Newsletter of the District
- April 1999
you know what they really said?
following quotes, gathered from different sources and from authoritative
people, show by their clarity the true spirit of the Council. It
is always good to have some of these quotes at hand when someone
says that what is going wrong in the Church is merely an abuse of
the real Council texts which apparently were good in themselves.
Many of the quotes below come precisely from many of the authors
of the conciliar texts. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruits...
on Doctrinal Changes
make an astonishing list of propositions taught yesterday, and the
day before, in Rome, as the only acceptable ones, and which were
eliminated by the conciliar Fathers." Card. SUENENS, INTERVIEW,
I.C.I., 15/5/69, ["Informations Catholiques Internationales"]
has wiped out what I would call the unconditionality of the system.
By "system", I mean a coherent set of notions conveyed
by the Roman universities, codified by Canon Law, protected by a
tight and rather efficient control under Pius XII, with reports,
calls to order, control of writings by Roman censorship, etc. The
Council just disintegrated it." Yves CONGAR ( O. P ) Une
vie pour la verite [ A life for the truth ], p. 220, Centurion,
1975, interviewed by Jean Puyo
on how the Council was conducted
even say that the experts were the ones who actually conducted the
Council. It is not totally wrong. I remember a minute but revealing
episode. At the time when the Decree on the laity was to be discussed,
I had noticed a paragraph still (. ..) inspired by a dual vision:
the world on the one side, and the Church on the other. I was there
with another French expert, and we agreed that it was bad. That
paragraph had however already been adopted by the commission; it
was consequently impossible to change it. We then drafted an additive,
a second paragraph which was more or less saying the opposite. The
first paragraph was in a way establishing that dualism, and the
second one was saying, the action of the Church must go beyond it.
Bishops from Western France proposed our new text, and it was adopted."
M. D. CHENU ( O.P ) Un theologien en liberte [A theologian
without restraint] pp. I6‑17, Centurion, 1975, interviewed
by Jacques Duquesne.
efficient infiltration was carried out through notes proposed to
the various commissions(. . . )." Ibid, p.188 [ or 187].
all consisted in outvoting men from the Curia and the Holy Office."
Yves CONGAR ( O.P.) Une vie pour la verite [A life for the
truth ].p.140 (op. cit.).
on Conciliar Texts
be denied that a text like this [the conciliar declaration on Religious
Liberty] says materially something different than the Syllabus of
1864, and even almost the opposite of propositions 15, and 77 to
79 of that document." Yves CONGAR (O.P) La Crise de l'Eglise
et Mgr. Lefebvre [The Crisis in the Church and Archbishop Lefebvre],Cerf,
Paris, 1977, p.54. Lumen gentium (chapter 3 on collegiality)
did peacefully its October Revolution." Yves CONGAR (O.P) Le
Concile au jour le jour deuxieme session [The Council day by
day, second session], Cerf, Paris, 1964, p. 115.
his subsequent book La Crise de 1 'Eglise [The Church's Crisis],
page 49, note 2, Congar realized his mistake and tried to rectify
(integrists) have scurrilously misused a word, questionable, as
a matter of fact, which we have written about a vote on the college
of the Council. (... ) They intended to see in it a statement on
the sovietization of the Church! It was only an author's word, neither
very good, nor very adequate. To give it another meaning comes down
to ascribe to it a sense which it never had and which we clearly
a conference which I had given to bishops in Rome. Minister Roux,
who attended it as a Protestant observer, came to see me in the
end. "This is wonderful, he said; but I disagree. You are too
much of an optimist, the world is involved in a permanent tragedy,
and we must speak of the Cross of Christ. The world which
you are building is too beautiful."
that objection into consideration; we inserted perspectives on sin,
here and there; but they looked like added parts. It is true
that we have not integrated the world's tragedy enough. But that
optimism, which imbued the whole Council still appeals to me."
M.D. CHENU (O.P.) UN théologien en liberté [A theologian
without restraint], p. 182, Centurion, 1975, interviewed by Jacques
father of the new ecclesiology which triumphed at the Vatican II
Council, received several warnings from Rome in the 1950's. He then
determined, in writing, not to submit; "Continue to write in
this way to a maximum, using all these opportunities which I still
have. This is what my fight is all about. I know (and 'they' know)
that sooner or later all that I am saying and writing is just the
opposite of the system. Yes, this really is my struggle: my theological,
historical, ecclesiastical and pastoral labor. The class I am teaching
at present, De Ecclesia, as if nothing happened, this is
my real answer, this my real dynamite under the seats of the
scribes ". Yves CONGAR (O.P.) Handwritten notes of February
1954, quoted by Francois LEPRIEUR (O.P.), Quand Rome condamne
[Sentenced by Rome], Plon/Cerf, Paris, 1989, p.259.
