"Fr. O'Shea has written a clear, simple, but profound analysis of the Second Vatican Council for people unaware of its importance and impact on the Roman Catholic Church. His writing will help both Catholic and other Christians who seek a deeper understanding of the Roman Catholic Church as it enters a new millennium."
Archbishop John Bathersby DD, Archbishop of Brisbane.
During the Brisbane Archdiocesan Synod 2003, there were some calls for a “Vatican II for Dummies” - since many, perhaps most, Catholic laity have not read any of the documents, and perhaps have a poor understanding of the significance of the Council.
Meanwhile, also in 2003, Fr Bill O’Shea had written a series of articles in a parish newsletter to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In every parish which ran them (and several did), the articles caused widespread interest and lively discussion. A young woman in her early 30s said she learnt a lot about the modern Church from this book.
Community for a Better World (Movement for a Better World Inc) Australia, published the articles as a short (73 page) booklet in early 2005. Easy to read, it aims to provide a simple, user-friendly reminder of what the Council did and its significance for the Church today.
We believe this little book, described by a distributor as delightful and beautifully produced, fulfils the call for a “Vatican II for Dummies”, a view shared by Archbishop Bathersby in his endorsement.
Over 4000 copies have been sold and because of renewed interest in this 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council, the book has been reprinted.
HALF PRICE SALE: $4 plus postage and packing Order Form
~ Book Excerpts ~
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) can be seen as a cultural event as much as a religious event; a cultural event which revealed how much the world had changed and which continues to influence further change. It was an event which introduced processes that are still at work and continue to influence the directions of further change within our church.
We are, or should be, less inclined to see the Church today primarily as a hierarchical institution. The Church now understands itself as the People of God, with the laity as much a part of the Church as are clergy and members of religious orders and congregations.
The Church should also show the presence of God’s saving grace by the way it acts towards its own members. The mission of the Church includes essentially the struggle for justice and the transformation of the world. ...
A Church that proclaims justice outside its boundaries will only be credible if it also practises justice within. We must be broad enough to tolerate diversity and even dissent, always provided it does not strike at the heart of basic truths of the faith.
We have to be prepared to discern God’s presence and activity “out there”, and respond accordingly. We do not have a monopoly on the truth. It was Vatican II that taught us this also. We have to respect the “outsider”, and defend his or her right to worship God in accordance with the demands of conscience.
We are called to be less inclined to argument and confrontation, and more to the way of listening and dialogue.