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The crucial document of Vatican II, and the one which immediately reflected the difficulties which were the occasion for the convocation of the Council, is that known as the ""Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World."" The purpose of this book is to examine the document in detail. First, there are three essays, giving (sometimes repetitiously) the historical background of the document's formulation, by De Reidmatten, Schillebeeckx, and M. D. Chenu. The second part of the book, also comprising independent essays by various authorities--some illustrious, but most of them comparatively obscure--turns to the concrete applications that may be made of the principles enunciated in the constitution in the problematic areas of Christian life; marriage and conjugal love, the relationship of the Church to secular culture, Christianity and the economic, social, and political life of the human community, the morality of war. An epilogous chapter by Karl Rahner (which would have been more useful as an introduction to the book) discusses the nature and significance of a ""pastoral constitution"" as such. Despite the defects of the book--its repetitiveness and occasional internal contradictions, and its sometimes wearisome pedantry (as in Calvez' ""The Political Community"")--The Church Today is probably the most complete and helpful history-cum-commentary that is available on the pivotal Schema XIII. As such, it will be a necessary acquisition for religious libraries above the high-school level.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1968
Publisher: Newman