• tio00446.— by Alan McElwain
AS the voice that breathed so engagingly over the first session of the Ecumenical Council last year been stilled before it has a chance to turn itself upon the second session. opening next month?
I hear that Father Francis Xavier Murphy, the 52-year-old Redemptorist who is generally credited with being the New Yorker magazine's "mystery writer", Xavier Rynne, has been appointed an expert theologian to the Council. This, of course, would put him under the strict oath of secrecy that binds all those "officially" engaged in Council activities.. ..
Xavier Rynne, as most students of the Council know, wrote in the New Yorker a series of penetrating articles which, as every bishop taking part also knows, could only have come from a source blessed (as few of us covering Vatican 11 were) with accurate "inside information". In this respect. the pen name Xavier Rynne was obviously an umbrella sheltering more than one person, but in Rome it is widely accepted that Father Murphy was the leader of the hand. "He's never admitted it openly, of course", a priest friend of his told me, "but if you ask him straight out if he's Xavier Rynne, he just grins," Naturally, even if the leader has been subtly silenced, it does not mean that the pen name won't be continued and, presumably, we can look forward to more of Xavier Rynne as the Council proceeds.
Father Murphy is a noted theologian who teaches Church History in the Redemptorist St. Alfonso de' Liguori College in Rome. He is at present in his native America; and perhaps it is just a coincidence that his vacation visit there coincided with the publication in book form of his New Yorker articles—and additional material—on the Council.
Pope Paul has told the DirectorGeneral of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Mr. B. R. Sen. that he proposes to continue the support given by the late Pope John to all efforts towards alleviating the problems of hunger and malnutrition throughout the world. The Pope told Mr. Sen this in a private audience which followed an appeal by the Director-General to the British, American and Russian governments to include in their Moscow nuclear test ban agreement a specific provision for the establishment of a world Disarmament Fund,
Mr. Sen proposes that the fund should come into operation immediately and be financed by contributions from all members of the United Nations and specialised agencies linked to the savings that will seem from reductions of military expenditures. The fund, starting with "the relatively modest amounts resulting from the suspension of nuclear tests", will he devoted to the worldwide achievement of Freedom-from-Hunger and Want in our time.
Mr. Sen points out that as early as 1942, the late President Roosevelt proclaimed freedom-fromwant as one of several objectives to be gained through international cooperation. Then, Pope John, in his Encyclicals, particularly Percent in 7"erris. as well as in messages supporting the FAO Freedomfrom-Hunger campaign, made society's duty to this cause plain. Last March, a special assembly of Nobel Prize winners and other leading world citizens cmphesised what could be achieved by even a partial diversion of military expenditur nde. A
last month. the World Food Congress in Washington adopted a declaration which ended with the hope that "the current efforts for bringing about universal disarmament will succeed and that the vast sums now being spent on instruments of destruction will become increasingly available for the elimination of hunger and malnutrition and the promotion of human well-being".
Pope Paul has moved this week from sweltering Rome to the Papal summer villa in the cool—but not a:. present that cool—Alban Hills, 15 miles outside the city. The new Pope has known the villa well, of course, since his days on the staff of the late Pope Pius Xli, who died there in 1958. Nothing special has been done to the place for Pope Paul's occupancy, and it is remaining as it was when Pope John was last there.
A good deal of vast damage done to the grounds and one part of the villa by a violent storm a year or two ago has been repaired, but workmen are still on the job. The PaPal Observatory, under Father Daniel O'Connell, Si.. is attached to the villa—its domes dominate the area—and both Pope Pius and Pope John were greatly interested in its work and welfare.
Pope John had an ancient. disused tower in the Vatican gardens converted into a summer retreat for himself and his secretary. He had proposed to use this on occasions when it was not convenient for him to stay at Castelgandolfo, hut he died before he ever got round to actually living in it. Pope Paul may use the tower later on, but has said he does not want to move away from his Vatican headquarters when in Rome while he is immersed in the imense amount of work his "settling in" entails.