School of Theology and Seminary Lectures


The Lived History of Vatican II in the Churches: Gaudium et Spes and the Option for the Poor

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Vatican II and Ecumenism Part V: Gaudium et Spes

The Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary series, "Vatican II and Ecumenism," commemorates the 50th anniversary of this epic event in the history of The Church. Sessions are designed to explore the ways in which ecumenism crosscuts all of the conciliar documents while highlighting the significance of the council in the present day and future.

In Pope Francis's recent reflections on the council's spirit and continued implementation; he states: "Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers."1

For the past century, Saint John's has maintained a significant theological voice in the American and worldwide church, and for the past half-century, it has embraced the work of the council in a variety of ways including liturgical reform, theological and pastoral renewal, and the work of ecumenism or dialogue with other Christian churches and movements. The fiftieth anniversary of the council thus offers an ideal occasion on which to continue that reflection and engagement with the world from Collegeville.

The Saint John's Vatican Council II and Ecumenism Series features lecture presentations by renowned theologians and church leaders who will unpack the ecumenical and theological significance of the council documents.

Timothy Matovina, PhD is Professor of Theology and Co-Director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He works in the area of Theology and Culture, with specialization in U.S. Catholic and U.S. Latino theology and religion. His most recent book, Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church, has won five book awards, including selection as a CHOICE “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2012. His current book project is tentatively titled Engaging a New World: Theologies of Guadalupe in the Americas. In addition to his scholarly work, Matovina offers presentations and workshops on U.S. Catholicism and Latino ministry and theology throughout the United States.

1 Pope Francis, Interview, La Repubblica, September 30, 2013.

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