VATICAN II by Antoine Wenger


Email this review


Vatican II, as its title implies, is a complete history of the Council. Father Wenger approaches his subject from the chronological viewpoint, explaining first the genesis of the Council and the initial reaction of its convocation; then he treats, in order, the first, second, third, and fourth sessions. The obvious drawback to such an approach -- and it is one of which the reader quickly becomes cognizant -- is that it makes it difficult for the reader to follow the progress of, for example, a Constitution from one session to the next, and he therefore tends to see the over-all Council as a series of discreet debates, compromises, and resolutions rather than as -- and as it was in fact -- a continuing and unbroken movement toward the enunciation of a new interpretation of Catholicism. An added disadvantage is the author's tendency to editorialize in the form of discovering the moral of every situation; and such moralizing often turns out to be mere pious piffle. To some extent, these handicaps are offset by Wenger's conscientious objectivity in reporting, by his readably journalistic prose, and by the gracefulness of Robert Olsen's translation. On the whole, then, this is a specifically Catholic view of the Council and, despite its structural and editorial defects, it is of sufficient worth to recommend itself to the Catholic reader who seeks instruction combined with inspiration.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1966
Publisher: Newman