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Symposium Looks at Vatican II


By Rosanne Pellegrini & Kathleen Sullivan| Chronicle Staff

Published: Sep. 19, 2013

At a crucial moment in the history of the Catholic Church, Boston College will convene distinguished international scholars to discuss the legacy of Vatican II.

Participants in the Sept. 26 academic symposium, “The Legacy of Vatican II,” will address theological, historical and cultural perspectives and focus on its long-term legacy in the United States and in the world.

The symposium, sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry, is part of Boston College’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

“A number of scholars have noted that the Second Vatican Council — which was called together 50 years ago — was the most important and far-reaching Catholic event in 400 years,” said STM Dean Mark Massa, SJ. “Boston College, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, has assembled what might very well be the most respected group of scholars who have studied that important council.”

Organizers say this is “a crucial moment in the history of the Catholic Church, under the papacy of Francis — a Jesuit shaped by the legacy of Vatican II.” 

Panels will focus on “Figures: Jesuits and the Second Vatican Council,” moderated by Fr. Massa; “Themes: Continuity and Change in the Second Vatican Council,” moderated by STM Associate Professor Andrea Vicini, SJ; and “Engagements: The Council and the Public Arena,” moderated by University of St. Thomas Assistant Professor Massimo Faggioli.

The daytime symposium is by invitation only. During an evening public panel from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. in Robsham Theater — titled “Coworkers in the Vineyard: The Role of the Catholic Laity in the Life of Public Service and Scholarship” — participants will discuss the role that faith plays in their public service work.

They include Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK in Washington, DC, a national social justice lobby; E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post syndicated columnist and Brookings Institution senior fellow; STM Professor Thomas Groome; former Bryn Mawr College President Jane McAuliffe, and Timothy P. Shriver, Special Olympics chairman and CEO. Fr. Massa will moderate. 

“The ‘Coworkers in the Vineyard’ panel will show how five well-known Catholic public figures take up the Council’s challenge to care for ‘the whole humanity,’ having at heart ‘the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age’ – as Gaudium et spes affirms in its opening lines,” said Fr. Vicini.

Several BC faculty members will participate in the symposium. They include: University Professor in Human Rights and International Justice David Hollenbach, SJ; Professor of Historical and Liturgical Theology John F. Baldovin, SJ; Monan Professor of Theology Lisa Sowle Cahill; and Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology Richard R. Gaillardetz.

Scholars from Pontifical College Josephinum, University of Tubingen (Germany), Facultes Jesuites de Paris (Centre Sevres), Georgetown, Marquette, Catholic and Fordham universities, and the University of Dayton also will participate in the symposium. 

Registration, full schedule and participant information for “Coworkers in the Vineyard” at: