11th General Congregation
October 31, 1962
The work of the ecumenical council is now “well under way and can proceed in an orderly fashion, if not rapidly,” the council press bulletin has reported.
The bulletin’s report followed the council’s 11th general meeting (Oct. 31) which preceded a four-day break in sessions over All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and the following weekend.
The bulletin said that at their 11th meeting the council Fathers said that homilies — or sermons on Scriptural texts — at Masses should be “brief but substantial.” It was stated at the council, the bulletin reported, that the homily ought to be “part of the liturgy itself, as a complement to it, so that the Mass may be better understood and lived by the faithful.”
The general opinion of council Fathers, according to the bulletin, is that the Scriptures should have a greater part in the Mass. It was suggested that the books of the Scriptures could be divided over a cycle of years to let preachers cover the major truths of the Faith in commenting on the Scriptural texts of the various days’ Masses.
The bulletin also said that it was stated at the council:
“It is necessary to emphasize the first part of the Mass — the teaching part, or Mass of the Catechumens — in all its primitive value and to unite it closely with the second part, the Sacrifice proper.”
It was also urged, the bulletin said, that Catholics should be better educated regarding the observance of holy days of obligation.
The bulletin also reported that caution was urged at the council “in order to honor holy and venerable traditions.”
The bulletin added that many council Fathers urged that Catholics be taught “an awareness of a priesthood common to all faithful by reason of Baptism and Confirmation.”
It reported that although the Fathers said the dialogue Mass ought to be promoted, “it was noted that the faithful should not be deprived of those moments of recollection which favor personal piety.”
The council discussions were part of a continued debate on the second chapter of proposals on the liturgy which deals with the Holy Eucharist. Among other topics discussed, the bulletin said, were concelebration of Mass and Holy Communion under two species.
Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the College of Cardinals, presided at the 11th session. Its opening Mass was offered by Archbishop Marie-Joseph Lemieux, O.P., of Ottawa. Present were 2,230 Fathers. Among those who spoke were Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan of Atlanta; Giacomo Cardinal Lercaro, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy, and Franziskus Cardinal Koenig, Archbishop of Vienna.