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  • 1. The Second Vatican Council REL 392A Germán (Germain) McKenzie 3 credit hours Adjunct Professor Dunleavy 238 Tue, Thur 2:10 – 3:30 PM 1 289 214 4577 Spring 2012 Office Hours by AppointmentDepartment of Religious Studies at Dunleavy 3rd. Floor Cubicles Niagara University
  • 2. 1.Course DescriptionA survey of the historical and theological dimensions of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Thecourse will consider historical background, as well as the salient moments in, significant contributors to,and major pronouncements of, this major cultural and religious event of the 20th century. It will alsoinvestigate the debate over its spirit and teaching as they continue to impact Roman Catholics,Christians, and members of other religions.We will study the Second Vatican Council as a particular case of the assessment of modern culture by aspecific religious tradition. Specifically, we will focus on (a) the historical event, (b) its reception, and (c)four topics of special interest: the Council´s view on the church, its relationship with modernity, religiousfreedom, and inter-religious dialogue.2.Approach, Methods and AssumptionsThe course´s approach is twofold. On one hand, its method is the one of religious studies: it will studythe fact, documents and reception of the Second Vatican Council just through the use of human reason,drawing information from a variety of social sciences. On the other hand, the course will make use ofthe method proper to Catholic theology, which is the reasoned approach to what is considered by theCatholic tradition to be revealed by God. The instructor will make explicit which perspective is beingused at each stage of every class.The instructional methods are:  Class discussion of assigned texts  Introductory oral presentations by the instructor  Oral presentations by students  In-class debates, comments on videos, and other exercises.The course assumes that either Introduction to Religion or Introduction to Christianity have been takenin the past. It also assumes the need of refreshing the hallmarks of the history of Christianity.3.Learning ObjectivesBy completing this course: 1. Students will demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the problematic surrounding the relationship between religion and modernity. 2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the Second Vatican Council as a historical fact as well as in its documents, and its reception in the Catholic Church, especially in the United States. 3. Students will be able to carry on analysis from the perspective of religious studies and from the standpoint of their particular religious tradition or secular stance towards reality. 2
  • 3. 4. Students will show an enhanced capacity to read and analyze texts as an information-literacy skill.Assessment of student´s progress towards Objectives 1 and 2 occurs primarily through the exams and apaper. Progress towards Objectives 3 and 4 takes place through the report, quizzes and in-classexercises.These goals should be understood as specific expressions of broader department, college, and universitygoals. (See Appendix A)4.Expectations and Policies The short version. I expect you to:  Come to every class.  Do the readings for the class.  Participate and stay con task in class (no side conversations, cell phones, smartphones, netbooks, tablets, or laptops).  Do your own work to the best of your ability.  Turn in assignments on time. The details: 4.1.Attendance  You are expected to attend every class prepared and on time.  You are allowed to miss two days for reasons of work, health, wedding, funeral, etc. After that, each unexcused absence results in a 15-point reduction of your final score. Absences are considered excused only if accompanied by documentation from a doctor, professor, coach, or advisor.  Coming late or leaving early may ―at the discretion of the instructor― count as an unexcused absence.  Missing ten (10) or more classes will result in an automatic F (failure) for the course ―regardless of the causes or circumstances of the absences.  If you miss a quiz or an exam due to an unexcused absence, it cannot be made up. Excused absences may give the opportunity of making up a quiz.  Please note that assignments and due dates cannot be altered to accommodate personal/family travel plans.  It is the student´s responsibility to obtain the notes from a classmate for any sessions missed. Videos cannot be made up or shown again, and the instructor does not distribute notes or PowerPoint slides. 3
