Keys to the Council is the best book reviewed here. If you have time only to read one book, I highly recommend this one.
What makes this book so valuable is that it truly does what it sets out to do, namely, to unlock the teaching of Vatican II for any interested reader with 20 key conciliar passages each clothed in a brief, fact-filled, historically accurate, and theologically sound chapter.
The significance of the council to the reader’s life today, and how it might be best applied in his or her encounter with the world, is an important part of the book and provides an opportunity for reflection for the thoughtful reader.
This very readable and important book offers the data as well as a history of interpretation and reception that can re-enliven the hope of those who lived at the time of this graced event. But perhaps even more importantly, it can inspire a new generation of Catholics to embrace the Council’s vision and appreciate the gift that it continues to be for the Church of the twenty-first century.
Richard Gaillardetz and Catherine Clifford are both recognized practicing theologians. They have written a very useful book which might well be used as a text for undergraduate theology courses or for adult education or discussion groups composed of men and women who are eager to acquire a balanced understanding of the Second Vatican Council because they have heard that it was one of the major events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Keys to the Council provides a cogent, constructive, and insightful overview of the themes of Vatican II that continue to shape the church fifty years after the council. Richard Gaillardetz and Catherine Clifford have crafted a text that promotes a renewed engagement with the council’s documents, particularly those teachings that highlight the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit within the church and its activity in the world. Well-grounded in Scripture and history, nuanced in its claims, and hope-filled, this book is both a faithful echo of Vatican II and a significant contribution to the ongoing reception of the council.
Richard Lennan, Boston College – School of Theology and Ministry
I recommend Keys to the Council to anyone interested in Vatican II and its impact on the Catholic Church today, fifty years after the opening of the council. This brilliant introduction to the key documents of the council is absolutely indispensable to understanding which of these keys of Vatican II have been received into the life and culture of Catholicism. Clifford and Gaillardetz have produced a masterful synthesis on Vatican II, the most important event in the history of Catholic theology in the last 500 years.
Massimo Faggioli, assistant professor at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, author of Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning (Paulist, 2012).
Keys to the Council opens up not only the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, but also its place within the last century of theological renewal. Through crisp and insightful commentary, the authors offer an inspiring reminder of all that the council achieved.
Edward P. Hahnenberg, author of A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II and Awakening Vocation: A Theology of Christian Call
Richard R. Gaillardetz holds the Joseph Chair of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. He has published numerous articles and has authored or edited ten books, including Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II (co-authored with Catherine Clifford, Liturgical Press, 2012) and Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent (Orbis, 2008). Dr. Gaillardetz has been a delegate on the US Catholic–Methodist Ecumenical Dialogue and served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America between 2013 and 2014.
Catherine E. Clifford is associate professor of theology at St. Paul University in Ontario. She received an STL from the Universit‚ de Fribourg and a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto. She is coeditor of Vatican II: Canadian Experiences (University of Ottawa Press, 2011).