From the March 31, 1962 issue of America, a review of Hans Kung’s advance look at Vatican II by a young Avery Dulles, S.J. Undated photo courtesy of Catholic News Service:
Almost as soon as Pope John XXIII announced his intention to convoke a general council which would be oriented toward Christian reunion, Catholic theologians in Europe began discussing among themselves, and with their Protestant colleagues, how the coming council could contribute to that goal. As a result of these discussions several books have already been published, embodying not simply the opinions of individuals but the fruits of co-operative study.
Avery Dulles, S.J. in an undated photo
None of these books, in my judgment, is more worthy of attention than Hans Kung’s The Council, Reform and Reunion
. The author, a young Swiss priest who teaches at Tubingen in Germany, is thoroughly familiar with the points at issue in the current dialogue with Protestantism. The key to reunion, as he sees it, lies in a renovation of the Church according to the gospel. Such a renewal, he points out, is not simply a matter of good administration or moral effort; it must be a supernatural work done in obedience to Christ, the Lord of the Church. Continue reading
IT IS an intriguing thought that St. Paul, who had so much advice and instruction to lavish on his converts, may also have his contribution to make concerning our modern debate on “sacral language” vs. the vernacular in the liturgy: in specific terms, Latin vs. English.
Not that the problem presented itself to St. Paul in terms in which we know it: there had not been time for the centuries-long process by which a one-time everyday vernacular had (merely by remaining unchanged) become an unintelligible sacred tongue. But there was an analogous rivalry, in at least some of the early Christian communities. This was the competition between the “speakers-with-tongues” and the “prophets.” 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
In this preview of the Second Vatican Council from May 6, 1961, Fr. Robert Graham excitedly announced that “the age of the lay apostolate is arriving”:
Without waiting for more developments, we can safely assert that the Second Vatican Council will mark a historic turning point in the apostolic life of the Church. The relatively untapped energies of the lay Catholic will be channeled at last into the main stream of the Church’s apostolate. Pope John XXIII indicated as much when receiving the Permanent Committee of the International Congresses for the Lay Apostolate on February 8. He said that this question would be “an object of vital concern and special study.” Later, in the annual official publication, Activities of the Holy See in 1960, the Central Preparatory Commission stated categorically that the nature, prerogatives and limitations of the lay apostolate would be studied in detail at the council, on the level of both theory and practice, with special reference to its relations with the hierarchy.
Such authoritative forecasts reflect the virtually unanimous wishes of the bishops of the whole world. The age of the lay apostolate is arriving. To speak more accurately, that day has already arrived. It remains only for the Fathers of the council to give it formal recognition. Continue reading
From February 1959, Robert A. Graham, S.J., an associate editor at America, looks at Protestant and Orthodox reactions to Pope John XXIII’s announcement of an ecumenical council:
World reaction to the prospect of an ecumenical council on behalf of church unity must have been extremely encouraging to the Pope. The dramatic decision of John XXIII, which burst upon the public on January 25, was in the main interpreted quite favorably by those who have no particular reason to indulge in perfunctory applause. Orthodox and Protestant leaders, as well as editorialists in the secular press, displayed their unmistakable interest in the Pope’s plan and their sincere respect for his motives. His announcement was taken as something to be expected from one whose personality had already established itself in the popular mind as that of an amiable man who wants to be friends with everyone.
Indeed, from all indications, the proposal was the Pope’s own idea; it is certainly stamped with his generous and expansive character. There is every reason to expect that the Holy Father will try to start the Fathers of the council off in a mood of conciliation comparable to his own. In the meantime it is already evident that the mere anticipation of a general council under the sign of unity has put this old and much-argued problem on an entirely new basis in everyone’s mind. Of itself, the Pope’s decision indicates that the Catholic Church believes the time is ripe for serious new initiatives to resolve the tragic historic division of Christians.
Read the full article at the America site. Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service.
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