“Keeping the World Awake to God”: The Challenge of Vatican II

Christian Personalism and the Debate Over the Nature and Ends of Marriage

Nicholas J. Healy , Jr.

“Spousal love involves a total gift of self that, by its very nature, founds a form and is itself a form.”

The distinguishing feature and organic center of the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council is trinitarian Christocentrism. In terms of the council’s teaching on the meaning of Revelation, the nature of sacred liturgy, the mystery of the Church, and above all, the Church’s missionary opening to the world—the figure of Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, is presented as the beginning, the middle, and the end.1 He is at once the fullness of the Godhead and the deepest truth of creation: the one for whom all things were made and the one in whom all things hold together (cf. Col 1:15–20 and Heb 2:10). This trinitarian Christocentrism is the reason why John Paul II could describe the Second Vatican Council as “the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century . . . [and] a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning.”2

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