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.

Unit Code: CH2180C

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit Discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Contextualise Vatican II in relation to previous Church councils.


Identify the major themes in the ongoing historical interpretation of Vatican II, noting in particular the evolution of the recent scholarly debates regarding the relative continuity/discontinuity of the Council


Articulate the cultural and intellectual formation of Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII), in particular, his study of the Council of Trent and the reforms of St Charles Borromeo that prompted him to call the Second Vatican Council


Situate the documents of Vatican II in the wider historical and theological context


Lectures and seminars


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial

500 word seminar paper

0 20.0

3,000 word essay

0 50.0
Written Examination

one hour documents examination

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-03-18 15:15:25 +1100