Cardinal Bea Optimistic for Wider Participation

Following is the text of a ‘press conference given by Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, at the council press center in Rome on Nov. 8.

Introduction: Allow me to begin with a personal word. The Holy Father has told you wonderful things about the importance and the grave responsibility of your profession, and he has also expressed his heartfelt thanks to you for all you have done to inform your readers about the Council, about its intentions and its preparation. But I wish to express very sincere and personal thanks to you for all the collaboration that so many of you have given to the work of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, or to my personal work, in the press, on the radio and on television. This collaboration was certainly not always easy, if only because it was not in any way possible to satisfy all the requests and because on more than one occasion it was necessary— though with sincere regret—to refuse even important requests. I can tell you in all sincerity, however, that, with the exception of a very few cases, the collaboration was carried out in a satisfactory manner—and I believe for both sides. If the work of the secretariat had the widespread echo that it did in world public opinion—and consequently also in the council itself—a considerable part of the merit belongs to your profession. Therefore, my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

I would also like to add a word of what is almost an anticipated apology. During the work of the council it will not be possible for me, unfortunately, to continue the aforementioned collaboration with the lively and steady rhythm it has had in recent months. Everything must come in its own time. The work of the council with all the accompanying studies and consultations must now have absolute precedence. I do not doubt that you will understand this fact and that you will agree. I accepted this meeting with you today almost as a consolation for this sacrifice and to give you information on the work of the secretariat. Continue reading

Local Customs Urged to Be Included in Liturgy

An Indian prelate has expressed a hope that local customs can be made part of Church rites.

Archbishop Eugene D’Souza, M.S.F.S., of Nagpur, India, told a press conference here that “the marriage rite as it now stands is completely unintelligible to many of our Catholic people living in rural areas.”

“Many a missionary complains of the delicate situation created by some of our people who get married in church and afterwards have their marriage performed according to local custom,” the Archbishop said at his press conference. Continue reading

Ecumenical Mass Proposed

Why shouldn’t the greatest ecumenical council in the Church’s history create a new rite—an ecumenical or world Mass—to which Catholics could invite their Protestant brothers who retain a love for the Eucharist?

This was the question posed to newsmen by a German-born missionary bishop shortly after he had raised it at the council itself.

Bishop William Duschak, S.V.D., Apostolic Vicar of Calapan, the Philippines, suggested that the ecumenical or world Mass should be in the common language of the people wherever it is celebrated. It would be, he said, “simple, grand and monumental” and composed in Rome.

Bishop Duschak said he spoke not as a liturgy expert but as a “practical missionary.” He has spent more than 30 of his 59 years in the Philippines.

The Bishop emphasized that he is not against Latin.

“I love the Latin language. It is and should remain the language of the Church.”

But he said that an unfamiliar language such as Latin or any tongue other than that of the people “deprives the people of their right to participate in the Mass.” Continue reading

Archbishop Hallinan: Liturgical Reform Already Underway

The important thing in liturgical matters “is not to emphasize change, but rather to emphasize a deeper appreciation of liturgical values,” an American prelate said here.

“The goal of the liturgical movement in the U.S. is to get Catholics to rethink their whole life of worship,” Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan of Atlanta told a press conference. He is a member of the ecumenical council’s Commission on the Sacred Liturgy. Continue reading

Changes to Mass Proposed

The work of the ecumenical council is now “well under way and can proceed in an orderly fashion, if not rapidly,” the council press bulletin has reported.

The bulletin’s report followed the council’s 11th general meeting (Oct. 31) which preceded a four-day break in sessions over All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and the following weekend. Continue reading

Reports From Rome

From America, November 24, 1962:

Two letters furnish some on-the-spot observations of the Council’s progress

ROME—Pomp and circumstance have their place in deliberations of the Ecumenical Council which convened in Rome the second week of October. But the big televised moments are few, while the hours upon hours of close, detailed, generally serene, but often momentarily heated discussion are many.

Council Fathers who wish to speak must present their names three days in advance. At the beginning of each day’s meeting—after Mass, which has become by custom a dialogue Mass—the names of the day’s speakers are read out in the order in which they are to address the Council. Continue reading

Crisis and Criticism in the Church: Historical precedents set the tone for the major task of today’s Council

From America, November 17, 1962:

In the whole history of the Church, perhaps no age was confronted with the enormous internal and external problems which the 16th century was asked to solve. Never since the days of Arianism in the fourth century had Christendom been threatened with such deep-rooted schism. Never had it been asked to reconcile two so basically different concepts of Christianity. In the second quarter of the 16th century, the old religious unity of Christendom vanished. At the opening of that century, there had been one Church in the Western world. At its close, there were many churches. Large portions of Germany, England and Scandinavia turned from the ancient Church and embraced the new, evangelical faith. Religious division entered every country in Europe. The loss to the Catholic Church was the greatest she had suffered since the collapse of Christian Africa before the Vandals and Saracens. Until the New World embraced the old religion, the loss remained uncompensated. In a sense, the religious history of this period spells a disaster from which Catholicism has never fully recovered.

No Church historian has ever admitted that the explanation of this vast splintering of Christendom is a problem that has an easy solution. Certainly the economic, political and social structure of the late Middle Ages cannot be excluded as a causative factor, for the Church does not develop in a vacuum. In some way, she is influenced by all aspects of space and time. But the undeniable low state of Western Christianity in the 15th century, especially its moral corruption, its decadent theology, its irresponsible administration, were of prime importance in bringing down the House of God. Every indication in the sources of the period points in this direction. The gap between profession of the faith and observance of its precepts on all levels of Christian society was alarming. Continue reading

The Press and the Council

From America, November 10, 1962:

Press coverage of the Second Vatican Council has entered on its second phase. Many of the writers assigned to cover the opening of the Council have left Rome, and a hard core of permanent correspondents and experts in religious news remains to carry on the task of reporting the century’s biggest ecclesiastical event. Though this Review, along with many others, voiced fears prior to the start of the Council about a possible breakdown in public relations at the Vatican, the record to date shows that the press, in America at least, has done a first-class job.

Not every paper or magazine racked up a perfect score for adequacy or accuracy of reportage, but the fact remains that every American was exposed to a liberal education in Church history, doctrine and ceremonial during the opening weeks of the Second Vatican Council. Continue reading