Politics and Religious Authority: American Catholics since the Second Vatican Council

By Richard J. Gelm | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

In many respects the extraordinary Second Vatican Council fundamentally altered the Roman Catholic Church and its approach to politics. Current debate within the Church over questions of free inquiry for theologians and calls for more democracy within the Church can only be understood in light of the promises of Vatican II. The ascendance of American Catholic bishops from timid leaders of a minority religion in American society to a position as major religious-political spokesmen must be viewed in the context of Vatican II changes. The politics of American Catholic bishops is the topic of the next chapter.


NOTES
1.
See Eugene C. Bianchi, "John XXIII, Vatican II, and American Catholicism," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 387 ( January 1970), pp. 30-40.
2.
Quoted in Anne Lally Milhaven, "Dissent Within the U.S. Church: An Interview with Charles Curran," in Mary C. Segers, ed., Church Polity and American Politics: Issues in Contemporary American Catholicism ( New York: Garland, 1990), p. 288.
3.
Cardinal Joseph Bemardin points out that while the Council call was a surprise in many respects, "the Council was in continuity with the past." He argues that some developments in biblical, liturgical, and catechetical reforms were partially underway during the reign of Pope Pius XII. See Alberic Stacpoole , ed., Vatican II Revisited by Those who Were There ( London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1986), p. xii.
4.
Robert McAfee Brown, Observer in Rome: A Protestant Report on the Vatican Council ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964), pp. 6-7.
5.
Quoted in Henri Daniel-Rops, The Second Vatican Council: The Story Behind the Ecumenical Council of Pope John XXIII ( New York: Hawthorn Books, 1962), p. 13.
6.
Such councils are relatively rare in Church history, although the exact number (21 or 22) is disputable, given the questionable standing of some popes (or antipopes). See Daniel-Rops, The Second Vatican Council, pp. 25-32.
7.
Quoted in Loris F. Capovilla, "Reflections on the Twentieth Anniversary," in Stacpoole, Vatican II Revisited, p. 122.
8.
The argument for a reconciliation between religion and science is forcefully made by Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man ( New York: Harper, 1959).
9.
Quoted in Capovilla, "Reflections," pp. 122-123.
10.
Quoted in Yves Congar, "Moving Towards a Pilgrim Church," in Stacpoole, Vatican II Revisited, pp. 142-143.

-60-

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Politics and Religious Authority: American Catholics since the Second Vatican Council
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Religion ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • Notes 8
  • Chapter 2 Religion, Political Development, and Change 11
  • Conclusion 27
  • Notes 28
  • Chapter 3 Religious Contributions to Political Culture 33
  • Conclusion 43
  • Notes 44
  • Chapter 4 Catholic Social Teaching and the Second Vatican Council 47
  • Conclusion 60
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter 5 Politics and the U.S. Catholic Bishops 65
  • Conclusion 90
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 6 Religion, Politics, and the Catholic Laity 99
  • Conclusion 116
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 7 Conclusion: The Enduring Connection Between Religion and Politics 123
  • Notes 129
  • References 131
  • Index 145
  • About the Author 153
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