Pope John XXIII brought to 90 the number of churchmen he chose to complete the 10 working commissions of the ecumenical council. They were read to the 2,277 Fathers attending the ninth general session (Oct. 29).
Pope John surprised the council by naming nine, not eight, churchmen to each commission. Originally, it had been announced that each commission would have a cardinal president named by the Pope, 16 members elected by the council, and eight more appointed by the Pope.
It was assumed that the Pope named nine instead of eight to eliminate problems of procedure in case of tie votes.
Among those named by the Pope was Coadjutor Archbishop John J. Cody of New Orleans. He was appointed to the Commission for Seminaries, Studies and Catholic Schools.
As a result of the Pope’s action, both Archbishop John Patrick Cody and Bishop John Christopher Cody of London, Ont., will serve on the same commission.
Among other Americans and Canadians chosen by the Pope are Bishop Georges Pelletier of Three Rivers, Que., for the theological commission; Archbishop Leo Binz of St. Paul for the commission on bishops and diocesan government; Bishop Charles P. Greco of Alexandria, La., for the commission on discipline of the clergy and the Christian people, and Father Leo Deschatelets, O.M.I., superior general of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and a Canadian, for the commission on the missions.
Superiors general named to the Commission for the Religious included Austrian-born Abbot Sighardus Kleiner, S.O. Cist., of the Cistercians; Belgium’s Father Jean B. Janssens, S.J., of the Jesuits, and Italy’s Father Renato Ziggiotti, S.D.B., of the Salesians.
The names were announced following the usual rites which begin each day’s general sessions. The Mass of the day was celebrated by Archbishop Paul Yamaguchi of Nagasaki, and the Gospel book was enthroned by Melkite Rite Archbishop Philippe Nabaa of Beirut, one of the five undersecretaries of the council. Presiding officer was Antonio Cardinal Caggiano, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The first part of the day’s meeting saw the conclusion of the first chapter of the liturgy project. Sixteen churchmen spoke. Next in order of business was regarding language, methods and means to be used in the opening discussion on the second chapter of the project, which deals with the Holy Eucharist. Before the adjournment at 12:15 p.m., Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York, Ernesto Cardinal Ruffini of Palermo and Paul Emile Cardinal Leger of Montreal read prepared remarks.
The council bulletin said later that the “discussions of the first chapter of the project on the liturgy have revealed a unanimous and harmonious concept of the Fathers on the nature and ends of the liturgy. All have stressed that the liturgy continues in time the work of Redemption, pre-announced by God in the Old Testament and fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament.”
The bulletin said the Fathers were unanimous in agreeing that there is a need to increase the active participation of the faithful in the church’s worship.
“In this respect,” it said, “certain proposals were presented: for example, formation of truly qualified teachers to instruct on the historical, theological, spiritual, pastoral and juridic elements of the liturgy in seminaries and in theological faculties; the introduction of the science of the liturgy among basic studies; the creation of national and diocesan liturgical commissions and of institutes of pastoral liturgy which may eventually avail themselves of competent lay experts, especially in the fields of sacred music and art.
“Differences of opinion were expressed, however, regarding language, methods and means to be used in adapting liturgical rites to present times and mentalities, to the customs and traditions of different nations.”
The bulletin stated that some of the council Fathers stress the need to conserve liturgical practices as the Church now has them. Other Fathers argue instead that while substantial unity in the liturgy should be preserved, “… it would be suitable to pass over certain elements which are now too distant in time and which have become difficult to understand, and to accept variations and adaptations more in accord with different categories of faithful, different regions, different peoples, especially in the territories which have recently been evangelized.”
The bulletin said that the apparent slowness of the council’s discussions is a “most evident indication of two characteristics which have marked the Second Vatican Council from the time of its ante-preparatory and pre-preparatory phases: namely, freedom of expression and thoroughness of study.”