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The Second Vatican Council



"The Legacy of Vatican II" Symposium

September 26, 2013

Sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry, this symposium marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 150th anniversary of the founding of Boston College. 

The event happens at a crucial moment in the history of the Catholic Church under the papacy of Francis—himself a Jesuit shaped by the legacy of Vatican II.  The symposium focuses on the long-term legacy of the Council in the United States and the world, and is comprised of distinguished scholars from around the world who have studied Vatican II from theological, historical, and cultural standpoints.  The proceedings will be published in a forthcoming volume.

Click on the red lecture titles below to view the videos.

Videotaped Panel Presentations


Jesuits and the Second Vatican Council

Dennis M. Doyle
“Otto Semmelroth, S.J., and the Ecclesiology of the ‘Church as a Sacrament’ at Vatican II”
David Hollenbach, S.J.
“John Courtney Murray, S.J., at Vatican II—and After”
Susan K. Wood, S.C.L.
“Henri De Lubac, S.J., and the Relationship Church-World in Gaudium et spes
Jared Wicks, S.J.
“Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J.: Biblical and Ecumenical Conscience of Vatican II”



Continuity and Change in the Second Vatican Council

Peter Hünermann
“Continuity and Discontinuity in an Epoch-Making Transition of Faith: The Hermeneutics of Vatican II”
John O’Malley, S.J.
“The Spirituality of Vatican II”
Christoph Theobald, S.J.
“The Principle of Pastorality at Vatican II: Challenges of a Prospective Interpretation of the Council” 
Presented in French.  Please click here for the English translation of this presentation.
Leslie Woodcock Tentler
“Contraception and the Council: A Tale of Three Jesuit Moralists”


The Council and the Public Arena

John F. Baldovin, S.J.
“Liturgical Reform and the Public Role of the Catholic Church”
Lisa Sowle Cahill
“The Changes in Moral Theology and Public Catholicism since Vatican II”
Richard R. Gaillardetz
“Humility before the World: Recalling the Council's Theology of Worldly Engagement”
Bradford E. Hinze
“Vatican II and New Catholic Communities Promoting Grassroots Democracy”



Coworkers in the Vineyard:
The Role of the Catholic Laity in the Life of Public Service and Scholarship

Panelists:  Simone Campbell, S.S.S., E. J. Dionne, Jr., Thomas H. Groome, Jane McAuliffe, and Timothy P. Shriver. Moderator: Mark Massa, S.J.

In this conversation, panelists discuss the role that faith has played in their public service work. 

Other Video Resources from Boston College Events


Pope Benedict and the Reception of Vatican II

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, associate professor, Boston College Theology Department

As a young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger played an important role in advising the German bishops during the Second Vatican Council.  In this presentation, given April 8, 2010, Father Imbelli examines Pope Benedict’s theological and pastoral vision, maintaining that the Pope’s aim is to promote a deeper and more comprehensive reception of the Council.


Does Vatican II's Theology of the Laity have a Future?

Richard R. Gaillardetz, Thomas and Margaret Murray and James J. Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo

At this presentation given on October 12, 2010, Professor Gaillardetz proposes that The Second Vatican Council helped move the Catholic Church beyond a passive understanding of laity, but the Council was not always consistent in its treatment of the laity. This presentation considers whether the Council in fact offered an internally consistent theology of the laity and, if so, whether that theology has a real future.


Fulfilling the Unrealized Vision of Vatican II

Richard R. Gaillardetz, Thomas and Margaret Murray and James J. Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo

This presentation, given on October 21, 2009, assesses the implementation of the Second Vatican Council over the past few decades, and considers whether the Church’s most pressing task is to recommit to the Council’s vision or begin remote preparations for a new council.