"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

January 28, 2012

US Bishops and an agenda for Vatican II

Filed under: Vatican II — Tags: — komonchak @ 8:09 pm

One of the first steps in the preparation of Vatican II was the Vatican’s soliciting of recommendations for the conciliar agenda from the world’s bishops, from the heads of clerical religious orders, from Catholic universities and faculties, and from the offices of the Roman Curia.
I published two articles on the responses of the U.S. bishops, first a lengthy one published as “U.S. Bishops’ Suggestions for Vatican II,” Cristianesimo nella Storia 15 (1994) 313-71, and then in summary form in Commonweal under the title “What They Said Before the Council: How the U.S. Bishops Envisioned Vatican II,” Commoweal 117 (1990) 714-17. I have made them both available here.

US Bishops Suggestions for Vatican II

Agenda for Vatican II


“What is this?”

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 3:05 pm

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 1, 2009 – Blessed Sacrament

The reading we have just heard comes from the very first chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel, right after the passage read last week where we heard Mark’s summary of Jesus’ message–“The time of fulfilment has come. The reign of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel!”–and the calling of the first disciples so that Jesus could make them fishers of men. Today’s reading describes the first impact that Jesus’ teaching and actions make on the people. He astonishes, amazes them.
The people are astonished, first, by his teaching. (more…)

January 26, 2012

Vatican II: The more remote background

Filed under: Essays, Vatican II — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 2:54 pm

And, for the more remote background, here is an essay on the construction of the distinctively modern social form of Roman Catholicism in the century and a half before Vatican II: Modernity & the Construction of Roman Catholicism

and another one on the significance of the 1930’s for a renewed engagement of Catholic thought with the challenges of modernity: Returning from Exile

Background to Vatican II – 1

Filed under: Vatican II — Tags: , , — komonchak @ 12:05 pm

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, it might be helpful to keep in mind developments after Pope John’s announcement of an ecumenical council on January 25, 1959. In my files I have a number of essays that provide some background, and I am making them available here. Some of them go into more detail than many will feel necessary, but others may find them illuminating.

The first discusses proposals for a council that were briefly entertained during the reigns of Popes Pius XI and Pius XII. Pius XI & Pius XII on a Council

The second discusses where Pope John may have gotten the idea of calling a council. John XXIII & Idea of a Council

The third discusses initial reactions to the announcement of a council, both in Rome and elsewhere.  Initial reactions to announcement

The fourth describes some features of the first stage of the whole conciliar event, the antepreparatory period that ran from May 1959 to November 1960 when the preparatory period began. Antepreparatory period

The fifth are the simple notes I distributed to undergraduates and expanded on in a lecture on the movements of renewal in the Catholic Church earlier in the twentieth century, which made the Council possible. Movements of renewal

Finally, there is a very brief outline of the principal dates and events from the announcement of the Council to its conclusion.  Vatican II – Dates & events

January 21, 2012

Conversion to the Gospel

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 2:03 pm

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 22, 2012 – St. John’s

All three biblical readings today focus on the theme of conversion. The snippet from the book of Jonah omits the story of his misadventures with the whale and presents the miraculous results of his preaching to the hated Ninevites when they repent in sackcloth and ashes. St. Paul, still writing in the expectation that the complete realization of the saving plan of God, initiated with Christ’s death and resurrection, was not far distant, urges the Corinthians to sit loose to their ordinary activities: marriage, business, sorrow, joy: it has all been relativized because “the form of the present world is passing away.” And, of course, we have St. Mark’s summary of the preaching of Jesus: “The Kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the Gospel”, and the Evangelist’s immediate illustration of that with the conversion to discipleship of Simon and Andrew, James and John.
All three of the passages place the call to conversion in the context of an imminent event: (more…)

January 14, 2012

“Come and see”

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 4:19 pm


As we begin a new calendar year and as we begin our walk through the ordinary Sundays of the liturgical year, the Church asks us to begin at the beginning. Last Monday we celebrated the baptism of Jesus, his empowerment by the Spirit for his messianic ministry. Today we are still there, near the Jordan, with John the Baptist’s testimony: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” And we hear of the calling of the first disciples. The whole public story of Jesus Christ is beginning.
But there is another beginning also stressed in today’s readings, the beginning of faith in the hearts of the disciples. (more…)

Not created for naught

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 4:08 pm

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 15, 2006 – Blessed Sacrament

The two related scriptural texts today are about divine calls: the call of the great Israelite leader Samuel and the call of the two disciples of Jesus.
Samuel’s call comes to him in his sleep. I love the explanation of why Samuel thought that his name had been called by Eli: “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.” There is a kind of apprenticeship, it seems, in discerning the call of God. God was calling him before he knew that it was God who was calling him. Something for us to keep in mind? (more…)

Divine calls

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 3:56 pm

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 18, 2009 – Blessed Sacrament

We have heard, in our first reading and in the Gospel, two accounts of vocations, of callings, that of Samuel the prophet and that of two disciples of John. Two statements in them may be said to sum up important features of our relationship to God, and might serve as ready reminders of how we might hear the call of God.

Think first of the case of the disciples. It was once possible literally to bump into Jesus of Nazareth on the dusty roads of Palestine, to encounter him in the course of an ordinary day, while engaged in one’s ordinary work. As Jesus walks by one day, John the Baptist points to him: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Two of his disciples are intrigued enough to start following after Jesus, only to have him turn and ask them: “What are you looking for? What are you seeking?” This is not, in John’s Gospel, the innocent question that it could appear to be. Exchanges between Jesus and others in the Fourth Gospel often operate at two levels. Jesus wants to know what the desire of these men is, what search defines them. “Where are you staying?” they ask in turn, using the verb that will recur often in later pages of the Gospel to refer to the Son’s dwelling in the Father and the Father in the Son, to our dwelling in Christ and his Word, to God’s dwelling in us. And they are invited to “Come and see,” which is what the Evangelist, in this first chapter of his Gospel, is inviting his readers to do: “Come and see.”

We no longer can bump into Jesus on the ancient dusty roads. But this same encounter can occur when we listen to the Scriptures that speak of him each time we come to Mass. Each time a Gospel is read, Christ is inviting us to “Come and see.” If we take the invitation seriously, we are likely to find that explicitly or implicitly he always also poses the same question to us: “What are you looking for? What are you seeking?” (more…)

January 3, 2012

Lonergan and Post-conciliar Ecclesiology

Filed under: Essays, Foundations in Ecclesiology — komonchak @ 10:10 am

This is a lecture delivered at Regis College, Toronto, November 4, 2005. It was later published in Lonergan Workshop, 20 (2008) 165-183.

Lonergan and post-conciliar ecclesiology

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