SMC Panel Considers the Legacy of Vatican II

Members of the SMC community engaged in dialogue with Vatican II expert Massimo Faggioli.  Just days after Pope Francis became the new leader of the Catholic Church, Saint Mary’s hosted a dialogue entitled “Vatican II, 50 Years Later” to assess the continuing impact of the Second Vatican Council on the Church.

Massimo Faggioli, an expert on the council was invited to share his views on the legacy of Vatican II, which promoted a spirit of ecumenism and openness to the modern world that was remarkable at the time of the council, which stretched from 1962 to 1965.

He was joined on the panel by two clerics who had attended various sessions of the council: Bishop John Cummins of the Oakland Diocese, a founding member of the Cummins Institute and Father Remi De Roo, bishop-emeritus of the diocese of Victoria, British Columbia. Now 88, De Roo was the youngest bishop in the world when he was ordained at the age of 38 in 1962.

Vatican II expert Massimo Faggioli with Bishop John CumminsFaggioli, who has published two books on the council, told the audience: “The church needs to reform itself. It should be more a communion than an institution.” And he criticized it for being “open to modernity externally but not internally.”

Faggioli was also critical of those in the Church who promote a retrenchment to a pre-Vatican II view of the church’s role in the world, saying it would alienate the faithful precisely in the parts of the world where the Catholic faith is flourishing and most vibrant.

“Outside Europe, Vatican II is the oxygen, the lifeblood of the Church, especially in Asia and Latin America,” he said.  

He hailed the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the new pope, saying that Pope Francis’ statement. “Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!” gave him hope that the pontiff would revive the spirit of Vatican II.

Photos by Benjamin Rehm '16


The dialogue was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Cummins Institute, and the History and Theology and Religious Studies departments.