Researcher : Gilles Routhier
Project Description :
This project situates itself in a vast international and interdisciplinary network of research on Vatican II that brings together researchers (historians and theologians) from Europe and America. This team of researchers is spread across many research institutions or centers throughout the world and promotes research activities of diverse natures: colloquia; seminars; and, publications. At the University of Laval the research undertaken rests on four principal axes: the history of Vatican II and the Canadian participation in this event; the reception of Vatican II, especially in Quebec and in Canada; the reception of “the pastoral style of Vatican II”, in particular in Bishops’ teaching and discourse; and the hermeneutic of Vatican II.
Vatican II au Québec
In the long term, the goal of these research activities is to study the future of contemporary Catholicism in its relation with culture and society. In focusing research on Vatican II (1962 – 1965) and its preparation (1959 – 1962), we thus wish to understand the transformation of an institution with global dimensions, which is at the same time, implanted in particular cultures and societies. This multifaceted research permits the following to be observed :
- the challenges of a global governance and of teaching destined for Christians of all nations;
- the implanting of Christianity in a diversity of cultures and societies and the safeguarding of unity;
- the exchange of ideas and the development of a reform movement inside a large institution;
- the development of a new style or another way of speaking, and to inscribe this manner of discourse in a space of plurality;
- the role of diverse actors and diverse authorities in the Catholic Church;
- the relation to tradition and the present;
- the welcome of innovations and the resistance to change that manifests itself in a large assembly and in the wider Church during the reception of the Council;
- the development and the establishment of diverse hermeneutics of the Council.
Briefly, it attempts to discover the significance and the communication of Vatican Council II in Quebec, in Canada, and around the world. While this research is interested in the internal dynamics of the Catholic Church and the conciliar assembly, it is also attentive to external factors such as the evolution of social, political, economic, and cultural contexts. In Quebec this means the study of an element little explored in the history of Quebec: the contribution and impact of Vatican II on the «Quiet Revolution».
In addition, with a concern for periodization or a diachronic approach, the research establishes a dialectal relationship between the different stages of the conciliar event (viz., the preparatory phase from 1959 – 1962 and the council itself from 1962 – 1965) and the major stages in the history of twentieth century Catholicism (viz., the first half of the twentieth century; the Second Vatican Council; and the post-conciliar period). At the synchronic level, the research is attentive to the dialectical relationship between the different currents that went through the conciliar assembly (even present in the ranks of the Quebec episcopacy) and the wider Church. It also attends to the dialectical relationship between the episcopacy and the ecclesial body, in particular with the reforming movement that existed in the Church and in Quebec during the pre-conciliar years. In summation, this research that links a socio-historical approach and a theological approach aims to shed light on the significance of Vatican II, especially in the history of Quebec in general, and of the Quebec Church.
This research project in which many theses and dissertations are included falls within the scope of the Centre interuniversitaire d'études québécoises (CIEQ), of which the principal researcher is a member. The project has received regular financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), from the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la culture (FQRSC), and the Fonds Gérard-Dion et the Fonds Cardinal-Maurice-Roy to sponsor academic events and to help in publication.