Second Vatican Council Critical Thinking Examples

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Church, Council, Religion, Christians, Bullying, Violence, Abuse, Ethics

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/03/02

Facts of the crisis

The Second Vatican Council stands as a crucial religious and ecclesia event in the twentieth century. The mass media covered the issue extensively. Pope Benedict XVI calls attention to the theological difficulties to implement reforms of Vatican II. According to the former Pope, commentators distort the teachings of the Second Vatican Council through a means of hermeneutics of discontinuity of rapture. The texts had wrong interpretation with unimportant issues combined with useful information. The impact of the Vatican II (1962-1965) has a pervasive and profound to portray the council that categorize liberal versus conservative. The media reports illustrate the council as a liberal or progressive accommodation to modernity that has the objective of overcoming Catholicism traditional and conservative resistance to modernity. The foreign correspondents flocked to Rome and since few had expertise in Catholic theology, they relied on the popularized accounts of the council deliberations and debates offered by periti (Malley 45). Father Francis Xavier Murphy is an American Redemptorist that contributes much to the propagation of ideological reporting on the council debates. Joseph Ratzinger is a young German theologian that fails to engage in the lively debates once the council convenes. Political ideological categories that cover the council distort the event of the council that interprets it as a political and ideological happening. The council ignores daily celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Council at the Council, prayers, and invocations of the saints. The genuine event of the council serve as a conflict between liberals and conservatives, as people perceive the documents of the council as hermeneutics of rupture and discontinuity. While a document referred to traditional Catholic teachings and practices, they were misread as a simple compromise to get the conservatives to vote for the liberal and progressive agenda. According to the former Pope Benedict XVI, the ignorance of the conciliations was a sign of the spirit of Zeitgeist other than Holy Spirit (Malley 55).
Fergus Kerr in his book, Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians, refers to the past century Catholic Clergy as Triumph of Origen. He rejuvenates the presence of God throughout creation (Kerr 27). According to the author, Catholic theology undergoes seismic shifts while the popes and bishops tend to ignore those changes. Kerr posits with great sympathy the theology of the body first depicted by John Pope Paul II in the 1990s. Kerr has been a Dominican priest borrowing from Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein religious scholars. He enters ordination studies in the 50s when Neo-Scholasticism dominates theological curriculum (Kerr 34). The century ends with a reaffirmation of nuptial mysticism that influential theologians failed to anticipate. Pope John Paul II indicates the Second Vatican precisely as a compass to orient oneself in the vast ocean of the third millennium. The first millennium of Catholicism characterize as patristic-monastic era where the fidelity to the truth of revelation sets up monasteries, cathedral schools, dioceses, and covenants that stress on the importance of dedicating to wisdom and holiness (Kerr 37). During that era, the ecumenical councils defended the truth of the Word of God as revealed in the heretical distortions. In the evangelization of the Greek and Roman cultures, the Church fathers describe how the Word of God reveal redemptive wisdom incarnate in life, suffering, death, and resurrection. The ancient Greek philosophers taught the need for intellectual and moral excellence to live a virtuous life in accordance to right reason (Kerr 34). The Church in the first millennium developed intellectual and ecclesial apostolate in cathedrals; convents, monastic communities, and parishes dedicated for quests of wisdom and holiness the council in the first millennium were not able to account for pervasive evil and injustice that led to Stoic indifference that degenerate into Epicurean distraction. Benedict XVI stresses on the decisive role of world history in the approach between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry (Kerr 39).
(a) The first Internet council
Vatican II on its priestly formation calls for the renewal of moral theology to have a livelier contact with the mystery of Christ nourished through scriptural teaching. The historical analysis show that Catholic moral thought of the manuals focused on law and sin. The moral life was conceived of as a series of largely unrelated acts of good or bad based on the law. Genuine moral theology requires immersion within the teachings of scripture in the study of soul of sacred theology. The assimilation of Scripture in careful study and prayerful reflection is at the heart of authentic renewal of moral theology and Christian living. Authentic renewal necessitates great focus on the human person fully revealed by Christ. A livelier contact with the mystery of Christ calls for post-conciliar moral theology to bring human persons created in a better focus.
(b) Summary of Major Parts
Numerous studies and surveys highlight a disturbing gap between official Catholic teaching concerning sexuality and the actual beliefs and practice of the baptized. Some of the contentious issues include birth regulation, extramarital sex, homogeneity activity, abortion, and the use of artificial insemination or vitro fertilization. For that reason there is a growing disjoint between magisterial teaching and the belief and practice of many Catholics in the area of sexuality. There is plenty of alienation as faithful try to reconcile their own experience and convictions concerning sexuality in what they know of official Church teaching. Some of the contemporary American ethos of sexuality has the influence of Roman Catholic moral theology, Virgin Mary, evangelical Protestantism, Romanticism, modern psychology, and ideology of birth control movement.
