Vatican II was a seminal council, both an end and a beginning. It left behind intuitive perceptions in need of precise articulation and pointed to theological values in need of structural support. Bearing in mind that Vatican II was the conclusion of one era and the opening of another, Ladislas Orsy insists that the task of the church is to continue—with both creative insights and critical debates.
- Creative insights, though never the final answer, are the indispensable stages of development that emerge as we undertake the holy exercise of trying to imagine the best possible state of the church.
- Creative insights demand that we think anew our perceptions of some challenging aspects of reform: the people of God, unity of Christians, communion, development, freedom, role of the laity.
- Creative insights emerge within the crucible of the debating community—the sensus fidei at work to discern the true from the false with regard to such challenging things as infallibility and indefectibility of the church, synodality, collegiality, ecumenism.
Receiving the Council is a gift from a highly renowned and deeply respected canon lawyer and theologian who was an eye witness to Vatican II. It is filled with well-articulated questions and intelligent insights as well as prudent proposals for good structures in the "house of God" that is the church.
Ladislas Orsy, SJ, is a professor of law at Georgetown University, where he teaches Roman Law, History of Philosophy of Law, and Canon Law. During the council he was professor of canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome, then taught theology at Fordham University and canon law at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of Theology and Canon Law as well as eight other books and more than 200 articles. The main intent of his writings is to keep the spirit of the council alive.