Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reading more Vatican II documents

I'm reading so many things at once. When I was down in DC for Archbishop Di Noia's ordination Mass, I bought a book by Ignatius Press, The History and Future of the Roman Liturgy, a translation of a work by the French author Denis Crouan, STD. I haven't finished The Organic Development of the Liturgy by Dom Alcuin Reid yet. I've got a bookmark that hasn't moved in over a year in Mary and the Fathers of the Church. I started reading a book on John Henry Cardinal Newman by Lawrence S. Cunningham. I'm also trying to go through much of the General Directory for Catechesis. I've read a couple hundred of the 550 Documents on the Liturgy.

And I read Church documents. Those tend to get my best attention. I've just finished Perfectae Caritatis (the decree on the renewal of religious life), and I'll be reading Christus Dominus (on the pastoral office of Bishop) later today. That'll leave just Gaudium et Spes. That will take a while. (I haven't read Pope Benedict's new encyclical yet, either. And then there are those many documents on priests and the priesthood that I intend to read at some point!)

About Perfectae Caritatis... this document, among others from Vatican II, could really have benefited from headings. It's not much to ask for. I mean, I finally caught on that the first couple words of a "paragraph" (really, a group of paragraphs with a single number) indicated the content matter for that numbered paragraph, but the organization of the document didn't jump out at me at first. For those of you reading along at home (and you are reading the documents of Vatican II, aren't you?), here's the breakdown of Perfectae Caritatis:
  1. Introduction (1)
  2. Principles of Renewal (2-6)
    1. Five General Principles of Renewal
    2. Call to Renewal
    3. Authority in Carrying Out the Renewal
    4. Dedication to Evangelical Counsels and Contemplation
    5. Sources of Renewal
  3. Types of Religious Life (7-11)
    1. Contemplative
    2. Apostolates (Active Communities)
    3. Monastic
    4. Lay Religious
    5. Secular
  4. Evangelical Counsels (12-14)
    1. Chastity
    2. Poverty
    3. Obedience
  5. Religious Lifestyle (15-18)
    1. Communal Living
    2. Papal Cloister
    3. Habits
    4. Education and Formation
  6. Lifecycle, Work, and Governance (19-24)
    1. Founding New Communities
    2. Community Identity (Ministry and Mission)
    3. Discontinuing a Community
    4. Combining Similar Communities
    5. Conferences or Councils of Major Superiors
    6. Fostering Vocations
  7. Conclusion (25)
I hope that's helpful for you. When I finally get around to writing substantially about the Vatican II documents, this outline will come in handy for me.

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