Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

The Reception of Vatican II in Australia since 1965

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

The Reception of Vatican II in Australia since 1965

Article excerpt

On Sunday 12 September Fr Richard Lennan gave a fascinating address to a packed meeting of members and friends.

Richard began by defining reception as the process through which an ecclesial community incorporates into its own life a particular custom, decision, liturgical practice or teaching. There are three issues for understanding reception:

1. What is the shape of the ecclesial community as it begins reception?

2. What are the characteristics of the material the community is to receive?

3. How do the processes of reception affect file ecclesial community?

Prior to Vatican II (October 1962). our faith seemed clear, certain comprehensive, and we also knew who our enemies were. Some of the Australian bishops didn't see a need for a council, and didn't prepare for it very well. However Jeff Murphy said in the Australasian Catholic Record that. once Vatican II began, the Australian bishops participated with a willingness to engage with the process of renewal and reform.

Richard then quoted Dr Karl Rahner SJ, a significant advisor to the Council, who said that Vatican II took a responsibility for the world, rather than being suspicious of post-Enlightenment cultures, as it had been during Vatican I. Vatican II had two great themes: aggiornamento and resourcement, i.e. the old and the new, a developing tradition rather than a fixed Tridentine world view; and, secondly, a recovery of the primacy of Scripture.

According to the historian John O'Malley, Vatican II was the first Council not to condemn anyone, the first Council called on to do something, rather than respond to crisis in belief or governance, and the first Council to formulate a pastoral constitution. …

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