Text of Archbishop O’Boyle on the Church in the Modern World

This is the text of the remarks of Archbishop Patrick A. O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., at the ecumenical council’s discussion (Oct. 28) of the schema on the Church in the modern world.

I speak in the name of all the bishops of the United States gathered in Rome for the present session of the council.

Schema 13 in general I accept. Indeed the general spirit or tone of the schema pleases me very much. Its spirit or tone is very positive and constructive. It reflects the same sympathetic interest in and concern for true human values which characterized the two great social encyclicals of Pope John XXIII, of happy memory — Mater et Magistra and Pacem in Terris. Like the more recent encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, it also emphasizes the need for a continuing dialogue between the Church and the world and indicates a number of ways in which this dialogue, so rich with promise for the future, can be carried on more effectively not only by the hierarchy but, even more importantly, by the faithful ad quos uti Caput “De Laicis” in Schemate “De Ecclesia” bene notat, “peculiari modo spectat res temporales omnes, quibus arcte conjunguntur, ita illuminare et ordinare, ut secundum Christum jugiter fiant et crescant et sint in laudem Creatoris et Redemptoris” [. . . even more importantly, by the faithful, referred to especially by the chapter on the laity in the schema on the nature of the Church when it says that the layman, looking in a special way at all temporal things with which he is involved, should so clarify and order them that all things may have their beginning, their growth and existence according to Christ in the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.]

In a word, Schema 13, if adopted with whatever changes the Fathers may desire to make in the present text, will do much to advance the aggiornamento which good Pope John so auspiciously and so providentially inaugurated in convening this historic council.

In this intervention I do not intend to suggest any specific changes in the text of the schema or any deletions. Rather, I wish to propose the addition of a separate section in Chapter IV on the problem of racial discrimination and other forms of racial injustice. Racism, which, in various forms and in varying degrees, is to be found in almost every region of the world, is not merely a social or cultural or political problem. It is, first and foremost, a moral and religious problem and one of staggering proportions. Continue reading

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American Prelates Seek Council Condemnation of Racism

111th General Congregation
October 28, 1964

In the name of all the American Bishops in Rome for the ecumenical council, Archbishop Patrick A. O’Boyle of Washington urged the council to add a “forthright and unequivocal condemnation of racism in all its forms” to the schema on the Church in the modern world.

Racism is to be found throughout the world in some form and to some degree, the prelate told the 111th general council meeting.

He characterized racism as “first and foremost a moral and religious problem, and one of staggering proportions.”

He said a clear-cut condemnation of all forms of racial injustice is the “very least” the council should undertake.

Archbishop O’Boyle proposed adding a “separate section in chapter four [of the schema] on the problem of racial discrimination and other forms of racial injustice.”

The same debate on chapter four of the schema, which deals with the principal task of the Christian today, heard another powerful denunciation of racial discrimination from Bishop Andrew G. Grutka of Gary, Ind. He branded it a “challenge to Divine Providence.”

Some form of hate or disrespect can be found in every act of racial segregation, Bishop Grutka said.

Every form of racial segregation and discrimination should be denounced with the strength of the trumpets of Jericho, he declared.

He singled out segregation in housing as a special evil. Decent housing is indispensable for good family life, he said, and the family is the foundation of society. “No one would look for beauty on a garbage dump, and no one can expect virtue in a slum,” he declared, repeating this sentence in English for emphasis and clarity.

The work of priests is stymied when people flee a neighborhood at the first sign that families of another race are seeking homes there, he said. Continue reading

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Summary of Chapters 2 and 3 of Schema on Church in Modern World

These are the summaries of chapters two and three of the schema on the Church in the modern world that were released by the ecumenical council press office.


The Church in the Service of God and Men

Contacts between the Church and the world are necessary, inasmuch as the Church has been founded by Christ for the salvation of the world. Many of the difficulties issuing from her contacts with the world would be avoided or lessened if the value of the divine mission of the Church were understood.

Christ entrusted to His Church the task of evangelizing men. Religious liberty is indispensable, whether for the Church in order to be in a position to announce the Gospel, or for men for the acceptance of the message of salvation through a free act of Faith.

