Vatican II: Francis and Reception
Format of Original
Liverpool University Press
Unlike any earlier council, Vatican II was pastoral rather than dogmatic. Not that it lacked dogmatic constitutions, but because the overall finality of the council and documents lay toward Catholic life and witness: discipleship, ecclesial and personal. Theological reflection on ‘reception’ of Vatican II rightly has focussed on the content, implications, and applications of conciliar texts. Less attention has been given to the dynamic in the act of receiving as distinguished from the content received. Is the act of receiving along the lines of a gradual, widespread, but low-profile conversion of clergy and laity? If so, that would help explain the unusual degree of heat in the debates over continuity vs. discontinuity between Vatican II and prior conditions. The question opens the door to reconceiving that issue in light of what happens in conversion.