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Posted September 27, 2006

Book: Reliving Vatican II: Itís all about Jesus Christ
Author: Cardinal Justin Rigali
Liturgical Training Publications. Chicago. 2005. Pp. 151

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

On December 25, 1961, after almost two years of preparation, Pope John XXIII told the world that the Council would open the following year, in 1962. In this document, dated Christmas Day, Pope John XXIII gave us so many insights into what he wanted this Ecumenical Council to be and to do.

His first remark on this occasion was one of confidence in Jesus Christ, invoking His promise in the Gospel: ďBehold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.Ē Pope John listed different aspects of the forthcoming Council through which the Church desired to renew her faith, to reflect on her unity, to promote the sanctification of her members, the diffusion of divine truth, and the consolidation of her structures. In other words, he was talking about faith, unity, holiness, truth, and renewal. This was the real agenda of Vatican II.

In its efforts to rebuild the visible unity of all Christians, the Council should, in the thought of Pope John, more fruitfully present the doctrine of the Church and show signs of fraternal charity in the world. Pope John asked all the members of the Church to offer prayers for the success of the Council. Then came that beautiful invitation to all Christians separated from the Catholic Church to pray that the Council might be advantageous also for them.

Finally, there was the prayer of Pope John: ďRenew your wonders in our time as though through a new Pentecost, and grant that the holy Church, persevering unanimously and fervently in prayer, together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and also under the guidance of Blessed Peter may build up the Kingdom of the divine Savior, a kingdom of truth and justice, a kingdom of love and peace. Amen.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Vatican II insists that priests exercise the office of Christ the Head and Shepherd. They gather Godís family together in unity and lead it through Christ and in the Spirit to God the Father. They exercise spiritual power that is given to them for the building up of the Church. The priest is called upon to be concerned for all people and yet the Council enumerates various categories that need his ministry in a particular way Ė the poor and the lowly, the youth, married people and parents, religious, the sick and the dying. The office of the priest is not confined to the care of individuals but is also extended to the formation of a genuine Christian community.

Table of Contents:

1. The Church: the light of the nations

2. The sacred liturgy: the official prayer of the church

3. Gaudium et Spes: joy and hope in the modern world

4. The instruments of social communication: communicating Godís love

5. The Eastern churches

6. Ecumenism: toward the unity of all Christís followers

7. The church and non-Christian religions: respect for all

8. Divine revelation: the word of God

9. Religious freedom: the dignity of being free

10. Bishops: called to be living signs of Jesus Christ

11. Priests: set apart in the midst of Godís people

12. Priestly formation: for faithfulness and service

13. Religious: inseparable from the Churchís life and holiness

14. The laity: called to sanctify the world

15. The missionary activity of the Church: Christís mission prolonged, the plan of God fulfilled.

16. Christian education: communicating Christ