Thursday, February 19, 2004

Vatican II: no revolution

Bill Cork refers to a recent news item concerning Cardinal Dulles' thoughts on Vatican II. As Bill quotes the story, "The Second Vatican Council was no revolution in Catholic thought or doctrine, and theologians who do not read the council documents in light of earlier church teaching badly misinterpret them, Cardinal Avery Dulles said."

Bill's take is that Vatican II "was truly revolutionary in its approach to ecumenism and relations with the Jews."

I know what he's saying, but I disagree, although the disagreement may be in semantics alone. I don't think there can be a real revolution in the Church, even at an ecumenical council... there had to be some impetus for the program of Vatican II from within the Church. If there wasn't, where did it come from?

I think that even in the significant developments in the areas of ecumenism and relations with the Jews, the foundation had been prepared prior to the Council. There was, after all, some softening at least during Pius XII's pontificate in these areas, if not before.

Development? Yes. Significant development? Again, yes. Revolution? Based on my understanding of twentieth century theology and church history, no.

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