Vatican II - Voice of The Church
Vatican II - Voice of The Church

Volunteer Lay Contributors

Judith Bennett

The late Judith Bennett was a linguist and a past President of the Newman Association. From 1976 to 1992 she was secretary to two distinguished editors of The Tablet and was Secretary to The Tablet Trust.

The website was started in 2004. Judith Bennett was founder member of the website team. She graduated from Bristol University and contributed administrative and literary expertise and Who was Who at the Council together with the compilation of pertinent statements by Popes with notes on senior Council Fathers. Judith Bennett died in 2022.

Kevin Clarke

Kevin Clarke is of Irish extraction, long domiciled in London: professionally, he is a commercial property consultant. Interested from its beginning in the renewal intended by the Second Vatican Council, he took an MA in Contemporary Catholic Theology at Heythrop College - London University. On the website, he shares the authorship of Councils Through History.

Sister Anne Flood SC

The late Sister Anne was an American nun of the order of Sisters of Charity. Her PhD thesis (1981) was on the development of Abbot/Bishop Butler's theological thinking. She writes of the pleasure of her meeting with Bishop Butler on one of his many visits to the United States. She kindly gave us permission to post both her dissertation and the bibliography of Butler's works attached to her thesis. We are indebted to Sister Anne's nephew Anthony Flood for making possible the addition of Sister Anne's dissertation: he was responsible for creating a machine-readable version from the original typewritten copy. Sister Anne died in 2013.

Paul Paniccia

Paul Paniccia is a professional chemist with long experience in industry. He graduated from Imperial College, University of London. In the 1990s he studied Catholic Theology at Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, UK. Awarded a Pontifical BA Degree, he subsequently gained an MA in Contemporary Catholic Theology at Heythrop College, University of London. He has been involved in various aspects of parochial life in a parish pastored by Benedictine monks of Douai Abbey, Berkshire, UK. In his diocese of Portsmouth (UK), Paniccia has lectured on ecclesiology in diocesan-run courses, holds the parish portfolio for Adult R E., and is a past chairman of his diocesan Commission for Christian Unity . He is on the (UK) Council of the Ecumenical Society for the Blessed Virgin Mary, for which he is also the Inter-Church Relations Secretary and is also a member of the Council of Christians and Jews.

Paul Paniccia writes here on the Principal Themes of the Council, 1985 Extraordinary Synod 25 Years On, and contributed several other articles. He is a founder member of the website and the Website Editor.

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The late Christa Pongratz-Lippitt was English and as a long-time resident of Vienna was the Austria correspondent for The Tablet. She edited Cardinal König 's last book, published after his death: Open to God, Open to the World, and contributed an introduction to the Cardinal's book, which is a must-read for any concerned Christian today.

The Council rightly felt obliged to pay serious attention to non-Christian religions and most particularly to the Jewish people. The document Nostra Aetate emerged and Cardinal König  was deeply involved from its beginning in the Council. Few people other than Christa Pongratz-Lippitt were better placed than König  himself to outline the Cardinal's thinking on this important development of Vatican II and its evolution. She wrote:

König  played a prominent role in the preparation of Nostra Aetate - he was eventually asked to take over the third secretariat, the Secretariat for non-believers (Non-Credentibus) by Pope Paul VI. König, apparently taken aback, asked: 'How do I do it?' and Paul VI answered 'usus docebit'- which means more or less learning by doing, or 'just start and you'll learn as you go along'

In the broadest terms, the Secretariat's conclusions, endorsed by the Council, were that: All people are brothers and sisters, and should be so treated, and that racial and religious discrimination must be condemned.

Dennis Rudd

The late Dennis Rudd's working life was mainly as a software engineer with an international electronics company. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church in his forties. He subsequently served for a number of years on the Commission for Christian Unity of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Together with the Episcopal Vicar he wrote Working for Unity, a handbook for local ecumenism published by the diocese. On his retirement and with the support of his (Roman Catholic) bishop, he was trained in pastoral care by the local Anglican diocese and served with an organisation working with lone parent families. He compiled the "Restoring Unity" section of the website. He draws mainly on the Council document of that name Unitatis Redintegratio. Dennis Rudd died in 2013.

Arthur Wells

The late Arthur Wells was an engineering graduate of London University and served during WW II in the British and Indian Armies; after the war he worked in industry. He had initially followed the Council substantially through the reports of the then Abbot Butler. Butler was in great demand by the many journalists from England and North America then in Rome and his reports appeared in The Tablet and elsewhere. In October 2002, with friends, Wells mounted a symposium about Bishop Butler and The Council at Heythrop College, University of London. Arthur Wells was the founder editor of the website team. With encouragement from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and from Cardinal König, Wells tirelessly worked to keep the teachings of the Council in public view and discussion. He has been published in The Downside Review, The Month and Priests & People.

"... I think it is of great advantage and of great importance that you, as a layman and the father of a large family, ... should undertake such a biographical and theological sketch against the background of the last Council. ..
                   Cardinal Dr. Franz König, Vienna, 25 Feb. 2000."

Arthur Wells contributed several entries to the website. He died in 2019.

The Webmaster

At the beginning of this private lay enterprise to promote the teachings of Vatican II, the webmaster described his role as the 'mechanic' of the operation. That was true, but only in a very limited way. His contributions have been far more extensive. In short, without him, the idea to return to many neglected Council teachings and to the thinking of great, but now neglected, men would have been stillborn.

As a British-born US citizen, not a Roman Catholic, he adds international and ecumenical dimensions to the small UK team of Catholics. The webmaster is a founder member of the website team. He wishes to remain anonymous, but he has the grateful thanks of the team and, we infer also, the many users of the website.