II Council: the Preliminary Conspiracy
1. The Agreement
for the coming of Russian Orthodox observers (i.e. KGB agents),
a promise was made not to condemn communism. "France Nouvelle
" (French Communist Party central weekly magazine), issue
for January 16 ‑22, 1963, page 15:
the world socialist system undeniably proves to be the best and
that it is supported by hundreds and hundreds of millions of men,
the Church can no longer be content with vulgar anti-communism.
She has even entered into an agreement with the Russian Orthodox
Church that no direct attacks against the communist regime would
be made during the Council. "
of this agreement is to be found in "La Croix" (French
Catholic daily newspaper) of February 15,1963, page 5:
in Metz that Cardinal Tisserant met with Bishop Nicodem, archbishop
in charge of foreign affairs for the Russian Church, and it is there
that was prepared the message which Bishop Willebrands took to Moscow.
Bishop Nicodem, who had come to Paris during the first half of August,
had, as a matter of fact, wished to meet with Cardinal Tisserant.
The meeting took place at Father Lagarde's, the chaplain for the
Little Sisters of the Poor, at Bordes, who has always shown interest
for international problems. Subsequent to that conversation Bishop
Nicodem accepted that someone would go to Moscow to bring an invitation
on condition that guarantees would be given regarding the non‑political
attitude of the Council. "
On the Rome-Moscow
agreement, see "Itineraires", # 280, pages 1 to 15.
II - The Agreement
with the Jews
in "Tribune juive", issue # 1001, (December 25‑31,
foggy and frosty night of the 1962-63 winter, I went to an extraordinary
invitation at the Conunuriity Center for Peace, in Strasbourg. The
Jewish leaders were receiving secretly, an envoy of the Pope in
the basement. At the end of the Shabbath, about ten of us welcome
a Dominican in white garb, Rev. Fr. Yves Congar, who had received
a mission from Cardinal Bea, on behalf of John XXIII, to ask us,
on the threshold of the Council, what we were expecting from the
Catholic Church (...).
held on the fringe of Christian society for nearly 20 centuries,
often treated as subalterns, enemies and deicides, were asking for
their total rehabilitation. Descending in direct line from Abraham's
monotheist lineage, out of which came Christianity, they were requesting
to be regarded as brothers, partners equal in dignity, of the Christian
messenger -without any ornament or symbol -went back to Rome with
innumerable requests comforting ours. After difficult proceedings
(. . . ) the Council acceded to our wishes. The Declaration Nostra
Aetate, no. 4, was -as Fr. Congar and three drafters of that
text confirmed to me - a true revolution in the Church's doctrine
about the Jews (...).
and catechism books changed within a few years. In France, the flower
of this renovated doctrine was offered by the Editions du Centurion
under the title: La Foi des Catholiques [The Catholics'
Faith]. The French episcopate-with L.A. Elchinger, bishop of Strasbourg-
had played a decisive part in the presentation, during the Council,
of today's 'Jewish problem'. The clergy adopted the conciliar decisions
with alacrity. That attitude had a precious guide in the Pastoral
Orientations of the episcopal committee for relations with Judaism,
published by the French Episcopal conference on April 16,1973.
Vatican itself, this trend of thought was confirmed in an exceptional
way. In the very presence of the Pope John-Paul II and the bishops
of the whole world, Cardinal Etchegaray, minister of the Holy See,
on October 4,1983, pronounced an astonishing statement with sums
up all the Jewish "problems" in two points:
Total and final reconciliation with Judaism and the Jews;
Repentance and forgiveness asked for all the evil caused in the
the secret visit of Fr. Congar in a hidden location of the synagogue,
on a cold winter night, the Church's doctrine really had been through
a total transformation."
that agreement, see "Itineraires", # III.
An Agreement with the Protestants?
recounted in his work on "Vatican II ‑La Liberte religieuse"
(coil. Unam Sanctam, Paris, Cerf, 1967) how the Ecumenical Counsel
of (Protestant) Churches published, on the eve of the last conciliar
session, a list of its seven basic demands on religious liberty.
eve of the last conciliar session, which was to adopt the Declaration,
the Commission for international affairs of the Ecumenical Counsel,
in July 1965, presented the seven essential demands for religious
liberty as follows:
1. While maintaining
a clearly Catholic basis for religious liberty, the civil liberty
which Christians claim for themselves must be guaranteed everywhere
to everyone, whatever his religion or belief may be.
liberty includes freedom for everyone to change religion or belief
without any effect on his political, economical and social status.
