For the first time, a Catholic layman has been invited to be an observer at the general meetings of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope John XXIII personally invited Jean Guitton, a member of the French Academy whom the Pope knew when he was Apostolic Internuncio in Paris after World War II, to be an observer at the council.
Guitton joins one of his fellow professors at the University of Paris in the tribune reserved for observers – Oscar Cullmann, a Protestant.
He also joins a fellow member of the French Academy at the council, Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Guitton, a specialist in the study of the reunion of churches, has published several works in religious history and in Christian morality.