(b) Summary of Major Parts
John O’ Malley credits the Vatican II for accomplishing a major revolution to overcome unhealthy ecclesiocentrism of the past. Many authors popularize a radical interpretation of the council’s impact on ecclesiology. The council held that the Church was an institution founded by Christ with definite and immutable structures. After the council, the Church was seen as a pilgrim community with constant restructuring to suit the times. Before the council the Church was necessary for salvation after the council it, it is one of the many places where people can live a life of grace (Malley 67). Before the council, the Catholic Church saw herself as the sole legitimate Church; after it the Church of Christ is imperfect. Lumen gentium that deals with the mystery of the Church describes the church as a sacrament of unity.
(c) The Launch of an Internet Council
The constitution on the sacred liturgy Sacrosanctumconcilium became the first document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council on December 1963 approved by majority votes. The council laid the constitution on a solid theological foundation with a list of outward aspect of worship. The constitution decreed specific changes in the celebration of the liturgy. Pope John XXIII led the council in affirming the renewal and fostering of the liturgy to deepen the Christian life of the faithful. The liturgy builds within it a dwelling place for God in the Spirit, while strengthening power to preach Christ, and manifest the Church as a sign of the nations.
(d) Pastoral Constitution of the Church
Gaudiumetspes concerns pastoral orientation, constitution of the liturgy, and the four pillars of the council. Joseph Ratzinger does not show sufficient awareness of the tension between the Catholic tradition and the modern philosophy that exercises strong influence in the contemporary era. The council mentions provision of material goods to people in the developing nations where there is a possibility for the m to participate in the political and cultural life of the nations (Malley 68). The education of the mind, purification of the heart, and greater unity among human beings based on truth will elevate perfect human dignity. The Church and society must heed the formation of the citizens’ character to bring about a just social order.
(e) Influences of Kerr’s Theologians
Kerr conceives a modern Catholic theology in a non-historical way as it never considers the oddity of his proposal that a generation of theologians brought up on Neo-Scholastic Thomism. Chenu breaks completely with the style of expounding the Thomist synthesis as practiced by Garrigou-Lagrange. Chenu rejects the entire idea of implicit intuitive participation of being. Chenu reverses the customary pedagogical order of approach to Aquinas. Kerr considers the philosophy of evaluating innovation. Chenu objects Garrigou’s taking Thomas position out of theological and historic context to create a sacred metaphysics (Kerr 53). Kerr informs that Chenu ideology that Garrigou though is entirely Wolffian rationalism is preposterous.
(f) Influences of contemporary theologians
Dr. Massimo Faggoli’s opinion on the Vatican II is that GaudiumetSpes plays a special role in the clash of theological cultures. Some of the elements that make pastoral constitution distinct among the documents of Vatican II is that it is one of the longest document with over 37,000 words (Flannery 87). The GaudiemetSpes depicts a new kind of Church document for the contemporary world that led to schema XVIII. An underlying document to solve and social issues face Catholics today.
(g) Non-Christian Thinker
The atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel says that metaphysics will resolve people’s speculations concerning the universe in his book Mind and Cosmos. His ideas concerning evolution and natural selection are full of quasi-scientific language that resembles Anglo-American philosophy. According to the atheist philosopher, a different realm of non-physical matter exists that gives rise to electrical firings in the brain. The author presents mental activity as a special realm of life.
(h) Scriptural support of the document
Pope Paul VI promulgates the Vatican II constitution to provide a magisterial statement of the Church in the interpretation of the Scripture. The constitution depicts hermeneutical principles laid down by solemn magisterial of the Church at Vatican II. The scriptural commentary and exegetical research indicate upsurge of interest in the biblical text. Some of the rational methods of critical exegesis include historical and literal criticism. Divino affiante Spiritu was the outcome of the council after applying the Scripture as part of their devotional life. Dei Verbum represents comprehensive teaching on God’s revelation to humanity made by the Ecumenical Council. The Scripture provided revelation of the connection between Jesus and God. The Gnostic movement claimed to have Jesus secret traditions concerning superior and malevolence spiritual beings.
(i) Church Father Support for the Document
St. Vincent of Lerins gave good advice to the Catholic councils so that they could disassociate with people that had contrary doctrine. For example, He assisted the council to become aware of the falsehoods of heresy. The Church father says that the entire church should cut off the communion of universal faith.
(j) Medieval theologian in support of the document
Thomas Aquinas objects tothe men that translate the Hebrew of Exodus into Greek. Other biblical scholars and dogmatic theologians stress on the same point. The Church does not have a philosophy to canonize any particular philosophy in preference of others. Thomistic philosophy has been the official philosophy for many years

