The Second Vatican Council (1962 to 1965) remains the defining event in the Catholic Church since the Reformation. The Council “undertook its labours under the standards of ressourcement and aggiornamento. Ressourcement indicated the council’s efforts to rediscover, with fresh eyes, the well springs of the faith, in particular the Scriptures themselves and the reception of and reflection upon the Scriptures by early bishops and theologians of the church…thereby recovering a deeper sense of tradition. By aggiornamento, the council indicated its intention to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ into the world today, addressing the aspirations and concerns of contemporary women and men. The Council itself was able to hold these two movements of rediscovery and renewal in creative tension.” (Robert Imbelli, Rekindling the Christic Imagination, xiii). This unit explores the theological story of Vatican II that grew out of these two movements by examining the theology of key documents of the Council and locate the development of current theology to them. Priority will be given to the four Constitutions of the Council as the interpretative key to the theology of the Council.

Unit code: CT2021Y

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Mode determined at Scheduling

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Explain the meaning of aggiornamento and ressourcement for Vatican II theology.


Identify the key theological foundations in the four Constitutions of Vatican II.


Critically evaluate the impact of Dei Verbum (Revelation) and Gaudium et Spes (Church in the Modern World) in current theology.


Analyse the five theological themes that run through the sixteen documents of Vatican II.


Critically analyse the ecumenical (church uniting) potential of Vatican II theology.

Unit sequence

18 credit points in CT


Blended Synchronous Lectures and Seminars

Indicative Bibliography

  • Alberigo, Giuseppe, and Matthew Sherry. A Brief History of Vatican II. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006.
  • Clifford, Catherine E, and Massimo Faggioli, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Vatican II . First ed. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023.
  • Faggioli, Massimo, ed. The Legacy of Vatican II. New York: Paulist Press, 2015.
  • Gaillardetz, Richard R, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Vatican II. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
  • Gaillardetz, Richard R, and Catherine E Clifford. Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2012.
  • O'Malley, John W. What Happened at Vatican II. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.
  • Rush, Ormond. The Vision of Vatican II: Its Fundamental Principles. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press Academic, 2019.
  • Sullivan, Maureen. The Road to Vatican II: Key Changes in Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 2007.
  • Vorgrimler, Herbert, ed. Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II. General Editor Herbert Vorgrimler. London: Burns & Oates, 1967.
  • Wicks, Jared. Investigating Vatican II: Its Theologians, Ecumenical Turn, and Biblical Commitments. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2018.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Minor Paper 1800 40.0
Essay - Major Paper 2700 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 27 Jun, 2023

Unit record last updated: 2023-06-27 15:19:38 +1000