This chapter argues that the most important result of the individual stories narrated in the book was the rise of “historical consciousness,” the awareness among American Catholics that everything in history, including the Catholic Church, changes. This might be the most important single result of the “Catholic sixties.” This seemingly simple insight actually caused a widespread crisis within the American Catholic community, which was accustomed to thinking of their faith as timeless and unchangeable. It was precisely this awareness that sponsored the splintering that has led to the current debates between Catholic progressives and traditionalists over the inheritance of Vatican II.
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