could not hind his Commission. A new problem was raised, lighting a slow-burning fuse which has not yet touched off an explosion.
But if the Council is to complete its work, the crisis of authority between the General Congregations of all the Bishops and the Commissions which are supposed to be the instruments of the Council must be resolved. Clearly another major battle behind the scenes is still to come.
While the debate on De Ecelesia Was proceeding the Bishops were voting on the Liturgy schema which had been debated in the first session. The Commission had produced a new draft which had to be reexamined and the amendments voted on.
To many of the progressives, the liturgy schema was the most important single work of the Council. For them, the real renewal of the church would come not from theological discussions on collegiality or the power of bishops, but from living contact between the great mass of the faithful and the living eucharistic mystery of the Church.
For them the task of the aggiornamento was to bring up to date the Church's worship so that it could be understood and appreciated by the ordinary Christian. From that, they were convinced, would flow the life of grace and renewal into the Church.
This task was not simply one of introducing the vernacular into the Mass and sacraments or of rearranging churches to have the celebrant facing the people. These were important aids but they were only aids, not as many seemed to think an end in themselves.
The main reason for liturgical revival was to allow the faithful to participate in the sacraments so that they could become more effective channels of life and grace.
be reluctant to make any sweeping or speedy changes. But many were only waiting for the green light.
The liturgists are convinced that in a few years' time the changes will sweep the world and will have a powerful impact on the worship and inner religious life of the whole body of the faithful.
Meanwhile, the Council had moved on to Chapter three of the schema on the Church and was discussing the role and function of the layman. And almost immediately, the old conservative-progressive division became manifest here again.
A 'mission' For the conservative, it was dangerous to stress that the layman had a "missionin the Church. This, they felt, might undermine the position of the hierarchy and encourage the layman to "interfere", as one bishop put it.
The schema had itself failed to define the layman in theological terms: he was merely a non-cleric and a non-religious.
One American Bishop commented bitterly that the schema presented him, as one of a flock of silent sheep whose only function is to believe, to pray, to obey and to pay.
The progressives concentrated their attack on two points. First, they said, the layman was treated in the wrong place in the schema. The chapter should be divided in two parts, one treating of the people of God, including hierarchy and laity, which should be Chapter two of the schema, and the other on the layman proper, coming as Chapter four,
And, they added, the schema roust stress in positive terms the layman's mission in the Church which is to share in the continuation of Christ's salvific mission.
Their theological presentation ran along these lines: Christ died to save the world and the Church continues His work of persed, some to Lourdes, some to Northern Italy, some just to their hotel rooms for a rest, they went through the most dramatic four days of the session.
The procedural crisis had reached its head at the end of October. Bishops were openly complaining about the absence of any clear demarcation line between the different authorities in the Council. Were the Presidents in charge or were the Moderators? Who could break the log-jam and get the Council working?
Up in his study in the Vatican, Pope Paul was receiving a steady stream of visitors. Bishops were coming to him individually or in groups with their anxieties, doubts, advice. Much of it was conflicting. But it added up to one thing—he had to show his hand.
• For many reasons Pope Paul has been reluctant to do this openly. In the first place, he feels too new in office. He has still to learn all the aspects of any decisions he may take. And by temperament he is not a man of action. He is a thinker, not a doer.
Above all, he believes in collegiality, as he stressed in his opening speech to the session. He believes the bishops share with him the power to rule the Church. He would prefer to see them exercising it than to he depending always on the Pope.
So he made his ideas known by implication On October 28, Cardinal Suenens made his great speech at the Mass for the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope John.
The nuances of that speech I have explained already. And the obvious affection with which the Pope embraced the Cardinal afterwards showed the whole, Council that the Pope was behind Cardinal Suenens, the leader of the progressives.
TO BF CONCLUDED NEXT WEEK