Alan McElwain's ROME DIARY
CARDINAL Heenan, in the Synod of Bishops, may have attacked the Press for its preoccupation with sex and sensationalism, but on this, as on other grand occasions in Rome, he has continued to serve that same Press well.
Normally, reporters covering the Synod have to depend on
"briefings" supplied by selected representatives of the various ang u age grou ps. But Cardinal Heenan, having been dissatisfied early in Vatican Council 11 with summaries of his speeches — often, like those of other speakers, either inadequate or misleading — made sure he was no longer misquoted, and therefore misreported, simply by issuing the full texts of what he had said.
This was, technically, against Council rules, but the Cardinal took the realistic line that truth was more important than rules. He has continued to do so.
A copy of his Synod speech last Friday was promptly available to reporters during the briefing which followed that session. It was produced by the Westminster Press Officer, David Miles Board under the experienced guidance of Bishop Derek Warlock, of Portsmouth, in Rome for a meeting of the Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission, who did such splendid work in the public relations field during the Council, and after.
Last Friday was a notable day for variations on the theme of how the Press should, or should not, be treated.
Almost simultaneously with Cardinal Heenan's practical evidence (thank God for duplicating machines!) of his ideas on the matter, came a grave warning to all Synod bishops by Card'i'nal Stefan Wyszynski, the Polish Primate, that they should shun the Press like the plague, make no statements, issue ,no reports to journalists who "made up monstrous accounts". (My own impression is that Cardinal Wyszynski, heroic character that he is, has suffered too long under a Police State.)
He was also echoing Pope Paul's own warning when he opened the Synod that among pressures the bishops should avoid was the pressure of mass media.
Then, later in the day, when the American bishops attending the Synod gave a Press
conference, their leader, Cardinal John Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, was asked by a journalist if the Americans would follow Cardinal Heenan's example and issue copies of their Synod speeches.
The Cardinal thought for a while and then said they would follow the Synod's rules and preferred to have everything handled through the summaries issued (via the briefers) by the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications Press Office.
When reminded that these summaries could lead to misrepresentation, phrases taken out of context, and so on, the Cardinal nodded and replied : "That's right."
ADIRECTIVE to the priests representing the world clergy attending the Synod sessions requested that they wear cassocks. If they didn't have them, it was su,s,wested that they should at least wear clerical garb.
PLANS for the 40th Interna
tional Eucharistic Congress to be held in Melbourne in 1973 have been discussed by Melbourne archdiocese representatives with the Permanent Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses in Rome.
Archbishop Knox, of Melbourne. the congress executive director, Fr. Brian Walsh, and the director of Pastoral Renewal to precede the congress, Fr. Kevin Toomey, met members of the Permanent Committee at the Rome headquarters of the Cistercian Order (Trappists).
The Order's Abbot-General,
Abbot Sighardo Kleiner, and Archbishop Knox, who secured the 1973 congress for Melbourne, are joint vicepresidents of the Permanent Committee.
Members also present at the meeting were Archbishop Arulappa, of Madras and Mylapore: Fr. Carlo Balic, a Franciscan and president of the International Marian Academy in Rome; Fr. Annibale Bugnini, of the Congregation of the Missions, and the Permanent Committee
secretary, Fr. Giuseppe Missaglia, of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.
The committee emphasised the great importance of the 1973 congress motto, "love one another and I have loved yod," being injected into every facet of daily life during the 12month spiritual renewal campaign that will precede the opening of the Eucharistic Congress on February 18, 1973. If this were done, the people would recognise the real link between true 'religion and life.
Pope Paul stressed the importance of this spiritual preparation when lie first announced that the congress would take place in Melbourne.
The Permanent Committee was also very keen on the simplified form decided upon for the Melbourne congress. A study of previous congresses had shown that it would be extremely expensive to hold a traditional-type congress, so a "Congress of the People" was chosen. This will be devoid of much of the old display.
The permanent committee also expressed its gratitude to the Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, for visiting Pope Paul and formally invitinglim to Melbourne for the congress, and also to other representatives of both the state and City of Melbourne for their interest and practical help in preparing for the congress.
Archbishop Knox and Frs. Walsh and Toomey are to present Pope Paul with a report on the congress plans.