Could the Council Be a Failure?
ANYONE WHO DOES any public speaking in connection with the Second Vatican Council is continually made aware on the one hand of the great expectations which have been awakened by the announcement of the Council, and on the other of how little certainty there is that these great expectations will be fulfilled. It is easy to ascertain the great extent to which many Christians, Catholic and Protestant, have been losing their original interest in the Council, and to which scepticism has been spreading, particularly amongst theologians and educated people. This is not simply a question of the initial misunderstanding of the term "ecumenical" council, by which is in fact meant not an inter-Church meeting but an assembly of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor is it simply that all too little attention has been paid, outside our Church, to that ecumenical orientation of the Council which has made it anything but a purely internal concern of Catholics. What is at work is rather a doubt whether, amid the confusions and bewilderments of our times, the Council will achieve that decisive action which the Church's predicament at this point of history demands. In other words, it is not that anyone, inside or outside the Church, doubts the good intentions of the Pope (his epoch-making action, with all its wealth of consequences, is sure of its place in Church history at