Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part XXII

Thursday 3 October 1963

In the coach, I saw Msgr. Weber. We talked about an intervention that he is planning to make about the collegiality of the Twelve.

In St. Peter’s, I saw Cardinal Léger. He is very unhappy about what he considers to have been, on the part of Cardinal Suenens, an attempt to direct the Council and impose his ideas on it (new Chapter II of De Ecclesia; schema XVII). He is very gloomy and pessimistic. …

I saw Cardinal Richaud again. He showered me with praise. He repeated to me that the Ambassador had seen the Pope for an hour and a half and that Paul VI had spoken very highly to him of the French theologians, mentioning myself with Fr. de Lubac. Cardinal Richaud added his own compliments to that. …

The following spoke:

Cardinal Lercaro: 1) One should look closely at the use being made of the words Ecclesia, Corpus Christi, etc: a) The Church and the Mystical Body are the same thing, but seen from two different aspects on the concrete and historical plane; agreed what was said in the name of the Dutch Conference of Bishops; b) Concerning No. 8 (reapse [really] . . .) put: ‘plene et perfecte’ [fully and perfectly], because by baptism the heretics are members (Dosseti’s thesis!); heresy . . . does no more than DIMINISH THE RIGHTS OF members . . . ; c) say something about the relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, the Eucharist being taken as an action and a COMMUNITARIAN action; this is how the Church becomes the Body of Christ.

2) The biblical images: add the Family of God and the Kingdom of God. Their importance: their dynamic value. He insisted on novum genus, nova creatio [new people, new creation]. It is the link between the Kingdom of God and human history. There is a real transfiguration, a new birth, by the Cross and the kenosis. The Church is the seed of the bringing to birth of the new creation. The presence of the Church by witness, by martyrdom, by service, by diakonia [service] above all of the poor, by mission.

3) The Theological Commission ad altiora vocatur [is called to higher things]. It ought to revise the whole chapter. To do this, it should call for the assistance of those Fathers who have spoken so well about the Church these past few days. This is envisaged in our new Regulations: in particular Silva, Rugambwa, Gracias, Ancel, Guano, etc. Cardinal Arriba y Castro1 (Tarragona) on the Virgin Mary: in the name of more than sixty Fathers. Should there be a Marian schema? Yes. If it is inserted into the De Ecclesia, where should it be put? Mary is the MOTHER of the Church: therefore put it after Chapter I and as a chapter on its own, with the necessary breadth and depth. …

Cardinal Ritter (St Louis): On the Church as sacrament of union with God; and also as community of human beings united to God. The first point of view is not explained sufficiently. In No. 7, there ought to be mention of the Word of God, the idea of a Church which proclaims the Word of God: a chapter which is left too much in the shade by our theology! He cited the text prepared by the Secretariat. There ought to be mention of the Word of God at the BEGINNING of the schema: Verbo et opere, Verbum et opus [by Word and by deed, Word and deed]!

Cardinal Bea: Do the chapters that we are scrutinizing meet the aim of renewing the Christian life on the basis of Scripture and Tradition? Are the texts being used rigorously? Not always. He gave an example. …

Msgr. Hoa (Vietnam): He spoke in favor of the idea of FAMILY (FATHER and BROTHERS), the relationship of BROTHERS; non-‘members’. This must have come from Fr. Dournes. But people were not paying attention. However, he developed his idea well. …

Msgr. Volk (Mainz) in the name of German-speaking bishops and others. That Chapter I should speak of the Word of God and of the Eucharist (in the celebration of which the Word of God is proclaimed); he suggested a text to be inserted. Where there is a reference to the pilgrim Church, something should be inserted about the relationship between the visible Church and the Kingdom of God; the two cannot be identified with one another, but there are close relationships between them.

Msgr. A Pildáin (Canary Islands): There is no reference to the return to the Church of those who, having belonged to us, are now living separated from the Church; he suggested an addition borrowed from the Bishops of Africa.

Jelmini, Administrator of Lugano, in the name of the bishops of Switzerland: No. 5, pages 9 and 10. There needs to be a reference to the presence of Christ in the Church above all in the Eucharist, and also in his Vicar . . .

Msgr. Heenan (Westminster) in the name of the bishops of England and Wales: No. 9 is a matter of the reconciliation of non-Catholic Christians with the Church; No. 10 is a matter of the conversion of non-Christians. Hence the obligation of the apostolate for all Christians: EVEN IN RELATION TO NON-CATHOLIC CHRISTIANS. He proposed a correction to No. 9. He spoke in terms of a return to the maternal home.

Msgr. Scalais (Léopoldville) in the name of all the bishops of the former Belgian Congo: Concerning the images, which lend themselves to expressing the historical and eschatological aspects of the Church, above all: People of God, Mystical Body, Kingdom of God (but People and Kingdom are not figures!!!). He suggested: No. 5: De Ecclesia ut populo Dei [On the Church as the People of God]; No. 6: De Ecclesia ut Mystico Corpore Christi [On the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ]; No. 7: De Ecclesia ut progrediente ad Regnum Dei [On the Church as on the way to the Kingdom of God].

Msgr. van Velsen (South Africa): There are some things which are not in accordance with concrete reality. … Give expression to what is real from the pastoral point of view. Page 12, lines 15–17: delete voto [by desire] on the subject of catechumens. Page 12, in lines 18–22: the end of No. 8 does not distinguish between Christians and pagans(?) No.  9 is incomplete: a) If the reference is to Protestants, one cannot be silent about the Bible and the Word of God; b) If the reference is to the Easterners, one cannot be silent about their priesthood and episcopacy, which are constitutive elements of the local Church. No. 10: The situation of those in a state of grace should be expressed in BIBLICAL terms (cf. Rom 2).

Van der Burgt (Indonesia) in the name of thirty-one bishops of Indonesia: 1) Populus Dei [The People of God] is the first name of the Church, and its relationship to the Mystical Body should be made clear. He suggested an addition in agreement with the schema De Liturgia. 2) Nos. 5 and 7: Church and Kingdom of God: show more clearly the eschatological aspect, with what it implies about our weaknesses. …5) Page 12, No. 8: need for corrections (poor Fr Tromp !!!): he suggested FULL INCORPORATION for Catholics. 6) Page 13, No. 10: state more clearly that mission is an essential function of the Church.

Msgr. Martin (Archbishop of Rouen): There are a number of differences between the way the Church is spoken of in the schema on the Liturgy and in the De Ecclesia: concerning the Trinitarian relationship of the Church, the schema De Liturgia speaks of the Church being called together by Christ in the Holy Spirit in order to give WORSHIP . . . above all in the celebration of the Eucharist.

At 2.35 pm, at the French Seminary: meeting with Fr. Greco, secretary of the African episcopate. He asked me for the principal elements for an intervention that Cardinal Rugambwa wants to make on episcopal collegiality.

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 337-341. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press.

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