Yves Congar (1904-1995), a French Dominican theologian, was a prophet in the church of the mid-twentieth century, persecuted in the 1950s only to become perhaps the single most formative influence on Vatican II. To the extent that the agenda of Vatican II remains to be fulfilled, one could say that it is Congars vision that provides the ongoing agenda of the church.
Congars many contributions ranged from ecumenism to social justice, the Holy Spirit to the identity of the church. Perhaps his most significant and far-reaching influence was his commitment to the role of the laity. Throughout his life he embodied the struggle to join faithfulness to the church with an ongoing commitment to reform and renewal. In recognition of his service to the church, Pope John Paul II named him a cardinal just before his death.
Paul Lakeland is professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He is the author of many books, including The Liberation of the Laity.