Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Richard R. Gaillardetz and Catherine E. Clifford, Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Richard R. Gaillardetz and Catherine E. Clifford, Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II

Article excerpt

Richard R. Gaillardetz and Catherine E. Clifford, Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012. Pp. 198. $19.95, paper.

Christ--Church-Mankind: The Spirit of Vatican II according to Pope John Paul II. Edited by Zdzistaw Jozef Kijas and Andrzey Andrzej Dobrzynski. New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2012 (orig.: Cristo--Chiesa--Uomo: II Vaticano II nel Pontificato di Giovanni Paulo II [Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011]). Pp. 129. $15.95, paper.

Keys to the Council offers accessible and responsible theological reflection on twenty passages that the book's co-authors have selected as "interpretive keys" from among the conciliar texts. The well-chosen passages highlight a range of themes, including liturgical reform, communion ecclesiology, lay participation, episcopal collegiality, the Council's understanding of tradition, religious liberty, ecumenism, and relations with non-Christian religions. A famous passage such as Lumen gentium 8, on "subsists in" (which the late Francis Sullivan, to whom the book is dedicated, interpreted with such care) is not featured but is treated within a chapter centered around Unitatis redintegratio 3, on "imperfect communion.'

Impressively rendered are the historical-theological glosses that contextualize each conciliar theme. Medieval developments in the church regularly appear as having strayed from or obscured biblical and patristic norms, with a locution like "Sadly, in the Middle Ages" (p. 70) being typical and conciliar teachings presented as recovering significant elements of authentic tradition. At times, these historical sketches become slightly facile, but, on the whole, I found them to be fair, with a less alienated view of preconciliar approaches than one often finds. In their analysis of Christus Dominus 11,1 wish the authors had had more critical distance on what was too long assumed (and still is by many), namely, that the episcopate is the undifferentiated sum of all the local bishops with the universal pontiff as head; recent Catholic ecclesiology--especially since Vatican II--has pushed the question of episcopal authority at the intermediate, regional level, yet the authors' discussion is uninformed by this debate. …

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