The greatest meeting of Church dignitaries in all the Christian era is in session in St. Peter’s basilica.
In many ways already one of the great assemblies of all time, its full impact is expected to be felt far in the future. Events of enormous importance, probably unfolding slowly over many years, will be traced to it. Continue reading →
From the September 8, 1962 of America, an brief account of the American bishops who went to another Council in 1869:
The First Vatican Council opened amid great pomp and splendor on December 8, 1869. Not quite eleven months later, it was adjourned sine die in consequence of the occupation of Rome by the troops of Victor Emmanuel II. For all practical purposes, the working sessions of the Council had ceased on July 18, 1870, the day on which Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility.
In the seven months between December and July, some 700 Fathers met in 86 general congregations and four public sessions to discuss topics, which ranged from contemporary German philosophical theories and the interrelation of faith and science, to the elaboration of a universal elementary catechism. But it was the final two months of debate which have written the largest page in the history of the Church.
From May 14 to July 16, the Council considered the twin topics of papal primacy and infallibility. On July 18, the Fathers gave their nearly unanimous consent to the definition of these two prerogatives. A few inconclusive and sparsely attended meetings were held during the summer of 1870. The Council was then suspended by an Apostolic Letter dated October 20, 1870. Its sessions were never resumed. The coming Second Vatican Council will be an entirely new assembly. Continue reading →
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 →