Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part XV

Tuesday 30 October 1962

At St Peter’s. Conversation with Jedin [Hubert Jedin, priest of the diocese of Cologne, Professor of Church History at Bonn University, specialist in the Council of Trent, of which he wrote the history; Council expert.], who arrived yesterday… He is afraid that discussion of De Liturgia will be dragged out in order to wear people out and so induce them in the end to hand the texts over to the Commissions which will do what they like, and what their Presidents like, with them. It is important not to let the Council (the ‘plenum’) be dispossessed in favor of the Commissions: in the ‘plenum’, that is, in the full assembly, the conservatives are neutralized, whereas they will recover their reactionary effectiveness in the Commissions. …

Cardinal Godfrey: Nos. 39 and 40: homily: ‘ubi commode fieri possit’ [where it can conveniently be given], because the Mass must not last more than forty-five minutes. Communion under both kinds: there is a doctrinal difficulty, because some people protest against our practice and would interpret a change as a disavowal of our practice, an avowal of error on our part. Moreover, there are questions of hygiene: quid [what] about children, women (the use of lipstick), teetotalers. The expression ‘liturgy of the word’ is new. Concelebration: not against it. But there are difficulties: the question of Mass stipends.

Cardinal Gracias: Our discussion is not logical. It should have been organized. Stipulate the role of the episcopal conferences. Concelebration: do not restrict the text too much.

The seventy Indian bishops are in anguish over the situation which is affecting their country. They are asking themselves whether their place is here or with their people. The Chinese Communist invasion represents a question of life or death, even for the Church in India. Two bishops have already left as their dioceses have been invaded. He asked all the Council Fathers for their prayers. (The departure of the seventy Indian bishops would be a serious loss to the Council.)

Cardinal of Seville: agrees with Ruffini as regards communion under both kinds. Agrees with Léger concerning concelebration. Extend the faculty of celebrating Mass at any hour of the day (in his country life is lived more in the evening than in the morning . . . ).

Cardinal Alfrink: (not as President, but as a Council Father). He will speak about communion under both kinds not from the dogmatic, historical or practical point of view but from that of the Bible. The sacrifice, epulae sacrificiales [sacrificial banquets] = as in all banquets: manducate, bibite [eat, drink]. The sacrament is of course complete under one species, but not as regards its exterior form. The great number of communicants makes it impossible to introduce communion under both kinds universally, but it is desirable that this complete form should be seen more often in the Church: that the intentio Christi Domini [the intention of Christ the Lord] should be displayed more often. Therefore, allow it in certain specific cases; leave it to the judgment of the Holy See to determine these cases, and to the judgment of the bishops to decide if such a case exists. Bear in mind also the ecumenical aspect.

Cardinal Ottaviani: No. 37: As Spellman has said, this would be a revolution! One cannot approach the Mass except by taking off one’s shoes like Moses at the Burning Bush . . . No. 42 (Communion under both kinds): Miror [I am astonished] . . . Whereas the Central Commission had almost unanimously rejected it (someone must have protested because he stopped and then said: a great majority). It would be periculosum [dangerous], because of false interpretations, practical difficulties. The vernacular: reference has been made to Pius XII, but there are the very strong words he used in his allocution to the Liturgical Congress in Assisi (he cited the passage in French). No. 44: concelebration. Danger of error, of believing that a concelebrated Mass gives greater glory to God and obtains more grace. Concelebration would deprive the faithful of Masses . . . There is also the question of stipends.

Cardinal Alfrink, President, cut him off: he had been speaking for more than fifteen minutes. There was mounting applause, equivalent to an expression of hostility to Ottaviani.

Cardinal Bea: quae in cap 2 practice dicuntur, omnino admittenda [all that is effectively said in Chapter 2 should be accepted]. But a good number of comments concerning the wording. The proemium speaks of ‘Pasch’ and dwells too much on the sacrificial aspect. (One sees here something that will be even clearer elsewhere: the idea of the ‘paschal mystery’ as including, inseparably, both the Passion and the Resurrection, is not universally known. Many people still understand by ‘Pasch’ only the Resurrection. I am told that Cardinal Ottaviani, in an intervention which I did not hear, even maintained that the Resurrection was, as it were, external to the Redemption, which consists in the passion and death of Christ; we have the proof in that the good thief was admitted to heaven before the ‘Pasch’).

