Page 2, 8th October 1965

8th October 1965
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Page 2, 8th October 1965 — THE COUNCIL SCENE_I F OR a moment it must have seemed
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THE COUNCIL SCENE_I F OR a moment it must have seemed

that history was repealing itself in the atria of St. Peter's basilica.

On Wednesday last week the Fathers had just begun discussion of part two of

the schema on the Church in the Modern World. That

section contains the controversial treatment of marriage and family life.

And. as at the third session last year, Cardinal Ruffini of Palermo, Sicily, was the first speaker. As last year, the Cardinal insisted that the schema must distinguish between the ends of marriage— growth of conjugal glove and procreation and education of children. He said procreation must be emphasised as the primary end of the married state.

followed by two of the four speakers who, last year, set off the dynamite in the basilica. 1 he four were Cardinals Suenens, Leger and Alfrink, and Patriarch Maxi. mos 1V Saigh. Last Wednesday Cardinals Suenens and

Leger spoke.

The Fathers of the Council listened to the two interventions with polite and interested attention. But they were not . particularly excited by the content or tone of what was said. Last year, the (amour four interventions came as a mains breakthrough on the birth control question. phis year basically the same sentiments as those expressed last year were regarded as slightly repetitious by many bishops. In many ways, the similarity and contrasts of the interventions last year and last week apply to the whole of Schema 13. Last year, many of the speakers opposed the very idea of issuing a conciliar document on world problems other than as a condemnation of modern errors.

In this year's debates, several "conservative" bishops, while criticising the present text, have added that the world is expecting the council to consider problems of the modern age. if such a consideration is not forthcoming, they noted, much of the world will regard the Council as a failure. Therefore, some sort of statement must be made.

But agreement that there should he a statement does not mean that there is agreement on what the schema should contain. its orientation or its value, In this respect, there has been a considerable division of opinion in St. Peter's Basilica, and, in one sense, the disagreement goes quite deep.

Several Council Fathers, in their interventions, have objected to calling Schema 13 a conciliar Cory,stitution, even though the term is mitigated by the adjective, pastoral. '1 hey argue that the council can only give rather tentative answers to most modern problems, while Conciliar constitutions usually possess a more permanent value. They have suggested that the schema be termed an allocution.

Rev. Robert Tucci, S.J., one of the periti who drafted the present document, generally agrees with this argument, But, he fears that a change of title now might be interpreted as a downgrading of the schema and the problems it treats.

Mgr. George Higgins, an

Church and World in dialogue

From James Johnson in Rome

other perints, said there should be no objection to a change of title and that it might be necessary in order to get agreement among the Fathers. Otherwise, he said, the schema might he subjected to endless revisions and delay.

Even those who steadfastly have supported the idea of the Church concerning itself with modern problems doubt the surface value of the schema.

Bishop Gerard van Velsen, of Kroonstad, South Africa, observed that the contents of the schema would be forgotten within three years, Archbishop D. Hurley of Durban, South Africa, said he thinks the schema will be of little direct value in solving the problems it considers. Rev. Robert Trisco, a perirus and historian, said that he believed future historians would consider the schema important simply because it was issued, not so much for what it says.

Bishop Moorman of Ripon, one of the Anglican observers, was more critical. "Schema /3," he said, "is 30 years out of date." And many vital problems of the age are ignored, he added. But Bishop Moorman. like many Catholic supporters of the schema, believe that such a statement should be issued by the council. Why is Schema /3 considered by so many to be important, not because of its contents so much as by its very existence? Two answers have been suggested by Archbishop Hurley and others.

• First, although the Church cannot provide answers to most of the problems that afflict man today, it can in the schema show its concern for all mankind. Further. it can encourage its faithful and all men to seek more persistently the answers to the age's problems. It can stress the fact that such efforts are in themselves a Christian vocation.

