-DOPE PAUL'S intention to light a bonfire -4under the Vatican Council has burst into determined flame. First we learned that the agenda has been reduced to 13 Schemata, of which only five call for further debate so far as can he seen. Now comes the sensible rule that Council Fathers are to hand in the texts of their proposed speeches even earlier than before so that duplicated arguments can be cut out.
There is no evidence that fundamental issues are going to be skimmed. The Council's commissions have been working extremely hard since the end of the second session, and have kept in touch with the Council Fathers, sending out drafts, receiving back comments. In a sense. the Council has kept going by post, and a clear pattern of agreement has presumably emerged in regard to eight of the projects now coming up.
This is not finaL of course. If the Fathers are told that a particular draft is now coming up for voting only, they are perfectly free to jih. Past events make it clear that they will not hesitate to do so if they want to. mediate vote may well dispose of the projects on the bishops' pastoral task, the Oriental Church, the Missions, the Religious, the Priests, Marriage, the Formation of Priests, and Catholie schools. Debate will be needed for the new Schemata on Divine Revelation and the Apestolate of the Laity; for parts of the Schemata on the Church and Ecumenism: and for the famous Schema 13, as it now becomes, on the Church in the Modern World.
Under the project on the Church. the Fathers will discuss chapters on Our Lady and the Saints. Under the project on 'ecumenism they will tackle the chapters on religious freedom and the Jewish people. The latter may be extended to take in other non-Catholic bodies.
Finally, it is plain that everything else is leading up to the crux of the whole Council— the debate on Schema 13. The Father probably hopes to clear the other 12 projects in this autumn session, and then give a separate session entirely to "The Church in the Modern World" next year. It is not yet known whether the birth control issue will come up under "Marriage" or Schema 13. What is clear is that anyone who felt that the second session petered out indecisively is in for a rude awakening this time.