NLM reports about a good book coming out in English

There is a good post over at NLM I want to reinforce. 

NLM, which I am always happy to link, is making the observation that a book published the the Libreria Editrice Vaticana is going to be coming out in English. 

The book is Il Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II. Contrappunto per la sua storia (The Ecumenical Council of Vatican II: A Counterpoint to Its History).  It will be published by the University of Scranton Press.

Here is a bit from NLM:

In this study, Marchetto critiques the so-called Bologna School which he says has done well in "monopolizing and imposing one interpretation" of the Second Vatican Council, presenting it as a kind of "Copernican revolution, the passing to… another Catholicism". He further critiques their interpretation of the Council as an event or "spirit", rather than looking at the Council through the lens of its official documents. It is in this historical context that Marchetto argues for the hermeneutic of continuity and against the hermeneutic of rupture.

I wrote about the "School of Bologna" here at WDTPRS about a year ago. You might also want to check Sandro Magister’s site about this.

Dissenting from prevailing "School of Bologna" interpretation of the Council, and also from the hermeneutic of rupture promoted by those "new theology" thinkers who split off into the Concilium/Rahnerian camp, Bp. Agostino Marchetto’s book offers a healthier perspective. 

He challenges the dominant school of thought, and properly so.

I had many opportunities to speak with the author, with whom I lived for a few years, about the reception of the Council.  Bp. Marchetto, a fine gentleman, kindly inscribed my copy.  When it comes out in English, you would not make a mistake to read it.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. TJM says:

    Father Z, thanks for the heads up. Would it be fair to call the Bologna School the “Baloney School of Vatican II Interpretation?” Because I am not
    a theologian nor a canonist but only a Catholic who could read the texts in only the most superficial way, I was always perplexed, for example,
    when reading Sacrosanctum Concilium, to note the disparity between what the texts say and how they were subsequently interpreted and implemented.
    I always suspected there was something terribly wrong. Now, perhaps, we will have an authoritative account on what went wrong. Tom

  2. LCB says:


    I found the 2nd half of George Weigel’s “Chosen by God” to provide an excellent introduction to the post council conflicts. It also points out Papa Ratzinger’s role in those various conflicts, and how his roles ended up causing him to earn a bad reputation among the liberals (and the liberal friendly press). When human faces are attached to conflicts, remembering the general structure and details is much easier.

    It is incredibly accessible to read, and the first half provides a great walk down memory lane. The final chapters dealing with how a curial reform could be structured can be boring, however they also provide a great introduction to (in general) why curial politics is so messy and confusing.

  3. TJM says:

    Thanks LCB. I will give that book a read. I like George Weigel and trust his writing. Regards, Tom

  4. Matthew Robinson says:

    “Balogna” is right….the couldn’t have come up with a more apt description!

  5. TJM: Would it be fair to call the Bologna School the “Baloney School of Vatican II Interpretation?”

    If the “baloney” has gone green and furry in the fridge and needs to be tossed out…

    … yes, that’s fair.

  6. TJM says:

    Thanks Father Z. That’s quite graphic. Regards, Tom

  7. schoolman says:

    I will look forward to get my hands on a copy of this book. Sounds like Marchetto would be a good fit for the CDF.

  8. Rafael Cresci says:

    “But Father! But Father! 58 euro for such a book?”
    Even in my best dreams that is currently unreachable (=expensive)…

  9. Rafael: (= pool resources with others or use the library)

    Perhaps the FSSP parish S. Trinita in Rome could start a little but useful lending library.

  10. Paul Murnane says:

    Fr. Z,

    Just a comment on a parish library. The parish in Sacramento where I grew up started a parish library a couple of years ago. It is well-stocked with solid orthodox writers and philosophers. It has done wonders for the intellectual life of the parish and has led to many well-attended talks, classes and study groups. I wanted to start one at my current parish in LA, but after initial discussions revealed the types of authors that would be favored, I quickly dropped the idea.

  11. Brian Mershon says:

    Vatican II’s theology:

    One book title–IOTA UNUM by Romano Amerio

  12. Flambeaux says:

    Brian and others, is Iota Unum any good? Or is it a hysterical traddy screed?

    In either event, I am very interested in Marchetto’s book.

  13. Michael B. says:

    Iota Unum was written by Romano Amerio, a Catholic Swiss scholar. His approach is scholarly and controlled, and dedicated to the love of truth. I think of it as a catechism of discarded Catholic traditions. He asks good questions, he only uses public information. I found myself a better person for having read the book. One of the great thing about the truth is that it can help one refrain from the excessive emotional reactions that can result from an incomplete understanding of the problems of the last fifty years.
    It is definitely not hysterical.
    It’s a must read for any Catholic who wants to understand what happened.

  14. Tim N. says:

    Another upcoming history of the council by an eminent American church historian: John O’Malley, What Happened at Vatican II. .

  15. Geoffrey says:

    What is a good English translation of the documents of Vatican II? The Holy See has them on the website, but are they… accurate?

  16. Flambeaux says:

    Thanks, Michael B.

  17. LCB says:

    Fr. Z (and others),

    I’ve often heard various claims regarding the authority of the various council documents, some going so far as to say that the Council documents don’t really carry teaching authority because the council itself stated that it would only carry authority when authority was explicitly declared.

    Then of course, there is the little matter of various documents having different weight (declarations, constitutions, etc.)

    Any authoritative interpretive or findings on such matters? Any sources to recommend?

  18. Brian Mershon says:

    “is Iota Unum any good? Or is it a hysterical traddy screed?”

    Well, during this pontificate, its author and the title have been featured in L’Osservatore Romano and featured by Sandro Magister if you follow the links Fr. Z gives. Read the bood and see for yourself. I doubt there is any theological response from anyone (conservatives, moderates or modernists) forthcoming. BTW, Romano Amerio would have considered himself as a Catholic–not a traditionalist.

    On the question of the authority of Vatican II documents, the only thing I have been able to find in English has been this 98-page synopsis by Fr. William Most–which is quite illuminating.

    With what he says about ecumenism and religious liberty, it is interesting that EWTN has this on his website.

  19. I am currently reading “Iota Unum” by Prof. Romano Amerio. I just passed the 200 page mark (out of a whopping 760+ pages!). I remain highly impressed by Amerio’s depth and grasp of the documentation.

    I am awaiting reaching the end of the book before I write any serious review but I would like to say that his thought is extremely well thought out. He does bring up the ‘Copernican Revolution’ argument and smacks it down with a barrage of truth.

    I do not think he presents the situation with the Index of Forbidden Books with the most information that is available to the public. But more on that later :)


  20. schoolman says:

    It would be interesting to read Amerio’s position (if he has one) relative to the SSPX consecrations in 1988? I think he died only a few years ago.

  21. Dougall says:


    Would you mind defining “hysterical traddy screed” please? I’m curious.

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