. Secondly, the Church can tiepin a dialogue with the world, It can declare that it wishes to listen to the world and learn from it. Instead of operating from a set of fine—hut perhaps irrelevant — principles, the Church can show that it wishes to proceed from realities. the world as it is. And, the schema can indicate that the Church respects the competence of the "secular" areas of human life, in which truth can be sought and found.

'the first point has not been controversial. But the second figures in almost all of the interventions on Schema 13. It may represent the only clearcut division among the bishops.

This division has led Di. Albert Outlet, U.S. Methodist theologian and observer, to d:scribe the debate as "vitally important. Here," he said, "is where the real division lies. And, as the debate goes on. the bishops in that hall will be receiving a real education in the difference between the old and the new Church."

He added that, on the basis of this "education", the bishops will orient themselves toward the modern world.

ihe debates in the basilica. especially on the question of atheism, especially demonstrated this division. Cardinal Flnnt of Florence, for example. urged a stronger statement en atheism and particularly Communism. He based his appeal on the principle that "the presome of moral and physical evil in the world comes flora the denial of God".

Bishop Antonio Pildain of the Canary Islands called unon Catholic schools to vindicate the existence of God in dispute with atheism, which is ,"rampant in the world today". lie defended liberal capitalism as the major force in the combat with atheism.

On the other hand, Cardinal Koenig of Vienna argued that the Church must distinguish between the various forms of atheism. He said the council should not "hurl anathemas" but attempt to enter into dialogue with all men of good will, even if they should be atheists. He also deplored the failure of Christians to live in conformity with their moral and social principles. Despite his rather militant terms and references to the world's communications media being infiltrated by a secularist mentality, the superior general of the Jesuits, the Very Rev. Pedro Arrupe, emphasised the need for real competence in any study of atheism. He asked that experts he consulted and that the Church proceed from realities rather than principles.

Even on the birth control question, Cardinal Suenens' appeal for solid scientific research in human sexuality represented one side of this fundamental division.

On the present question of contraception, the Cardinal seemed content to leave the decision to the special commission appointed by Pope Paul VI. In his intervention last Wednesday. however. Cardinal Colombo of Milan urged that a statement on birth control. in accord with the traditional position of the Church, be issued by the Council. Silence, he said is leading many Catholics to suspect that the Church's position has changed.

In addition, Melchite Archbishop Zoghby of Egypt suggested that the Council consider the pastoral problem of the man or isitc SS 110 is deser

ted by his or her spouse. He asked if the Church could not do more for the injured party in such cases than urge continence and reliance on the will of God. "Heroic virtue cannot be imposed indiscriminately," he said.

It seems likely that the council will, despite its basic difference of orientation, approve Schema /3, perhaps as an allocution. But it seems unlikely that it will seriously study the problem of separation and divorce as Archbishop Zoghby suggested. And most bishops seem content to leave birth control to the special papal commission.

But, on the basis of their interventions, the bishops are not content to leave the question to the commission for much longer. As Cardinal Colombo of Milan noted in his intervention last week, continued silence on this issue only encourages the laity to believe that the Church's posititm has altered. He asked for a clear endorsement of the traditional Church position on this issue.

Cardinal Journet, the noted Swiss theologian, attempted to answer the arguments of Archbishop Zoghby on divorce. The cardinal said the Eastern tradition is based on the provisions of the Code of Justinian with the passages from Matthew used to support the position adopted from civil law.

Fr. John Long, Si., an expert on the Eastern Churches, said later that the cardinal had ignored the fact that the practice was permitted during five centuries of union with the West, that the union councils of Lyons and Florence did not even consider the matter and that Trent was careful not to condemn the practice in the East. Fr. Long also ohserved that the Eastern tradition predated the Code of Justinian. Meanwhile, Archbishop Zoghby is preparing a detailed retort.

The Fathers later got away from marriage and family life. Culture was the main problem and most speakers suggested that the Church should become involved in and support cultural advancement.




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