US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Eight Americans’ eye-witness reports from Vatican II

By Jim Castelli| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Second Vatican Council, which opened on October 11, 1962 and concluded on December 8, 1965, was the central event of Catholic life in the 20th century. Pope John XXIII called for the council to "open the windows" in the church to the world. John said he called the council to renew "ourselves and the flocks committed to us, so that there may radiate before all men the lovable features of Jesus Christ, who shines in our hearts that God's splendor may be revealed."

Vatican II today: Two schools of thought.

By Paul Boudreau| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Imagine a television commercial for Vatican II: Hundreds of bishops are gathered in a local beer joint. One prelate lifts his frothy stein in a toast. “Vatican II,” he intones solemnly. The episcopal assemblage is divided into two groups, one on the right and the other on the left. But instead of responding with shouts of “Less filling!” from one side and “Tastes great!” from the other, they raise their glasses to cries of “Aggiornamento!” and “Ressourcement!”

Just as Miller Lite had two drinking experiences to recommend it, the spirit of Vatican II came in two flavors.

Vatican II at 50: A look back at its highlights

By Paul Boudreau| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
In our December 2005 issue, Paul Boudreau reflected on the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of its opening this year, Boudreau takes a fresh look back at the important moments from Vatican II.

Like a good neighbor: The lessons of the Good Samaritan

By Paul Lakeland| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The Good Samaritan points the way to a humbler, holier church.

We need more humility in the church today. It is a sad truth that these days we live in a divided church, as we do in our society in general, where deep differences prevent people of the same faith from talking to one another or even worshiping together.

Readers sound off on the best and worst of Vatican II

Online Editor| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

More than 2,000 website visitors to offered their take on the Second Vatican Council for our October Reader Survey. Although we don't normally include reader feedback online, the sheer volume of responses--and the widely divergent opinions expressed by survey respondents--prompted us to offer a wider sampling of those responses.

Keep the faith

By Bishop Francis A. Quinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Disease and disaster might challenge our belief in God, but despite all that, we must keep the faith.

One of the most memorable moments of my life was when I conferred the sacrament of confirmation on 20 youths in San Francisco’s Children’s Hospital—children ranging from 4 or 5 to 16 years of age who were dying from leukemia. I was apprehensive about how these young ones would feel about receiving confirmation.

Glad You Asked: Who are the doctors of the church?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
While there are several definitions of the word "doctor," they all go back to the Latin word for “teacher.” It is this meaning whence doctors of the church variety come.

It also points to one of their chief characteristics, what is usually referred to as “preeminent learning.” Their expounding of the faith has been deemed sound and of benefit to the whole church. In other words, you can trust a doctor when it comes to theology doctrine.

Recommended reading

By Fran Leap| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The Qur’an gives us insight into the Muslim world—as well as the Christian faith.

When I had heard that a Christian pastor in Florida was planning to burn the Qur’an as an evil book, I shuddered. My friend Abdul recites the Qur’an and finds comfort and inspiration in it. I first met Abdul while he was in graduate school, about 20 years ago. I had tried a few times to read the Qur’an to learn more about his Muslim faith. At the time I found it confusing and frustrating, but not worthy of incineration.

How I met your Father: Married Episcopalians becoming Catholic priests

By Katharine Saunders| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Former Episcopal priests are crossing over to the Catholic Church—and bringing their wives and kids along for the ride.