Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Spirituality of the Second Vatican Council

Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Spirituality of the Second Vatican Council

Article excerpt

The Spirituality of the Second Vatican Council. By Gerald O'Collins, S.J. New York: Paulist, 2014. Pp. xi + 77. $10.95.

O'Collins offers this surprisingly compact gem in a clear, attractive style. He outlines a vibrant, liturgical Christian spirituality by marshalling a vast storehouse of ecclesial tradition to illuminate the key passages from the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council. "A non-liturgical, Christian spirituality," he affirms, "would be a contradiction in terms" (58).

O'C. goes further by recalling the root word leitourgia, the "work" of the church that is both worship and social action in serving the suffering. In fact, under O'C.'s gentle direction all the documents of Vatican II come alive in symphonic echoes of one another. Most Catholics are familiar with the council's declaration of the "universal call to holiness" rooted in baptism (Lumen gentium), but often enough, understanding stops there. O'C. unfolds the spiritual richness embodied throughout all the documents taken as a whole. Gaudium et spes, for instance, proposes a vision of Christ united with every human being so that all humanity, indeed the whole cosmos, now "enjoys ultimate meaning, value, and direction" (42).

In his final chapter, O'C. …

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