"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

September 28, 2012

The Council that might have been… [Updated 9/14/2015]

Filed under: Vatican II — komonchak @ 9:53 am

On July 23, 1962, the Secretary General of the Second Vatican Council sent out to all those with a right to participate in the Council a book that contained the first draft-texts that were to be debated when the Council opened on October 11th of the same year. The following texts were included:

On the sources of revelation

On defending intact the deposit of faith

De deposito fidei – Latin text

On the Christian moral order

De ordine morali christiano – Latin text

On chastity, marriage, the family, and virginity

De castitate et al – Latin text

On the sacred liturgy

On the communications media

On the Church’s unity.

(A second book, containing the drafts on the Church and on the Blessed Virgin Mary, would be distributed only after the Council had opened.}

I offer here my translations of the first four of these texts, prepared by the Theological Commission, which expected that they would be the first ones debated. Instead, the Council first debated the fifth text, on the liturgy.

At the request of several people I have scanned and uploaded the original Latin text of three of these texts. I’ll try to get to the others later.

And I now add the Latin text of the draft on the Blessed Virgin May as well as my translation of it. The draft was only six pages long as printed, but it was accompanied by twenty-two pages of endnotes!

Draft on the Blessed Virgin 1962

Schema de BVM

One very useful way of studying the conciliar process and its products is to compare these officially prepared texts with the final texts issued by the Council, to note similarities as well as differences in orientation, style, and content, and then to account for the differences.

As far as I know, no other English translations of these texts are available.

I am now readying these translations for publication next year by Orbis Press.


September 25, 2012

As the Council neared

Filed under: Vatican II — komonchak @ 4:48 pm

During the period of preparations for the Council (November 1960 – Summer 1962), ten commissions drafted texts for the bishops to consider. When finished, they were brought before the Central Commission [CPC], a body that was supposed to have certain supervisory functions and in particular to review the prepared texts, propose amendments to them, and decide whether to recommend to Pope John XXIII that they be placed on the conciliar agenda. That they came to the CPC simply as they were completed, in no particular order, reinforced the impression that no unifying purpose had guided the preparation of the Council. Because most of them were practical and flew very close to the ground, the criticism began to be heard that if these texts were representative of what the Council would do and say, it would greatly disappoint expectations. As for the doctrinal texts prepared by the Theological Commission, they provoked rather lively discussions in the CPC that anticipated the debates of the first session of the Council in 1962. All in all, many people began to ask Hans Küng’s question: “Can the Council Fail?” (His article with that title was translated and published in, 12 (1962) 269-76; if you make use of Questia, it can be found here.)

Below are pages taken from my chapter in volume I of the History of Vatican II, on the last stages in determining the conciliar agenda and on spreading apprehension about what it might accomplish or fail to accomplish. Cardinal Suenen’s plan for the Council, drawn up at the direction of Pope John can be found here, and here is the radio address that Pope John gave exactly a month before the Council was to open, a text in which the influence of Suenens’s proposal seems evident.

September 22, 2012

The first and the last

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 4:16 pm

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Blessed Sacrament

The second part of Mark’s Gospel begins with events that occur as Jesus and his disciples are on a journey that will take them from northern Israel to Jerusalem where the climactic event of Christ’s death and resurrection will take place. The evangelist knows, of course that this is where the journey will end, and he prepares his readers for it by placing at strategic points the three sayings in which Jesus predicts his suffering and vindication by God.

Each of them is met by incomprehension on the part of the disciples. Last week we heard Peter rebuke Jesus and Jesus in turn rebuke Peter for placing a stumbling-block in his way. In today’s Gospel the prediction is again met by incomprehension, illustrated now by the quarreling among the disciples about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom that Jesus has been announcing. He must stop and instruct them once again in order to declare what being first in the Kingdom means: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” The child whom he embraces is an example of those little ones whom they must serve.

The attitude that Jesus is condemning here is the one that the apostle James speaks of as “jealousy and selfish ambition.” (more…)

September 15, 2012

Who do you say?

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 1:43 pm

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 17, 2006 – Blessed Sacrament

The scene we have just heard represents a turning-point in St. Mark’s Gospel. The previous chapters have set out the ministry of Jesus, particularly his works of healing, and a sense of wonder has been growing as to the identity of this figure who heals the crippled, claims authority to forgive sins, commands sea and storm, opens blind eyes, and, as we heard last week, makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.

As today’s episode opens, Jesus and his disciples are on the road, a road that eventually will end in Jerusalem. (more…)

September 3, 2012

A sign for the deaf and mute

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 10:32 am


In our first reading today we hear from the prophet Isaiah a prophecy of the Messianic age, when God will come to save his people : “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.” The text prepares for our Gospel reading when Jesus heals the man who was deaf and mute.

In the Gospels the miracles of Jesus are never presented simply as wonder-stories, designed to attract attention the way a magician’s feats might. They are always signs that Isaiah’s prophesy was being fulfilled, embodiments of the in-breaking Kingdom. (more…)

What comes from within?

Filed under: Homilies — komonchak @ 10:23 am

Twenty-second Sunday of the Year – September 3, 2006 – Blessed Sacrament

Our two New Testament readings today urge us to genuine, inner Christianity. St. James calls us to be “doers of the word and not just hearers of it;” anything less he calls a delusion. Confronted with a Jewish oral tradition that the Pharisaic branch of Judaism took very seriously, requiring washings so as not to incur ritual uncleanliness–this has nothing to do with hygiene–, Jesus first warns against giving such traditions the same authority as God’s law and then lays down the essential principle: it is not a food or drink that comes from without that defiles one, renders one unclean, but rather what comes from within oneself, from the heart and mind. Evil thoughts and actions render one unfit to worship, moral uncleanliness, not physical or ritual.

It is useful to hear such reminders every so often. St. Augustine was regularly exhorting his people to serve God with the heart (corde) and not just with the body (corpore). (more…)

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