Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part IV

Tuesday 19 September 1961

Fr. Gagnebet organized a meeting of the sub-commission for De Ecclesia at the Angelicum, in order to make headway with the discussion on the constitution De Ecclesia and to give more opportunity to the consultors. The meeting was not official. We discussed the chapter De laicis. Mgr. Philips had both written the text and acted as rapporteur. I made the acquaintance of Mgr. Griffiths [James H. Griffiths, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, member of the Preparatory Theological Commission, then member of the Doctrinal Commission. He was to die in February 1964.], Cardinal Spellman’s auxiliary [Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York. He was to become a member of the Council of Presidents and of the Coordinating Commission.], who asked me twice to lay stress on the liturgy.

Wednesday 27 September 1961

This morning I gave my talk at the Biblical Week in honor of St. Paul. Quite a large and very responsive audience. Some friends: Fr. Gribomont [Jean Gribomont, OSB, monk of the Abbey of Clervaux (Luxemburg), later sent to the Abbey of St Jerome in Rome, Director of the critical edition of the Vulgate.], J. Dupont [Jacques Dupont, OSB, of the Abbey of Saint Andrew in Bruges, where he taught Sacred Scripture.]; some well-known people: Mgr. Jenny, Mgr. Pellegrino, Coppens, Fr. Levie, Fr. Raes, Fr. Prümm, SJ. [Karl Prümm, SJ, Professor of Exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.] The latter told me to criticize Fr. Gaechter, who exaggerates [Paul Gaechter, SJ, Professor of Exegesis at Innsbruck; in his communication to the Congress, Congar referred in a footnote to P Gaechter, Petrus und seine Zeit. Neutestamentliche Studien (Innsbruck-Vienna-Munich, 1958).] . . .

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 51 and 61. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press. Parts I, II, and III of the Pray Tell series are here,  here, and here.


  1. In 1958, the US bishops established the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgical Apostolate. Bishop James Griffiths (d. 1964) was the secretary of the committee. He was assisted in the work by the young Father Frederick McManus of The Catholic University of America. In 1960, Frederick McManus would be named a peritus to the Conciliar Preparatory Commission by Cardinal Domenico Tardini, Secretary of State, and in 1962 to the Council itself by Tardini’s successor, Cardinal Amleto Cicognani (Apostolic Delegate to the United States, 1933-1958).

    Fifty years ago today, 17 October 1963, during the second session of the Council, bishops representing ten conferences where English is spoken, met at the English College in Rome to found what would soon come to be designated “The International Commission on English in the Liturgy.” At this first meeting of the conciliar ICEL (1963-2003), the United States was represented by Archbishop Paul Hallinan of Atlanta and Bishop William Connare of Greensburg. The founding bishops were assisted by two conciliar periti, Father McManus and Father Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville.

    Gigantes erant in diebus illis.

  2. Alphonsus Raes SJ was a prominent professor of Eastern liturgy at the Jesuits’ Oriental Institute in Rome.

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