Catholic scholar to visit Carmel to speak about Vatican II


The Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana will present George Weigel, a world-renowned Catholic scholar, Nov. 13 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for a presentation on Vatican II.

Vatican II (1962-1965) was a meeting of the world’s Catholic bishops, summoned by Pope John XXIII so the Church could develop effective pastoral strategies in a world that had changed dramatically since the First Vatican Council in 1869-1870.


It has been a challenging topic in church history.

“Some Catholics imagine that Vatican II invented Catholicism from scratch, which is simply not true. Other Catholics imagine a stable pre-conciliar Church for which no renovating council was necessary, and that’s a sheer nostalgic fantasy with no basis in history,” said Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center. “For all the contentions, however, the living parts of the Church around the world today are living the teaching of Vatican II as authoritatively interpreted by two popes who, as younger men, played important roles at the council, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

Weigel’s interest in the church and Vatican II ignited after a visit at the age of 13 to St. Peter ‘s basilica in July 1964. He said he was “amazed to see that vast nave turned into a colossal meeting place, with tiers of upholstered bleachers for the world’s bishops stretching from the narthex to the high altar.”

“I think that planted a seed that has flourished in a great deal of studying and writing about Vatican II over the past 35 years,” he said.

His book, “To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II,” is the result of those decades of study and reflection.

“I wrote ‘To Sanctify the World’ to synthesize decades of wrestling with the council and its effects, in the hope that my mature reflections on Vatican II, as understood through the lens of John XXIII’s original intention for the council, would help point the Church toward a vibrant future of evangelization,” he said.

Weigel hopes attendees at his speech will come away with a better understanding of why Vatican II was necessary.

“The council was necessary because civilization was in crisis: two world wars, a Cold War that threatened the human future, oceans of blood and mountains of corpses in the first half of the 20th century – all of which was, in one sense or another, the result of a civilization that had forgotten God,” Weigel said. “The council’s task was to revitalize the Church’s Christ-centered faith so that all Catholics could offer that world-in-crisis the medicine of divine truth and mercy.”

This will be Weigel’s third visit to the Diocese. His speech is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 13. He will also speak at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in West Lafayette at 7 p.m. Nov. 14. Registration isn’t required.


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