Vatican II Talks


To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council the Brentwood Commission for Evangelisation and Formation arranged a series of nine talks which illustrated the breadth of the work of the Council. The highly-experienced speakers offer a survey of the teaching of the Council and its impact. The talks are all available here:


Mgr George StokesThe Four Pillars of Vatican II
Mgr George Stokes, ex-diocesan Director of Education, explores the four Constitutions of Vatican II: on the Church, Revelation, the Liturgy, and the Church in the Modern World.

Scripture and Tradition Rev Dr Adrian Graffy
Rev Dr Adrian Graffy, scripture scholar, author and Director of the Commission for Evangelisation and Formation, talks on the teaching of Vatican II on the Bible.

Rev Dr David Chapman Ecumenism: an evaluation
Rev Dr David Chapman is heavily involved in ecumenical dialogue on behalf of the Methodist Church and discusses what the ecumenism promoted by Vatican II has achieved.

Mgr David MansonTowards Authentic Liturgy
Mgr David Manson, Vicar General, parish priest at Ingatestone and diocesan liturgist,considers Sacrosanctum Concilium and the development of the liturgy after Vatican II.

Michelle MoranThe Universal Call to Holiness
Michelle Moran, President of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and founding member of the Sion Community, reveals the new movements and groups in the Vatican II church.

Fr Paul KeaneThe Catholic Church and Freedom of Conscience
Fr Paul Keane, Catholic chaplain to Essex University and parish priest, tells the story of the Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae, and explores its repercussions.

Sr Bridget TigheGo and teach all nations!
Sr Bridget Tighe, of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, explains how the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes, gave new impetus to the Church’s mission.

Fr Dominic HowarthPriest, Prophet and King
Fr Dominic Howarth, diocesan Director of Vocations and parish priest at Basildon, examines the deepening understanding of priesthood and personal vocation in the Vatican II church.

Sr Margaret ShepherdVatican II and the Jews
Sr Margaret Shepherd, secretary to the Committee for Catholic – Jewish Relations, a Sister of Sion, shares the teaching of the Declaration Nostra Aetate, and asks what difference it has made.

Vatican II Legacy Series #9: Vatican II and the Jews – Sr Margaret Shepherd

Vatican II Legacy Series #8: Priest, Prophet and King – Fr Dominic Howarth

Vatican II Legacy Series #7: Go and teach all nations! – Sr Bridget Tighe

17th Ecumenical Study Day: Rt Hon John Battle “Vatican II and Beyond” – Part 3

17th Ecumenical Study Day: Rt Hon John Battle “Vatican II and Beyond” – Part 2

17th Ecumenical Study Day: Rt Hon John Battle “Vatican II and Beyond” – Part 1

Vatican II Legacy Series #6: The Catholic Church and Freedom of Conscience – Fr Paul Keane

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.