No. 39: homilia PRAESCRIBATUR [the homily should be made compulsory]. No. 44: rationes concelebrationis melius explicentur [the basis for concelebration should be better explained]. Communion under both kinds: the question is a disciplinary one, not doctrinal. Therefore mutare licet [change is allowable]. (I would be inclined to say the opposite: it is of divine right. It is doctrinal. Mutare non licebat [change should not have been allowed]!) This according to the Council of Trent itself. Moreover, two years after Trent, Pius IV authorized the use of the chalice in some dioceses in Germany. Nothing contrary to the teaching of Trent is being done by reviving the whole question today. Constance spoke against Hus. Omnino placet: casibus determinatis a S Sede, auditis Conferentiis episcoporum [I am fully in favor: in those cases determined by the Holy See, after consulting the episcopal conferences]. Moreover, there is the ecumenical point of view.

Cardinal Browne: Spoke very badly. Many of the bishops left for the bar. Suggested corrections of wording. Proemium: sacrificial value. the Eucharist = Christus passus (sed regnans! non patiens) [Christ having suffered (but reigning! no longer suffering!]. Similarly, sacrificium laudis [sacrifice of praise] is too vague.

Florit (Florence): the sacrificial aspect, the cross, is being omitted. No. 42: difficult with unleavened bread; and the time it would take! Restrict communion under both kinds to concelebration, and to the celebrants. No. 43: be careful! Word it in such a way as not to make invalid the attendance of those who only arrive in time for the Offertory. …

Pereira, Archbishop from Mozambique: restrict the reception of communion under both kinds to priestly ordinations.

Bishop from China: need for simplification. For example, the rites of baptism.

Rusch (administrator, Innsbruck): great fruits of the liturgical movement. One can go further. In favor of real offerings at Mass. In favor of Bible readings making it possible to have an overall view of the Bible. In favor of episcopal conferences.

G Dwyer (English) impressed by what the bishops from the Church of silence have said. Hence, ‘fiat nova ordinatio missae’ [there should be a new rite of Mass]. But there would need to be clear instructions and limitations: restrict any changes to the Mass of the Catechumens, in order to retain one section which is identical and common to all. …

(I went to the WC. I saw Msgr. Roberts and we chatted. A great number of the bishops were in the bar, or chatting, or walking about in the rest of the Basilica. Some were praying in a chapel. When I returned to the tribune, the Archbishop of Dublin was speaking in the name of the bishops of Ireland. He is against communion under both kinds: there would be periculum fidei [danger to faith]. He is against extending the possibility of concelebration.) …

Ddungu, Uganda: Allow priests, when they are binating or trinating, to have a drink at any time (and something other than water! Laughter).

Kleiner Cistercian Abbot General. Very fine intervention, calm and serene, very well spoken. Many people impressed. He spoke in the name of the Cistercian abbots. Listen to a monk on the question of concelebration. The monks who are priests are obliged by their rule to attend the conventual Mass. The Cistercian rules are that one attends the Mass or one serves Mass, according to one’s station: an acolyte as an acolyte, a deacon as a deacon. Hence, priests as priests. They should concelebrate! Restore the wording of the text as submitted to the Central Commission. Nemo cogetur. Nemo reprobetur [No one should be forced. No one should be forbidden.]

B Stein (Auxiliary of Treves): Very fine intervention on Nos. 38–39: not merely a mensa Eucharistiae [table of the Eucharist], but a mensa Verbi Dei [table of the Word of God]. (That goes beyond the question of the biblical readings in order to include the whole force of ‘the Word of God’ in the liturgy.)

Sansierra (Argentina) addressed himself also to the Observers. The name of St Joseph should be inserted into the Canon of the Mass. He proposed a form for the conclusion of the Mass (eliminating the Gospel of St John and the three Hail Marys). After No. 41, there should be a paragraph about the time of the celebration: at ANY hour. No. 42: communion under both kinds at least on Holy Thursday. No. 44: ampliatio concelebrationis: laudanda [in favor of extending concelebration]: in concilio provinciali [at provincial Councils], in concilio oecumenico [at ecumenical councils]!!!

After this long morning, Msgrs. Elchinger and Schmitt took me off to lunch with them. We chatted. I also saw there a dozen Italian bishops, about ten English and above all SCOTTISH bishops, and four or five Ruthenian bishops (from America): these stopped speaking to the four French bishops after the latter invited the two Russian Observers to join them at table. These bishops told me that one of the benefits of the Council is that one sees the Curia close up and can see how small-minded it is: that is all!

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 129-134. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press. Pray Tell ran the previous installment of the journal of Yves Congar last Sunday.


One comment

  1. Are we aware of the content of n. 37 in the draft they were discussing, about which Ottaviani and Spellman were saying “this would be a revolution”? Would be interesting to know what they were referring to.

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