Renewing Christianity: A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II

By McNally, Michael J. | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Renewing Christianity: A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II


McNally, Michael J., The Catholic Historical Review


Renewing Christianity.'A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II. By Christopher M. Bellitto. (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press. 2001. Pp. xii, 233. $18.95 paperback.)

Composing a one-volume history of the Western Church is a daunting task. Although his intended audience is not mentioned, Bellitto's work is aimed at the general public, as well as undergraduates and seminarians. An intellectual historian, he uses the idea of reform as his book's organizing principle. Although writing from a Catholic perspective, he demonstrates in his introduction that the concept of reform is one shared by all Christians.

Some authors have an ideological axe to grind, which both serves to shape and color their thoughts and also acts as a delimiting device to discard material which does not conform to their ideological perspective. To his credit, Bellitto refrains from doing this. Instead, he uses the idea of reform as a means to distill about 2,000 years of history into about 200 pages. Throughout the book he differentiates between personal and structural reform, as well as between reform in capite and in membris. He also distinguishes between reform as restorative and renewal as augmentative and ameliorative (p. 10).

His synthesis of the High and Later Middle Ages is excellent, as might be expected of a medievalist; yet one of his best chapters is on Vatican Council II, which he says breaks new ground with its emphasis on renewal, not just reform. His impartial thoughts on the council's fallout, namely, about polarization, about the speed of implementation, and about the links between the Councils of Trent and Vatican II, invite the reader to further reading and reflection.

Quoting primary sources mostly from secondary works, Bellitto places them judiciously in the text.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Renewing Christianity: A History of Church Reform from Day One to Vatican II
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?