Vatican II: a Good Start
IT IS NOT giving away any secrets to say that morale on the eve of Vatican II, even in Rome itself, was none too good. Optimism was not in evidence. There was nothing but problems, worries and questions in all directions: How is anything going to work, with these delegations and these schemata? Is not the "open" element only an insignificant minority amongst this multitude of over two thousand bishops? What is it possible to achieve here? Hasn't everything really been settled and finished in advance by all that anything-but-reassuring process of preparation? The ghost of the Roman Synod walked again, and there was talk of a concillo lampo,a lightning council with no real discussion. But the pessimists were proved wrong; everything was better than anyone had expected. Soon the first rays of light began to appear.
It was not only non-Catholic Christians and those alien to the Church who were put off by the opening ceremony, with its completely non-contemporary Baroque pomp. Many bishops, too, and from different nations and continents, found it sad that papal ceremonial should be the very thing to remain totally unaffected by the faintest breath from that movement of liturgical renewal which is making itself felt throughout the Church. There was so much that could have been dispensed with, whereas the one important thing was lacking -- the communion of the faithful. Participation by the