Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Renewed Church: The Second Vatican Council’s Enduring Teaching about the Church

Vatican Council II has quite rightly been called the Church's Council on herself! One of the principal aims of the book, The Renewed Church: The Second Vatican Council's Enduring Teaching about the Church, is to explain how and why Vatican II should be characterized in this way.

Two of the Council's sixteen documents—the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes—explain the Church's self-understanding of what she is and what she does better than has ever been done in any of the Church's official documents in the course of her long history. The diversity inherent in the Church as Catholic, or universal, is also covered in the book in a discussion of the Council's Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, Orientalium Ecclesiarum. Such currently widely discussed and debated contemporary issues as the primacy of the pope, the collegiality of the bishops, the universal call to holiness, the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the economy of salvation, the relations of the Church and Catholics with other Christians and with the modern world, and the dignity of the human person—all of these issues, and how they apply today in the life of the Church, go back to Vatican II and to the Council's great documents on the Church, which are more relevant than ever today with the passage of time.

Reviews

Kenneth Whitehead confounds the liberal-conservative dichotomy by exploring what the Council teaches about the Church as conciliar. In light of the writings of two great men of the Council, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Whitehead shows how the Church's teaching of truth depends upon the relationship of papal and conciliar teaching. His presentation of the documents of Vatican II, especially Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, richly illumines the Council Fathers' love for Catholic truth.
--Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

With insight and erudition, Kenneth D. Whitehead provides a penetrating look at what Vatican II actually taught and how many since the council have tried to undermine its true meaning and purpose. This book provides a much-needed counter-balance to those who, in a false spirit of Vatican II, have tried to resist authentic Catholic teachings on human sexuality, the nature of the Church and ecumenism.
--Robert L. Fastiggi, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI
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