A Current Comment post from the September 1, 1962 issue of America:
In devoting their annual statement for 1962 to the coming Second Vatican Council, the American hierarchy has made a significant addition to a growing library of similar documents issued by the bishops of many lands. Looking ahead to the meeting scheduled to open in Rome on October 11, our 226 Cardinals, archbishops and bishops sound a note of optimism.
They base their hopes in the first place on the care with which preparations for the Council have been made. But they are also “humbly and gratefully” convinced that they, personally, “will not go to the Council empty-handed.” Though the American Church is young and has had a difficult history, the experience our bishops have gained will provide valuable insights as the Council takes up its primary task of effecting an internal renewal of the universal Church.
Our bishops know, for instance, “first of all, the advantages which have come to the Church from living and growing in an atmosphere of religious and political freedom.” They can testify to the faith of “lay people, men as well as women,” who “are to an extraordinary decree active, energetic members of Christ’s Mystical Body.” These insights and much more they have in mind as they travel to Rome, “not to give hasty answers . . .or mere routine approval . . .but to deliberate unhurriedly, to express their mature judgment.”
Catholics and non-Catholic Christians alike should be moved by this statement to follow the Council and to lend the bishops their prayers as they undertake so solemn a labor.
From the Eternal City, Michael Novak reports on the general atmosphere as the time for the Council gets closer:
Rome sweltering hot this summer. Stepping out from the cool interior of St. Peter’s, one meets rolling waves of dry heat and a blinding glare from the Piazza. Rome is quiet now too. The great work of preparation for the Council has been concluded. Summaries have been sent out to the bishops of the world, and now, in the summer heat, Rome is settling down to wait for October. Continue reading →
From the August 4, 1962 issue of America by Robert A. Graham, S.J.:
Historians of the ecumenical movement will probably put down July 5, 1962, as a notable date in the development of Catholic-Protestant rapprochement. On this day, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Arthur Michael Ramsey, announced that the world-wide Anglican Communion, of which he is the spokesman, would be represented at the Second Vatican Council by three delegate-observers.
Within a few days, spokesmen for similar non-Catholic communities announced that they, too, would send observers or were on the point of making an official favorable decision. While the significance of these successive announcements should not be exaggerated, they are a measure of the state of mind on both sides. Continue reading →
The fifth installment of Cardinal Montini’s Lenten pastoral letter, written in Rome where he is serving on preparatory commissions for the upcoming council. See also Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
37. When we are talking about a reform related to an ecumenical council we usually think both about serious, ineradicable, and widespread infirmities and some extraordinary action. This happened during various previous councils. However the next council –even if it is likely to approve some outstanding reforms- will be characterized, as the reason for its call, by a desire for good rather than an escape from evil. In fact today, thanks to the divine mercy, the Church cannot be accounted for mistakes, scandals, aberrations, abuses requiring the exceptional action of calling a council. Today the Church, by the grace of God and thanks to many good and holy Christian people, is more in suffering and weakness rather than in scandal and decay. The general appearance of the Church shows more wounds than sins; more needs than infidelities. It makes us even more grateful and joyful, that the pope himself, without any external pressure, has announced the council spontaneously, inspired by his love for Christ and by the desire to promote more and more the Church’s process of perfection. Therefore the council will concentrate on positive reforms rather than punitive actions; on exhortations rather than anathemas. Continue reading →