Page 7, 19th October 1962

19th October 1962
Page 7
Page 7, 19th October 1962 — WE WILL LOOK TO THE

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People: JOHN XXIH, God
Locations: Rome


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Full text of the Pope's address

RECAUSE of the speed with which the address of Pope John at the opening of the Second 'atican Council had to be published, only nofficial and necessarily shortened versions Could

e obtained.

This week, because of the importance of the address. and reply to many requests, we are publishing the full, un'ridged text of the Holy Father's address:


'OTHER CHURCH rejoices L that, by singular gift of disc Providence, the longed day has finally dawned, en—under the auspices of the gin Mother of God, Whose ternal dignity is commemori on this feast—the Second .jean Ecumenical Council is ig solemnly opened here be: St. Peter's Tomb.


.11 the Councils — both the oty Ecumenical ones and the sberless others. also important, Provincial or Regional charac-which have been held down nigh the years, all prove rly the vigour of the Catholic Yrch and are recorded us shin lights in her annals.

calling this vast assembly of lops, the latest and humble cessor of the Prince of the }sties, who is addressing you, acted to assert once again the irch's Magisterium, which is ailing and endures until the end :ime: in order that this Magisnrn, taking into account the ifs, the requirements and the ortunities of our time, might presented in exceptional form ill men throughout the world. . is but natural that in opening universal Council we should to look to the past. and to In to its voices, whose echo like to hear in the memorials the merits of the oldest and ancient Pontiffs, our predeors : solemn and venerable vs, throughout the east and the I. from the fourth century to Middle Ages, and from there to fern times, which have handed ei their witness to those Coma: voices which proclaim in :nnial fervour the triumph of divine and human institution, Church of Christ, which from is takes its name, its grace and neaning.


de by side with these motives spiritual rejoicement, however, C has also been extended for C than nineteen centuries a id of sorrows and of trials. Not tout reason did the ancient eon announce to Mary, the her of Jesus. that prophecy :h has been and still is true : :hold this child is set for the and the resurrection of many in el, and for a sign which shall ontradicted " (Luke 2, 34). And Himself, when he grew up, rly outlines the manner in :h the world would have ted His Person down through succeeding centuries, with the terious words : " He that 'eth you heareth me," and with e others that the same cyanit relates : " He that is not i me is against me; and he that ,ereth not with me scattereth." he great problem confronting world, after almost two thou! years, remains unchanged. ist is ever resplendent as the re of history and of life; men either with Him and His rch, and Then they enjoy light, dness, order and peace; or else are without Him, or against I, and deliberately against His rch. and then they give rise to 'usion, to bitterness in human iions, and to constant dangers ratticidal wars.

:umenical Councils. whenever arc assembled. are a solemn bration of the union of Christ His Church, and therefore lead to the universal radiaof truth, to the proper guidt of individual, domestic and al life, to the strengthening of tend energies, in perennial uptowards real and everlasting

he testimony of this extras nary Magisterium of the rch, in the various succeeding Ass of these twenty centuries of ;snarl history. stands before us :cted in numerous and imposvolumes, which are a sacred imony of ecclesiastical archives, in Rome and the more noted tries of the entire world.


s regards the initiative for the t event which gathers us here, ill suffice to repeat in historical imentation o u r personal

• unt of the first sudden springup in our heart and lips of simple words " Ecumenical ncil . We uttered those words le presence of the Sacred Colof Cardinals on that memosJanuary 25, 1959, Feast of Conversion of St. Paul, in the lica dedicated to him. It was pletely unexpected. like a flash eavenly light, shedding sweetin eyes and hearts; and at the time it gave rise to a great 3ur throughout the world, in ctation of the celebration of Council.

sere have elapsed three years laborious preparation, during :h a wide and profound eination was made regarding ern conditions of faith and ious practice, and of Chrisand especially Catholic ity. These years have seemed S a first sign, an initial gift of aial grace.

uminated by the light of this ncil. the Church—we confily trust—will become greater siritual riches and, gaining the igth of new energies therefrom, will look to the future without fear. In fact, by bringing herself up to date where required, and by the wise organisation of mutual co-operation, the Church will make men, families and peoples really turn their minds to heavenly things.

And thus the holding of the Council becomes a motive for wholehearted thanksgiving to the giver of every good gift, in order to celebrate with joyous canticles the glory of Christ our Lord, the glorious and immortal King of ages and of peoples.


There is, moreover, Venerable Brothers, another subject which it is useful to propose for your consideration. Namely, in order to render our joy more complete, we wish to narrate before this great assembly our assessment of the happy circumstances under which the Ecumenical Council begins,

In the daily exercise of our pastoral office, we sometimes have to listen, much to our regret, to voices of persons who, though burning with zeal, are not endowed with too much sense of discretion or measure. In these moderh times they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin; they say that our era, in comparison with past eras, is getting worse; and they behave as though they had learned nothing from history. which is none the less the teacher of life, and as though at the time of former Councils everything was a full triumph for the Christian idea and life, and for proper religious liberty.

