Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part XXV

Tuesday 15 October 1963

I worked until 9.30 am (such a treat!) and arrived later in St Peter’s (delay = slight bus accident). I arrived as the reading of the report on Chapter III on the liturgy was being concluded.

Cardinal Siri. Reservations about collegiality.

Cardinal Wyszyński: repeated the beginning of the schema and gave a whole theology of the People of God—body of Christ—society: in countries like his own, there is hardly anything left to the Church except her churches and her deep nature as the body of Christ, united to the Trinity. The link with the Hierarchy amounts to that of spiritual fathers. One should not press the comparison between (the notion of) the Church as a perfect SOCIETY and civil society, and the Church militant. Rather, one should stress the Church as sanctifying and vivifying.

His Beatitude Meouchi (Maronite) in the name of the Maronite bishops put forward quite a good overall theology of the college of bishops and of the power of the pope (in fourteen points): ‘Collegium tum in concilio tum extra concilium supremam habet potestatem et magisterium infallibile’ [The college, both in Council and also when not in Council, possesses supreme power and infallible magisterium]. ‘Summus Pontifex exercet suam potestatem in collegio et pro collegio’ [The Supreme Pontiff exercises his power within the college and for the college]. …

Jubany (Auxiliary of Barcelona) in the name of twelve Spanish bishops. On the diaconate: called for more theology and more specifics. On collegiality: we have heard about that ad nauseam!  

I missed several interventions as I wandered round, in spite of my legs, and met quite a few people. At 11.45 am, Cardinal Suenens called for a vote by standing up or remaining seated on whether or not to conclude discussion of Chapter II, it being understood that those who have not yet been able to speak may submit their texts in writing. However, those who will ask to speak in the name of more than five Fathers may still do so. The Assembly rose as one man. After that, the only intervention was that of Cardinal Browne who cleared the text on collegiality by explaining that the text in no way impugns the prerogatives of the pope which he strongly reaffirmed, in accordance with HIS ecclesiology. It was announced that tomorrow there will be several votes on Chapter II; and the results of several votes on Chapter III of De S Liturgia were given.

I went to have lunch at La Retraite du Sacré Coeur with Msgr. Mercier and Frs. Le Guillou and Dupuy. Also there were Fr. Gauthier, Msgr. Duval (Algiers), Perrin (Carthage), Lallier, Fauvel, etc. Before the meal, (1.15 pm), we had thirty-five minutes in which to work, and again two hours after the meal: very good work on the THEOLOGICAL aspects of the great question of poverty. Msgr. Mercier spoke and spoke . . . but even so we managed to clear the ground. I took notes separately. I promised to do some thinking and to collaborate in the preparation and introduction of a text.

At 4.30 pm, in the Vatican for a meeting of the Theological Commission. A great many experts were present. Fr. Tromp gave a report on the work done and to be done in order to classify the amendments. Cardinal Ottaviani reported on his approach to Cardinal Agagianian and the Moderators, informing them of the results of our previous discussion: utrum caput de Populo Dei sit inserendum in Constitutione? –Responsum: Largissimum! [whether the chapter on the people of God was to be inserted into the Constitution? The reply: Most certainly. And on the heading of the chapter: same reply.

– Finally the question of the De Beata [the Blessed Virgin Mary]. We were read the reply (in Italian) from Cardinal Agagianian. He found the vote on the existence of a separate chapter De populo Dei , and on the heading for it, sufficiently well supported by a good majority of the Theological Commission, but, as the majority in favor of the other points was weak, there would need to be a vote of the whole assembly. As regards the de BMV, it would be necessary for the two propositions to be presented in aula: which is what I had said to Msgr. Philips.

The Moderators are also asking the Theological Commission to suggest a formula on the question of the theological note of the texts. Accordingly, Cardinal Ottaviani said that it would be necessary:

1) To choose two members for the schema De Beata: – as a separate text (Cardinal Santos, Philippines),

– as an incorporated text (Cardinal König);

2) To appoint three members, each one of whom will choose his own expert,

in order to propose a formula on the theological note. Parente, Schröffer and Fr. Fernandez were nominated.

Cardinal Ottaviani had reported to the Pope the results of the voting at our last meeting. The Pope had said the same as the four Moderators. He approved the De Populo Dei, but added that he would prefer De Hierarchia to be put FIRST, followed by De Populo Dei.

I intervened to draw attention to the technical aspect of the content of De Populo Dei, which speaks of what is common to the hierarchy and to the ordinary faithful. This provoked a great discussion on this point.

After an intervention by Msgr. Philips, Ottaviani suggested that Msgr. Philips should produce an exposition of the reasons for the order he had proposed, which Ottaviani would forward to the Pope.

We then began the reading, and discussion, of the new text on the De Populo Dei. I saw the possibility and the hope of an account of the People of God from the point of view of the history of salvation disappearing. That was not considered, even as a hypothesis, for a single moment. I cannot intervene all the time.

Discussion on the role of the Church in the forgiveness of sins or rather in the sacrament of penance.

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 374-377. For previous posts in this series, simply enter “Congar” in the search box in the upper right. The 1100-page book can be purchased from Liturgical Press.

One comment

  1. 1. The Pope… added that he would prefer De Hierarchia to be put FIRST, followed by De Populo Dei.

    Interesting! Is it known why he, at first, thought so?

    2. I worked until 9.30 am (such a treat!)…

    Does this mean he had pulled an all-nighter? 😀

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