  • 4. 4.2.Participation  You are expected to put forth a good-faith effort in class discussions and exercises.  The category of participation also includes behaviors that have a corrosive effect on the learning environment. These include but are not limited to: coming and going during class; sleeping in class; chitchat or note-passing; doing homework for another class; texting or talking on your cell phone/smartphone.  In terms of grade, participation works this way: (a) if you do an exceptional job, you can earn additional 50 points for your point total. (b) If you do an inadequate job, you can lose an additional 50 points from your point total. (c) If you simply do what is expected of you (see above), there will be no gain/loss of points.4.3.Books and Quizzes  There are two required texts: Colleen McDannell, The Spirit of Vatican II. A History of Catholic Reform in America (New York: Basic Books, 2011) ISBN # 0465044808 Justo L. González, Church History. An Essential Guide (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996) ISBN # 0687016118 Besides you will be required to access the official English translation of the Second Vatican Council documents, as found in: Additional readings will be made available through BlackBoard.  There will be a multiple-choice quiz for each reading assigned in the course.4.4.”Vat 2 Impact” Report  You must prepare a report on the way the Second Vatican Council impacted the lives of your grandparents on both sides.  The report must be 3-4 typed/doubled spaced pages.  Further details are provided in Appendix B.4.5.Exams  Both the Mid-Term Exam and the Final Exam are comprehensive, including the entire material covered up to the moment when they are taken. They will involve a combination of multiple-choice questions, short answers, text analyses and/or longer essays.4.6.Paper and Presentation  You must research, write, and present an analysis of the way the Second Vatican Council treats a specific topic and how that has been received in the United States. The topics to choose from are the following: (a) What is the Church? (b) How should the Church relate to the Modern world? (c) Religious Freedom. (d) Inter-religious Dialogue. 4
  • 5.  The paper must be 6-7 typed/doubled spaced pages.  You must also be prepared to carry on an oral presentation of your paper before the class. Just one paper on each topic will be presented, to be decided on the same day designed for this. If you are not chosen, comments on the topic you have worked on are expected from you. There will be 10 minutes for each presentation and some time afterwards for comments and questions.  Further details are provided in Appendix C.4.7.Grading  The grading schema for the course is as follows: Reading quizzes 100 Mid-term Exam 100 Report 100 Paper and Presentation 100 Final Exam 100 500 points total  Final grades will be assigned according to the following percentage scale: A+ 98-100 D+ 67-69 A 93-97 D 63-66 A- 90-92 D- 60-62 B+ 87-89 F 59 or less B 83-86 B- 80-82 C+ 77-79 C 73-76 C- 70-724.8.Academic Honesty  The integrity of an academic community necessitates the full and correct citation of ideas, methodologies, and research findings. In addition, each student can promote academic honesty by protecting his or her work from inappropriate use. Academic honesty is essential to ensure the validity of the grading system and to maintain a high standard of academic excellence. The principal violations of academic honesty are cheating and plagiarism.  Cheating includes the unauthorized use of certain materials, information, or devices in writing examinations or quizzes, or in preparing papers or other assignments. Any student who aids another student in such dishonesty is also guilty of cheating. Other possible forms of cheating include submitting the same work in more than one class without permission.  Plagiarism is the presentation of ideas, words, and opinions of someone else as one’s own work. Paraphrased material, even if rendered in student’s own words, must be attributed to 5
  • 6. the originator of the thought. Please refer to the undergraduate catalogue for NU’s policy on cheating, plagiarism, procedures and penalties.  Violations of academic honesty in any shape or form will not be tolerated.  Penalties may range from losing a full letter grade at the end of the semester to receiving an “F” for the course with a letter sent to your Department Chair and Dean.  