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