Deconstructing and Reconstructing a Cliché—Vatican II as a “Pastoral Council”

  • John O’Malley
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)


It is a cliché to label Vatican II a pastoral council. Like all clichés, this one tells us something about its subject but, as a cliché, it tends to trivialize that subject and even misdirect our attention. If we compare Vatican II with previous councils, especially with the Council of Trent, some interesting conclusions emerge. Those conclusions cause us to revisit the cliché, to deconstruct the conventional meaning attached to it, and to reconstruct it in a completely new way. From this exercise the pastoral character of Vatican II emerges vindicated but also radically transformed.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WashingtonUSA

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