After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics

After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics

After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics

After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics


Since the closing of Vatican II (1962-1965) nearly fifty years ago, several multivolume studies have detailed how the bishops at the council debated successive drafts and finally approved the sixteen documents published as the proceedings of the council. However, opinions vary, sometimes sharply, about the implications of Vatican II. This volume explores the major flashpoints.

Contributors :
John Connelly
Massimo Faggioli
James L. Heft
M. Cathleen Kaveny
Joseph A. Komonchak
John O'Malley
Francis A. Sullivan
Darlene Fozard Weaver
Robin Darling Young


In February 2009, a few months after the appearance of John O’Malley’s What Happened at Vatican ii, I invited in the name of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies a small group of scholars to gather at the University of Southern California to meet with O’Malley and carry on the conversation. Included in the group was Joseph Komonchak, who has written extensively on the council, has edited the English version of the fivevolume History of Vatican ii (Orbis/Peeters, 1995-2006), and has an extraordinary grasp of the debates, developments, and formation of the documents of the council.

O’Malley devotes the first third of his book to describing the “long nineteenth century,” which he dates from the French Revolution to the fall of 1958 when Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was elected Pope John xxiii. Without a grasp of the main historical realities that constituted the ecclesial dimensions of the Church before Vatican ii, it is difficult to understand the significant changes that the bishops at the council agreed to make. the changes that the 2,400 bishops — gathered from around the world for ten weeks each fall from 1962 to 1965 — included clearly affirming religious liberty, strongly supporting ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, calling for significant changes in liturgical forms, and stating unambiguously the continuing validity of the covenant that God made with the Jews. Rather than use, as had been the custom, the language of legal decrees with “anathemas” attached, the bishops at this council wrote the sixteen documents they approved using a quite different style, a decision more important than on the surface it might suggest.

The “issues under the issues,” which O’Malley had singled out in his book, were of special interest to the scholars gathered in Los Angeles.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.