A Limerickal Commentary on the Second Vatican Council
Publication Date: September 7, 2020
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Separating the occasional high points of the formal sessions of Vatican II were long stretches of procedural tedium and usually ponderous Latin speeches. Some of the anglophone council fathers found fleeting relief in recording their reactions, frustrations and opinions in limerick form. Many of these were collected in a typed manuscript together with their translations into Latin by Bishop Bernard Wall of Brentwood. The English limericks are a whimsical primary source for the history of Vatican II which add a little extra humour, colour and insight to the formal record of the council's proceedings; their contemporary Latin translations remind us that Latin is far from being a dead language. The editor has provided notes that situate the limericks in a clearer context.
"An entertaining and historically important collection, this work provides a unique perspective on one of the most important moments in Church history, and gives a much needed human touch to the Council. A must-read!" —✠ Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney
"On all sides, scholars have treated the Second Vatican Council with stern and somber gravity. These cleverly translated Latin limericks, with their references to tedious prattle, clerical ambition, long-winded speeches, and the refuge of the local tavern, are therefore a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt that something happened at the Council, and it is a delight to realize that one of the things that happened was laughter at human foibles and pomposity!" —Dr Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"A unique, historically fascinating, and utterly entertaining light on the life of Vatican II. A remarkable historical document, beautifully produced and eruditely edited." —Dr Stephen Bullivant, Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion (Director, Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society), St Mary's University, Twickenham, UK