By Desmond Fisher TUESDAY'S meeting of the Council was its eightieth. Cardinal Tisserant warned the Fathers that the morning meetings would run later each day in an effort to speed up the business. Many Fathers, he added, had asked that this session should be the last one.
The aim would be to finish the Council as soon as .possible without harming the Fathers' freedom of speech. He repeated earlier warnings against distributing leaflets near St. Peter's and asked the experts not to organise groups to publicise their own views nor to try to form opinion.
Otherwise, he warned. they would be deprived of their status as Council periti.
A long and complex process has been evolved for the difficult voting on the amendments to the Schema on the Church. The voting will go on during the daily sessions while the Fathers arc discussing new subjects.
It can be taken for granted that no decision has yet been reached on whether or not this will be the last session of the Council. The Pope himself has several times stated that he does not intend to "impose limits on decisions of the Council" by curbing the freedom of the Fathers. .
AGENDA It is a case of waiting and seeing what work will be completed this session and what will remain to be done.
In the circumstances, speculation is somewhat pointless but that has not stopped it. One frequentlyheard forecast is that there will he a short four-week session next year after Easter if only a little work is left on the agenda. If there is a susbstantial amount. the new session would be held in the Autumn. Many observers also feel that there will be a final session in a few years' time to check the work of conciliar commissions appointed in the meantime to carry out the decisions of the Council.
In general, the agenda for the Third Session is that the discussion on the final two chapters of the Schema on the Church—they deal respectively with mates final glory in heaven and with the blessed Virgin Mary—will be fedlowed by discussion on the pastoral duties of bishops. ecumenism. divine revelation, the lay apostolate, and the Church in the modem world.
While the general debates are still going on. the moderators will present for voting the amended chapters on the Schemata discussed at previous sessions and a series of propositions dealing with the Eastern Churches, missions, seminaries, priests, religious and marriage.
In order to avoid repetition. the moderators will have power to summon together Fathers who intend to speak on the same subject and arrange for them to designate one or two spokesmen.
Finally. the new rules permit the moderators to allow the floor to those Fathers who wish to speak after a subject has been closed provided they can submit the signatures of at least 70 other Fathe, s in support of their petition, and provided also that they are able to present new and useful elements for clarifying and deepening the discussion.