John W. O'Malley, S.J., the esteemed Georgetown University historian, compares the role of theologians at the Council of Trent to the Second Vatican Council. At Trent, the theologians were not pre-selected by the pope, and represented a wide array of theological opinion. Theologians gave extended lectures to the assembled bishops, who then made decisions based on the information they gathered. Trent marked the first time that a class of theologians emerged as a distinct voice from the bishops, and thus offers an interesting lesson for today, when the relations between bishops and theologians are strained. Read Fr. O'Malley's article, "A Lesson for Today?"
(10/31). Photo courtesy of the Irish Jesuits.