Forty-nine bishops from Red-ruled countries secured permission to attend the Second Vatican Council.
Most numerous are bishops from Poland and Yugoslavia. But other bishops are from Cuba, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and East Germany.
Only one of the three cardinals whose nations have been taken over by communism is present. He is Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski, Primate of Poland and Archbishop of Warsaw. The other two cardinals are impeded in their duties.
Among the conspicuously absent are bishops from mainland China where brutal physical persecution of the Church and its officials continues and where the regime has set up a fake “Catholic Church.” Continue reading →
Tonight at 11:15 p.m. on NBC viewers will be introduced to a new host for The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson will take over the reins from Jack Paar, who has entertained America each night with interesting guests and controversial issues since he took over from Steve Allen in 1957. Carson, most recently the host of the ABC afternoon quiz show Who Do You Trust?, is likely to focus more on comedy than controversy. Groucho Marx and Mort Sahl have served as guest hosts in the period between Paar’s resignation and Carson’s debut.
One of the longest peacetime sessions of Congress has obscured the importance of the upcoming elections that are now a mere six weeks away. Even the electoral extravaganzas in New York, California and Massachusetts have managed to take over the newspaper headlines on only a few occasions.
Nelson Rockefeller’s re-election as Governor of New York has been accepted by most as a sure thing, in spite of some polls that suggest the opposite. The widespread interest in New York has centered mainly on how large the Governor’s margin will be. Will it be big enough to make his Presidential nomination in 1964 a near certainty?
In California, Nixon’s fight for his political life has drawn more than local attention. The greatest newspaper space, however, has been devoted to the Senatorial battle in Massachusetts between the Kennedys and the McCormacks. The battle and its outcome may have implications for 1962 races in other States. Continue reading →
From the August 11, 1962 issue of America by Eugene C. Bianchi, S.J.: What are the problems that will be discussed at the coming Vatican Council?
Out on Rome’s Via Aurelia, in a modest study on the second floor of the Brazilian College, works a man who reflects a vitality, optimism and foresight that belie his 81 years. Augustin Cardinal Bea, as president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, is one of the truly outstanding personalities in pre-conciliar Rome. People marvel that this quiet biblical scholar, once confessor to Pope Pius XII, has become the dynamic and articulate champion of the cause of Christian unity.
As teacher and superior of the Pontifical Biblical Institute for more than a quarter-century, Father Bea, SJ., contributed much to the renewal of scriptural studies among Catholics. His many scholarly works and his inspiring direction have left their mark on a whole generation of Rome-trained exegetes. It seems eminently fitting that the Cardinal’s escutcheon should feature a dove hovering over a book. For the dove unintentionally symbolizes his very important contribution to Pius XII’s epoch-making encyclical. Divino Afflante Spiritu, the modern Magna Charta for Catholic biblical research.
But it is since 1960, when the scholarly Cardinal became head of the Unity Secretariat, that he has shot into the forefront of the world religious scene. The purpose that Pope John wished to engrave on the coming Council—that of a renewal of Catholic life in view of greater Christian unity—is perhaps best mirrored in the tireless activity of Cardinal Bea. His secretariat was established to keep non-Catholics abreast of Council preparations, to receive their suggestions, and to see to the delicate task of inviting non-Catholic observers to Vatican II. The secretariat also formulates proposals for the Council on such important topics as religious liberty, membership in the Mystical Body and the dialogue with the non-Catholic world. Continue reading →
From May 26, 1962, an article from the legendary Robert Drinan, S.J., then the dean of Boston College Law School, on a prickly matter of church and state. Then, as now, the tax exemption of religious institutions was virtually unchallenged:
On April 16, 1962 the United States Supreme Court refused review to a unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island which has sustained tax exemption for religious bodies. The nation’s highest tribunal, Mr. Justice Black dissenting, said that no “substantial Federal question” was involved in the December 13, 1961 decision of Rhode Island’s highest court affirming the constitutionality of tax exemption for church and other properties.
Although refusal of review by the Supreme Court does not necessarily imply approval of the decision below, it is significant that six Justices of the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time in modern Supreme Court jurisprudence the principle that no “substantial Federal question” is involved in State laws granting tax exemption for buildings, lands and estates which are used for religious purposes. Continue reading →
On April 16, after a long period of negotiations with leading conservative segregationists of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, several of whom backed down from their opposition to his plans to integrate the parochial schools, Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel excommunicated three defiant racists. These three insisted the archbishop was a heretic and Communist seeking to undermine God’s wish that the races be separate and black people be subject to the oppression of the white majority.
The following is a photograph and caption from Life Magazine showing one of the excommunicated conservatives engaging in a dramatic gesture, calling on the archbishop to repent of his heresy. Continue reading →
John Cogley, a longtime editor at Commonweal and an adviser to JFK’s presidential campaign, offers a bustling picture of American Catholicism in the years before the Council. From the April 14, 1962 issue of America:
Some day you would like to write a book about Catholicism in America as you have known it. You keep putting it off, and the relentless years keep passing. The book will probably never be written. But as time goes by, experience broadens, understanding is enriched, complexity becomes more evident. The result is that this year’s unwritten book is better than last year’s, and next year’s promises to be the best yet. Thinking about it, though, is like paging through an album of yellowed snapshots, watching yourself age while the perennial youth of the Church becomes ever more verdant.
The first impressions begin in the parochial school. You can evoke certain sights, sounds and smells from the past and take satisfaction in the knowledge that they are part of the present life of your children: “…with liberty and justice for all, goodmorningsister”; the clink of heavy rosary beads and rustle of black veiling; the exultant swell (combined frequently with a sense of deliverance from captivity) of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”; the sudden spring of a May altar; the clinging sweetness of funeral incense hanging on in a church, like the presence of death, after the mourners have left; the special shouts of schoolboy encouragement when one of the Sisters takes a turn at bat; the pastoral eloquence of a report-card compliment; the shattering realization that there is disorder in the universe when ink is spilled on a nun’s immaculate white bib. Continue reading →