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 →
The eminent American Catholic historian John Tracy Ellis, in evaluating the role of the laity on the eve of the Council, cautions against the dangers of anti-clericalism, which American Catholicism has so far avoided but which is increasingly likely unless the gifts of the laity are recognized.
By John Tracy Ellis
Each age in the long and eventful life of the Church has its distinguishing characteristics. When the history of this second half of the twentieth century is written there will, in all probability, be few more striking notes than the emergence of the laity into a strong and active role as collaborators with the clergy in the apostolate. So marked has been this development that there has even emerged a theology of the lay movement, a ne w tract, as it were, which theologians have been refining in recent years in a way that suggests the revival of the part once played in the early Church by the deacon who assisted the priests and bishops in advancing the word of God through the ancient pagan world.
In part this expanding concept of the layman’s place in the divine economy of salvation is an answer to a need. For every well-informed Catholic has for sometime been aware that the rate of increase of the faithful—to say nothing of the increase of potential converts among our separated brethren—has become so rapid that the supply of priests and religious for their spiritual care can in no way keep pace, with the result that the emphasis on the need for lay apostles is by no means confined to Latin America but has become virtually worldwide. Continue reading →
Laymen have repeatedly been invited to voice their views and aspirations on the Ecumenical Council. Thus Francis Cardinal Koenig of Vienna, a member of the Central Preparatory Commission for the Council, said: “Do not wait for the Bishop or for a report from Rome, if you have something to say about the Council… Urge, when you feel urging is necessary.”
In keeping with these invitations, The Commonweal last week began publication of a special series devoted to the layman’s hopes and desires in connection with the Council. Philip Scharper, author of this second article in the series, is chief editor of Sheed & Ward. —The Editors
By Philip Scharper
What every Catholic would hope for from the Council is that it succeed in realizing one of the major goals which Pope John set in convoking it: a renewal of the Church which will be so effective that the Church herself will become, by what she is, the most compelling argument for Christian unity.
But it would be a mistake to assume that such reform and renewal were important only to enable the Church to present a fairer face to our separated brothers. On point after point such reform is urgently needed to make the Catholic himself understand the Church more deeply, love her more devotedly, and live in her life more fully.
In what follows, I shall try to set forth what points of renewal seem to me most urgent. They may reflect a parochialism of experience and poverty of observation; but they have also whatever value may attach itself to the reflections of one who has no position to maintain and no interests to serve, except those of Christ in His Church. 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 →
By every standard of measurement, the eye-catching aspect of preparations for the coming Second Vatican Council continues to be that having to do with possible steps toward Christian unity. The procession of distinguished churchmen of various denominations who have paid courtesy calls at the Vatican in recent months has further focused attention on what might be called the external or long-range objective of the council. Despite repeated reminders by Pope John that the first task will be to deal with internal renewal and to strive to adapt the organization and structure of the Church to the changing conditions of the modern world, the headlines still ignore such issues.
Perhaps all this is inevitable, since details about organizational problems posed by population shifts, the mobility of labor forces and the like seem to offer less suitable material for mass presentation. The fact remains, however, that these are matters of gravest concern for the welfare of the Church and of souls. 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 →
Today the 34th Academy Awards were held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The evening was dominated by the musical West Side Story, which won 10 Oscars, more than any other musical in the history of the program. Host Bob Hope presided over the longest Oscars broadcast to date, more than two hours.
Maximilian Schell was honored as Best Actor for his role in Judgment at Nuremberg, a film that was also nominated for Best Picture (among its 11 nominations). Best Actress went to Audrey Hepburn for her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Despite the fact that Judgment at Nuremberg had more nominations, West Side Story swept the awards, racking up Best Picture, Best Director (Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise), Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), Best Musical Score, Best Sound recording, Best Film Editing as well as Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design (all three in the Color category).