The death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI constituted two important elements in the broad theological and cultural landscape of Catholicism. This change of pontificate has also nourished the journalistic and political dispute about Vatican II, its history and its legacy, and not only the historiographical and theological debate.
But the research on Vatican II is already proceeding forward and beyond the state of knowledge about the Council reached at the end of the 90s. For 21st century Catholics and theologians interested in understanding contemporary Catholicism in the light of Vatican II the intellectual undertaking is far from accomplished yet. The book offers comprehensive presentation of the theological and historiographical debate about Council Vatican II.
The attempt to go beyond "the clash of interpretations" - Vatican II as a rupture in the history of Catholicism on one side, the need to read Vatican II in continuity with the tradition on the other - is necessary indeed because the ongoing debate about Vatican II is largely misrepresented by the use of "clashing interpretations" as a tool for understanding the role of the council in present-day Catholicism.
Massimo Faggioli, who holds a PhD from the University of Turin, is assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul (Minnesota). He has written extensively on modern Church history and on Vatican II. Among his books is a history of the new Catholic movements (Rome: Carocci, 2008), translated in Spanish with the title Historia y evolución de los movimientos católicos. De León XIII a Benedicto XVI (Madrid: PPC, 2011), Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning (New York: Paulist Press, 2012), and True Reform. Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2012).
This brilliant survey on an international basis of the history of interpretations of Vatican II is absolutely indispensable reading for anybody who wants to understand what is at stake in today's church. Faggioli is master of his subject and brings to it an extraordinary combination of lucidity and subtlety. I cannot recommend the book too highly---for the general reader and also for the professional.
- John W. O'Malley, S.J., University Professor, Georgetown University
In the ongoing battle over the 'meaning of Vatican II' -- one of the most contentious topics dividing Catholics around the world -- a reasoned and exceptionally well-informed new voice has entered the discussion. Faggioli has produced a carefully researched and masterfully argued study that positions both that extraordinarily important council and its multiple 'narratives' within a context that includes America, Europe, and the developing world. His book is now required reading for scholars and anyone else interested in Vatican II and its impact on the Catholic Church today.
- Mark Massa, S.J., Dean, School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College