The following report was prepared forCHRISTIANITY TODAYby Dr. Claud Nelson of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, who was an official delegate-observer at last fall’s Vatican Council session:

What can one say, in the light of the first session and of the change of popes, as to the outlook for the second session of Vatican Council II? Will the trends that became marked in the first session continue, and find formulation in papal decrees? Will an ecumenical climate be maintained and encouraged? This reporter lays no claim to clairvoyant foresight, but finds reason to expect, on the whole, affirmative answers to both questions—regarding the first as internal and specific, and the second as more general.

Pope Paul can weight the scales as unmistakably as Pope John did. The impression with which I left Rome in November was that Cardinal Montini, whether from prudence or conviction, was supporting Pope John’s efforts toward aggiornamento, bringing the Roman Catholic Church up to date. On December 5, the cardinal spoke decisively in favor of sending the schema on “The Church” back for revision to the Theological Commission and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity—the same disposition that Pope John had already made of the chapter on the sources of revelation (following a not quite two-thirds majority vote of the bishops to suspend discussion of that schema as submitted). Montini had written in his weekly diocesan letter to the Milanese that council progress had been hampered because members of the Curia (heads of Vatican administrative “congregations”) had prevented cooperation among the various commissions during the council’s preparation.

The Federal Council of Protestant Churches in Italy has been issuing a ...

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