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October 15, 2005     467 Words

St. Anthony Messenger’s Special Issue Commemorates the Anniversary of Vatican II

CINCINNATI—On October 11, 1962, a gathering of nearly 2,500 bishops convened in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to renew the Catholic Church. By December 1965, after four momentous sessions each fall, those meetings produced 16 official documents that accomplished what the bishops—under the guidance of Pope John XXIII and his successor, Pope Paul VI—set out to do. Forty years later, the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, still reverberates—a significant chapter in the Church’s long history.

St. Anthony Messenger has devoted its November issue to the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. “Vatican II: Where Is the Spirit Leading Us?” with its five articles, six personal reflections, editorial, four sidebars and two of its book reviews, seeks to analyze, celebrate and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Council. After October 18, the entire issue will be posted at:

The article “Seven Shifts in the Church,” by Msgr. William H. Shannon, offers perspective on Vatican II and how the Church came to a deeper understanding of its own identity and relationship to the world. In “Vatican II for Gen-Xers,” Renée LaReau shows how the Council influences Catholics, even thirtysomethings. R. Scott Appleby’s article “A U.S. Gift to the Council,” explains how an American Jesuit and the U.S. democracy influenced the tone of the Council.

Managing Editor Barbara Beckwith interviewed Archbishop John P. Foley for her article about his days covering Vatican II as a young priest and reporter. For “Whither Vatican II?” Assistant Editor John Feister asked Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, Anne Husted Burleigh, Father Richard McBrien, Edward Hahnenberg, Phyllis Zagano and Alan Schreck how Vatican II continues to shape the Church today.

Scattered throughout the special issue are sidebars by Michael J. Daley and Assistant Editors Susan Hines-Brigger and Christopher Heffron. Daley’s four sidebars tackle the Council’s 16 documents, the movers and shakers of the meetings, Vatican II terminology and significant events during Council sessions. Heffron and Hines-Brigger interviewed six multigenerational Catholics on their opinions of Vatican II. Editor Pat McCloskey, O.F.M., in his editorial “Reaping the Harvest of Vatican II,” examines how the meetings continue to shed light on our Church and our own individual faith journeys.

Though it may seem like ancient history, the pulse of Vatican II can still be felt in today’s Church. “It was exhilarating, stimulating, challenging, fascinating. The Second Vatican Council was where ‘the action was’—and we were there not only to witness it but also in some ways to take part in it. It was an unforgettable experience,” says Archbishop Foley. “I expected change and renewal—and we got it!”


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