"At the beginning of the meeting Cardinal Ottaviani said that, to speed the work up, the experts will speak only if they are asked a question. At my side, Rahner was champing at the bit, and said to me `what are we doing here . . . ?'" (Wednesday 3 June 1964)
Yves Congar, OP, was one of the most important and influential theologians of the twentieth century. Much of this influence came as a result of his role as theological advisor to the bishops who participated at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). After working under a cloud of ecclesiastical censure and suspicion in the decade prior to its start, Congar was, from beginning to end, an influential day-to-day participant in the council's work. He also managed to keep detailed personal notes throughout the time.
At long last, the council diaries of Yves Congar are available in English! This material is a treasure trove of information and insight for anyone interested in the history of that council and its remarkable and historic teaching. It provides a window into the council's workings and the development of what would become a series of historic documents and declarations. It also offers Congar's own down-to-earth and personal perspective on many of the other remarkable figures who played a role in the council.
Yves Congar, OP, who died in 1995, was a French Dominican widely recognized as one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century and a major influence upon the theology of the documents of Vatican II. Congar drew from biblical, patristic, and medieval sources to revitalize the discipline of contemporary theology. He was an early advocate of ecumenism and also contributed to shaping the theological agenda of the twentieth-century liturgical movement. He was named a cardinal in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. Liturgical Press has also recently published At the Heart of Christian Worship: Liturgical Essays of Yves Congar and Congar's classic work True and False Reform in the Church.
Yves Congar's diaries give us an intimate insight into the most important event in the life of the Catholic Church in twentieth century. Having been marginalized and silenced because of his theological views, Congar was summoned to Rome to be a crucial actor in the Council. He records his views of the participants with wonderful frankness, and gives us access to the dramatic negotiations and maneuvers that took place behind the scenes. It is impossible to put it down. It unveils the genesis of the Council documents that changed the Church.
Timothy Radcliffe, OP, Former Master General of the Dominican Order
Even if we have studied the history and documents of the Council, we have a great deal to learn from reading this book. It shows the Council to us in a manner that is detailed and fresh. [This book] is a much-needed stimulus to attend to a moment in the life of the Church that some Catholics today are in danger of short-changing. This is a welcome, enjoyable and perceptive book.
Gabriel Daly, OSA, Doctrine and Life
"Despite the serious topics he undertakes, Congar writes simply and clearly, and his reflections are accessible to all who enjoy the give-and-take of doctrinal reflection and ecclesiastical vision. For the serious scholar of Catholicism and the Council, this volume contributes immeasurably to the understanding of Vatican II. It's a worthy and wonderful project to undertake."
Kathy Schiffer, Seasons of Grace
This journal is a must read for anyone interested not only in Vatican II but in ecclesiology and in modern Church history.
Fr. William C. Mills, Author of Church, World, and Kingdom
Reading Congar's journal is an exercise in hope. Those of us who celebrate the Council, and who continue to see it as a valuable and viable construct even after fifty years, will be well-rewarded in reading this recent release of Congar's Journal in English.
Fr. Donald Richmond
Fr. Yves Congar, OP, was the most important and influential theologian at the Second Vatican Council. The journal that he wrote on the spot nearly every day provides entry not only to his ideas and feelings but to the dynamics at work as the Council accomplished a work of renewal and reform for which he had himself worked and suffered for decades before. This is indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand the texts, and the drama, of Vatican II.
Joseph A. Komonchak, Professor Emeritus, Historical and Systematic Theology, The Catholic University of America, Editor of the English version of The History of Vatican II, Giuseppe Alberigo (ed.)
The English translation of Yves Congar's Journal du concile is absolutely important, for it reopens the debate on the theological value of Vatican II. Congar was arguably the most important theologian of Vatican II, and his journal is the single most important "private" source for historians and theologians of the Council. It is one of the very necessary texts at fifty years from the opening of the Council.
Massimo Faggioli, University of Saint Thomas, Author of True Reform
Those who love the Second Vatican Council and do their best to implement it in the life of the church and beyond will draw much inspiration and encouragement from what Congar wrote, day by passing day, before, during, and after the council.
Gerald O'Collins, SJ, Theological Studies
My Journal of the Council offers a riveting first-hand assessment of the dynamics, disputes, and decisions of the Council. At the same time this volume provides a rare glimpse into the personal and spiritual cost of Congar's love of truth and his commitment to hand on the Church's authentic Tradition as a living heritage of faith.
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
My Journal of the Council is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the nitty-gritty of church history. We're lucky to have it.
National Review Online
One of the most theologically fascinating and just plain entertaining books I've read in a long time is Yves Congar's My Journal of the Council.
Robert Barron, Author of Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith