Professor Colleen McDannell, who teaches History and Religious Studies at the University of Utah, thinks that all of the changes in the Church since the Second Vatican Council have been good. She implies that she liked guitar masses, liked the Novus Ordo Mass, and she definitely likes an increased role for women in the leadership of the Church. She implies that she is in favor of women’s ordination and even more liberalization. People like this seem to not have a real appreciation of what we have in the Catholic Church and want to make it a carbon copy of the Episcopal Church. Seeing as how there are even more empty pews in Episcopal Churches than we have now in the Catholic Church, I don’t really understand why.
Having said that, Professor McDannell's book, The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America (Basic Books, 2011), is excellent. In many ways, this book is the exact opposite of Russell Shaw’s American Church which pretty much viewed the changes in the Church as a disaster. McDannell loves “Good Pope John,” dislikes Paul VI and really dislikes Humanae Vitae. She also dislikes the efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “reform the reform.”
However, the book is well written and enjoyable. McDannell uses her own family as a case study of what life was like for the people in the pews before and after the changes in the Church which came about as a result of the Council. The only place the book dragged and became boring wasi in the middle chapter describing the Council documents. But mostly it weaves what was going on in the Church at large with what was going on in the parishes attended by her family.
Although the Bad Catholic doesn’t like the “Spirit of Vatican II” as much as Dr..McDannell does, The Spirit of Vatican II is recommended reading.