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Ignatius Press

Vatican Council: The Second Vatican Council

Vatican Council: The Second Vatican Council

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This collection includes the four constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, the most popular and key documents for understanding the Council itself, its decrees, and its declarations.

Few events in the history of the modern Catholic Church have been as far-reaching as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). And few have been as controversial. No one denies great changes have come about since the close of the Council. Have the changes been all good, all bad, or a mixture of both? To what extent were the changes, for good or ill, the result of the Council itself? Critics on both the theological left and theological right see the Council as a radical break with the past.

Some people on the theological left claim the spirit of Vatican II supports their rejection of many firmly established Catholic beliefs and practices. Some on the theological right accuse the Council of abandoning certain fundamental Catholic tenets in the name of updating the Church. The popes of the Council--John XXII and Paul VI--and their successors-- John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who also participated in the Council--have insisted that the Council itself was the work of the Holy Spirit. They have aggressively criticized misinterpretations and distortions of it. They insist that the Council be understood in fundamental continuity with the Church's Tradition, even while deepening the Church's self-understand and calling for authentic reforms and renewal of Catholic life. Readers can learn for themselves what the Second Vatican Council taught using this highly-accessible collection of its basic texts.

No 21st century Catholic should be without these four foundational texts in this superb translation and high-quality edition. Plus, the collection includes an introductory essay by Pope Benedict XVI explaining how best to understand the Second Vatican Council in the history of the Church.
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