I received my copy of the newly printed ‘My Journal of the Council’ by Yves Congar. Many people know that he eventually became a heavy hitter during the Second Vatican Council, while not knowing that all the many years before the Council he was not allowed to teach any of his modernist theology. In fact, under the reign of Blessed Pius XII he was rightfully kept silent from teaching his “new theology.” It is sad really that he was not kept out of circulation. Like a bad penny he would turn up again and again influencing many in the Church from the beginning of the Council to his death in 1995. Thankfully however, he did keep a diary or journal of his experience of the Second Vatican Council which I think, seems to shed some light on how many of these “new theologians” thought about it at the time. I will be running a series of posts on it over the next several weeks, since the book is almost 1000 pages! I will include the page numbers as always for easy reference. I will start the series with just a couple of quotes to wet your appetite. It seems that Congar thought quite ill of Pope Pius XII and those he surrounded himself with, no? Even more disconcerting is his conversation with Roger Schutz concerning the views of Pope John XXIII. This is going to be an interesting read for sure!
“The announcement of the Council aroused great interest and great hope. It seemed that, after the stifling regime of Pius XII, the windows were at last being opened; one could breathe. The Church was being given its chance. One was becoming open to dialogue...Personally, I very quickly and repeatedly felt deceived because, although Pope John XXIII spoke and acted extremely sympathetically, his decisions, his government, belied much of what had aroused hope. His human style was warm and friendly, Christian. Everything connected with him personally had rescued us from the horrible satrapism of Pius XII. However, he had retained almost all of his predecessors personnel:.. not all of the prelates. But all the others: Cardinals Tardini and Ottaviani were his close advisors. The Pope had recalled Mgr Parente to Rome and had given him an important job at the Holy Office. Parente, the man who condemned P Chenu, the fascist, the monophysite... I never hoped for great things from that quarter. But one had a clear impression that in Rome, the ‘old guard’ in the Curia felt that is was in danger and was doing all in its power to avoid it, while at the same time playing along with the new pontificate since a NEW pontificate was what they were faced with. The danger was that some of the reins of government were slipping away from them. (Pages 5-7)
Concerning Pope John XXIII
“This had been my very clear impression since Easter 1959, and was confirmed by a conversation I had with Pastor Roger Schutz on 20 June 1960. Schutz told me, though with the greatest discretion, about the audience, arranged for him by Cardianl Gerlier, that he had had with John XXIII on the evening of, or the morning after, his consecration. According to Schutz, the Pope has said some very incredible, even downright heretical things to him, such as: the Catholic Church does not possess the whole truth; we should search together...I think that the leading members of the Curia very quickly realized that, with John XXIII and his plan for a Council, they might be in for a very strange adventure, that they needed to erect fences, regain control as far as possible, and limit any possible damage. (Page 7)