Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, Part XXVIII

Monday 21 October 1963

I also saw Laurentin who gave me the text that Cardinal König is to read in favour of incorporating De BMV [‘Blessed Virgin Mary’] into De Ecclesia [‘on the Church’], and a paper written by Laurentin, Moeller and Martelet . . . giving nine reasons in favor of this and replying to objections. I suggested some further considerations.

Romanian Byzantine Mass which lasted a good hour. This was followed by the reading of the report on Chapter IV of De Liturgia. It is very long! I began work at 11 am, already exhausted . . . !!!

Cardinal Meyer, Chicago: on us sinners, our weaknesses. Dimitte nobis debita nostra [Forgive us our trespasses]. And there is the devil quaerens quem devoret [seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8)]. In the New Testament, there are always two aspects to the Church: a heavenly one and an earthly one; and also in the liturgy and the witness of the saints. He suggested a concrete emendation.

Cardinal Ottaviani: protested about the fact that three periti [‘experts’] had distributed leaflets urging the episcopates to vote for a married diaconate. It would be possible to make some married laymen acolytes (in this connection he used the word ‘concession’).

Msgr. Tchidimbo3 (Guinea): praised the schema which contains a number of good things. He said that colonization had not yet ended completely from the point of view of the apostolate.

Cooray (Ceylon) on no. 24 (priesthood of the laity). He suggested that one should speak of the sacramental priesthood (hierarchy) and spiritual priesthood. I sent him some critical comments.

Msgr. C Wojtyła, Vicar Capitular of Cracow [later John Paul II] : in favor of a De Populo Dei [‘on the People of God’] in Chapter II before De S Hierarchia [‘on the hierarchy’] (gave reasons); that would require another revision of Chapter I (partly the text he had given to me, but corrected).

Hurley: not enough attention is paid to the temporal life of the laity, which is to be sanctified.

One of the most frightfully empty and boring sessions.

Msgr. Willebrands asked me to speak about the laity to the Observers tomorrow, but I am already booked up, and he has never been in a hurry to invite me!

At 5.30 pm, working at Saint-Louis des Français with the group of bishops (plus Dupuy, Le Guillou) on a De presbyteris [‘on priests’]. I sent to Msgr. Ancel, for Cardinal Lefebvre, a very good text on De Populo Dei by Féret; I also gave a copy to Cardinal Liénart, and I even went to the Procure Saint-Sulpice to explain it to him in a few words, because Cardinal Lefebvre is hesitant: it is a field of ideas with which he is not familiar. Cardinal Liénart welcomed my approach but told me that he prefers to say LITTLE in aula.

Tuesday 29 October 1963

Ukrainian Mass. I dearly love the Easterners, but it is a bit much to keep giving us Masses which last for more than an hour when there is so much work to be done. The time available for work is reduced to very little. And it is very tiring. Many people have been up since 5 am, have said their own Mass, then served another . . . It is absurd. But in Rome, no-one knows what work is.

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, pp. 386-388, 401. 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.


  1. I have been reading this blog regularly for a few months now. Thank you for publishing these excerpts from Fr. Congar’s journal. They have been interesting and informative. Fr. Cougar is brilliant and his on-the-ground commentary is fascinating. But I’ve been thinking this for a while now and I just have to ask the commentariat here, whom I’ve found to be quite insightful, Does anyone else here get the impression that Fr. Congar is kind of a jerk?

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