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This is the fourth and final and best volume of Xavier Rynne's coverage of the momentous events of Vatican II. The author discusses in particular detail the creation of the Syned of Bishops, the continued debate on religious liberty, Schema 13 (""The Church in the Modern World""), and the Fathers' censure of anti-Semitism. A concluding chapter, its tone hopeful but not unduly optimistic, sums up the overall accomplishments and importance of the Council for the Church and the world and indicates the directions in which the Church, ever self-reforming, seems to be heading. The present work has as its central theme not so much the crises and resolutions as the impact upon the Council of Paul VI -- an impact felt at the very beginning in the announcement of the plan for a Synod of Bishops, dramatized in mid-session by the papal address at the U.N. (""one of the great moments for Roman Catholicism""), and stabilized by Paul's emergence as a veritable bridgebuilder between the new and the old. By any standards, The Fourth Session is the most mature and objective of Rynne's books; there are still occasions when emotion conquers critical judgment, when a tendency to take sides spoils the effect of an otherwise impeccable theological journalism. As a job of reporting, however, the present work is unsurpassed and it is highly recommended to all levels of readership.

Pub Date: July 18th, 1966
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux