IT'S NOT OF1EN
that you can look back on a year and say: "That year will
il go down in history." Bu 1968 is an exception — at least in ecclesiastical terms.
One event overshadowed all jothers. No prize for gue sing that k was the Po 's birth-control ency clic 1. Humanae Vitae bur.t upon the world on July 29 and even now the' debate it engendered shows litt14 sign of cooling off. i But other things did happen in 1968. Early in January three of the Roman Cur a's most powerful men rest ed their positions. mo ing over for younger mer One of those who resign, d was Cardinal Ottaviarii. the self-styled "old policeman of the Vatican.'r 19 recent years he has— with good reason often been accused of holding up reforms in the Church. But in spite of his public image, there was a generous and humane side to Cardinal Ottaviani's character. Muth of his spare time was sperit voluntarily coaching the boys at a nearby Roman school and during the war he opened his apartment to many homeless ipeople. Isialcohn Muggeridge resigned as Rector of Edinburgh University with a S ti it ably Muggeridgian floqish. In answer to a 1 stu ent demand that the pill should be made available to all and sundry he said: "How sad, how macabre and funny it is that all they put forward should be a demand for pot and pills." This, he said, was the most tenth-rate form of indulgence ever known. It was the resort of any "old slobbering debauch" anywhere in the world at any time— "dope and bed".
At the end of January the barriers dividing Christians were lowered a little further. Archbishop Ramsey preached in Westminster Cathedral. "We know." he said, "that there are big differences between 'us. We do not pretend that we have solved them. We know that we sometimes upset one another by things we do and say."
The Archbishop received an enthusiastic. hand-clapping welcome from the thousands assembled in the Cathedral. A solitary demonstrator berated the "scarlet woman" from a soapbox outside the Cathedral, holding a banner with the legend : "Escape for your life".
In the same week the Salvation Army sent along one of its crack hands to accompany the hymns in a special unity service at the Cathedral, Andrew Cruickshank. the actor (Dr. Cameron). was among the laymen who preached on that occasion.
On the lighter side Mr. Bill Scott, Supreme Knight of the Knights of St. Columba. spoke out against "long-haired Catholic intellectuals– who criticised the Pope and clergy.
A Camot.itHi-RAID reader wrote to the paper to say that he was an intellectual, wore his hair longer than most, was 46 years old, was a Grand Knight and had on occasion criticised the clergy. He wanted to know how he stood in the eyes of the Knights of St. Columba.
Oscott College sold a late fifteenth century lectern to the Metropolitan Museum. New York, for £105,000.
Cephas, an organisation of priests to fight modernism in the Church, was founded and is still sorting out its teething troubles.
On March 5 the CATHOLIC HIAALI) masthead went to the top of Page 1 ending three or more years of green sideways reading for our readers. Change well received. Rumours circled the world that Rome had ended the ban on Freemasonry. Those of us who feared the worst were soon relieved when a denial was issued.
Early in April the world was stunned by the news that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated. Pope Paul composed a special prayer for the slain civil rights leader: "Hear us, 0 Lord, so that the sacrifice of Martin Luther King may not he in vain; so that thanks to this sacrifice a new and more profound intention of pardon, of peace and of remembrance may take the place of unjust discrimination and the present struggles."
About this time the Pope's health began to give rise to anxiety. In spite of his doctors' orders he conducted the full Easter Ceremonies in Rome. though observers said he looked pale and drawn.
The Bishops of England and Wales gave the goahead for married deacons at their Low Week meeting. Two bishops said immediately that they would be looking for likely men.
On April 27 the Abortion Bill became law after a long, hard battle. The opponents of the Bill had asked for a million signatures to present to the prime Minister. They got nowhere near their target— a sad reflection on Catholics. Anyone who stood outside a church asking for support for the petition will know that even many of those who go to Mass each week were apathetic to the issue.
The "New 'Pentecost" was one of the big news makers of 1968. Misunderstanding and crossed wires helped to turn it into something it was never intended to be. But the fact remains that it was just about the most radical proposal put to and passed by the Bishops and one wishes it success in its revised form announced last week.
If you live in the diocese of the Bishop of Clogher you will know that all dance halls must close at midnight. A correspondent who complained about this strange rule in the CATHoLIC HERALD was soon put in his place by another.
"Bishop O'Callaghan freely and benignly grants dispensations for dress dances and fashionable balls until I a.m., 2 a.m., or any a.m. the revellers choose to leave at," read the rejoinder.
On Whit Sunday Cardinal Heenan returned Archbishop Ramsey's January visit and preached at Evensong in Westminster Abbey.
The world mourned the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in June. On June 30 Pope Paul proclaimed his "Credo of the People of God", at the same time warning Catho: lies with a "passion for change and novelty" against damaging Christian doctrine. He was speaking at the end of the Year of Faith and the beginning of the sixth year of his reign.
In the same, week the Pope approved a revised set of rules concerning indulgences. These were published in a 120-page book with the unlikely title of Enchiridion Indulgentiarunt.
In August the three new texts of the Canon of the Mass were announced, the radical newsletter Search died and the Pope visited Bogota.
In October Jackie Kennedy married Mr. Onassis and Cardinal Cushing caused a stir by defending her action. "Why can't she marry whoever she wants to marry?" he asked and got the obvious answer from the Vatican. Throughout the year Burns and Oates got a good deal of free publicity for their translation of the Dutch Catechism which somewhat rebounded on them when the Cardinals published their findings early in December. Fr. Crehan whooped for joy when angels were reinstated.
St. Peter was a news maker in 1968. First they found his hones and Pope Paul said he was "happy". Then came the apostle's chair and finally his house.
Mr. Enoch Powell did not escape the wrath of the Churches. His immigration speeches brought howls of protest from all sides, though it is obvious that all Christians are not agreed on this question.
The television event of the year was the David Frost Cardinal Heenan confrontation in which the Cardinal re-affirmed the primacy of informed conscience. Crack of the year cle from Bishop Tomasek, apostolic administrator of Prague. It is reported that Mr. Brezhnev, the Russian leader, asked him to change the name of Prague Cathedral to "Leonid Brezh n ev Cathedral." "Certainly," the Bishop replied, "but I will need to have the relics first."