The Spirit of Trent and the Mystery of Vatican II


Rev. Dr Max Vodola
Semester 1, 2020
Wednesday 6.00pm – 9.00pm
This unit will examine the historical context of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It will examine the intellectual and historical formation of Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII) and his particular study of the Council of Trent which shaped in a definitive way his language and framework in calling the Second Vatican Council. In studying the speeches and writings of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII, the student will come to understand the historical context of Vatican II’s call for aggiornamento (updating) and Pope John XXIII’s perception of an epochal shift for the Church and the world in the course of the twentieth century. An assessment of the historical importance of Vatican II will also be made.

Census Date

Tuesday 17 March




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


  • one 1,000-word seminar paper 20%
  • one 5,000-word essay 50%
  • one 1-hour written documents examination (1,000 words) 30%


  • Alberigo, Giuseppe. A Brief History of Vatican II. Translated by Matthew Sherry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006.
  • ———, ed. History of Vatican II. Edited by Joseph A. Komonchak. 5 vols. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995–2006.
  • Alberigo, Giuseppe, Jean-Pierre Jossua, and Joseph A. Komonchak, eds. The Reception of Vatican II. Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1987. 
  • Benigni, Mario, and Goffredo Zanchi. John XXIII: The Official Biography. Translated by Elvira Di Fabio with Julia M. Darrebkamp. Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2001.
  • Bulman, Raymond F., and Frederick J. Parrella, eds. From Trent to Vatican II: Historical and Theological Investigations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Faggioli, Massimo. Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning. New York: Paulist, 2012.
  • Hebblethwaite, Peter. John XXIII: Pope of the Council. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1984.
  • O’Malley, John W. Tradition and Transition: Historical Perspectives on Vatican II. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1989.
  • ———. What Happened at Vatican II. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • Stacpoole, Alberic, ed. Vatican II: By Those Who Were There. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1986.