The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) radically shook up many centuries of tradition in the Roman Catholic Church. This book by Thomas Guarino, a noted expert on the sources and methods of Catholic doctrine, investigates whether Vatican II’s highly contested teachings on religious freedom, ecumenism, and the Virgin Mary represented a harmonious development of—or a rupture with—Catholic tradition.
Guarino’s careful explanations of such significant terms as continuity, discontinuity, analogy, reversal, reform, and development greatly enhance and clarify his discussion. No other book on Vatican II so clearly elucidates the essential theological principles for determining whether—and to what extent—a conciliar teaching is in continuity or discontinuity with antecedent tradition.
Readers from all faith traditions who care about the logic of continuity and change in Christian teaching will benefit from this masterful case study.
“Vatican II took the more difficult but far more fruitful path of insisting on Catholicism’s uniqueness even while acknowledging the strong links of truth and faith that bind Catholics to all others.” (Page 29)
“Precisely in service to this quest, John made a crucial distinction between the depositum fidei (deposit of faith; 2 Tim. 1:14) and the modus quo veritates enuntiantur (the manner in which such truths are spoken).” (Page 5)
“The truth of revelation … is universally valid and unchangeable in substance.’2” (Page 9)
“I will argue that by employing the notions of participation and analogy, Vatican II was able to maintain the unique status of Catholicism while concomitantly affirming that other churches truly and actually, formally and substantially, participate in the church of Jesus Christ.” (Page 91)
“The fundamental question at stake is this: Was the council an authentic development and extension of the prior doctrinal tradition, or was it in fact—at least in certain instances—an unabashed corruption of it?” (Page 2)
Thomas G. Guarino is professor of systematic theology at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, and co-chair of the initiative Evangelicals and Catholics Together.