On October 25 the Department of Theology and Religious Studies sponsored a panel discussion to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which met from 1962-1965. The 16 documents eventually issued by the Council, the 21st general council in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, have had global impact on the life of the Church and its relationship to other Christian churches, other religions, and contemporary society.
Dr. Millicent Feske spoke of the significance of the Council’s openness and ecumenical initiatives for her scholarly work and the professional trajectory that brought her to Saint Joseph’s. Dr. James Caccamo situated the Council’s work in its historical context and outlined how the Council transformed the Church’s relationship to culture. Dr. Philip Cunningham described how the Council changed the Church’s relationship to other Christian churches and other religions, with particular emphasis upon the dramatic changes in the Catholic Church’s relationship to the Jewish people. Dr. Katie Oxx described the development of Catholic Studies programs in the wake of the Council. Dean William Madges, who recently published a book to commemorate the golden anniversary of the Council (Vatican II: Fifty Personal Stories), moderated the session.
The Department of Theology and Religious Studies intends to host additional presentations and lectures about the Second Vatican Council over the next three years.