Since the Christian is at the same time a citizen of the world, he is bound to accept its laws, with the exception of those which may be in conflict with the law of God. The Church can only judge civil laws in the light of religious and moral principles, but she must not in any degree become involved in temporal things, and, much less, dominate them.

Without the presence of the Church there is realized no true progress in the world. Charity, as well as all the other virtues contained in it, will always be necessary for life. Thus the Church can always offer her own proper contribution to the unfolding of life in the world.

The concrete manifestation of charity will vary according to differences of time and circumstances, but the faithful must always act conformably to their own conscience, which in turn must be formed by the pastors of souls.


The Christians’ Manner of Life in the World in Which They Live

It is God’s will that men should not live the message of salvation only as individuals, but should also reflect it in their family and social background, in order to impregnate this background with the presence of Christ. The council sets itself to point out to the faithful how they are to be authentic Christians and at the same time citizens of the world.

Charity is the supreme law given by Christ, whether in relation to God or in relation to one’s neighbor. It is charity which causes us to recognize as our neighbors those who suffer, putting ourselves under an obligation, through a pooling of forces, to assist in their needs both as individuals and peoples.

In the present-day circumstances, Christians are under obligation to accept offices in the temporal order, because otherwise they would fail to carry the influence of Christ into many sectors of life.

In order to achieve this mission it is necessary above all to follow Christ in a spirit of poverty, and then to know how to open dialogue with all men of good will, the kind of dialogue which aims at mutual understanding in view of brotherly cooperation. Solidity in Faith and the spirit of brotherhood make it possible for us to enter into dialogue in all fields, with all due regard for Christian prudence. This calls for a deep spirit of abnegation and humility.

As for the apostolate, in restricted fields, it is advisable not to multiply specifically Catholic organizations, except in case of absolute necessity. If contacts are established with organizations set up on a broader scale, in cooperation with believers of other religions or with Christians of other confessions, care must be taken in such associations to respect religious and moral freedom. With regard to associations on an international level, it is the duty of Catholics to collaborate with them both as individuals and as groups, with the intention of providing service and to make efforts to insure an ever-greater expansion of the spirit of brotherhood and justice.

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Bigger Church Role for Women Asked

“The Church must abandon the masculine superiority complex which ignores the spiritual power of women,” said Leo Cardinal Suenens of Malines-Brussels in an interview here.

Asked to elaborate on his now famous council statement of last year that it sometimes seems as if the Church were paying no attention to “half of humanity,” the cardinal, who is one of the four moderators of the ecumenical council, said:

“We must learn to respect woman in her true dignity and to appreciate her part in the plan of God.

“This is my firm conviction and is well founded on the Mariological teachings of the Church, which once again will be reflected in the council schema on the Church as theological principles of transcending importance.

“They also find a tangible expression in the presence of women auditors in council sessions, a presence of deeply symbolical significance inasmuch as it affirms an equality of all the people of God, be they women or men.

“The women auditors by their presence indicate clearly that we are slowly emerging from a state of affairs which was not doing justice to the feminine sex.”

Would this, Cardinal Suenens was asked, also apply to the women Religious? Continue reading

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New Emphasis on Ecumenism Must Not Destroy Evangelization, Says Cardinal Suenens

The Church must walk with two legs — one ecumenism and the other evangelization — Leo Cardinal Suenens of Malines-Brussels told a press conference here.

Speaking on the coming council proposition on the missions, the cardinal pointed out that it must balance extensive talk thus far on ecumenism. Cardinal Suenens, one of the four council moderators, said:

“We discussed ecumenism at length. But the ecumenical approach is one-sided — an attempt to know each other better without the intention of conversion. We cannot, however, say conversion is no longer the duty of the Church. On the contrary, we must bring Christ to the whole world and this duty cannot be destroyed by ecumenical dialogues.”

Ecumenism might give rise to the idea that now the Church should leave everyone to follow his own conscience, the cardinal said.

