Commission to Tackle Project on Sources of Revelation

December 8, 1962

The membership has been announced of the special commission set up by Pope John XXIII to recast the controversial project on sources of Revelation proposed at the ecumenical council.

The presidency of the commission is shared by Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., and Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani.

Cardinal Ottaviani is president of the council’s Theology Commission, which presented the project. Cardinal Bea is president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, spearhead of opposition to the project on the ground that it is too rigid and unnecessarily offensive to non-Catholics.

When discussion of the problem threatened to become long and difficult, Pope John intervened to stop debate on it at the council’s 24th general meeting (Nov. 21). It was announced at that time that a special mixed commission would be organized to put the project into more acceptable form, and that it would be made up of several cardinals, and some members of the Theology Commission and of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.

The mixed commission’s secretaries are the secretaries of the Theology Commission and the unity secretariat. They are, respectively, Father Sebastian Tromp, S.J., and Msgr. Jan G. M. Willebrands.

Michael Cardinal Browne, O.P., a member of the Theology Commission, and Achille Cardinal Lienart, Bishop of Lille, France, and one of the 10 members of the council presidency — both of whom had already been named to the mixed commission — have been appointed as its vice presidents. There is no cardinal besides Cardinal Bea in the unity secretariat.

Other cardinals previously named to the mixed commission are Joseph Cardinal Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Franziskus Cardinal Koenig, Archbishop of Vienna; Joseph Cardinal Lefebvre, Archbishop of Bourges, France; Paul Cardinal Leger, Archbishop of Montreal; Albert Cardinal Meyer, Archbishop of Chicago; Fernando Cardinal Quiroga y Palacios, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostella, Spain; Ernesto Cardinal Ruffini, Archbishop of Palermo, Italy, and Rufino Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila, the Philippines.

New members from the Theology Commission included three Americans: Archbishop John F. Dearden of Detroit, Bishop John J. Wright of Pittsburgh and Auxiliary Bishop James H. Griffiths of New York.

Other new members from the same commission are Archbishop Ermenegildo Florit of Florence, Italy; Archbishop Gabriel Garrone of Toulouse, France; Archbishop Pietro Parente, Assessor of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office; Archbishop Giovanni Peruzzo, Bishop of Agrigento, Italy; Archbishop Maurice Roy of Quebec, Canada; Archbishop Alfredo Scherer of Porto Alegre, Brazil; Archbishop Franjo Seper of Zagreb, Yugoslavia; Bishop Francisco Barbado y Viejo, O.P., of Salamanca, Spain.

Also Bishop Charue of Namur, Belgium; Maronite Rite Bishop Michael Doumith of Sarba, Lebanon; Bishop Frane Franic of Split and Makarska, Yugoslavia; Bishop Georges Pelletier of Three Rivers, Que.; Bishop Joseph Schroeffer of Eichstaett, Germany; Bishop Francesco Spanedda of Bosa, Italy; Bishop Jan van Dodewaard of Haarlem, the Netherlands; Auxiliary Bishop Mark McGrath of Panama City, Panama; Abbot Benno Gut, O.S.B., Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation; and Father Aniceto Fernandez, O.P., Master General of the Dominican Order.

New members from the unity secretariat are Archbishop John Heenan of Liverpool, England; Archbishop Lorenz Jaeger of Paderborn, Germany; Archbishop Joseph Martin of Rouen, France; Bishop Francois Charriere of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Switzerland; Bishop Emile De Smedt of Bruges, Belgium; Bishop William Hart of Dunkeld, Scotland; Bishop Pieter Nierman of Groningen, the Netherlands; Bishop Gerard van Velsen, O.P., of Kroonstad, Republic of South Africa; Coadjutor Bishop Thomas Holland of Portsmouth, England; and Msgr. Hermann Volk, professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Muenster, Germany.

Also appointed to the mixed commission were two experts on Eastern Rites: Bishop Andrew Katkoff, Ordaining Bishop of the Byzantine Rite for Rome; and Father Teodoro Minisci, Superior General of the Italian Congregation of Basilian Monks.

Experts from both the Theology Commission and the secretariat have been named to serve on the mixed commission. Those from the former are Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; Msgr. Ugo Lattanzi, theology professor at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; and Fathers Carolo Balic, O.F.M.; Giorgio Castellino, S.D.B.; Lorenzo di Fonzo, O.F.M., Conv.; Alexander Kerrigan, O.F.M.; and Damian Van den Eynde, O.F.M. All the Religious priests are faculty members at Rome universities.

Experts from the unity secretariat are Msgrs. Michele Maccarrone, professor of Church history at the Lateran University; Eduard Stakemeier, director of the Johann Adam Moehler Institute of Paderborn, Germany; Ivan Vodopivec, professor at the Pontifical Urban University; and Fathers Gregory Baum, O.S.A.; Johann Feiner; Jerome Hamer, O.P.; and Gustave Thils. The priests are all professors or former professors at Catholic institutions.

The mixed commission’s two presidents are free to call in other experts.

Unlike the council commissions, the unity secretariat was not partly elected by the council Fathers and partly appointed by the Pope. All secretariat members were named by the Pope at the beginning of the council’s preparatory phase. Early in the council, Pope John raised it to the status of a council commission with the right to form mixed commissions with other council commissions charged with presenting projects to the council and amending them in accordance with criticisms voiced at the general meetings of the ecumenical council.

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