Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part XI

Monday 22 October 1962

A start was then made on the schema De liturgia, beginning with a very clear presentation of the schema. There followed comments on the schema in genere [as a whole], of which there were twenty-five:

Cardinal Frings: this schema is like the last will and testament of Pius XII. He praised it and then asked: that the schema be reprinted WITH THE STATEMENTS MADE TO THE CENTRAL COMMISSION; that the statements concerning the use of the vernacular be inserted, … and that the original text concerning the use of the vernacular be restored, as it had referred the matter to the episcopal conferences in each country. Music in the vernacular: the bishops should seek to instruct the faithful in the use of Gregorian chant so that God can be praised una voce [with one voice] on those occasions when the faithful from several countries meet together.

Cardinal Ruffini: ‘parcite mihi si canam extra chorum’ [forgive me if I sing apart from the choir]. Against the restriction of the schema to the Roman liturgy, it should apply to all rites. If particular rites need special regulations, these should be introduced by special ad hoc bodies.

Cardinal Lercaro [Giacomo Lercaro, Archbishop of Bologna, member of the Liturgical Commission. In 1963 Paul VI was to appoint him to the Co-ordinating Commission as one of the four Moderators of the Council ] (quite dull): praise for the clarity, pastoral orientation, theological basis; progressive wisdom.

Cardinal Montini: expressed approval. Neither anarchical innovations nor immutability. In favor of a commission, after the Council, composed of pastoral bishops. – Latin for the sacramental, specifically priestly, parts. – Vernacular for the didactic sections and the prayer of the faithful (quoted I Cor: reply Amen): THE FAITHFUL SHOULD UNDERSTAND!! – and aim for simplicity, brevity; avoid repetitions.

Cardinal Spellman (not very clear): not too many changes! Benefits of uniformity. Question of language: for the Eucharist: Latin; for the other Sacraments and ceremonies, extensive sections in the vernacular.

Cardinal Döpfner: praise for the schema. … Do not be content with general principles. A commission should be set up to prepare, within a few years, new liturgical books. Language: remember that the liturgy is often the only source of life for the faithful. It should be clear! Would like the vernacular to be used also by the celebrant where the good of the faithful calls for it. The Commission’s text authorizing the bishops’ conferences to prepare regulations governing the use of the vernacular should be restored.

Japanese Cardinal: In favor of adaptation for the peoples of the Far East. The bishops’ conferences should have more freedom of movement, more power to arrange matters.

Chilean Cardinal: general praise. Delete the minimization of the extraordinary magisterium in the first sentence. Primacy of charity. Avoid formalism. In favor of a biblical and patristic doctrine of the priesthood of the faithful. Give authority to the bishops’ conferences concerning the use of the vernacular. Words are not made for hiding things, but as a means of expression.

Chaldean Patriarch: most of this schema should be made to apply also to the Eastern Churches.

Vagnozzi: Apostolic Delegate in Washington(!!!): this schema is verbose, ‘ascetic’. Its theology is vague, at times inaccurate. Example: it says that the liturgy is the culmen et fons [summit and source] of the Christian life: now only God is that. It should be submitted to the Commission de fide [Doctrinal Commission]. All that is needed is for the Council to re-visit the encyclical Mediator!

Hurley: No longer wished to speak. What he had wanted to say had been very well said by the previous speakers, except the immediately preceding one.

Japanese bishop: all the necessary praise has already been expressed. He, too, no longer wished to speak.

Del Rosario: 1) What is the difference between constitutions, decrees and canons? 2) What canonical regulations would be abrogated by this Constitution? Specify! What MUST one observe?

Lebanese bishop: unam tantum dicam [I shall say only one thing]: the text does not distinguish clearly between ‘rite’ in the purely ceremonial sense and ‘rite’ in the comprehensive sense of the customs of a community. This needs to be clarified in the proemium.

Dante: Non placet: 1) The Council should only give general principles. 2) Approval of changes should be reserved to the Holy See. AS REGARDS THE USE OF LATIN: use of the vernacular should be restricted to preaching. Against the idea of concelebration, above all for private Masses. Preserve the Office, the obligation of saying it in Latin. Condemned certain omissions.

García: (very slow): the schema should be shorter. Doubtful relics should be done away with. He referred, among other things, to Aaron’s rod and the milk of the Virgin. ‘Reverenter sepeliantur’ [They should be given a decent burial].

Bishop of Limburg: Two general wishes: take into consideration the conditions of social life today; adopt legitimate ecumenical trends.

Cardinal Rugambwa, from Tanganyika: it is what people are looking for. In favor of adaptations by the bishops’ conferences with the pope’s approval.

A Franciscan bishop: he spoke of ALL the schemas and found them excellent. Don’t waste time DISCUSSING things that express common Catholic doctrine and which are perfect. Accept them as they are and concentrate on concrete, pastoral, matters.

Ungarelli: Why not deal with the Eastern rites? Against the uniformity of Latin, which is contrary to the unum sint [‘let them be one’]. Protestants use the vernacular and would return more easily if it were not for the obstacle of Latin. IN FAVOUR OF NEW LITURGIES, and not only the Latin one! Completely in favor of languages spoken by the people. The gentes [non-Christian peoples] are obliged to accept only the faith, not Western culture! Latin damages the missions. It should be restricted to those who are true Westerners. That would also facilitate the recruitment of priests.

The President said: ‘Satis’ ! [Enough] Has the speaker not had his ten minutes? A ten minute limit is not absolutely mandatory, but . . .

X?: found the schema excellent.

It ended at midday.

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 110-114. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press. Pray Tell ran the previous (tenth) installment of the journal of Yves Congar last Sunday.

One comment

  1. Fifty years have passed, but, reading these remarks:

    … the clarity, pastoral orientation, theological basis; progressive wisdom… THE FAITHFUL SHOULD UNDERSTAND!!… simplicity, brevity; avoid repetitions… Language: remember that the liturgy is often the only source of life for the faithful. It should be clear!… Words are not made for hiding things, but as a means of expression… take into consideration the conditions of social life today…

    in light of where things currently stand (aka “the missal mess”), it’s almost as if time had stopped.

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