Historical Notes

Pope John’s secretary recalls the ‘four pillars’ of Vatican II

Recalling the announcement of Vatican II by Pope John XXIII, Bishop Loris Capovilla, who was the pontiff’s personal secretary, has outlined what he calls “the four pillars” of the Council.

“We know today more than ever who we are and where we are going (Lumen Gentium), what language we should speak and what message we should convey (Dei verbum), how much and how hard we should pray (Sacrosanctum concilium), what attitude we should adopt towards the problems and tragedies of contemporary humanity (Gaudium et spes),” Bishop Capovilla, 95, said on the 52nd anniversary of the announcement of the Council, CNA reports.

“These are the four pillars that sustain the building of renewed pastoral ministry and encourage us to listen to God’s voice, to speak to God as his children, and that oblige us to dialogue with all the components of the human family,” he concluded.

Bishop Loris Capovilla also described how the media announced the Council before Pope John had a chance to inform the cardinals, according to an article published Jan. 25 by L’Osservatore Romano.

He noted that the then-Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Domenico Tardini, wrote the following on his calendar for Jan. 20, 1959: “Important audience. Yesterday afternoon His Holiness spent time in reflection and set in stone the agenda for his pontificate. He came up with three ideas: a Roman Synod, an Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) and an update of the Code of Canon Law. He wants to announce these three things next Sunday to the cardinals after the ceremony for the feast of St. Paul.”

Bishop Capovilla said on that Sunday, Jan. 25, 1959, the Pope got up and prayed, but after celebrating Mass, “He remained kneeling longer than usual.”

He then went to the ceremony for the feast of St Paul at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The ceremony ran longer than scheduled, and before he could announce the convening of Vatican II, the press embargo on the announcement expired. The council was then “broadcast by the media before the Pope could communicate it to the cardinals,” the article said.

The Pope still addressed the Roman Curia, “with trembling and a bit of excitement,” about his plans to hold “a twofold celebration: a diocesan synod for the city and an ecumenical council for the universal Church.”

Bishop Capovilla said the council was given three clear directives: to promote interior renewal among Catholics, to raise awareness among Christians of the reality of the Church and of the tasks she is charged with carrying out, and to call on bishops, with their priests and the laity, to assume responsibility for the salvation of all mankind.

The bishop said that 52 years after announcing the council and 46 years after its conclusion in 1965, four Popes have continually emphasized that it was “an event willed by God” and led by “an old man who rejuvenated the Church” at a time when many thought John XXIII was going to be a “transitional Pope.”

“If Vatican II has not yet achieved its goals, this means that our conversion is a task yet to be fulfilled,” he added.

Personal secretary of John XXIII recounts Vatican II announcement (Catholic News Agency)

Bishop Loris Capovilla / Ricardo.ciccone / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0
Marc Sangnier

Sillon founder Marc Sangnier died Pentecost 1950

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Marc Sangnier, founder of the Sillon (Furrow) which was the prototype of the YCW, YCS and other “Cardijn” movements.

Born in 1873, Marc Sangnier died on Pentecost Sunday 1950.

Read more about Marc Sangnier here:

Marc Sangnier, Founder of the Sillon (Sillon.net)

Marc Sangnier: un message d’une extraordinaire actualité (Jean-Michel Cadiot, Le Monde) (Open link in Chrome browser and get a rough translation from Google.)

African bishops adopt New Pentecost declaration

Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, African bishops adopted the Mumemo Declaration “A New Pentecost in Africa”.

How to ensure the implementation of the outcome of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops which took place in the Vatican in October 2009? This was the main objective of the encounter that took place in Mumemo, near Maputo, Mozambique, from 23 to 26 May 2010, Energy Publisher reports.

According to a statement, the encounter was attended by 134 delegates from Caritas Africa and the Department of Justice and Peace of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM/SCEAM), other organizations of the Catholic Church in Africa, Caritas Internationalis and its members (Caritas Norway, Caritas Spain, Caritas Germany, Secours Catholique Caritas France, Caritas Australia, Catholic Relief Services, CAFOD), from CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity, an organization made up of 16 Catholic development agencies), and from Misereor and Missio.

The meeting was attended by Cardinal Peter Turkson (pictured), President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and President of SECAM/SCEAM, and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala (Uganda) and President of Caritas Africa.

At the close of the encounter, there was an approval of the “Mumemo Declaration: A New Pentecost for Africa.”

“Africa is a continent of great opportunity; therefore it is part of the mission of the Church Family of God to help make this opportunity real for the people of the continent. And it is particularly pertinent that at a time when many countries of Africa are celebrating 50 years of independence that the Catholic Church celebrates a New Pentecost for Africa,” says the statement.

Among the various recommendations were: the creation of Justice and Peace Commissions where there are none; drawing up, within 6 months, a strategic plan by Caritas Africa and the Commission for Justice and Peace of SECAM/SCEAM to promote “strategic and critical issues, such as good governance, peace building, extractive industries and climate changes”; the creation by the SECAM/SCEAM of a Working Group “on the prepositions of the Synod specifically relevant to women”; the development of a plan by the SECAM/SCEAM to improve information sharing between regions and through the continent.


“A New Pentecost for Africa” to put Synod recommendations in practice (Fides)

Mumemo Declaration (English)

La Declaration de Mumemo (French)