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Light from Germany on Vatican Council II

From: The Catholic Historical Review
Volume 99, Number 4, October 2013
pp. 727-748 | 10.1353/cat.2013.0201

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Light from Germany on Vatican Council II
Julius Kardinal Döpfner. Konzilstagebücher, Briefe und Notizen zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil. Edited by Giudo Treffler. [Schriften des Archivs des Erzbistums München und Freising, 9.] (Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner. 2006. Pp. li, 730. €19,90. ISBN 978-3-7954-1771-0.)
Joseph Ratzinger, Zur Lehre des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils. Formulierung—Vermittlung—Deutung [Joseph Ratzinger Gesammelte Schriften, edited by Gerhard Ludwig Müller, 7/1–2.] (Freiburg: Herder. 2012. Pp. 1250. Vol. 7/1: €60,00, ISBN 978-3-451-34124-3; Vol. 7/2: €60,00, ISBN 978-3-451-34043-7.)
Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil (1962–1965). Stand und Perspektiven der kirchenhistorischen Forschung im deutschsprachigen Raum. Edited by Franz Xaver Bischof. [Münchener Kirchenhistorischen Studien. Neue Folge, 1.] (Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 2012. Pp. 242. €39,90. ISBN 978-3-17-022220-5.)
Erneurung in Christus. Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil (1962–1965) im Spiegel Münchener Kirchenarchive. Edited by Andreas R. Batlogg, S.J.; Clemens Brotkorb; and Peter Pfister. [Schriften des Archivs des Erzbistums München und Freising, 16.] (Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner. 2012. €19,95. ISBN 978-3-7954 2686-6.)
Personenlexikon zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil. Edited by Michael Quisinski and Peter Walter. (Freiburg: Herder, 2012. €38,00. ISBN 978-3-451-30330-2.)

This review article continues the work of four earlier presentations of newly published source-documents and scholarly studies on the Second Vatican Council.1 Discussed here are the following recent German contributions: (1) an edition of the Council diaries, selected letters, and notes of Cardinal Julius Döpfner, archbishop of [End Page 727] Munich and member of the main directive bodies of the Council; (2) the collection of the writings of Joseph Ratzinger concerning the Council from 1960 to 2005; (3) a multiauthored survey of research on the Council in the German-language area; (4) an exhibition catalog, with twelve studies, of Council materials and documents from three archives in Munich; and (5) a one-volume prosopological dictionary of persons active at the Council.

Documents of Cardinal Julius Döpfner’s Participation and Leadership at the Second Vatican Council

It has been a commonplace of Second Vatican Council research that German scholarship has lagged behind that of other nations, especially Belgium and Italy, mainly because German diocesan archives observe long periods of closure to researchers.2 A breakthrough came in 2001 when Cardinal Friedrich Wetter of Munich opened the Council archive of his predecessor, Cardinal Julius Döpfner, for scholarly research. Four years later, the Munich diocesan archivists brought out an inventory of Döpfner’s Council papers, which is a model of its genre.3 The work presented here offers documents that make easily accessible the diaries and 474 selected texts of correspondence and notes of this leading figure of the Second Vatican Council.

Döpfner, a priest of the Diocese of Würzburg, was bishop of his home diocese from 1948 to 1957. Named bishop of Berlin in early 1957, he became well known for hosting the Katholikentag of 1958. Pope John XXIII created him cardinal in December 1958 and in July 1961 appointed him archbishop of Munich. Döpfner served on the Council’s Central Preparatory Commission, the body that evaluated in 1961–62 the draft schemas produced by the particular preparatory commissions. As the Council opened in 1962, Döpfner was named to the Secretariat for Extraordinary Affairs. After Period I, John XXIII made him one of the seven members of the Commission for Coordinating the Work of the Council, which supervised the conciliar commissions during their revision of schemas in early 1963 and then during further work on the Council documents. In September 1963 Pope Paul VI named Döpfner one of the four Council Moderators, along with Cardinals Gregorio P. Agagianian, Giacomo Lercaro, and Léon-Joseph Suenens.4 [End Page 728]

The 2006 publication gives Döpfner’s diary notes that add to what is known about the 1962 meetings of the Council’s Secretariat for Extraordinary Affairs.5 At its first meeting on October 16, 1962, the Secretariat received a written proposal by Cardinal Augustin Bea that Pope John’s discourses should...