hat Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the great influences on Vatican II is “a commonplace,” as Newman’s biographer, Fr. Ian Ker, puts it. But what does that mean? What influence did Newman have on a Council that opened seventy-two years after his death? And from this side of history, what might we learn from Newman about the proper way to “read” Vatican II, as we anticipate the fiftieth anniversary of its conclusion on December 8?
Those are questions Fr. Ker explores in Newman on Vatican II (Oxford University Press), a book whose brevity is inversely proportional to its depth. Ker is our best interpreter of Newman’s thought; and when Ian Ker says something about how Newman influenced and would “read” Vatican II, serious Catholics will pay attention.
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