Last week I introduced the most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church and pointed out the “definition” of God as being everlasting truth and love. A God of truth and love is nothing like the hard-nosed punisher-God of my youth, so I looked into the history of Catholic notions of God.
Vatican II (the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in four sessions between 1962 and 1965) marks the beginning of a new understanding of God. For hundreds of years before Vatican II, an old God of power and mystery dominated Catholic teaching. Then in the decades after Vatican II, God emerged gradually as a warmer, more reachable deity, coming into an integrated theology in the 1994 catechism. The change is important and as best I can tell, largely underappreciated. Continue reading