In the most recent issue of America magazine, Boston College theologian Richard Gaillardetz (visit his personal website) writes about some of the themes and dispositions present in the context of the Second Vatican Council, particularly highlighting the roles of dialogue and deliberation with a spirit of openness and collegiality during the conciliar discussions. There is much we can learn from the way the Second Vatican Council unfolded and has (or has not) been received in subsequent years. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of this historic event in the life of the Church and world, take a look at this article. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Every ecumenical council manifests or puts on display, to some extent, what the church really is. What happens at ecumenical councils is more than the writing, debate, revision and approval of documents. At an ecumenical council, saints and sinners, the learned and the ignorant gather together. They share their faith, voice their concerns, pray, argue, gossip, forge alliances and compromises, enter into political intrigue, rise above that intrigue to discern the movements of the Spirit, worry about preserving the great tradition in which their identity is rooted, seek to understand the demands of the present moment and hope for a better future.

That those who gather at a council carry lofty titles (pope, patriarch, cardinal, archbishop, bishop, religious superior, theologian) and wear somewhat unusual garb should not distract us from the fact that, at heart, they are brothers and sisters (women did play their part, however circumscribed it may have been) in the faith to all other Catholic Christians. Their deliberations represent, in a dramatic form, what the church is called to be.

To read the rest, go here: “Conversation Starters: Dialogue and Deliberation During Vatican II.”

Photo: File

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