Vatican II@50 is a series of programs recognizing the worldwide impact of the Second Vatican Council, convened 50 years ago in 1962 by the enormously influential Pope John XXIII. Among the great legacies of Vatican II are increased tolerance of other religious traditions, a celebration of people’s growing awareness of human dignity, and a renewed perspective on sacred music and art. The Rothko Chapel, John and Dominique de Menil’s gift to Houston, now recognized as an international spiritual landmark, would not exist without the achievement of Vatican II. Vatican II@50 will address these and other important questions with lectures, concerts and conversations that focus on the common vision of Vatican II, the de Menils, and the Rothko Chapel.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, co-director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture, is a writer, editor, commentator and Fordham’s journalist-in-residence. The Center explores questions that arise when religious faith intersects with contemporary culture and fosters dialogue on the challenges posed to the culture. Before joining Fordham, Ms. Steinfels served for 15 years as the editor of Commonweal, an independent biweekly journal of political, religious and literary opinion edited by Catholic lay people. She also co-directed “American Catholics in the Public Square,” a three-year Commonweal Foundation project that was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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