French theologian, Fr Eric Mahieu, was our guest for the June ACI webinar focusing on the theology of the great French Dominican priest, Yves Congar, a major 20th century theologian and a key actor at the Second Vatican Council.
Watch the video now.
Born in Sedan, France, in 1904, French Dominican Yves Congar was a leading 20th century theologian, who exercised a major influence on the Second Vatican Council.
A strong advocate of ecumenism, he also played a significant role in the development of a theology of the laity. His work “Lay People in the Church,” first published in French in 1953, was one of the first major theological treatises on the role of the laity.
From his days as a young priest stationed at the Dominican convent, Le Saulchoir, then located in Belgium, he led retreats for the young leaders of the emerging Young Christian Workers movement. Subsequently, he worked closely with the French Workers Catholic Action movement.
Later he would describe the YCW as “a prophetic initiative from the periphery” consecrated by a pope, Pius XI, “equally moved by a prophetic spirit.” The outcome was “a magnificent creation, an opening full of developmental promise: a prophetic work born of a twin prophetic movement linking the periphery and the centre,” Congar wrote.
In 1965, he encouraged Cardijn, who had recently been made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI, to make the most of his role as a Council Father at the Fourth Session of Vatican II, assisting Cardijn with the drafting of his speeches.
During the Council, he kept a day by day journal, recording the events, conversations and discussions in which he was involved. This was published after his death in 2000 under the title “Mon journal du Concile” and in English in 2012 as “My Journal of the Council.”
Recognising his lifetime of theological achievement, Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994, just months before his death at the age of 91 in 1995.
Eric Mahieu is a priest of the Diocese of Lille in France, who has taught theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris for 15 years. A renowned scholar of Congar’s work, he edited Congar’s Vatican II notes for publication.
Currently, he is a university chaplain as well as parish priest at Our Lady of the Pentecost in Lille.
Yves Congar (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council (ATF Press)