For details about NU’s Academic Integrity Policy, please see: with DisabilitiesStudents with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, students who have anyemergency medical Information I should know of, or students who need special arrangements in theevent of an evacuation, should make an appointment with me as early as possible in the semester,preferably no later than the first week of the semester. Students with disabilities must also register atthe Office of Academic Support to facilitate the provision of needed accommodations. Appointmentscan be scheduled by calling 286 8072. The office is located at the Learning Center in Seton Hall.Counseling Services and Academic SupportThe strains of and workload of student life can sometimes feel overwhelming and it is easy to loseperspective when faced with academic, social or personal demands. The staff at the Office of CounselingServices in the lower level of Seton Hall and the Office of Academic Support staff are to help studentsmanage the stress of university life. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 286 8536 (Counseling) or286 8072 (Academic Support).Course ScheduleThe following schedule may be altered according to the instructor´s judgment. Date Course Content Readings for Each Other Assignments ClassTue, Jan 17 Introduction. Why is religion important?Thur, Jan 19 Modernity and Ch. Taylor Syllabus quiz at start of class posmodernityTue, Jan 24 Religion and J.L.González, 7-57. One page paper on the world´s religious Modernity (1) landscape, using www.patheos.comThur, Jan 26 Religion and J.L.González, 59- Modernity (2) 95.Tue, Jan 31 Catholicism in the C.McDannell, 1-72 One page paper on Catholicism in the Christian Tradition Christian tradition, using 6
  • 7. Thur, Feb 2 Vatican II: The J.W.O´Malley Event (1)Tue, Feb 7 The Event (2) C.McDannell, 73- 118Thur, Feb 9 The Event (3) C.McDannell, 119- Mock “Conciliar Gathering” 150Tue, Feb 14 Vatican II: C.McDannell, 151- Documents (1) 176Thur, Feb 16 Documents (2) C.McDannell, 177- Last day for talking with me about your 232 course papers and choosing a topicTue, Feb 21 Movies: The Shoes of the Fisherman (directed by Michael Anderson)Thur, Feb 23 Vatican II: Pope Benedict XVI Reception (1) M.Lamb & M. LeveringTue, Feb 28 Reception (2) Y.-M.CongarThur, Mar 1 Mid-Term Exam due at beginning of “Wrap up” after class the Mid-TermTue, Mar 6 Spring BreakThur, Mar 8Tue, Mar 13 Reception (3) V.ChaterThur, Mar 15 Reception (4) G.AlberigoTue, Mar 20 Reception (5) A.MarchettoThur, Mar 22 Reception in the J.Komonchak US (1)Tue, Mar 27 Reception in the R.McInerny US (2) J.M.O’TooleThur, Mar 29 Topics: What is A.Dulles Report Due Date the Church? (1) B.-D. La SojeouleTue, Apr 3 Topics: What is A.Nichols the Church? (2)Thur, Apr 5 Easter RecessTue, Apr, 10 Topics: Church and T.Rowland Modern World (1) J.B.BenestadThur, Apr 12 Topics: Church and E. Schillebeeckx Modern World (2) M. Saint PierreTue, Apr 17 Topics: Religious D.L.Schindler FreedomThur, Apr 19 Topics: Inter- M.Serretti religious DialogueTue, Apr 24 Conclusions (1)Thur, Apr 26 Conclusions (2) Paper Due DateTue, May 1 Study DayThur, May 3 -- Final Exam 7
  • 8. Cover images (from top left clockwise) are from the following websites:,,, (last two ones). 8
  • 9. Appendix A Broader Goals of the Course Institutional Levels Learning Outcome: Assessment Methods The student shows a…Department of Religious Studies Demonstrated understanding of Exams, paper, report the religious dimension of human life as it influences persons, cultures and the world.College of Arts & Sciences Demonstrated ability to use the Quizzes, paper information literacy skills, including research skills, appropriate to the discipline.University General Education Demonstrated knowledge of Exams, paper religions including Catholicism, and of the philosophical and religious basis of Catholic virtues.University General Education Demonstrated sense of social Exams, paper justice, including awareness of Catholic thought; knowledge of St. Vincent de Paul, the Vincentian tradition and corresponding values; and a disposition to act on behalf of those in need toward fostering community change in the Vincentian spirit.All students are encouraged to read more about NU and its various goals and learning outcomes. 9
  • 10. Appendix B The “Vat 2 Impact” ReportFormat of the Report  Please comply with the indications of the Chicago Style Manual.  Please use Times New Roman font, 12 point, with 1” margins all around.  Do not justify the right-hand margin.  Please proof-read your work before you submit it. Spelling, grammar, typing, and stylistic errors will result in a penalty of up to 10 points of your grade.Submission of the Report  Please submit your report by e-mail attachment (preferred) or hardcopy.  The report, e-mailed or in hardcopy, is due by 2 pm of the specified date in the Course Schedule.  