The List 5.25.09: What Happened at Vatican II

The List is a weekly feature highlighting something remarkable, offbeat, or otherwise noteworthy from the world of the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality.Pope John XXIII proposed the idea of Vatican Council II 50 years ago.  The debate about what happened there continues today.  Was the Council a break with the past?  Or did it reaffirm ancient traditions and doctrines?

Both, says Jesuit historian John W. O’Malley in his new book What Happened at Vatican II, though O’Malley emphasizes the way the Council opened the church to innovation and new thinking.  Reviews and commentators agree that the book is major contribution to discussion of the Council.  See these reviews in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Tablet.

O’Malley also wrote The First Jesuits,  my favorite book of Jesuit history.


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