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Vatican II in Ireland, Fifty Years On

Essays in Honour of Pádraic Conway


Edited By Dermot A. Lane

This book commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which concluded in 1965. A selection of essays by distinguished Irish theologians offers an objective assessment of the historical reception and pastoral implementation of Vatican II in Ireland with the benefit of half a century’s hindsight. The authors discuss from a variety of different perspectives the theological significance of the Council for the self-understanding and reform of the Catholic church, both in the past and for the future.
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6 The Reception of Vatican II in Ireland over Fifty Years


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6 The Reception of Vatican II in Ireland Over Fifty Years


So much has been and continues to be written about the reception of the Second Vatican Council that it is important to mention at the outset how little of it can be dealt with in this chapter, which is limited to examining the reception of Vatican II in Ireland. The writings I have in mind, of theologians and historians, deal mostly with the reception of Vatican II more widely than in particular contexts or local churches, even if these are, of course, at times also considered in them. I will draw less on such work than on Irish reflection on the reception of Vatican II, which is extensive at present due to two important contextual elements: the fiftieth anniversary of the Council itself (1962–1965) and the contemporary crisis in the Irish church that reached its most acute level following the revelations, beginning in the early 1990s, of the sexual (and physical) abuse of children by religious and clergy that led to the publication, in 2009, of the Ryan and Murphy Reports concerning these abuses. Earlier anniversaries of the Council have given rise to published reflections also such as, in Ireland ten years ago, Dermot A. Lane’s article on the Irish experience of Vatican II, in which a specific section is devoted to “The reception of Vatican II in Ireland.”1 I will avail of and build...

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