Late reports will be subject to a deduction of 10 points per day. Your hard copy report is one day late if it is turned in on the due date but after 2 pm. instead than before; your e-mailed report is one day late if it is received after 2 pm. on the due date.Report Research  You must prepare a report on the way the Second Vatican Council impacted the lives of your grandparents on both sides. This is an exercise of oral journalism. The idea behind this is for you to carry on a case study of the way in which the Council was assimilated in the United States.  Scenarios: (a)If any of your grandparents’ background is Catholic, you may find many straight answers. (b)If any of them is non-Catholic, you may still ask about the ways in which their particular congregation/denomination reacted to the changes happening in the Catholic Church after the Council. (c)If any of your grandparents is secular, you may still ask about her/his reaction to the reception of the Council in the United States. Please contact me if your grandparents have passed away, or live abroad, or if for any reason you are not able to accommodate your work in any of the previously mentioned scenarios.  You shall want to begin contacting and asking questions to your grandparents early in the semester. Start making notes of what you know, and what you learn. When you interview others, keep a log and note the date, time, person’s name, and location, as well as what you discussed. Identify direct questions with quotation marks. 10
  • 11.  Take note of the different aspects your grandparents may mention in the first interview and help them to be more specific. Topics that may surface are, among others: (a)Doctrinal changes: new understanding of the role of the laity in the Church; of the relations between Catholics and other Christians; of the relationships between different religious traditions; in the way self-realization and spiritual life was conceived; the widespread phenomenon of theological dissent… (b)Practical-experiential changes: changes in the liturgy, especially in the Mass; issues related to sexual morality, most notable the issue of contraception; the decay of traditional ways of devotion… (c)Social-institutional changes: the appearance of new models of living as parishes; the stress in social justice issues; the sharp decline in the number of priests and nuns… Give your grandparents some time after your first dialogue and ask them again. They may remember things they were not aware of before, or reflections they might have had on the events they witnessed. Research the history of the Catholic Church in the area where your grandparents lived at the time of the Council and shortly afterwards. Try to find out the proper context for the stories and thoughts your grandparents have given to you. Compose the report. It must be 3-4 typed/doubled spaced pages. It must end with a well- reasoned Conclusion. 11
  • 12. Appendix C The Paper and Its PresentationFormat of the Paper  Please comply with the indications of the Chicago Style Manual.  Please use Times New Roman font, 12 point, with 1” margins all around.  Do not justify the right-hand margin.  Please proof-read your work before you submit it. Spelling, grammar, typing, and stylistic errors will result in a penalty of up to 10 points of your grade.Submission of the Paper  Please submit your papers by e-mail attachment (preferred) or hardcopy.  The paper, e-mailed or in hardcopy, is due by 2 pm of the specified date in the Course Schedule.  Late papers will be subject to a deduction of 10 points per day. Your hard copy paper is one day late if it is turned in on the due date but after 2 pm. instead than before; your e-mailed paper is one day late if it is received after 2 pm. on the due date.Topics  You must research, write, and present an analysis on (a) the way the Second Vatican Council treats a specific topic and (b) how that has been received in the United States.  The topics to choose from are the following: (a)What is the Church? (b)How should the Church relate to the Modern world? (c)Religious Freedom (d)Inter-religious Dialogue  The standpoints from which you may want to do your work are two: (a)That one of religious studies (b)That one of Catholic theology  Please contact me no later than February 16th to talk about your paper topic. I will set up some time for this at NU.SourcesThe following are mandatory sources for each possible paper topic: 12
  • 13. (a)What is the Church? (will be based on the study of all or of part of Lumen Gentium) (b)How should the Church relate to the Modern world? (will be based on the study of all or part of Gaudium et Spes) (c)Religious Freedom (will be based on the study of Dignitatis Humanae) (d)Inter-religious Dialogue (will be based on the study of Nostra Aetate).Additional sources will be provided in a separate handout. 13