Missionary Importance Stressed at Council Session

145th General Congregation
October 8, 1965

The ecumenical council’s completely revised schema on the missions offers a remedy for the modern crisis of the missionary conscience, Joseph Cardinal Frings of Cologne, Germany, declared in the name of “many missionary bishops.”

The Cardinal outlined the agonizing question some missioners are asking themselves: If God can save men who remain outside the visible Church, why carry the Gospel to them?

The council Fathers, said these many missionary bishops through Cardinal Frings, should be grateful to the present schema for replying to the question. The schema stresses that the Church by its very nature is missionary and that the ultimate reason for all missionary activity is Christ’s wish to unite the whole of mankind in a single people of God.

The same idea was taken up by Switzerland’s Charles Cardinal Journet, who asked that the schema be even more explicit on the absolute necessity of missionary activity. Continue reading

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Text of Liverpool Archbishop on Threats to World Peace

This is a translation of the speech on the Church in the modern world, given by Archbishop George A. Beck of Liverpool on Oct. 7.

Chapter V is the most important in the schema. All the other proposals, economic, social, cultural, political, depend on the way the ideas expressed in this chapter are put into effect. Until men are able to “beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks” sufficient economic resources for these ambitious schemes of help and development will not be available. They can only be made so if the insanity of the armaments race is brought to an end. Indeed, if this is not done, war on a massive scale can scarcely fail to come.

In Sections I and II, the schema insists that the community of nations must organize itself in accordance with its present responsibilities. It must establish effective international institutions for the preservation of justice and peace. The document does not emphasize sufficiently, however, that one of the biggest obstacles to the setting up of international institutions which will be truly effective, is what has been called the “fragmentation of society” into now more than 120 sovereign states, which will admit no limitation of their independence of action except by treaties which in the final analysis they may revoke.

The greatest menace to peace at the present time is the power of sectional interests which are, in most cases, the fruit of the history of the past 200 years. National sovereignty, imperialism, class war, race war, political or economic exploitation must give way to a wider acceptance of human solidarity. And this can be done effectively only if the governments of those nations play their part. Continue reading

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Text of Cardinal Ottaviani’s Speech on What Council Should Say on Modern Warfare

This is a translation of the speech delivered in Latin by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, secretary of the Congregation of the Holy Office, during debate on chapter five of the schema on the Church in the modern world on Oct. 7.


In the schema of the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, very brief reference is made to methods to be employed to avoid war in controversies between nations. But in my humble opinion there must be an expansion on these methods by which peace can be preserved so that the ecumenical council may lead the way along the path of calmness.

We must set forth the aims of justice and charity which are needed to overcome wars.

They will be these:

  1. a) Civic and religious education of peoples will set the souls of the populace and of the rulers selected by them on the path of cooperation and toward a mutual honorable recognition and exchange of laws and services among the nations. [These must be] devoid of class or race struggle, or of the struggle of political or economic imperialism, all of which are the principal sources of wars.

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Bishop Explains Psychoanalysis of Monks in His Diocese

The psychoanalysis undergone by monks of the Benedictine monastery of the Cuernavaca diocese in Mexico was carried out on a group basis and over a period of 16 years, the bishop of Cuernavaca disclosed here.

Bishop Sergio Mendez Arceo said that the world press had given a “wrong impression” of his appeal to the ecumenical council to give recognition to the findings of Sigmund Freud in the schema on the Church in the modern world.

Press reports had tied Bishop Mendez’ council statement to reports that 60 monks of the Benedictine monastery in his See had been psychoanalyzed in a mass experiment, and that 40 had left the monastery — several having decided that their vocation was marriage rather than the monastic life. Continue reading

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Change in Garb for Religious Could Be One Result of Council

An extensive change in the garb of both men and women Religious was foreseen as a likely result of the completed schema on the renovation of Religious life.

The ecumenical council vote on the amendments to the text included the recommendation that the garb of men Religious as well as women coordinate more closely with modern times. How extensive this change will be is left in the document to “the judgment of the Holy See,” according to Msgr. Mark J. Hurley, vice chancellor of the San Francisco archdiocese, speaking at the U.S. bishops’ press panel.

Whether the change would involve extensive adoption of the clerical suit, such as priests in America already wear except for church services, is not decided in the document. However, such practice has been steadily gaining ground in many sections of the world, notably in northern Europe.

Although Italy and Spain have generally maintained laws requiring priests to dress in cassocks whether in church or not, at least one diocese in Italy — Trieste — broke the suit barrier last year. This caused something of a sensation at the time, since the synod of Rome as late as 1962 had reaffirmed the cassock rule for priests. Vatican sources have said this directive was kept at the specific request of Pope John XXIII.

