The Reception of Vatican II

Fifty years after the event of Vatican II, we find ourselves in that crucial moment of passage between the short run and the long run: the “clash of narratives” about Vatican II encounters here the perennial law of the reception of the Councils of the Church. Giuseppe Alberigo, recalling the worrisome memorandum sent between 1600 and 1612 by Robert Bellarmine to Pope Clement VIII on the progress of the reforms decided by the Council of Trent (1545-63), had estimated that it took at least fifty years for the beginning of the reception of Trent.

It is part of the challenge of ministering in today’s Catholic Church, showing that the Church is in an ongoing path of conversion to the Gospel. It is a spiritual, theological, and institutional process. Vatican II is the most important moment in that process of conversion for a Church in the modern secular world. Making sense of the place and the role of the Church in today’s world requires an awareness of that particular moment in the history of the Catholic tradition.

Massimo Faggioli, “Introduction”, in A Liturgical Companion to the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, Danielle A. Noe, editor, (Chicago, IL: Liturgy Training Publications, 2016), p. xx. ISBN: 978-1-61671-314-0.