The Journey from the Side Chapel to the Main Aisle: Religious Life in the Postconciliar Church

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The ecclesiological principles enunciated in the documents of Vatican II have shaped the direction of religious life in ways that could not have been imagined prior to the council. The developments that have taken place in the renewal of religious life over the past thirty years reflect critical paradigmatic shifts in ecclesiology that have both called into question and radically affirmed the very nature and meaning of religious life within the life of the Church. In fact, it could be argued that the changes in the Church’s self-understanding during Vatican II are nowhere more dramatically seen than in the continuing transformation of religious life.

Among the many conciliar and postconciliar documents that present and develop the teaching of the council regarding religious life, for the purpose of this discussion, the most significant are, not surprisingly, the two constitutions that treat directly of the Church — Lumen Gentium {Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, November 21, 1964) and Gaudium et Spes {pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modem World, December 7, 1965) — as well as Perfectae Caritatif {Decree on the Up-to-Date Renewal of the Religious Life, October 28, 1965).


ISBN 9781888112023

Since 1993 Dr. Palliser has served as Director of Campus Ministry at Sacred Heart University and is an adjunct assistant professor of religious studies.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.