CARDINAL HEENAN of Westminster told a press conference in Rome that the world was so thoroughly
frightened and the prospects of a third world war so prominent that men were willing to try anything in desperation. Therefore, even those who had no brief for the Pope, were delighted about his visit to the United Nations.
"They don't believe the Pope will work miracles", he said. "They don't expect him to make a speech and change men's hearts. But they feel that just possibly he may do something to draw men together in some way.
"That is why a visit which only ten years ago would have been considered an onslaught, an invasion, is now universally welcomed, and no responsible voice has been raised against it."
It was good that the U.N. should invite the Pope to address it at a time when the Council itself was debating how to address a message to the modern world. The Council was encouraged to hope its message would also have a favourable hearing.
The Pope's visit, he added, was a dramatic reminder that Christians must look outwards as well as at each other. Christianity was a minority body and Christians were expending so much energy in trying to reach agreement with each other that they might forget the greater and wider task of carrying the gospel to all men. , Cardinal Heenan denied that the English 11 ierarchy was, as reported in Rome, against any changes in the present canon law on mixed marriages. "There are many changes we w'ould like to see," he added, "as well as some we would not like to see."
Refusing to expand on this, he said that the details are still secret but a statement from the Pope on the matter was imminent.
Asked if the establishment of the Anglican Church in Britain conflicted with the Council's new religious liberty declaration, Cardinal Heenan said it did not.
The declaration provided that religions could have a special place in a country for historical reasons and it did not intend that a country which is predominantly of one religious persuasion should not recognise that fact.
Although. the Anglican Church Was the established church in Britain, no privileges were given to it to the detriment of any other religious body.
Answering further questions, Cardinal Heenan said that everybody wanted an early statement from the Pope on the birth control question. The Holy Father himself had stressed to his commission the need for speed. However, there was a limit to speed, as one could not be foolhardy on a subject of such tremendous importance,
The Cardinal said he thought that any detailed discussion of the subject in the Council would be ruled out of order.
Asked if there should be a specific mention of Communism in the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Cardinal Heenan said it seemed unnecessary to use the name of any sect, political or 'religious, if one wanted to appeal to all men of goodwill and if the principles of right and wrong could be stated without such mention.
"No doubt there are men of goodwill among the Communists although the Communist Party itself' deserves our condemnation for many reasons," the Cardinal said. "But if we hope to establish dialogue with atheists it seems wise in this first appeal not to name them specifically but to confine ourselves to principles which should guide all own of goodwill."
The Church in the Modern World schema, he said, was vastly improved from last year when he had criticised it severely. The main improvement is that the annex to the scheme had been incorporated into the text itself and thus came directly under the Council Fathers' scrutiny.
As regards the declaration on non-Christians and Jews, he was quite sure it would be overwhelmingly accepted by the Council and would satisfy the Jews themselves. "It will be a splendid document," he said.