After Forty Years Vatican Council II’s Diverse Legacy Edited by Kenneth D. Whitehead St. Augustine’s Press, $20, 330 pp.
Vatican II Did Anything Happen? Edited by David Schultenover Continuum, $16.95, 185 pp.
In late 1962, Jesuit regents at Brophy Prep in Phoenix revealed to us sophomores a startling fact: Bishop Emile-Josef De Smedt of Bruges, Belgium, had criticized the church for its “triumphalism, clericalism, and juridicism” in a speech at Vatican II. Some of us started to believe that this aggiornamento thing might mean something. Could our church become less stodgy and more “relevant”? Soon teachers introduced us to Teilhard de Chardin’s The Divine Milieu and The Phenomenon of Man. We heard the Mass would be translated into English. It seemed to be a new day for the church—one we anticipated with joy, hope, and even excitement.
In the decade after the council I received my bachelor’s degree in theology from the University of San Francisco (USF). The first wave of lay theologians—three of...