Spring-Summer 2012

Introduction: “Keeping the World Awake to God”

William L. Portier, in “What Kind of a World of Grace? Cardinal Henri de Lubac and the Council’s Christological Center,” treats Cardinal de Lubac’s contributions to the council and his positions afterward with special attention to his reading of GS. De Lubac’s emphasis on the council’s christological center helps to clarify the senses in which we might talk about our world as “graced.”

Jarosław Kupczak draws our attention to Karol Wojtyła in “John Paul II’s Interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.” Wojtyła, he notes, was one of the council fathers who managed to divert the text of Dignitatus humanae from political deliberations about the proper relation between Church and the state to a deep anthropological reflection about the necessary conditions of the actus fidei, and the relation of the human person to his own conscience and to the truth. Kupczak presents two distinctive elements of John Paul II’s interpretation of the Second Vatican Council: the first, the integral reading of the council, is exemplified in John Paul II’s communio ecclesiology; the second lies in the Christian anthropology included in the constitution GS, 22. Both evidence that Wojtyła was a theologian both shaping and shaped by Vatican II.

David S. Crawford, in “Family and the Identity of the Person,” takes his cue from what he determines to be the “central question for the council Fathers:” who and what is the human person? This question of identity, Crawford contends, cannot be answered without reference to familial and marital relations. GS calls the family the “school of deeper humanity,” a direct contradiction to the liberal and individualistic anthropology which currently pervades our culture. But in “being a child, and more concretely in seeing the visible signs of being the child of this mother and this father, the child’s knowledge of himself—his “identity”—is simultaneously a knowledge that his origin is embedded more deeply in reality than any act” of individual will. In a word, human and personal identities are always at once in themselves and in another.

In “Christian Personalism and the Debate Over the Nature and Ends of Marriage,” Nicholas J. Healy, Jr. traces the doctrinal development of GS in its sections devoted to marriage and family. The long-held theology of marriage, which placed the unitive end of marriage secondary to the procreative is not, Healy argues, contradicted by the council Fathers, but rather “carried forward and deepened in terms of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meanings of marriage.”

José Granados, in “The Body, the Family and the Order of Love: The Interpretive Key to Vatican II,” highlights the pastoral nature of the council. Pastoral does not infer any opposition to a theoretical world view, but instead “refers to the enrichment of faith inasmuch as it touches the center of the human experience by offering it a dwelling place.” GS, says Granados, points to the family as this dwelling place because in the family there is integration of the order of love with the primacy of God, the reality of nature, and the structures of society. The nature of love is “its capacity to hold human life together, to offer a foundation in which to build up our society . . . . the council has shown that the family is at the center of the Church’s presence in the world, inasmuch as it is in the family that love, true love, sustains its meaning.”