This right implies the right to keep one's belief or disbelief without
incurring any constraint or incapacity
3. In addition,
religious liberty includes freedom to express one's religion or
belief. Cult, teaching, practice and observance of rites are the
basic forms of religious expression, and any elaboration of a norm
on religious liberty must expressly guarantee them.
4. The right
to express one's religion or belief must be guaranteed to everyone,
individually or collectively, publicly or privately.
liberty also includes freedom to maintain individual or collective
ties with religious communities or associations, whose nature transcends
national boundaries. It also includes freedom to express one's opinions
and beliefs, and to communicate information and ideas through and
possible media, without considering borders.
6. The norm
of religious liberty should be international. It should not be interpreted
in a restrictive way to comply with existing national laws and constitutions,
but every effort should be made so that constitutions and national
laws comply with the international norm.
7. The practice
of religious liberty, like the practice of other civil laws, may
be subordinated to the limitations defined by law, only in the interest
of public order. Religious rights will be applied to all, without
any distinction of religion or belief. (July 22, 1965)
last conciliar session, the bishop of Monaco, Bishop Rupp, in a
very welcomed speech, ask the Council to just make its own these
seven demands and to confirm them with its authority. That request
was the sign that these seven demands were perfectly acceptable
to the Church. In fact, the Council did more than that. Not only
did it make its own these seven demands, in equivalent terms, but
it established them firmly on justifications taken from the Bible,
human experience and philosophical consideration." (pp. 241‑242).
All of these
seven demands were adopted in Dignitatis Humane through eagerness
to come to an understanding with the Protestants. Had some preliminary
agreement taken place with the [quite masonic] Ecumenical Counsel
the new liturgy, non-Catholic communities will be in a position
to celebrate the Last Supper with the same prayers as the Catholic
Church. Theologically, this is possible." May Thurian, of the
Taize Protestant community, in La Croix, May 30, 1969.
takes into account the decisive evolution of Catholic liturgy, the
possibility to substitute other prayers to the canon of the mass,
the obliteration of the notion according to which the mass would
be a sacrifice, the possibility to communicate in both kinds, then
there is no more reason for the Reformation Churches to forbid their
faithful to participate in the Eucharist in the Roman Church."
Roger Mehl, Protestant, in Le Monde, September 10, 1970.
parish of Hamburg, we constantly use eucharistic prayer II, with
the Lutheran form of the words of the institution and omitting the
prayer for the pope (...). To me, the new Roman Catholic eucharistic
prayers prove an open attitude of surprising proportions."
Ottfiied Jordahn, Lutheran minister, conference of June 15, 1975
in Maria Laach.
"Nothing in the
now renewed mass can really embarrass the Evangelical Christian."
M. G. Siegvalt, Protestant teacher of dogmatic theology in Strasbourg,
in Le Monde, November 22, 1969.
prayers II and IV show 'a structure which agrees with the Lutheran
mass'." F. Schulz, report of the Lutheran liturgical conference
of May 15, 1972.
"The revised Roman
liturgy now looks very much like the Anglican liturgy." Pawley,
Anglican archdeacon, in his book `Rome and Canterbury, during four
the current forms of the eucharistic celebration in the Catholic
Church and as a result of the existing theological convergence,
many obstacles which might have prevented a Protestant from participating
in its eucharistic celebration seem to be vanishing. It should be
possible today to a Protestant to see in the Catholic eucharistic
celebration the Last Supper of the Lord, i.e. the Protestant holy
communion:.. We hold out for the new liturgical prayers which agree
with us and which fortunately shade the theology of sacrifice, which
we used to allot to Catholicism." Official declaration of the
Higher Consistory of Confession of Augsburg of Alsace and Lorraine
of December 8, 1973.
of the Pius V mass (even through the back door and in the revision
of the Roman Missal of 1962) is much more than a question of language:
it is a doctrinal question of utmost importance, at the heart of
the debate between Catholics and Protestants, a debate which, I
believed, had come to an end (...). Many of our forefathers in the
faith, reformed according to the word of God, had rather die at
the stake than attend such a mass which Pope Pius V made official
against the Reformation. Consequently we were glad to see the decisions
made by Vatican II on that subject, and the steadfastness of Rome
with all those who did not want to accept the Council and were continuing
to use a mass which to us is contrary to the Gospel." Minister
Michel Viot, after the October 3, 1984 indult, given for the celebration
of St Pius V Mass under certain conditions, in the readers' column,
in Le Monde.