Vatican II

Vatican II working group • Year two of out three-year plan

During our first year, we focused on the image of the People of God, taken from the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Vatican II. That worked well in focusing our attention and developing a presentation to the 2023 Assembly

Our plan for the second year is to focus on the ‘Church in the Present World,’ referencing the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on ‘The Church in the Modern World,’ Gaudium et Spes (1965).

We will conduct zoom meetings of the working group to prepare a plan to  invite others to participate in zoom sessions.

We will seek to show how the Instrumentum laboris (working document) for the October 2023 synod presents topics that show that the relationship between the goal of the synod and the themes of Gaudium et Spes relate to the Church in the Present World.

We will also seek to show how these relationships promote synodality in the Church in the Present World.

Once our committee has clarity regarding these issues, we will open our zoom sessions to any who wish to work with us in furthering the goal of our working group and hence of Vatican II.

This is especially timely given the polarizing tensions of our present world and within our Church.

Following is the context of our planning, as reported earlier:

AUSCP announces three focus areas related to Vatican II for the coming years. We pose the following questions to consider in pondering the three texts below:

  1. Can you give fundamental support to the three statements as they relate to present day issues in Church and world and to the fundamental teachings of Vatican II?
    • People of God, 
    • Religious Freedom,
    • Church in Present Day
  2. Can you see yourself working with others to make one or another of these statements truly alive in today’s Church and world? What specific initiatives could you and others take to make these Council teachings more prominent in the current life of the Church and society?
  3. Do you agree that these three statements help to promote Pope Francis’ vision of Vatican II present in today’s Church and world?   Comment?

1) The Church as The People of God

The Church as The People of God, as presented in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and all that implies, such as:


  1. “Synodality” as a method for engaging THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
  2. Liturgy as the worship of all the people and hence the active participation of all in planning, exercising, and expressing it in the language of the people.
  3. Actively respecting and engaging the diverse roles and gifts in the discernment process serving the Church’s gospel mission.  This requires developing the “art of encounter” with all races, genders, sexual orientations, socio-economic status and cultures.
  4. Understanding ordained priesthood and the exercise of priestly ministry in the context of Church as “People of God” and not as above baptismal call of all.

2) Religious Freedom

Religious freedom, as presented in Vatican II’s, Declaration on Religious Freedom, is more than the right of Catholic Christians to practice their religion.  It also teaches:

  1. The freedom for all people to practice their religion as they understand and believe, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation.
  2. Importance of well-informed conscience in decision making for all people, believers and non-believers.

3) The Church in the Modern World

The Church in the Modern World, as presented in the Vatican II document bearing that name, and all that implies, namely

  1. Understanding and appreciating the dignity of every human as made in the image of God, related to Jesus as the perfect human enfleshment of the image of God.
  2. The interdependence of all persons in society and the promotion of the common good.
    • Fostering the nobility of marriage and family in the world
    • Advancing the proper development of culture, especially addressing the 21st century “care of creation”.
    • Concern for the socio-economic life of all and hence a just and equitable distribution of wealth.
    • Respecting the life of the political community and therefore encouraging active lay participation in politics to promote the common good and Catholic moral teaching.
    • Promotion of other social teachings of the Church, such as value of peace & justice, opposition to war, death penalty, racism and other systems using violence to achieve an end.

Other Featured Vatican II Content

Association of Pittsburgh Priests — Kristin Colberg

CLICK HERE to view a presentation, A Synod of firsts and surprises: Looking ahead on the Synodal Journey, given September 13, 2023 by Kristen Colberg to the Association of Pittsburgh Priests. She says Synodality is deeply rooted in the Theology of Vatican II. (YouTube adds advertising to the video.)

AUSCP Vatican II Working Group Members

Consistent Work Group Participants

  • Louie Arceneaux, CM [New Orleans, LA Archdiocese]
  • Bob Bonnot [Youngstown, OH Diocese]
  • Harry Bury [St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese]
  • Kevin Clinton [St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese]
  • Joe Gosselin [Atlanta, GA Archdiocese]
  • George Hundt [Patterson NJ Diocese]
  • Clyde Foster [Cleveland, OH Archdiocese]
  • Joe Graffis [Louisville, KY Archdiocese]
  • Bob Nee [Boston, MA Archdiocese]
  • Tom McCarthy [Youngstown, OH Diocese]

Work Group Advisors

  • Don Conroy [St.Paul/Mpls psychotherapist]
  • Michael Agliardo, PhD, S.J. [Berkely, CA]
  • Jan Michael Joncas [St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese]
  • Leo Jacoby [Friend of AUSCP, Wisconsin Layman]