Authority and Continuity

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What is the Second Vatican Council?

Part 1 of "Authority and Continuity", a Word on Fire Institute six-part mini-series examining the Second Vatican Council.

From 1962 to 1965, Catholic bishops from around the world gathered for the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II. There is still confusion surrounding Vatican II, stemming not only from a lack of familiarity with the Council’s documents but also from a lack of understanding about how its various teachings fit together.

In this mini-series, Dr Richard DeClue sheds light on precisely what the Catholic bishops discussed and debated at Vatican II, and he explains why it is important for Catholics today to understand.

Vatican II was the twenty-first ecumenical council and produced sixteen documents: four Constitutions, nine Decrees, and three Declarations.

In this first lecture, you’ll receive background information on the Second Vatican Council in particular and on ecumenical councils in general. Dr Richard DeClue, the Cardinal Henri de Lubac Fellow of Theology at the Word on Fire Institute, guides you through the documents and puts to bed the common misconception regarding choice in assenting to Vatican II.

What constitutes an ecumenical council? An ecumenical council is an extremely rare occurrence, a “solemn” exercise of episcopal power (CCC 884).

We hope you enjoy this six part series from the Word on Fire Institute.

What is the Second Vatican Council? (Lecture 1 of 6)

Additional Word on Fire resources:

The Word on Fire Vatican II Collection

Reclaiming Vatican II: What It (Really) Said, What It Means, and How It Calls Us to Renew the Church