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Vatican council 2 - Essay Example

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O’Malley gives his insights into the Second Vatican Council. O’Malley holds that the new invitational style of the Council is a positive step in contemporary times.
In his article, The Style of Vatican II, John W. O’Malley…
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John W. O’Malley: The Style of Vatican II In his article, The Style of Vatican II, John W. O’Malley gives his insights into the Second Vatican Council. O’Malley holds that the new invitational style of the Council is a positive step in contemporary times.
John W. O’Malley: The Style of Vatican II.
In his article, The Style of Vatican II, John W. O’Malley gives his insights into the Second Vatican Council and holds that it provides “the blueprint we need in our present crisis” (O’Malley, 2003). O’Malley sees the Council interpreted in three ways: (1) as an aberration, which is to be ignored; (2) as an agent of small changes (3) as a significant break with the past. O’Malley himself supports the third interpretation and holds that Vatican II marks a great change in the history of the Church.
In O’Malley’s opinion, the Council has ushered in decrees “that marked a real departure from previous Catholic practice.” These include the license to engage in joint prayer with Protestants and attend services in Protestant churches. The Decree on Religious Liberty also put an end to the earlier “ideal that Catholicism should be established as the official religion of every nation, even the United States.”
O’Malley contends that the radical aspect of Vatican Council II is its changing emphasis on the style of the Church. This emphasis is seen in the “striking shift in language” in the documents of the Council. Departing from the abrupt, authoritarian tone of earlier Councils, Vatican Council II adopts an “invitational style” which attempts to foster dialogue, respect for conscience, freedom of speech and a spirit of participation.
The new “invitational” style of Vatican II is seen in: the emphasis on partnership and collaboration in relations among church hierarchy and with the laity; the emphasis on the main pastoral ministry being service; openness to change and development; a conciliatory attitude towards all faiths; and the active participation of the entire congregation in the liturgy.
O’Malley’s article attempts to support the author’s contention that the Vatican Council II ushers in transformation in the style of the Church. The five points O’Malley cites in order to support his stand are very credible as they mark a change of direction in the Church. However, O’Malley argues that even this change is grounded in the past tradition of the Church. The “partnership and collaboration” (O’Malley, 2003) which the Council recommends in the relationship of the Church hierarchy is in line with the traditional understanding of the ‘Mystery of the Church,’ which calls for its governance “by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him” (Chapter 1, page 4). The “horizontal traditions in Catholicism” (O’Malley, 2003) are a reflection of the traditional belief that “Ministers of lesser rank are also sharers in the mission and grace of the Supreme Priest” (Chapter V, page 6). The Council’s emphasis on service, and its equation of the words “ruler” and “king” with “servants” is also in line with ‘The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church,’ which praises “those priests who often, down through the course of the centuries, left an outstanding example of the holiness of humble and hidden service” (Chapter V, page 6). This priority of service is in line with the example of humility set by Jesus. The Council shows its understanding of the increased importance of democracy in the world by emphasizing dialogue and respect for conscience. This is seen “In repeatedly describing the church as “the people of God”” (O’Malley, 2003). Of course, this is also not a radical departure from the traditional depiction of the Church, as the Eucharist is the sacrament which makes all believers a part of the body of the Church.
O’Malley’s approval of the changes he perceives in the style of the Church is justified. In these times of crises, it is essential that the Church remains anchored in the best traditions of its past and, at the same time, tailors its approach to cater to the needs of the present. Vatican Council II wisely attempts to lead the Church into a rejuvenation which is necessary for it to retain its relevance in the lives of all its members.
References.
O’Malley, John W. (24 February, 2003). The Style of Vatican 11. America. The National
Catholic Review. Retrieved from
http://americamagazine.org/node/146401 Read More
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