What Happened at Vatican II

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-05-01
Publisher(s): Belknap Pr
List Price: $23.50

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Customer Reviews

Insightful textbook!  July 10, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

Vatican II is a very detailed, provocative, insightful textbook on what happened, what changed and what mattered at Vatican II. The author avoids any discussion of the current trends within the Church. This textbook reads like the very best mystery novels. Almost every page highlights surprises, conflicts and compromises, and the people that fill these pages are, at least to me, incredibly interesting. I greatly appreciate the perspective O'Malley's textbook has given me.

What Happened at Vatican II: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


During four years in session, Vatican Council II held television audiences rapt with its elegant, magnificently choreographed public ceremonies, while its debates generated front-page news on a near-weekly basis.

By virtually any assessment, it was the most important religious event of the twentieth century, with repercussions that reached far beyond the Catholic church. Remarkably enough, this is the first book, solidly based on official documentation, to give a brief, readable account of the council from the moment Pope John XXIII announced it on January 25, 1959, until its conclusion on December 8, 1965; and to locate the issues that emerge in this narrative in their contexts, large and small, historical and theological, thereby providing keys for grasping what the council hoped to accomplish.

What Happened at Vatican II captures the drama of the council, depicting the colorful characters involved and their clashes with one another. The book also offers a new set of interpretive categories for understanding the council’s dynamics—categories that move beyond the tired “progressive” and “conservative” labels.

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the calling of the council, this work reveals in a new way the spirit of Vatican II. A reliable, even-handed introduction to the council, the book is a critical resource for understanding the Catholic church today, including the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

Author Biography

John W. O'Malley is University Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of The First Jesuits, Trend and All That, and Four Cultures of the West (all from Harvard).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
Big Perspectives on a Big Meetingp. 15
The Long Nineteenth Centuryp. 53
The Council Opensp. 93
The First Period (1962): The Lines Are Drawnp. 127
The Second Period (1963): A Majority Prevailingp. 160
The Third Period (1964): Triumphs and Tribulationsp. 199
The Fourth Period (1965): Bringing the Ship into Portp. 247
Conclusionp. 290
Chronology of Vatican IIp. 317
Council Participants Frequently Mentionedp. 321
Abbreviationsp. 329
Notesp. 333
Indexp. 373
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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