Word on Fire Vatican II Collection (Volume I: Constitutions)

(Park Ridge: Word on Fire, 2021), 392

Word on Fire Vatican II Collection Volume 2


by Bishop Barron

  • "With the book you are reading, I am nailing my colors to the mast. I and Word on Fire stand firmly with Vatican II and hence against the radical traditionalists. And we stand firmly with the Wojtyła-Ratzinger interpretation of the council, and hence against the progressives." (xi)
  • We need a "robust and enthusiastic reappropriation of the texts of Vatican II"

Opening Address

by Pope John XXIII

  • "The present Council is a special, worldwide manifestation by the Church of her teaching office, exercised in taking account of the errors, needs, and opportunities of our day." (1)
  • "The whole of human history and of life hinges on the person of Jesus Christ." Either we anchor ourselves to him or we live apart from him (2)
  • "The decision to hold an ecumenical council came to Us in the first instance in a sudden flash of inspiration." (3)
  • We disagree with the prophets of doom who think our time especially bad or previous times not having difficulties; rather we are optimistic on the "threshold of a new era" (4) where the Church is "freed at last from the worldly fetters that trammeled her in past ages" (5)
  • We have a twofold obligation to "strive after heavenly values through the right use of the things of this earth," to "strive with all zeal for evangelical perfection, and at the same time to contribute toward the material good of humanity" (6, cf. Mt-06)
  • The goal is to re-present doctrine: "to transmit it in all its purity, undiluted, undistorted" (7) and that it shall be "more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men's moral lives" and "studied afresh and reformulated in contemporary terms" (8)
  • "The Lord's truth is indeed eternal. Human ideologies change." (8)
  • Explain rather than condemn: the Church now "prefers the balm of mercy to the arm of severity." (8)
  • Preach the truth and work for unity (9)

Dei Verbum

Lumen Gentium

"Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling."

Sacrosanctum concilium

Gaudium et spes


by Matthew Levering

  • Dei Verbum emphasizes that Jesus Christ is not receding into the past but remains a person we can encounter and know today.
  • Lumen Gentium portrays the Church as sharing in Christ's priestly, prophetic, and royal offices.
  • Sacrosanctum concilium invites believers to find in the Eucharistic liturgy the apex of the Christian faith.
  • Gaudium et spes addresses the issues that have arisen in the modern world.
  • The roots of the council can be found partly in a controversy over religious liberalism in the late nineteenth century.
    • Liberal Catholicism ("modernism") was condemned by Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907)
    • The 1930s saw the rise of both "neo-scholasticism" and nouvelle théologie or ressourcement theology
    • The Council was dominated by ressourcement theologians and taught firmly against religious liberalism
    • Levering encourages what he calls a "ressourcement Thomism": Catholics need to hold firm to what gives balance and weight to the Church: its enduringly true dogmatic and sacramental sharing in Jesus Christ
  • Proper appreciation for Vatican II requires sifting the permanent things from the passing things

Topic: Vatican II (read for Lent 2024 Vatican II Study)


Created: 2023-01-24-Tue
Updated: 2024-06-11-Tue