Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part V

28 September 1961

I read the vota from the bishops of Africa. Msgr Marcel Lefebvre [The Holy Ghost Father Marcel Lefebvre was a member of the Central Preparatory Commission. Transferred, in January 1962, to the episcopal see of Tulle, he was elected Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers in June 1962.], Archbishop of Dakar… ‘Against the errors of Fr. Congar in his book Essai d’une théologie pour le laïcat.[The correct reference is Jalons pour une théologie du laïcat, ‘Unam Sanctam’, 23 (Paris: Cerf, 1953).] Define the value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the extension of its graces even to pagans and unbelievers. Specify the place of the laity in the Church and give precise notions concerning Catholic Action. Fortunately, the latest encyclicals have already clarified some issues, but it is very opportune to deny definitively some erroneous ideas which have caused considerable damage.’ Request that there be a definition or statement that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the mediatrix of all graces . . .

In the afternoon, paid a visit to Fr. de Lubac at the Gregorianum. He is very fed up, very crushed. He is convinced that Fr. Dhanis has inserted into the document De Deposito [On the Deposit of the Faith] a No. 22 against himself. Fr. de Lubac has in fact found there EXACTLY what Fr Dhanis had imputed to him in the troubles that Fr. de Lubac has experienced since 1950. Fr. Dhanis knew Fr. Janssens, current General of the Society, who brought him to Rome and has to some extent made him his theologian. It is Dhanis who, from the Jesuit side in Rome, handled matters concerning Fr. de Lubac. The latter is convinced that Fr. Dhanis is taking advantage of the Council and of the quite important part he is playing in it, to justify his attacks against de Lubac and Teilhard de Chardin, and that, when he has his text, he will say: they are condemned in these paragraphs.

Fr. de Lubac has seen Fr. Dhanis and has asked him whom he had in mind by the phrase ‘qui sentient’ [who think that] . . . Dhanis refused to give him an answer and when de Lubac insisted, Dhanis said to him: I have my reasons.

Fr. de Lubac has decided to write a letter to Fr. Tromp in order to ask for clear explanations and remove the ambiguity. If he gets no satisfaction, or if he is told that it is in fact himself who is being referred to, he will offer his resignation to the Pope. He thinks that the threat of this resignation will instil fear into the ‘Romans’ who would be embarrassed by it.

I told Fr. de Lubac that when I returned to Strasbourg, I would write a few comments on this No. 22 and send them. What else can one do? There is nothing to be done. It is a question of attitude. One reacts to things in one way or another. The ‘Romans’ take no part in the stream of living thought. They are hardly even aware of it. None of the interesting things that have been written concerning such questions as sexual morality, marriage, original sin, has been taken into consideration. We are stuck with a Denzinger point of view [A well-known collection of documents of the Magisterium (principally Conciliar and Papal) known traditionally by the name of the first editor]: one of the deadliest of books in spite of its great usefulness.

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 63-64. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press. Part IV of the Pray Tell series is here.

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