Vatican II Documents: Read & Discuss

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Several years ago, I participated in a very good online discussion of some of the Vatican II documents. The discussion was held via the Yahoo Groups list VaticanII-Doc. I had to drop out of the discussion after the first two and a half documents we covered, but I really learned a lot there.

Group moderator Roberta Meehan has recently announced that the list will be beginning a new discussion of the documents soon with a different approach, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council and to consider “a way to apply the Documents, a way to understand what the Documents mean today, a way to live the Documents in our present world, a way to make the Documents a part of the new and renewed Church.” Describing the format for the discussions this time around, she writes

We will start each document with an overview of the document. That will include the reason the document was written, who penned it and in what language, when it was written, etc. Questions for all the documents can be found in the FILES section of our homepage. I encourage you to read over questions from the past and write out and post points that you feel we should all be aware of. I will do the same.

After a few days of getting a feel for the meaning and reality of the Document, I would like to shift our focus to how the Document applies (or does not apply!) today. This will be a very serious part of our examination of each Document. We will have left the basic history and we will be dealing with the conflicts, contradictions, conflagrations, and so forth connected with how we can hold to the values of a particular Document. This part of the discussion will be based on your thoughts and insights, your feelings and frustrations.

The discussion will be starting in a few days with some history of how and why Pope John XXIII called the council, then proceed to his opening address (which is utterly beautiful and well worth reading), then start on the documents themselves.

The nice thing about doing these discussions in an email group is that you can spend as much, or as little, time and energy on the discussion as you wish. You can just read along quietly, or participate with questions and comments.

If you are Catholic, and/or if you are interested in the documents, legacy, tensions, and unresolved issues of the Second Vatican Council, I encourage you to join the discussion.

Updated 3/4/13 to add: Unfortunately the actual discussions this round are not as substantive, nor nearly as well focused on the documents, as was the case in my previous experience of this list. However, it is still worth joining the group (even if you turn off email delivery, which I regretfully recommend) for the sake of the files and archived discussions available from the Yahoo Groups site.

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