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Fr. Schillebeeckx: Vatican II Was a Reaction Against
Monarchy in the Church

During Vatican II, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx acted as the theological expert of the Dutch Episcopate. In 1964, while Vatican II was still in process, he was the main founder of Concilium magazine. The goal of the quarterly was to support and continue the work of Vatican II. Its collaborators included Frs. Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, Marie Dominique Chenu and Joseph Ratzinger, among many others.

For a special issue of the magazine preparing to enter its twentieth year, Schillebeeckx wrote an appraisal of that Council which he knew so well.

At right is the cover of Concilium that carries the article by Schillebeeckx, "The Gospel Cannot be Subjected to Arbitrarity"; at right below, a photocopy of the Portuguese text. Below, we present our translation of the lines highlighted in yellow.

Certainly Vatican II was also a Council of protest and contradiction, so to speak, a reaction of the liberal Church against the remnants of feudalism and monarchy inside the Church.

Hence, the emphasis on collegiality in the government of the Church. Only by means of this Council did the Church officially accept the great conquests of the French Revolution and the liberation of the bourgeoisie: tolerance, liberty of religion and conscience, ecumenical openness, etc.

However, the irony of History, she did so just when society was prepared to criticize the new forms of slavery produced by the liberal bourgeoisie.

(Edward Schillebeeckx, "O Evangelho nao pode estar sujeito a arbitrariedade," in Concilium, n. 10, 1983, p. 29).
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Posted on April 30, 2006

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