The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), a gathering of Catholic bishops from around the world, was one of the most significant cultural and ecclesiastical events of the twentieth century. Though practically everyone acknowledges its importance, Catholics have been debating its precise meaning and application for the past sixty years. On the one hand are “radical traditionalists” who claim that Vatican II has betrayed authentic Catholicism and produced disastrous consequences in the life of the Church; on the other, “progressives” who saw the council documents as a first step in the direction of a more radical reform of the Church, perpetuating the “spirit” of Vatican II.
But even as many voices have argued about the council since the documents appeared in the mid-1960s, the documents of Vatican II are still widely unread, and if they are read, often misunderstood. This groundbreaking new book from Word on Fire is designed to address that problem.
The Word on Fire Vatican II Collection features the four central documents that most fully articulate the vision of the council—Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and Gaudium et Spes—with illuminating commentary from the postconciliar popes and Bishop Robert Barron interspersed throughout, along with beautifully carved linocut art. The collection also includes the opening address of Pope St. John XXIII, the closing address of Pope St. Paul VI, a foreword from Bishop Barron, an afterword from theologian Matthew Levering, and helpful appendices listing key terms and figures and answering frequently asked questions. The Word on Fire Vatican II Collection is a robust but readable journey into the true history and purpose of the Second Vatican Council, and a compelling call for an enthusiastic return to its texts today.