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What Happened at Vatican II

by John W. O'Malley

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203395,120 (4.35)9
During four years in session, Vatican Council II held television audiences rapt with its elegant, magnificently choreographed public ceremonies, while its debates generated front-page news on a near-weekly basis. By virtually any assessment, it was the most important religious event of the twentieth century, with repercussions that reached far beyond the Catholic church. Remarkably enough, this is the first book, solidly based on official documentation, to give a brief, readable account of the council from the moment Pope John XXIII announced it on January 25, 1959, until its conclusion on December 8, 1965; and to locate the issues that emerge in this narrative in their contexts, large and small, historical and theological, thereby providing keys for grasping what the council hoped to accomplish. What Happened at Vatican II captures the drama of the council, depicting the colorful characters involved and their clashes with one another. The book also offers a new set of interpretive categories for understanding the council's dynamics--categories that move beyond the tired "progressive" and "conservative" labels. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the calling of the council, this work reveals in a new way the spirit of Vatican II. A reliable, even-handed introduction to the council, the book is a critical resource for understanding the Catholic church today, including the pontificate of Benedict XVI.… (more)



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This is JUST the kind of book I've been wanting for years - a popular history of Vatican II - what happened, with lots of juicy bits, and enough historical background for it all to make sense, and not pushing a particular agenda - just the facts, with enough storyline to make it a joy to read, which it was. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
O'Malley's history sheds light not only on what happened at the Vatican II Council but what happened in decades before it (much of the first part of the book is not about the Council at all but about events and trends beginning sometimes centuries before it)and on the ongoing debate in the Church about what happened and what it means. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
4626. What Happened at Vatican II, by John W. O'Malley (read 6 Oct 2009) This is an excellent short account of the Second Vatican Council, telling the story from before its beginning up to the end. The perspective is from almost 50 years later, but the analysis of how or if the Council's work has fared and figured in the life of the Church since 1965 is almost non-existent. In other words, the book is a perceptive account of the happenings at the Council, but how the work of the Council has been used or diminished since 1965 is not a theme of this book. So I didn't feel I learned a lot new but it is an excellent refreshing review of the most exciting religious event of the 20th century. ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 6, 2009 |
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