It was appropriate that the first “father” to win wide attention at the Second Vatican Council should be the bishop of Lille, Achille Cardinal Liénart. Not only is his native France the “Eldest Daughter” of the Church, but he— though by no means the oldest member—is outdistanced only by Portugal’s Manuel Cardinal Gonçalves Cerejeira in tenure within the College of Cardinals. His title dates from 1930.
Even had he not intervened at the start of the first working session with a request for adjournment to permit the bishops to canvass candidates for election to the Council’s commissions, Cardinal Liénart would have shared the spotlight. As a member of the board of “presidents” designated by Pope John to insure orderly procedure in debate on the floor of the Council, he would inevitably become well known to the assembled bishops and to the onlooking world as events unfold in Rome.
An editorial in the October 15 issue of the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano reminded readers that history suggests the debates in Second Vatican—as this Council is called—may become “heated and lively.” One can expect, we are told, the emergence of what in parliamentary parlance are usually called “Center, Right-and Left-wing parties” and “an opposition.” Obviously, such analogies borrowed from secular political assemblies can be misleading. In the interest of efficient organization, it is clear, however, that the Council will have to rely on a system of committees and an agency, such as the board of presidents, that have functions similar to those of our House Rules or Ways and Means Committee. Continue reading →
The Vatican rates the 50th Anniversary of the Council in third place, after the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the publication of the Compendium of the Catechism, for its “Year of Faith.” Pope John XXIII is mentioned in passing four times on the official site.
In honor of Super Tuesday, a look back at the burgeoning presidential race 50 years ago, featuring a Republican named Romney. From the March 10, 1962 issue of America:
A presidential boom—its birth, its nurturing and its outcome—is a fascinating thing to behold. This is especially true in the case of a political novice like George Romney, the Rambler Man, who is now regarded as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1964. Continue reading →
In the Feb. 24, 1962, issue of America, the editors commended the “happy signs of a new and progressive press policy in Rome,” and argued that “a liberalized press policy at the Vatican Council” would be good news for Catholic and secular press alike.
Attentive readers of the diocesan newspapers will have noticed, in the past month or more, a perceptible improvement in both the quality and quantity of news about the Vatican Council. During January, particularly, when the Central Preparatory Commission was receiving reports, authorized stories succeeded each other in unprecedented abundance. If the releases dealt primarily with the agenda and gave no hint of the decisions reached, they were at least fairly detailed and certainly official. It is a pleasure to acknowledge—and since February is Catholic Press Month, it is appropriate to record—these happy signs of a new and progressive press policy in Rome. When the Fathers of the council meet on October 11, the newly functioning press officers will have made their shakedown cruise. The Church, the council and world opinion, we are convinced, will profit greatly if the new policy fulfills the hopes that have been placed in it. Continue reading →
From January 6, 1962, the editors of America Magazine comment on Pope John XXIII’s formal convocation of the council:
Almost three years after he announced his intention of calling an ecumenical or universal council, Pope John XXIII on Christmas Day formally convoked the Second Vatican Council. Such a solemn assembly of all the bishops gathered around the Supreme Pontiff has not been witnessed since 1870. In his bull of convocation the Pope said that the council will meet in 1962. Speculation presently centers on Dec. 8 as the opening date. Continue reading →