Facts of the Crisis

Most theologians agree that Catholic Church contemporary sexual abuse scandal involved the alleged case against Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in 1983. The Boston Globe in 2002 contains all the elements that associate with Church crisis. Typically, a priest arrived in the parish around 1960s often energetic and charismatic and maintained a key focus on the ministry of youth activities. Gradually he developed acquaintances with the young people that had been taught that the priest was Christ’s representative on earth. Eventually, the father introduced sex into his relationship with young people (Flannery 127). Along the way the victim’s parent, fellow parishioner, or priest brought the issue to the attention of the diocesan representative. Upon confrontation, the father acknowledged the accuracy of the allegations and promised not to sin again. The Church sent the father for psychological treatment where the treatment programs and discharge plans vary widely in their competence and credibility.

The church's apology and reparation

The response of the Roman Catholic Church to the clerical sex abuse scandal that emerges in the 80s exhibits organizational crisis management. The information in the public domain of the cases of clergy child-sex abuse can illustrate the Church handling of the crisis. A close examination of the Irish cases reveals a pattern of interaction between complaints and the RCC authorities. The sexual abuse of children by priests is a grave and repugnant sin. The clerks that have been guilty of the offense recognize the evil nature of their actions and seek forgiveness (Kerr 93). The Vatican attributes to the behavior of the offenders to supernatural forces as well as mysteriuminiquitatis. Recently, Pope Francis apologizes on behalf of the Catholic clerics that sexually abuse minors. The Pope offers apologies to all the victims of the abuse, families, and parish communities. His tone mirrors the statements on clergy abuse from the Vatican that commend the God of all comfort to give peace to all the victims of sexual abuse on the part of the families as some have trauma from the issue. An apology will restore respect and dignity to the people that have been humiliated (Kerr 93). They can affirm that the apologizer shares the same values as the offended party. Measures to mitigate
Unlike other organizations, religious organizations realize that they should have higher ethical foundations. People expect that these institutions should have service ethos grounded in the sense of vocation, uncontaminated corporate preoccupations, and spiritual development. Some of the measures that the Vatican put into place are to punish the guilty. At the diocese level, those in charge to respond to sexual allegations were the archbishop. Since Catholic Church has a flat structure, the bishops have the mandate of solving the alleged issue in their own way. The Vatican main concern is to ensure it serves justice with equality for all those involved. Most of the diocese recommends psychiatric and psychological treatment for the clergy that sexually abuse minors. The psychiatric treatment views sexual molestation as an addiction. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) calls for the swift punishments for guilty priests for misconduct. The ecclesiastical and civil authorities implement procedures and laws to prevent sexual abuse of minors and they should make immediate report in case it occurs. The laity recommends the removal of the clergy that involves themselves in sexual abuse.

Critique of Mandatory Celibacy

Any college-aged man that enters a Catholic institution during the ongoing crisis of sexual-abuse scandals does so with a certain amount of self-consciousness. The decision to embrace a life of celibacy is often subject to critiques on whether the church has the capability of providing a formation necessary to produce well-adjusted sexually healthy priests. The critiques of the church see sexual abuse as the natural result of celibacy that they regard as a psychologically unnatural way of life. The only solution to the problem of priestly sexual abuse would be to drop mandatory celibacy.


This view is simplistic since non-celibates especially within families commit most sexual abuse. The percentage of celibate clergy that abuse mirrors the percentage among non-celibate as well as secular professionals. The large numbers of non-abusing priests and bishops ignore psychological abnormality of celibacy where a particular priest commits abuse. The critique of celibacy is inadequate to explain why priests shirk their moral duty and why bishops choose to assign and reassign serial child molesters to unsuspecting parishes.

Works Cited

Abbott, Walter M. The Documents of Vatican II. New York: Guild, 1966. Print.
Costa, Gavin. The Second Vatican Council: Celebrating Its Achievements and the Future. Print.
Evans, Robert A. The Future of Philosophical Theology. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971. Print.
Flannery, Austin. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1996. Print.
Heffernan, Virginia Mary. Outlines of the 16 Documents: Vatican II. New York: Long Island Catholic, 1965. Print.
Kerr, Fergus. Twentieth-century Catholic Theologians: From Neo-scholasticism to Nuptial Mysticism. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2007. Print.
Leeming, Bernard. The Vatican Council and Christian Unity: A Commentary on the Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council, Together with a Translation of the Text. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Print.
Malley, John W. What Happened at Vatican II. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2008. Print.
Vorgrimler, Herbert. Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II. New York: Herder and Herder, 1967. Print.
Wolleh, Lothar, and Emil Schmitz. The Council; the Second Vatican Council. New York: Viking, 1966. Print.

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