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Vatican Council II: what did it really mean?

Even after 50 years, this writer believes that the effects of the Second Vatican Council can still be felt - and deserve to be carefully reflected upon - today.
Vatican Council II: what did it really mean?
Richard Gaillardetz
March 13, 2012
Many Catholics over 50 are struggling with the realization that many younger Catholics, particularly seminarians and younger priests, do not share their sense of indebtedness to the Second Vatican Council. As one of those “over-50” Catholics, I am convinced that we overlook the influence of the council at our peril. The council’s enduring significance is not limited to the 16 documents it promulgated, however. There is much the church today can learn from a consideration of the actual conduct of the council. Yves Congar, the great 20th-century Dominican ecclesiologist and a key theological consultant at Vatican II, believed that councils manifest a deeper reality fundamental to the church itself—conciliarity. In an essay that has been influential in postconciliar ecclesiology (“The Council as an Assembly and the Church as Essentially Conciliar”), Father Congar complained of the tendency to treat councils as mere juridical events. He insisted that councils were, in some sense, a representation of the entire church. They effected “a totalization of the memory of the church.” If he is correct, then the key ecclesial dynamics that were at work at the council ought also to be present in the life of our church today. Full Story: Conversation Starters - Dialogue and deliberation during Vatican II Source: America Magazine
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