CHILEAN MAY BREAK DEADLOCK
By Desmond Fisher
VATICAN If has this week come to a critical stage. A deadlock has been reached between the two schools of thought in the Council on the issue of episcopal collegiality and all it implies.
New moves are expected at any moment to resolve the dispute, and Pope Paul is expected to make his own position clear. One Council expert told me today : "This is the most crucial week of Vatican II."
As he was speaking, news went round that Cardinal Silva Henriquez of Santiago, Chile, plans to make a major intervention. He is expected to call on the Fathers to offer to the Pope their suggestions for helping him to govern the Church and reorganise the Curia.
The text of his proposed address has been widely circulated among the other hierarchies. and bishops are being invited to put their names to it. Cardinal Silva, when he speaks, probably late this week. is expected to do so in the name of many other Council fathers.
Pope Paul is certain to respond quickly to the suggestion. It is generally accepted that Cardinal Silva would not invite such a response if he did not have prior assurance that the Pope would welcome it.
Pope Paul's views are known in general since he spoke, in his opening address to the session, of the bishops' "collaboration" in the work of governing the Church.
The behind-the-scenes deadlock, however, makes it necessary for the Pope to speak more clearly and to indicate, in particular, whether he favours the widely-supported notion of the establishment of a representative body of bishops or "Senate".
If he does so, the "progressive" line of thinking will have achieved a final breakthrough and the council will have proved an outstanding success.
The fact that the Pope himself is now regarded as certain to intervene underlines the gravity of the present crisis. The immediate issue is over the idea of Episcopal Collegiality, which means that the bishops are the successors of the Apostolic College, that they themselves form a college. and that this college, with the Pope at its head, enjoys full and supreme authority over the universal church.
The council has already indicated its mind on this point. On October 30, in one of the famous "five test-votes", it voted overwhelmingly along these lines.
Subsequently, however. representatives of the theological commission, charged with re-writing the Schema to express the fathers' mind. held that they were not bound by the vote.
What the Pope hopes for— page 6