editors reflect on Vatican II as a council of reform.
- Podcast – “Vatican II and Christian Unity”: Catherine E. Clifford talks about Vatican II as an ecumenical council.
- The Vision of Vatican II: A Skype Conversation: Jesuit Father Ladislas Orsy on the vision of Vatican II and how Catholics can help implement it today.
- A Change of Season: The first turning point of Vatican II.
- A New Pentecost: The council revealed Pope John XXIII’s hope for dialogue.
- An Ongoing Renewal: How the council is still shaping the church.
- The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University offers a Vatican II website with resources, including links to council documents.