Whether the recommendation for a change in dress will be extended to diocesan clergy as well, perhaps through the yet-uncompleted schema on priestly life and ministry, is not known. But for Religious women it is nothing new. Pope Pius XII near the end of his life specifically asked them to update their garb. As a result, some have already made extensive changes, others have changed slightly, still others not at all. The present document on Religious is expected to step up the program considerably.

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Melkite Patriarch Urges No Exceptions on Divorce Teaching

Melkite-rite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh of Antioch has taken issue with the stand taken in the ecumenical council by his vicar for Egypt in favor of divorce under some circumstances.

The cardinal patriarch recalled that Archbishop Elie Zoghbi had told the council that divorce might be granted in such cases as adultery and desertion. Patriarch Maximos said rather that “the whole of social life would be shaken and destroyed” if the Church did not hold firm to the principle that sacramental marriage is indissoluble.

(Actually, Archbishop Zoghbi took the council floor again [Oct. 4] to say he had not used the word “divorce” in his earlier speech. He said he was speaking with a “pastoral purpose” of the possibility of the Church’s dissolution of the marriage bond in cases of mental illness or desertion.)

The patriarch’s statement came in answer to a correspondent’s question about Archbishop Zoghbi’s initial suggestion. Continue reading

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Council Struggles With Nuances of Nuclear Weapons’ Immorality

The key question the Church must decide regarding the morality of nuclear weapons, according to an ecumenical council expert, is whether it is possible to declare the possession of those weapons immoral, without adequate safeguards to assure peaceful nations that the weapons will not be produced by others.

In a world as imperfect as ours, said Msgr. George G. Higgins, director of the Social Action Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, this is a real problem. “If it can be resolved by the members of the commission revising the schema on the Church in the modern world, they could rewrite chapter five in five minutes.”

Msgr. Higgins was speaking at the U.S. bishops’ press panel following the council meeting at which debate was concluded on the schema. The document was sent back to commission for revision. The final debate centered on chapter five’s treatment of peace and war, including the problem of nuclear weapons.

Msgr. Higgins said he disagreed with rumors that the council would drop the schema or remand it to the newly announced Synod of Bishops. He pointed out that the schema had been accepted by an overwhelming vote of the council Fathers as a basis for discussion, which indicated that the Fathers wanted such a document. Continue reading

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Mission Commission Reports on Draft on Church’s Missionary Life

Father John Schuette, S.V.D., superior general of the Divine Word Fathers, presented the report of the ecumenical council’s Mission Commission on the revised schema on the missions at the general meeting.

Father Schuette noted that in order to revise the text according to the wishes of the council Fathers, it had to be entirely redone. This was the accepted opinion of the commission, he said, and was based on the following considerations:

First, the requests coming from numerous missionary bishops and superiors general.

Second, the reverence due to hundreds of council Fathers who were disappointed at seeing such an important sector of the work of the Church set forth in a few trite paragraphs, whereas all of them were rightly expecting a thorough treatment of missionary activity in the Church because no council had ever done anything along this line. Continue reading

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Council Fathers Applaud Call for End to Nuclear Threat

144th General Congregation
October 7, 1965

Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, secretary of the Congregation of the Holy Office, his voice vibrant with emotion, urged the ecumenical council to summon all nations to a one-world republic that would end the threat of nuclear doom for the world.

Council Fathers gave him one of the warmest and longest ovations in the council’s four-year history. This applause signaled an end of the antipathy focused upon Cardinal Ottaviani at the council’s first session as a leader and symbol of immovable conservatism in the Church.

Cardinal Ottaviani’s speech demolished this image with a series of vigorous strokes:

He “heartily” seconded the demands of other council Fathers that the council ban all war absolutely. Continue reading

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Theologians Discuss Nature of Church Teaching on Contraception

With what binding force does the Church forbid artificial contraception?

This question was discussed at the U.S. bishops’ council press panel and drew two cautious but somewhat different answers from two moral theologians.

Father Francis Connell, C.SS.R., former dean of the theology school at the Catholic University of America, said the ban on contraception was considered certain and unchangeable teaching “at least up to very recently.” A guest panelist, Father Enda McDanagh of Ireland’s Maynooth College, said he was not certain that a clear statement on the binding force intended by the Church could be made.

Until recently, Father Connell said, “the theological note [the binding force of a Church teaching, that is, a statement whether it is infallibly defined, a certain conclusion from reason, or a common opinion] was considered to be certainty derived as a conclusion from divine and natural laws.” He said U.S. moral theologians Father John Ford, S.J., of the Catholic University of America, and the late Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., in a recent book which they jointly wrote, consider the Church’s position as “unchangeable but not of divine Catholic Faith,” in other words not infallibly defined. Continue reading

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