“Christ did not say this. He said to bring the Gospel to every creature — but with kindness. The priority of evangelization must be stressed, since this is what Christ wishes ‘impatiently,’ since love is impatient to communicate itself.” Continue reading

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More Catholic Scientists Would Benefit Church, Society, Bishop Tells Council

110th General Congregation
October 27, 1964

Catholics are not contributing their share to the world’s supply of scientists, a German bishop complained to the Second Vatican Council.

This reinforces a notion propagated through newspapers, television and other means of mass communications that religion is somehow hostile to science, Auxiliary Bishop Wilhelm Cleven of Cologne, Germany, noted.

He spoke during debate on chapters two and three of schema 13 on the Church in the modern world. The chapters deal with the Church in the service of God and men, and on Christian conduct in today’s world.

The day’s debate heard renewed appeals for a fresh look at the heavy penalties attached to breaking some laws of the Church. Melkite-rite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh of Antioch and Bishop Sergio Mendez Arceo of Cuernavaca, Mexico, in asking for a less rigidly legalistic attitude, echoed the speech made the previous day by American-born missionary Bishop Louis Morrow of Krishnagar, India.

Two cardinals also underlined the part poverty plays in the world, both as a plague afflicting mankind and, when voluntarily embraced, as a measure to help eradicate that plague.

Another group of council Fathers spoke of men’s need to communicate with one another — or what has come to be called dialogue. Continue reading

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‘Christian Responsibility and World Poverty’

This is the text of an address, “Christian Responsibility and World Poverty,” delivered by Father Arthur McCormack, M.H.M., to a meeting of the German bishops in Rome on Oct. 26.

I am an economist and a demographer. At the same time I am a priest. I would like to suggest, therefore, in considering the problems of world poverty, complicated by the population explosion, that to tackle these problems, we should “marry” the moral force, the moral indignation of the Christian conscience, in face of misery on a world-wide scale, with the exigencies of economics, to translate the Gospel “cup of cold water” into the realities of the economic situation in the 20th century.

We are the more able to do this now, because the world-renowned economists who treat of this subject no longer represent the old-fashioned school of laissez-faire economists, but are filled with the conviction that investment in human beings’ social progress is not only in accord with the dignity of man and modern humanitarian ideals, but also with sound economic theory.

I feel abashed to speak before you, the bishops of Germany, who more than the others in the Church have not only realized the needs of the poorer countries, but have done something about them — something magnificent.

I have here the figures which tell the story of your Misereor, German Caritas, the Adveniat collections, 215 million marks ($54,000,000) was collected by Misereor, for example, between 1959 and the end of 1963. This amount of money represents astonishing generosity. It has been applied with thoroughness and care and, if I may say so, with a strategic sense which has assured that it really reaches the most need and does the most good.

I am not speaking as an armchair economist who looked up a few figures to prepare a talk. On a tour of South America in April 1 learned at first hand of the work of Misereor. The members of the DESAL organization (the movement for Socio-Economic Development in Latin America) helped me very much and allowed me to see the wonderful efforts stimulating self-help which DESAL is making, especially in Santiago, Chile. I spent several hours with the remarkable Father Vekkemans of the DESAL. It is no exaggeration to give to this team a great share of the credit for the election of Eduardo Frei as president of Chile, with a program based on Catholic social principles, which DESAL is constantly applying to the realities of the Chilean situation. DESAL is one of the several thousand projects financed by Misereor. Incidentally, on the same tour I had the chance to go round the terrible slums of most of the big cities of South America, and see with my own eyes the statistics of world hunger and poverty in terms of human misery.

As an Englishman whose country has not done so much as yours, either with regard to private charity or governmental aid, I feel abashed. I have no right to speak to you; it is your kindness which has given me this opportunity. I welcome it very sincerely.

I feel that many in the Church have still not grasped the extent, the importance, and the urgency of these problems. By your example, and perhaps also by your words, you may be the means of making them aware. A revolution in this field is needed. Not indeed with regard to the teaching at the center. Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, and the speeches of our present Holy Father are clear and detailed and splendid directives. But a revolution is needed in the appreciation of this teaching, so that it should reach all levels and all places and be a stimulus to action. “I was hungry and you formed a study group” could still be said of many in the Church. Continue reading

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