Category Archives: Vatican II

Gaudium et Spes: The Right Reading of Vatican II

Fr. Robert BarronIn a 55 minute presentation Father Robert Barron takes a keen review and analysis of Gaudium et Spes for the 5oth anniversary of Vatican II.

The Benedictine monks of Saint Procopius Abbey (Lisle, IL) and Benedictine University have  offered several presentations to help us understand the importance of the key documents promulgated at the Second Vatican Council.

Father Barron is the author and host of the critically acclaimed Catholicism series. Barron is trained in theology. His full time ministry as a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago is to serve at the President/Rector of Mundelein Seminary.

What will Benedict XVIs legacy be in the years ahead?

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The answer to this question will not be in its final form for a long time. The papacy only ended a few weeks ago. Historians will have to look at several things before they will be able to reflect back with greater precision that a video or a blog commentary can provide in 2013. There are several things that Pope Benedict’s 8 year reign that give good indicators as to what we engage with in the years ahead. Many more intelligent than I have thought this question through, but Father Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago has made a good first attempt when he posits that Benedict will be remembered for:

1. being able to give a more authentic interpretative key to the Second Vatican Council; that is, naming the true mission of the Church;
2. being able to present the objective truth of the faith as taught by the Church these 2 thousand years with the clear awareness that the truth is about the Divine Love lived in joy; this is often called affirmative orthodoxy: the big ‘yes’ vs. the fat ‘no';
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Year of Faith: sharing Christ’s Good News is new life, a journey that transforms

In the presence of  hundreds of bishops, the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, ecumenical partners and laity, Pope Benedict prayed the Mass and preached on the meaning of both the Second Vatican Council and the Year of Faith through the lens of conversion. Benedict is clear: the Year of Faith is not celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The Church needs not a special forum for this anniversary; it is all an invitation to conversion and to deepen one’s faith in the Christ. The homily Pope Benedict delivered today follows.

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fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin
with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you,
particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His
Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the
Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the
Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which
some present had the grace to experience for themselves – and I greet them with
particular affection – this celebration has been enriched by several special
signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the
Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of
the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final
Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I
will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember,
they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite
us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican
II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its
true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by
the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the
Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

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Mary is the living house of the Lord, Pope recalls John XXIII 50th anniversary visit


Pope Benedict went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, his 30th trip in Italy, to commemorate the visit Blessed John XXIII made when he called the Second Vatican Council entrusting her with the needs the Church and the Council. The Pope’s homily follows.

On 4 October 1962,
Blessed John XXIII came as a pilgrim to this Shrine to
entrust to the Virgin Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, due to
begin a week later. On that occasion, with deep filial devotion to the Mother
of God, he addressed her in these words: “Again today, and in the name of the
entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as Help of Bishops, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all
the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall
of Saint Peter’s Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus
entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and
for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the
salvation of individuals and peoples. Thus, by your maternal intercession, in
the years and the centuries to come, may it be said that the grace of God
prepared, accompanied and crowned the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, filling
all the children of the holy Church with a new fervour, a new impulse to
generosity, and a renewed firmness of purpose”
54 [1962], 727).

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Raymond Hunthausen, last US bishop to attend Vatican II

RGH.jpgToday, Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen, the emeritus archbishop of Seattle (1975-1991), celebrates his 91st birthday. He studied chemistry and later served as an assistant professor of Chemistry at Carroll College before becoming that school’s president in 1957. In 1962, Blessed John XXIII appointed him as bishop of Helena and from there he attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. at 40 years old, he was the youngest bishop at the beginning of the Council. In 1975, the Servant of God Paul VI appointed Bishop Hunthausen to the See of Seattle. Hence, he’s been a priest for 66 years and a bishop for 50.

Archbishop Hunthausen is the last surviving US bishop to have attended all of the sessions of the Second Vatican Council.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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