Out of Order: Belgian Bishop Told to Stop Speaking

For the second time a Council Father has been ruled out of order. Belgium’s Bishop Joseph Guffens, S.J., former missionary bishop in the Congo, was asked by the presiding officer to stop speaking.

The Bishop was insisting on the necessity of considering the experiences of history and social evolutions. He said: “For example, workers were once considered unable to look after their affairs. The Africans are in evolution . . . .”

At this point Giacomo Cardinal Lercaro, Archbishop of Bologna, the presiding moderator of the day, interrupted him, saying: “What the Most Reverend speaker is saying is not pertinent.  He is therefore asked to cease.”

Bishop Guffens responded: “I yield the floor,” and sat down.

Earlier, Archbishop Ngo dinh Thuc of Vietnam, brother of that country’s President Diem, was ruled out of order by Gregorio Cardinal Agagianian of the Vatican administrative staff, moderator at the first session, for speaking on a specific point when only general comments were being sought.

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