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Describing the contrasting visions of two Bay Area Catholic groups in their reception and interpretations of Vatican II, the author traces their roots back to different understandings of the relationship between the Church, social order, and the practice of the faith. The emergence of these visions presaged the development during the 1980s of ecclesial "culture wars."The author argues that these developments challenge the believing historian both to examine the relationship between the Church and political advocacy groups and to describe analytically the wide range of views that compose Catholic identity. He asks how this historical ratio might inform our ecclesial fides were the historian to be given and to assume a public responsibility in the Church.