Liturgical Discussions Concluded; Next Up: Revelation

The Council brought to a close its discussions on the public worship of the Church and prepared to move on to the subject of Revelation.

The liturgical debate was concluded at the 18th general congregation under the revised rules of the council. Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, Archbishop of Utrecht, presiding officer of the day, called for a standing vote on whether to conclude discussion of the four final chapters of the printed liturgical constitution. The council Fathers — 2,209 were present — voted for cloture.

Under the rules, revised by Pope John XXIII a week earlier to provide for cloture, the Fathers wound up discussion of the last six chapters of the liturgical project within a week. The first two chapters had absorbed the initial two and a half weeks of the council’s deliberations on substantive matters.

The daily press communique said that among the points emphasized by the 22 churchmen who rose to speak on the day the debate was concluded were:

— Pontifical Masses should be celebrated in a less complex ritual than they are now.

— Regional traditions of art have a deserved place in the Church, because the Church has always accepted all forms of art and has never adopted any one style as its own.

— “Contrary to what is sometimes stated, the splendor of artistic works and the solemnity of worship do not offend the poor and humble, who understand full well that one must offer the best of nature and the most beautiful products of art to God.”

— “Special care should be taken to save Gregorian chant from slow suffocation, since it is intimately connected with Latin, with which one might say it was born.”

— Hymns in vernacular languages should be promoted.

With the conclusion of the discussions on the liturgy — taking up 15 sessions over the course of 23 days — the council Fathers were ready to begin their deliberations on the sources of Divine Revelation as contained in Scriptures and oral Tradition.

The opening Mass of the 18th general meeting was sung by Archbishop Manuel Serrano Abad of Cuenca, Ecuador.

The Book of the Gospels was enthroned by Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Corso of Montevideo, Uruguay.

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