We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world was at hand

In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men's own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed towards the fulfilment of God's superior and inscrutable designs; and everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church.

It is easy to discern this reality if we consider with attention the world of today, so busied with politics and controversies in the economic order as not to find time to attend to solicitudes of the spiritual realm, with which the Church's Magisterium is concerned. Such a way of acting is certainly not right, and must justly be disapproved; it cannot be denied, however, that these new conditions of modern life have at least this disadvantage, that they have eliminated those innumerable obstacles by which at one time the sons of this world impeded the free action of the Church.

In fact, it suffices to leaf even cursorily through the pages of ecclesiastical history to note clearly how the Ecumenical Councils themselves, while constituting a series of true glories for the Catholic Church, were often celebrated to the accompaniment of most serious difficulties and sufferings because of the undue interference of civil authorities. The princes of this world, indeed sometimes in all sincerity intended thus to protect the Church; but more frequently this occurred not without spiritual damage and danger, since their interest therein was guided by the views of a selfish and perilous policy.


In this regard, we confess to you that we feel most lively sorrow over the fact that very many Bishops. so dear to us, are noticeable here today by their absence, because they are imprisoned for their faithfulness to Christ, or impeded • by other restraints; the thought of them impels us to raise most fervent prayer to God. Nevertheless, we see today, not without great hopes and to our immense consolation, that the Church, finally freed from so many obstacles of a profane nature, such as trammelled her in the past, can, from this Vatican Basilica, as if from a second Apostolic Cenacle, and through your intermediary, raise her voice resonant with majesty and greatness.


The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul, and since he is a pilgrim on this earth, commands him to tend always towards heaven.

This demonstrates how our mortal life is to be ordered, in such a way as to fulfil our duties as citizens of earth and of heaven, and thus to attain the aim of life as established by God. That is. today all men, whether taken singly or as united in society, have the duty of tending ceaselessly during their lifetime towards the attainment of heavenly things; and to use only for this purpose the earthly goods, the employment ot which must not prejudice their eternal happiness. The Lord has said : " Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice" (Matt. 6, 33). The word "first" expresses the direction in which our thoughts and energies must move: we must not. however, neglect the other words of this exhortation of our Lord, namely : "and all these things shall he added unto you " (ibid.). In reality, there always have been in the Church, and are still today. those who, while seeking the practice of evangelical perfection with all their might, do not omit to make themselves useful to society; indeed, it is from their constant example of life and their charitable undertakings that all that is highest and noblest in human society takes its strength and growth.

In order, however, that this doctrine influence the numerous fields of human activity, with reference to individuals, to families and to social life, it is necessary first of all that the Church should never depart from the secred patrimony of truth received from the fathers: bot at the same time she must ever look to the present. to new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world, which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate.

For this reason the Church has not been present inertly at the marvellous progress of the discoveries of human genius, and has not been backward in evaluating them rightly; but. while following these developments, she does not neglect to admonish men so that, over and above sense-perceived things, they may raise their eyes to God the source of all wisdom and all beauty; and may never forget the most serious command: "Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4, 10; Luke 4, 8). so that it may not happen that the fleeting fascination of visible things should impede true progress.


This having been established. it becomes clear how much is expected from the Council in regard to doctrine. That is, the Twentyfirst Ecumenicul Council. which will draw upon the efficacious and important wealth of juridical. liturgical, apostolic and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without auy attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will.

Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries. The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Churkt, which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and the ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.

Fin this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adhesion to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still resplends in the acts of the Councils of Trent and Vatican I, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward towards a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences, in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which however should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms a modern thought. One thing is the substance of the ancient doctrine of the "Depositum Fidei", and another is the way in which it is presented; and it is this that must be taken into great consideration, with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a Magisterium which is prevalently pastoral in character.


At the outset of the Second Vatican Council, it is evident as always that the truth of the Lord will remain for ever. We see, in fact, as one age succeeds the other, that the opinions of men follow one another and exclude each other, and often errors vanish as quickly as they arise, like fog before the sun.

Ever has the Church opposed these errors: frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays, however, 'the Spouse of Christ prefers to make us of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity; she considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her touching rather than by condemnations. Not, certainly that there is a lack of fallacious teachings, opinions and dangerous concepts to be guarded against and dissipated; but they are so evidently in contrast with the right norm of honesty. and have produced such lethal fruits, Continued on page 9, cots. 7-8

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