Description of Vatican II class

In order to receive the Second Vatican Council as inspired, a “gift of the Spirit”, and to interpret the same Council under the influence of the same Spirit, the historical circumstances leading up to the 21st Ecumenical Council and to what the Council was responding as well as anticipating in the future will be covered.

To accomplish this, we will begin with the historical preparatory phase of the Second Vatican Council to include major themes and the influential persons who contributed to the inspiration of the calling of the Second Vatican Council dating back to the Council of Trent through the First Vatican Council, with special emphasis on the 19th century.

This will allow us the opportunity to understand the theological/philosophical and thus cultural impetus that inspired the calling of the Second Vatican Council by St. Pope John XXIII and its continued inspirational guidance under St. Pope Paul VI of the Council’s analysis of the times and the Church’s critical and hopeful response as read through the Council’s documents.

The major theme of “rupture/discontinuity” as opposed to “reform” developed by Pope Benedict XVI as a hermeneutic will be covered in order to proceed from a literal grasp of the documents to an interpretation of their deeper meaning within a “proper” context preparing the Church for the beginning of the Third Millennium with particular emphasis up to the year 2015 A.D. (the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s conclusion).

In particular, through an ordered reading of select passages from the four major constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, the student will begin to develop a hermeneutic of interpretation in the same Spirit in which the documents were inspired, namely:  Dei Verbum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, and Gaudium et Spes.   The inspirational themes which guided the Council discussions will be covered, with special emphasis given to the dialogical manner recommended by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, and continued by his successor, Pope John Paul II as outlined in his encyclical Redemptor Hominis.

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