2014-10-14 15:06:00

Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council: a sound picture

(Vatican Radio)  “Finem imponimus”, with these Latin words Paul VI  puts an end to the penultimate session of the Second Vatican Council. The date is November 21, 1964 and as always throughout this landmark Ecumenical Council our radio station’s sound engineers have set up microphones throughout Saint Peter’s Basilica, where over  2000 Council Fathers flank the aisle.

As the Pope is carried in seated in the gestatorial chair they break into the customary chant to acclaim Peter, the rock on which the Church is founded. And as he advances towards the main altar the Council Fathers look up and clap and the singing seems to fade into the immense marble walls of the Basilica.

By stepping into the shoes of his predecessor to the See of Peter, Paul VI  cements what John XXII, now saint, had dreamt of when he had first called this 21st Ecumenical Council in the history of the Church five years earlier.

Listen to this sound picture of the Second Vatican Council presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:

A council which gives birth to the quest of a spiritual Spring described by Pope Paul with these words: "The Council is to be a new Spring, a reawakening of the mighty spiritual and moral energies, which at present lie dormant.” And indeed energies were awakened from slumber, hitting sensitive keys in the  media, particularly when focusing around such issues as nun's dress or nuclear warfare.

But on this November day it was end of term and promulgation time for three instrumental documents. The first the dogmatic Constitution on the Church “De Ecclesia” which recognises the principle of collegiality by which Bishops share responsibility with the Pope for the whole Church. The other two documents were decrees, one on  Eastern Catholic Churches “Orientalum Ecclesiarum” which increases the prerogatives of the Catholic Eastern Churches as a bridge between Rome and the Orthodox Church and the second a decree on Ecumenism “ Unitatis Redintegratio” which fosters relations with other Christians. 

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