Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, last night praised the Ecumenical Council for permitting large parts of Catholic services to be conducted in English and he predicted the Council would make further changes in traditional practices.
The Cardinal told a Holmes Hall audience that the Second Vatican Council, known as the Ecumenical Council, would "go down in history as the greatest religious gathering of the century," and he termed the late Pope John XXIII, who called the Council, one of the Church's outstanding popes.
However, the organization of the Council, which calls for each of the 2700 bishops in the world to submit proposals and deliver a ten-minute speech drew criticism from the Archbishop.
Need Smaller Group
He felt it could be improved if each country's bishops selected representatives to meet in Rome in a smaller and less unwieldy group.
Cushing emphasized that practice and not doctrine was being altered. Only "in the sense that many doctrines of the Catholic Church will be expressed clearly in simple, understandable language, this council will be a doctrinal council," he said.
The first two sessions of the Council led to changing much of the Catholc liturgy from Latin to native tongues, because "everyone wanted more of the vernacular," Cushing maintained. He expected further revisions in the coming third session in September, but doubted there would be similar unanimity.
Cushing predicted bishops from Latin America and non-Western countries would successfully press for revival of the deaconry. Deacons would receive less training than a priest and would be permitted to marry. The bishops hoped the new office would alleviate the shortage of priests in their countries, Cushing said.