The Council that might have been

On July 23, 1962, the Secretary General of the Second Vatican Council sent out to all those with a right to participate in the Council a book that contained the first draft-texts that were to be debated when the Council opened on October 11th of the same year. The following texts were included:On the sources of revelationOn defending intact the deposit of faithOn the Christian moral orderOn chastity, marriage, the family, and virginityOn the sacred liturgyOn the communications mediaOn the Churchs unity.(A second book, containing the drafts on the Church and on the Blessed Virgin Mary, would be distributed only after the Council had opened.}I offer here my translations of the first four of these texts, prepared by the Theological Commission, which expected that they would be the first ones debated. Instead, the Council first debated the fifth text, on the liturgy.One very useful way of studying the conciliar process and of its products is to compare these prepared texts with the final texts issued by the Council, to note similarities as well as differences in orientation, style, and content, and then to account for the differences.As far as I know, no other English translations of these texts are available.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Culture
Culture
Books
Books
Collections