Text of U.S. Bishop’s Speech to Council on Priestly Life and Ministry

     This is a translation of the speech by Auxiliary Bishop Stephen A. Leven of San Antonio on Oct. 16 during the discussion on the schema on priestly life and ministry.

I wish to speak for the forgotten man of this schema, the vicarious cooperator, or the assistant pastor.

The sacred council has said many beautiful things of the status of bishops, even auxiliaries; said much of pastors, of Religious, of our separated brethren, and of non-Christians. Yet this schema concerning the ministry and life of priests says nothing of the role and the apostolate of assistants. Can this holy synod pass them over in silence? Is their place not important nor their status worthy of examination and correction?

In larger archdioceses and dioceses far more than half of the active priests are assistants. Certainly they do more than half the work.

Yet the assistant has no juridical status and almost no rights. Continue reading

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Vote on Non-Christian Religions Set for Oct. 28; Council Statement Sought on Communism

Pope Paul VI has decided that the schema on non-Christian religions should be put before Vatican Council II for its formal final approval Oct. 28, along with four other schemas already scheduled for the public session that day.

The decision was announced by the council press office Oct. 18, three days after the council, by a secret vote, approved the controversial document which sets forth the close bonds between Christians and Jews.

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A petition signed by more than 450 ecumenical council Fathers has been submitted to the council presidency requesting a conciliar statement on communism, according to a report issued here Oct. 19.

Father Ralph Wiltgen, S.V.D., news director for the Divine Word missionaries, quoted “authoritative sources” for the story. Continue reading

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With Council Nearing End, Final Debate Takes Place on Priesthood Document

151st General Congregation
October 16, 1965

The ecumenical council has formally completed four years of debate on subjects sweeping the spectrum of the Church’s doctrine and practice.

Although it is possible for a few more speakers to address the assembly on the schema on priestly life and ministry, debate on that final document on the council’s agenda was officially ended by a standing vote of cloture during the council’s 151st general meeting.

Some Fathers made speeches under the 70-name rule on the same day that formal debate was ended. If there are others, they will be heard Oct. 25 when the session resumes after a week-long recess. The council will then pass to final balloting on already debated subjects.

During the Oct. 16 meeting, 16 speakers debated the priesthood schema, after which a vote was taken on its general acceptability as a basis for revision. The vote was 1,507 to 12 with two null votes. Then Archbishop Francois Marty of Rheims, France, summarized the debate and assured the Fathers the revising commission would follow their suggestions in reworking the document.

Perhaps because of weariness and the imminence of the recess, attendance at the meeting dropped to an all-time low of 1,521. Even the posts of invited observers were practically empty, according to a council spokesman. Continue reading

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After Hesitation, Serbian Orthodox Church Decides to Send Observer-Delegates

For the first time in the four sessions of Vatican Council II, the Serbian Orthodox Church has appointed observer-delegates.

The Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity announced that Serbian Patriarch Gherman has named Archpriest Dusan Kasic, rector of St. Sava seminary in Belgrade, and Archpriest Lazar Milin, professor at the Serbian Orthodox theological school at Belgrade, to attend the council.

Although the unity secretariat had invited the Serbian Orthodox Church to send observers to all four sessions, none had been named till now. The Serbian Church, with some eight million members, is the third largest of the Orthodox Churches, coming after the patriarchates of Moscow and Romania, but before the Orthodox Church of Greece.

At the Pan-Orthodox conferences on the island of Rhodes over the past several years, the Serbian Orthodox showed reservations about proposals for dialogue between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, but the Serbian Orthodox did not oppose such dialogue in principle.

Relations between Orthodox and Catholics in Yugoslavia have traditionally been bad, tied in with political rivalries between predominantly Catholic Croatia and mostly Orthodox Serbia. The embittered situation reached a terrible culmination during World War II with the forced conversion of the Orthodox to Catholicism under the Nazi-dominated republic of Croatia. Continue reading

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First Reactions Are Positive to Council Statement on Relations With Jews

The road of cooperation and mutual understanding which has been opened by passage of the declaration on relations with non-Christian religions, especially the Jews, must be a two-way street if it is to be a success.

Bishop Francis P. Leipzig of Baker, Ore., chairman of the subcommission on Catholic-Jewish relations of the U.S. bishops’ ecumenical commission, said success in future developments between the two faiths will depend on both sides.

Speaking at the U.S. bishops’ press panel Bishop Leipzig said he was “delighted at the approval of the declaration,” and that it was “of great significance . . . I am sure it will usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation with our Jewish brethren for the benefit of all men.”

