Fifty years later, a bishop remembers Vatican II
“Every light was on in the basilica because of television,” he said. “Literally, my mouth dropped as I walked in and looked up. Because I was used to little tiny chapels, small churches in Korea. This was unbelievable.
“I thought I was at the gate of heaven,” said Bishop William J. McNaughton, speaking about his first visit to Rome.
Fifty years later to the day, the U.S.-born bishop was back, one of 15 council fathers — out of the 70 still alive — who made it to an outdoor Mass in St. Peter’s Square marking the golden anniversary of that momentous event.
Bishop McNaughton, 85, attended all four sessions of Vatican II from 1962 to 1965, missing only two days because of illness.
He said the council’s “greatest highlight” was the approval of “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “a magnificent document” that dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of the “people of God.”
That term has sometimes been interpreted as a reference to the laity, the bishop said, but a reading of the constitution should make it clear that it refers to everyone in the church, including the pope and the bishops.
Bishop McNaughton speaks with regret of other instances of ignorance or misunderstanding of the documents of Vatican II.
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” authorized moving the tabernacle that houses the Eucharist to a separate devotional chapel, he said, but many pastors simply shunted it off to the side of the main sanctuary.
“I thought that was a big mistake,” the bishop said. “People today do not have a full understanding of what the tabernacle means, and it’s that Christ is present in the Eucharist in the tabernacle.”
The same document called for fewer statues in churches, but some authorities “just removed all statues and put our Blessed Mother’s statue out in a corridor, or out in the lobby,” he said. “It was obvious they were not reading this document.” [More]
Catholic News Service