Overview of the Conference

The Religious Studies and Philosophy Department and the Graduate Program in Holistic Spirituality at Chestnut Hill College will host an interdisciplinary conference on “The Irrepressible Energy of the Spirit: Vatican II and Beyond,” April 12–14, 2013.


In the 50 years since Vatican II, not enough has been done to educate the faithful about the deeper meaning behind the changes, e.g., “turning the altar around” was not simply a matter of architecture, but represented a different ecclesiology, one emphasizing the inclusive nature of the gathered community. Vatican II also took important steps in areas like outreach to other religious traditions, the primacy of the needs of the poor and the marginalized, and the role of the laity in the life of the church.


During the past several years, challenges to the vision and spirit of Vatican II have arisen both from the hierarchy and among some of the faithful. It is our belief that, for the faithful, these challenges are directly linked to the lack of a real understanding of that vision and that spirit. We would like our conference to be one step in the filling of that gap in understanding.


Highlights of the conference include a Friday evening keynote presentation by Dr. Peter Steinfels, who will speak on "Vatican II: What Does a Revolution Mean?" Saturday morning Dr. Regina Bannan of Temple University will chair a panel on Catholic women and Vatican II. The luncheon speaker for Saturday will be Dr. Bernard Prusak of Villanova University, author most recently of "Turning Point," an article in Commonweal magazine based on his experiences working at the Council.


If you would like to know more about this Conference, bookmark “The Irrepressible Energy of the Spirit: Vatican II and Beyond” website and return often for further information and regular updates. For all inquiries, please contact Barbara Crawford at Chestnut Hill College.


Conference is supported in part by the Commonweal's Campus Speakers Program.