Bishop Leipzig, in a printed statement, noted that there were “in my opinion, minor” imperfections in the declaration. He said the document contains some weaker expressions than one would want. “But individual expressions or sentences carry less weight than the entire document. What counts is the over-all text and the over-all spirit. Continue reading

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More Votes Revealed on Relations With Non-Christians

During the council meeting, results of votes 5 and 6 on amendments to the schema on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions were announced, as follows:

Vote 5—rejecting the collective guilt of the Jewish people for the death of Christ — yes, 1,875; no, 188; null, 9.

Vote 6 — declaring that the Jews must not be rep resented as “accursed” or “rejected” by God — yes, 1,821; no, 245; null, 14.

When the results of these votes were announced, the council completed its voting on the schema. The votes were as follows: Continue reading

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Document on Non-Christian Faiths OKed; Debate Continues on Priestly Life Text

150th General Congregation
October 15, 1965

The ecumenical council voted final approval of the amended document on the Church’s attitude toward non-Christians, including the Jews, at its 150th meeting.

The council Fathers approved the schema as a whole by a vote of 1,763 to 250. They also approved by a large majority the key section, saying that not all Jews are responsible for Christ’s death but omitting the word “deicide” (God-killing) which had been included in the unamended text.

At the same session the council’s secretary general, Archbishop Pericle Felici, announced that four documents completed since the fourth session began on Sept. 14 will be promulgated by Pope Paul VI on Oct. 28, after which general council meetings will adjourn for a week. The archbishop said a second public meeting is possible for Nov. 18, provided more documents are completed by that time.

Following a concelebrated Mass on Oct. 28 the Pope will solemnly proclaim the documents on the pastoral duties of bishops, the renewal of the life of Religious, priestly formation (seminaries), and Christian education.

The approved schema on non-Christians puts a council on record for the first time in Church history as recognizing good in such non-Christian religions as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Continue reading

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Text: Vatican Official’s Report on Amendments on Non-Christian Religions

     This is a translation of a report given in Latin by Augustin Cardinal Bea, president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, to the ecumenical council on Oct. 14 just prior to the vote on the document on relations with non-Christians, including the Jews.

Please allow me to make only a few observations before the vote is taken on the declaration on the “Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.” The Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity has gratefully considered all the proposed amendments (modi). It has diligently and sincerely examined them, but, as almost always happens, it has judged that some should be accepted, others not. No other criterion has been followed in this examination than that the schema as far as possible should become clearer and more accurate in such a way that “the substance of the text” which you approved last year by a large majority “would be faithfully retained.”

In the first three chapters it seems that the intention of the declaration is now expressed more clearly. It does not propose to offer a complete exposition of religions nor the divergences that exist between them and with the Catholic religion. Rather the council intends through this declaration to point out the bond between men and religions as the foundation of dialogue and cooperation. Thus, the stress is placed on those things which “unite” men and lend to mutual fellowship. The procedure, of course, was done with prudence, and also with fidelity and love. The modi and observations which you proposed have greatly helped us, so that now this declaration, by which the Catholic Church for the first time proposes fraternal dialogue with the great non-Christian religions, better corresponds to this end. Continue reading

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Should the Church “Deplore” or “Condemn” Anti-Semitism?

The U.S. bishops’ press panel thrashed over the question of whether the word “deplores” was too poor a substitute for “condemns” when speaking of anti-Semitism.

The point came up because Augustin Cardinal Bea, in reading his report on the declaration on non-Christian relations, noted that the word “deplores” had been used instead of “condemns” because, he said, “condemns” is usually used by the Church when speaking of heresy or schism, while “deplores” applies more aptly to such crimes as anti-Semitism.

One press panel member pointed out that the Holy Office decree of 1928 used the word “condemn” in terms of anti-Semitism. Msgr. George G. Higgins, director of the National Catholic Welfare Conference’s social action department, pointed out that there is a difference between a council document and a decree of a Roman curial office. Continue reading

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Council Seeks Subsidies for Parents, Not State Aid to Parochial Schools, Spokesman Says

An amendment which the ecumenical council has approved for the schema on Christian education provides that governments should pay subsidies to parents so they can be free in their choice of school for their children.

Although it was reported that the council had voted in favor of state aid to parochial schools, Msgr. Mark J. Hurley, vice chancellor of the San Francisco archdiocese, told newsmen at the Oct. 14 American press panel that the amendment, passed by a vote of 2,000 to 85, does not call for state monies for Catholic schools or any other school system.

Msgr. Hurley read a translation of the important passage of the amendment: Continue reading

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