13th General Congregation: 1st Council Session to End Dec. 8; Liturgy Discussions Continue

13th General Congregation

November 6, 1962

Pope John XXIII has announced that the first session of the ecumenical council will end Dec. 8 with a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s basilica.

The Pope’s announcement was read at the close of the 13th general meeting of the council. During the meeting the discussion of the second of eight chapters of proposals on the liturgy was concluded by a standing vote of 2,211 council Fathers present. The meeting then took up chapter three of the liturgy proposals dealing with the sacraments and sacramentals.

The meeting opened with Mass offered by Bishop Endre Hamvas of Csanad, Hungary, and was presided over by Ignace Cardinal Tappouni, Syrian Rite Patriarch of Antioch.

Archbishop Pericle Felici, council general secretary, in an effort to speed discussions, instructed council Fathers to present along with requests to speak a summary of what they intend to say. This is seen as a way to give the general secretariat an opportunity of advising speakers that what they want to say is being covered by another speaker.

Archbishop Felici also announced that Pope John has given the presidency of the council the right to propose termination of discussion of a specific point if it judges that the matter being discussed has been dealt with sufficiently.

The Pope’s instructions require that the council’s president of the day put the proposal to end discussions to a vote of the Fathers, asking those in favor to stand and those opposed to remain seated.

Following this announcement, Cardinal Tappouni, president at the 13th meeting, proposed to end discussion of the second chapter of the liturgical proposals. The vote was affirmative.

Discussion of the third chapter then began with 20 Fathers speaking, including Ernesto Cardinal Ruffini, Archbishop of Palermo, and Fernando Cardinal Cento and Michael Cardinal Browne, O.P., of the Holy See’s administrative office.

The third chapter has a brief introduction and eight articles subdivided into 21 parts. In general, these deal with the liturgical aspect of the sacraments rather than with doctrinal matters. The aim of the chapter is to increase the understanding of the significance and effects of the individual sacraments. Among the matters treated are the revisions of the books of ritual, the preparation necessary for reception of the various sacraments, sacramentals and funeral ceremonies.

According to the council press bulletin, caution was urged in dealing with proposals to change the present liturgical aspects of the sacraments. It was stressed that the intelligibility of the sacraments should be the keynote of all discussions.

One council Father, the bulletin reported, spoke on Matrimony and called for a “more conscious celebration” of the sacrament by the two “ministers” taking part in it.

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