Rev Dr Peter Phillips showcased a Church rich in resource and action

Rev Dr Peter Phillips speaks at 4th Year of Faith study day

At the most recent study day, Rev Dr Peter Phillips spoke about the profound effect the Council had on the Church itself. He talked about the teachings in Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, the two Constitutions of Vatican II which speak of the Church’s mission, and how these have called the laity to share in Jesus’ threefold office of being Priest, Prophet and King. He mentioned Pope Francis referring to himself as Bishop of Rome, and pointed to the laity’s role in supporting all Bishops in their work within the Church. Fr Peter emphasised to the keen audience that Christ’s teaching is not so much His word, but Christ himself.

He also referred to Mary McAleese’s book Quo Vadis? Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law, highlighting the fact that the universal Church cannot exist without the local Church. Unity in the Church, Fr Peter told us, doesn’t stop diversity, rather it embraces it.

What has happened to the Church since Vatican II?

An audience of all ages listen to Fr Peter speakThe Second Vatican Council is greater than the documents created in it, influential and valuable though they are. There are also different understandings of the Council, and the Church must work with the creative tension this produces. Fr Peter showed the audience a Church that must acknowledge the issues it has, even if it has not yet found the answers to them all. He also showcased a Church rich in resource and action, with great positive results, many of which can be traced to the Second Vatican Council and its work.

If you missed the day, then you will soon be able to hear some of Fr Peter’s words on the podcast, which will arrive on this site shortly.

More study days to come

Celebrating the Year of Faith and 50 years since the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, the Brentwood Diocesan Commission for Evangelisation and Formation continues its series of Study Days on the influence of Vatican II. Previous talks have explored the difference the Council has made within the Catholic Church, how it has contributed to the present ecumenical situation and how the long overdue invitation to Catholics to study Scripture came to be written.

The last Year of Faith ecumenical study day will take place in October. The Rt Hon John Battle will offer a talk entitled ‘Vatican II and Beyond’. These events are free of charge and CEF welcome Christians from the Diocese and beyond. Booking is essential, so contact CEF at or 01277 265289 to secure your place or to find out more.

Summer session of the Legacy of Vatican II

The first part of the Vatican II: The Legacy Series finished in June 2013, but the podcasts of the three talks are available on WhatGoodNews at any time.

A wealth of opportunities to learn about the Second Vatican Council

Rev Dr Adrian GraffyNot content to offer five ecumenical study days tailored for the Year of Faith and the 50 year anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council,  the Commission for Evangelisation and Formation is also offering a series of evening talks about the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, providing a rich panorama on the Council’s work.

Fr Adrian Graffy, who heads the Commission, wants the enormous breadth of the teaching of the Council to be better known, and has called upon experts, both local and national, to share their knowledge in this series of nine talks.

Summer series

Mgr George Stokes takes questions from the floorThe series comprises three sets of three talks; the first set of which is now complete.  In it, Mgr George Stokes explored the four Constitutions of Vatican II and exhorted his audience to read these and the other Council documents.  Then Fr Adrian Graffy talked about the teaching of Vatican II on the Bible, offering an inspiring complement to the study day he gave earlier in the year.  Finally, Rev Dr David Chapman shared his views on what the ecumenism promoted by Vatican II has achieved, painting a picture of great strides forward and a long path yet to travel.

Rev Dr David Chapman prepares to speakThese talks took place in the Cathedral House Conference Room on three consecutive Thursday evenings.  The audience enjoyed an address from the evening’s speaker, followed by an opportunity for informal discussion over tea, coffee and biscuits.  The CEF bookstall offered copies of the four Vatican II Constitutions, as well as a variety of other books suitable for those wanting to learn more about this great Church Council.  Question and answer sessions rounded out the evenings.

Autumn seriesThe audience listens attentively to Mgr George Stokes

In autumn the series continues with Mgr David Manson considering the development of the liturgy after Vatican II, Michelle Moran exploring the new movements and communities in the Vatican II Church, and Fr Paul Keane telling the story of the Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.

Winter series

The final part is the winter series which will see Sr Bridget Tighe explaining how the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes, gave new impetus to the Church’s mission, Fr Dominic Howarth examining the deepening understanding of priesthood and personal vocation in the Vatican II Church, and Sr Margaret Shepherd explaining the teaching of the Declaration Nostra Aetate, and asking what difference it has made.

Come along and learn more….

The Commission for Evangelisation and Formation offers various events free of charge and welcomes Christians from the Diocese and beyond. Further information is available on this website or by contacting CEF at or 01277 265289.

The Light of Faith

The first encyclical of Pope Francis has been published today, entitled Lumen Fidei, The Light of Faith.

Pope Francis has described this as the work of ‘four hands’, as the first draft of an encyclical on faith had been prepared by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, completing his triptych of encyclicals on the three theological virtues faith, hope and charity. This encyclical has very fittingly been published during the Year of Faith, which marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council.

The full text of the encyclical can be read here.