Despatch from Desmond Fisher
ROME, Wednesday IN the presence of the world's bishops, Pope Paul. VI today brought the second session of the Council to an end with a brilliant speech.
He told the Fathers that: see "that blessed land whence
1. He will go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January (the visit will last for two or three days and will take in places in both Israel and Jordan).
2. He hopes that the next session will end the Council's work.
3. He rejoices at the new Constitution on the liturgy (which he had earlier promulgated with nearly unanimous agreement among the Fathers.
4. He will establish an Apostolic College or Senate of Bishops to bring Us their counsel and help to translate into fitting and specific: norms the general decisions of the Council."
Pope Paul said that his intention in going to the Holy Land was "to honour personally the holy places where Christ was born, lived and died, and whence He ascended into heaven after His Resurrection, the first mystery of our faith, the Incarnation and the Redemption," He said he longed to go and Peter set forth and to which not one of his successors has returned."
The Pope added that he would most humbly and quickly return there as a sign of prayer, penitence and renewal to offer to Christ His Church, to call to it, one and holy, the separated brethren, to implore the Divine Majesty's favour for peace among men, and to supplicate Christ Our Lord, for the salvation of all humanity."
The last time that a Pope left Italy was in 1804, when Pius VII was sent as a captive to Fonteinbleau by Napoleon.
The Pope's speech drove home his clear support of the progressive trends in the Council. In one sentence after another he indicated that he strongly favours the adaptations in the liturgy and the inclusion of the project on Our Lady in the Schema on the Church.
He stressed the importance of the laity in the Church's mission, "working with the hierarchy", and emphasised the importance of a "coordinated hierarchy working
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