Last week, we talked of the discussion of the liturgical and doctrinal schemata. The liturgical schema was overwhelming approved, while the doctrinal schema prompted a heated discussion. Pope John's intervention to resolve the crisis has justly been called a “turning point” of the Council.
How important was it? Listen to this firsthand account in Msgr. James Finucan's letter home to his mother:
The “liberals” have won a tremendous victory here, Mom. The vote for or against the “Sources of Revelation” decrees proposed to the Council by the Preparatory Commission (appointed two years ago by the Curia conservatices) was rejected! The 2/3 vote needed for rejection was missed narrowly, but the Pope realized that 60% of the Council Fathers didn't like the old-fashioned schema, so he intervened personally to appoint a commission to “rework” it! This means that biblical scholarship can go ahead, that our position on this, and probably other matters, will be put into language suited to 1962 and to better relations with Protestants and Orthodox.
The Pope - God love his great soul! - has visited a reform school for boys, gone to a concert on St. Cecilia's feast, and received Protestants and Buddhists and Shintoists while the Council Fathers are looking on at close range. Much new thinking should come of it.
Msgr. Finucan served as Secretary to the Most Rev. John P. Treacy, Bishop of the La Crosse, WI, during the first two sessions of the Council. His archives are housed at Marquette's Raynor Memorial library.