English Summary – challenges of the Council 4/2015

Tomáš Petráček
Syllabus of Errors of the Pian ChurchChurch, Heresy and the Second Vatican Council
The study is based on the postulation that the historic task of the Vatican II was to untangle a set of fundamental neuralgic blocks in the body of the Catholic Church distorting her appearance, as well as service, and chronically restricting her growth into the fullness of the Body of Christ, and the fulfilment of her service and mission. There are presented seven deep-rooted problems of the Catholic Church, for which the Council – with varying degrees of success – tried to find a cure. They are: Catholic integrism and suppression of legitimate pluralism within the Church; denial of historicity; ignoring dimensions of the Church concerning pastoral care and evangelisation, as well as cult of doctrinality; dualism, nonacceptance of physicality; self-centeredness; resignation from the catholicity and defining identity of the Church controversially; superiority of structures and institutions.

John W. O’Malley SJ
Vatican II
A Humanistic Council and a Language-Event
The study shows that, properly understood, the word humanism is eminently compatible and appropriate for the Vatican II. Applied to the Council, the author understands humanism as indicating an emphasis strikingly new for a council on the dignity of the human person, as created by God and redeemed by Christ, a being person, acting out of inner conviction, and the one whose life is spent in positive interaction with other human beings. The author argues that this emphasis is so unique for a council and so pervasive in Vatican II that expression “humanistic” is a helpful designation.
Further claim of the study is that this humanistic emphasis was made possible because the Vatican II adopted a certain form of discourse, a certain style of speaking, which was radically different from the one of previous councils. The author then maintains that an indispensable aspect of the hermeneutics of the Vatican II has to be focusing on the Council’s rhetorical style, and that – if we pay attention to the style – we will see why the emphasis on human dignity and human interaction emerges so strongly.

Massimo Faggioli
Reforming the Liturgy – Reforming the Church at Fifty Years from Vatican II
The author shows that the Liturgical Constitution and the liturgical reform of the Vatican II were the first bearers of Ressourcement, Aggiornamento and development, and that made of it the first and the most important reform of the Council. Any attempt to weaken the reform shows clearly a reductionist view on the Council and on the changes conducted by this Council. The open mentality of the liturgical reform is the proof of non-modernistic attitude rising from the Ressourcement. The author also deals with the parallel between the reform of the liturgy, and the reform from the liturgy; between the tradition, language and style of the liturgical reform, and the crossroad where the liturgy stands today. He states that the basic ideas of the liturgical reform are so connected to the values of the Council, that the renunciation of the reform constitutes a manifesto for renouncement of the Council. In this context the author sees the Pope Francis as the one who actually implements the spirit of the Council into practice of the Church.

Johannes Meier
Impact of the Second Vatican Council on Latin America, Asia and Africa
The study deals with the transformation of the Church in the 2nd half of the 20th century from a global perspective, just as the number of Catholics increases in non-European and American regions. Although the Council was still considerably Eurocentric, some crucial non-European suggestions emerged and contributed to the formation of one of the most important documents – Gaudium et Spes. The conciliar ecclesiology also helped to eliminate Eurocentrism of the universal Church. The author then goes through single regions (Latin America, Asia, and Africa), and outlines the main aspects of their post-conciliar development and local key initiatives.

Lukáš Nosek
Extra Christum et Spiritum nulla salus est
Church’s Attitude towards Islam (not only) according to the Declaration Nostra aetate
The author begins with the Christological and Pneumatological interpretation of the known sentence of the Council of Florence Extra Christum et Spiritum nulla salus est”, and relates this sentence to the question whether the members of other religions can be saved. He then specifically deals with a passage from the Declaration Nostra aetate concerning Islam. He examines the issue in detail, and maps its origins during the formation of the Declaration. With contributions from secondary sources, the author highlights the issue as a fundamental progress and an essential step of the Church self-reflexion towards an open, impartial and freer view on Islam. He notes that this is the first attitude of the Church’s Magisterium characterising Islam as a religion, by which Islam was de facto recognized as an independent partner in dialogue.

The Church Can be Saved by neither Conservative nor Progressive AttitudeInterview with the Protestant Theologian Miroslav Volf
The theologian M. Volf reflects on his perception of the Vatican II and its challenges. He appreciates the optimism of the document Gaudium et Spes, but at the same time he warns against its abuse. Further he comments on the indecisive attitudes of the Church regarding adoption of certain conciliar challenges, the prospect of ecumenical efforts, the question of attractiveness of anti-modern tendencies in certain religious movements, the attraction of charismatic Churches. He speculates upon the pitfalls of differentiation between progressive and conservative parties in the Church, as well as upon the tasks of the Western Christianity. From an American point of view he evaluates the personality and moves of Pope Francis. Last but not least he outlines his vision about the meaning of presence of theology at universities. Interview was led by Tomáš Petráček.

Irene J. Dabrowski – Anthony L. Haynor
Gaudium et Spes and the Transhumanist Movement
A Socio-Religious Tech-Puzzle for the Twenty-First Century’s Catholic Church
The transhumanist technologies associated with the Biotechnology Age, which have the potential to redefine what it means to be human, are viewed within the context of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution Gaudium et Spes. The future of culture, the dignity and spiritual nature of the person, the role of God as Creator, and eternal salvation through death, are among the major themes addressed in this document. These perennial beliefs are being challenged as advanced scientific expertise aims to overcome human limitations and even mortality itself. The Catholic Church can offer a critical voice in making responsible decisions regarding the impact of super technology by using Bernard Lonergan’s general empirical method as a conceptual guide to understanding this problem.

Mariano Delgado
The Church as a “Fruitful Mother”How Pope Francis Could Regain the “Joy of Evangelization”
The author in his contribution pursues the way how Pope Francis fulfils the heritage of the Second Vatican Council. Delgado recalls that already in 2005 in a sermon delivered during the conclave appeared in a nutshell the whole of his future program. As a pope he criticises “complacency”, “narcissism”, “mondaine spirituality” and “sophisticated clericalism” as the diseases of the Church preventing us to reexperience that “sweet, comforting joy of evangelization”. This is the “pastoral” style of the Church in the modern world, emphasised already by John XXIII in his address at the opening of the Council on October 11, 1962, and it is the style of the “Samaritan” Church as delineated by Paul VI in his speech at the end of the Council on December 8, 1965. Francis’ reformatory awareness comprehensively follows in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and indicates his understanding of papal service as both “Petrine and Pauline”, namely as linking Petrine responsibility for the unity with the Pauline courage.