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Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise [Kindle Edition]

Alan Schreck

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Product Description


Discusses key documents of the council of the Vatican II and their meaning.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 440 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005BREOQ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #641,523 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Will the Real Vatican II Please Stand Up?" 11 Aug. 2005
By Rich Leonardi - Published on
With "Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise", Alan Schreck rescues the misunderstood council from the clutches of dissenters on the Left and the Right.

In an accessible Q&A format, he guides readers through a tour of the important conciliar documents and explains the cultural milieu in which the bishops gathered from 1962-1965. Terms like "collegiality" and "people of God" are explained crisply, concisely and always charitably. He does this mostly by -- surprise! -- citing the documents themselves.

What does Vatican II teach about priestly celibacy? women's "ordination"? the role of the laity? You'll find answers here.

Sadly, extremists on the Left and the Right misrepresent the council as a cataclysm that launched a revolutionary new church and religion. Although countless abuses were committed in the name of the Council's amorphous spirit, Schreck places Vatican II in its proper context within the 2,000-year tradition of the "ever ancient, ever new" Church.

Whenever I hear someone ascribe an especially nutty idea to "the spirit of Vatican II" or breathlessly assert that Vatican II changed this or that, I usually grab my copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Now I'll also grab "Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise."
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Content in Readable Format 2 Aug. 2005
By Carol Blank - Published on
Philosophy professor Allan Schreck is concerned that the views of Vatican II's more vocal dissenters may leave the impression that the council itself or its teachings are tainted, leading others to forgo study of its teachings. It is not surprising, then, that his purpose is to provide a true understanding of Catholic doctrine as found in council documents. And in keeping with this focus, Schreck uses format, style, and language inviting to those famous "people in the pews."

The areas of major dissent are dealt with primarily in the fifty-some pages of the first section under the headings Vatican II the Crisis and the Critics; The Deeper Crisis in the Church Since the Council; and Setting the Record Straight. The remaining eleven chapters examine Vatican II teachings on topics including Scripture, worship, Christian unity, and the challenge to bishops, priests, and religious. Three chapters are devoted specifically to what we can learn from the council about the role of the Church and its members in the modern world. In each case, the author uses quotations from council documents and examples of ways we might apply the teachings.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VATICAN II -- NOT ITS "SPIRIT," "GHOST," "INTENT," "I-WISH-IT-WERE" 13 Dec. 2005
By John M. Grondelski - Published on
Peter Henriot once described Catholic social teaching as "our best kept secret." The same can be said about Vatican II. Lots of things have been claimed in the "spirit" of the Council, but what the Council actually said remains, in many ways, "our best kept secret."

Alan Schreck, professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, wants to lift that veil. His book, structured in question/answer format, explains the teaching of the sixteen documents of Vatican II. He also provides background on how the Council came about and what has fueled the "crisis" that lead various extremes to heap blame for ecclesiastical problems on the Council itself.

Pope John Paul II described the Second Vatican Council as "the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century." The Council was, after all, about what it meant to be a Catholic today.

Schreck's book emphasizes the bracing challenge of being a Catholic in the modern world. He puts special stress on the role of Catholic laity who, from a conciliar perspective, remain the Church's hope for setting the contemporary world ablaze for Christ.

So just who are we?

"We are the people gifted with God's Word, who are challenged to know and live that Word as it comes to us in sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition and through the teaching office of the pope an the bishops. We are the people whose worship of God as a community in the liturgy is the fullest expression of who we are and the summit of our life. Thus we are challenged to worship our Lord reverently and faithfully, in spirit and truth. We are the people of God whose fullness resides in the Catholic Church. Yet we recognize the gifts and grace of God at work in other baptized believers. We are the people of God, challenged to take up the mission of Christ in every sphere of human life: the family, politics, economics, social and cultural life, education and the mass media. Our aim is that Christ may be truly Lord of all, in every aspect of life" (pp. 279-80).

Obviously, the best introduction to Vatican II would be for Catholics to read the Conciliar documents themselves. Since its documents remain, four decades after the Council, "best kept secrets," Schreck's book provides a good summary survey of each text's salient points. Key themes like the universal call to holiness, the Church as communion and People of God, the reform of the liturgy, the apostolate of the laity, the renewal of religious life, ecumenism, and the theological anthropology of Gaudium et spes are all explained in understandable language. The author also provides citations to post-Conciliar documents to show the continuity of Catholic teaching, properly noting that Conciliar teaching should be read together with what preceded it and what followed it. Vatican II was about adaptation, not innovation. The Council itself (as opposed to the "meta-Council" of some writers) frequently based its reforms on appeals to a more broadly understood past: liturgical renewal, for example, was supposed to be "reform by remembering," recognizing that the Church's liturgical tradition did not reach back only to Trent.

My major criticism of the book is Schreck's somewhat superficial and imbalanced presentation of the sources of the ecclesiastical "crisis" some attribute to Vatican II. No one can deny the problems the Church has faced these past forty years, but in perspective the Lefebvrists were minor players in that "crisis." To begin-for lack of a better term-with the extreme right's critics of the Council lacks perspective. "Catholic" theology faculties in the U.S. have not been roiling with people who say Paul VI went too far. Furthermore, to lump a Catholic critic like James Hitchcock in with a revisionist like Gregory Baum is distortive. Schreck's analysis of Conciliar "crisis" is particularly disappointing when compared with his superior exposition of the Council's "promise." Lopping off the first 35 pages (the "crisis") would lose little and help the rest of this book a lot.

A useful book for parish discussion groups, adult religious education, and general readers, this book fills a gap by making the teaching of Vatican II available to all. Recommended.

(My review originally appeared in the Dec 4 NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all who wish to understand the documents of the Second Vatican Council 11 Aug. 2013
By Christopher P. Maag - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very insightful. Schreck has a wonderful grasp on the events and their meaning for their time as well as ours. I now understand these documents like never before. I have been reading this book along with the documents, themselves. Schreck has really helped make clear what the church was doing, and what was going on in the meantime.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vatican II: the life's work of the Sainted Pope John XXIII 8 Nov. 2014
By Simone Signoret - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Vatican II is the life's work of the sainted Pope John XXIII, a true Christian with a heart full of charity and simple faith; a man of peasant stock from a small village near Bergamo, Italy, he did travel the world as a gifted diplomat for the Catholic Church who accomplished much by his gracious countenance. But Vatican II was the crowning achievement of his life, an attempt at reconciliation between the traditional values of the church and a more liberated attitude her people of the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries. A most courageous stand for truth and justice is his plea for the church to abandon the persecution of the Jews in a moving prayer that he penned shortly before his death and that deserves being quoted here:
"We realize now that many, many centuries of blindness have dimmed our eyes, so that we no longer see the beauty of Thy Chosen People and no longer recognize in their faces the features of our firstborn brother.
We realize that our brows are branded with the mark of Cain. Centuries long has Abel lain in blood and tears, because we had forgotten Thy love.
Forgive us the curse which we unjustly laid on the name of the Jews.
Forgive us that, with our curse, we crucified thee a second time.”
Unfortunately the official Catholic Church of today does not live up to the exhortations of her most sainted son.
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