Got Vatican II questions?

Not long after becoming pope, Benedict XVI openly wondered why the implementation of Vatican II has been so darned…complicated.

He said that many mistakenly believe that the post-Vatican II church has not lived up to the great Council, while others are wrong in believing that VII was supposed to represent a break from the pre-Council church.

B16 said: “Forty years after the Council, we can show that the positive is far greater and livelier than it appeared to be in the turbulent years around 1968. Today, we see that although the good seed developed slowly, it is nonetheless growing; and our deep gratitude for the work done by the Council is likewise growing.”

Bellitto_2009For the many Catholics who still have unanswered questions about Vatican II — okay, everybody — St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers would be a good place to visit next Wednesday (Feb 3). At 7:30 p.m., church historian Christopher Bellitto will speak on  “Vatican II: The State of the Questions.”

I’ve known Bellitto since he was professor of church history at St. Joseph’s Seminary and associate dean of the seminary’s Institute of Religious Studies.

He is not only a real smart guy who loves church history, but he knows how to talk and write about it. He won’t be dull. He will know what people want to hear about and he will get to it with insight and humor.

I must say, he is a master of the sound bite — an important skill if you’re going to be interviewed by media people these days. Bellitto knows how to get to the heart of a matter directly and colorfully.

And at Dunwoodie, he won’t have to rush.

Does he know Vatican II? As an editor for Paulist Press, he created and edited “Rediscovering Vatican II,” only an 8-volume series by a team of international scholars.

He is currently Assistant Professor of History at Kean University in Union, N.J.,  and the Academic Editor-at-Large for Paulist Press.

He got his doctorate at Fordham, so he’s still a local guy.

This is his first return engagement at Dunwoodie for a while. So check him out if you’re, you know, interested in Vatican II.

For more info: (914) 968-6200, ext. 8292.

For metropolitan archbishops, only

You may have heard or read that Archbishop Dolan left yesterday for Rome, where he will on Monday (June 29) receive a pallium.

A pallium?

It is a wool stole that goes around an archbishop’s neck.

Every archbishop named in the past year to head an archdiocese will get one.

The pallium represents Dolan’s authority over the Archdiocese of New York and the other dioceses of New York state. See, he’s a metropolitan archbishop.

The pope wears a pallium, too. He has authority over a larger jurisdiction.

Church historian Christopher Bellitto explained in his book “101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy:”


A  pallium is a circular piece of white wool about three inches wide marked by six black silk crosses, four of which are decorated with pins, with two slips of wool a bit over a foot long hanging down the front and back. A metropolitan archbishop’s pallium symbolizes his jurisdiction over a  geographic area, while the pope’s pallium represents the universal jurisdiction as Peter’s successor that is his alone. Pope Benedict XVI wears an elaborate form of the pallium: a version larger and longer than the usual one that looks like a stole tossed over the left shoulder, with red crosses instead of black. This style was used in the ancient church: mosaics depict early bishops wearing such a pallium, although it often looks like the decoration on their vestment, instead.


By the way, I think it’s safe to say that most media coverage of Dolan so far has been quite positive, if not enthusiastic. He’s a tremendously likeable fellow and there is, to be honest, a great sense of relief after a decade of no media access to Cardinal Egan.

But the Archdiocese has to be especially thrilled by some recent columns by the Daily News’ Joanne Molloy, who is absolutely fawning in her coverage of the New Boss.

She has a column today that is datelined “EN ROUTE TO VATICAN CITY,” which appears to mean that she’s going on the trip to Rome. (Yeah, I’m jealous.)

She writes:


He is charged with helping not only Catholics but all poor New Yorkers as head of the local branch of Catholic Charities, which wants to halve America’s poverty rate in 10 years.

But, for now, it was time to leave the world’s problems behind and take to the plane.

“I’m so excited,” said Suzie Palmgren of upstate Bearsville as she boarded the Alitalia flight that somehow seemed safer with Dolan on board.

“This is the first time I’ve left my husband and kids behind in 19 years.”