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Liturgical Press

O'Malley, John: Tradition and Transition

O'Malley, John: Tradition and Transition

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By placing Vatican II within the broad perspective of Christian history, Tradition And Transition helps readers understand the context of the council's earth-shaking developments. John W. O' Malley provides an astute overview of the essential issues which drove the assembly, as well as the unique characteristics which distinguished Vatican II from all previous church councils and clearly influenced the direction it would take. He uses a threefold approach to bring Vatican II's many facets into clearer focus defining a methodology for interpreting the council, unraveling and clarifying its message, and contemplating what that might signify for the church's present and future.

O'Malley emphasizes that taking the long view of history is crucial to grasping the council's true significance, and to that end, he compares Vatican II to the Gregorian and Lutheran Reformations. He also notes that the seeds of many issues originated in the Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation, and asserts that the council tried to reverse or moderate considerably positions crystallized during those eras. Suggesting that the radical adjustment of attitude and religious practice sparked by the council was symptomatic of the modern world's social and cultural transformation, O'Malley concludes that Vatican II necessitated nothing less than a complete change in mentality and internal frames of reference, in other words, a new paradigm for looking at Christian tradition.

Taken in sum, the essays of this distinguished church historian provide a fascinating window for both scholars and interested readers into the remarkable impact of Vatican II on all areas of Catholic life. As its title implies, Tradition And Transition is a readable guide that offers penetrating insight into Vatican II's continuity with the church's rich heritage... and to its call for spiritual reform and renewal.
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