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* St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, MA. 1 For the development of the texts on associations during the antepreparatory and preparatory phases of the council see Robert W. Oliver, “Associations of the Faithful during the Ante-preparatory and Preparatory Phases of Vatican II,” The Jurist 70 (2010) 86–113. 2 Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II, 6 vols., Indices, Appendices (Vatican City: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1970–1998) 5/1: 109. 3 Pope John Paul II, Christifideles laici 29: AAS 81 (1989) 444. The pontiff wrote that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation took up the same challenge embraced by the 1987 synod of bishops on the laity, that of “indicating concrete ways for translating the conciliar teaching on the laity into authentic Church practices” (CL 2). 4 Pope John Paul II, Sacrae disciplinae leges, AAS 75 (1983) xi. 434 The Jurist 70 (2010) 434–454 ASSOCIATIONS OF THE FAITHFUL DURING THE CONCILIAR PHASE OF VATICAN II Robert W. Oliver, BH* As the SecondVatican Council prepared to open in the fall of 1962, the Central Coordinating Commission assigned two mixed commissions with the task of evaluating the texts on associations of the faithful produced during the preparatory period, principally in the schemata De fidelium associationibus and De apostolatu laicorum.1 One of the commissions brought together members of the commissions on the lay apostolate and on discipline, while the second commission brought together representatives of the commission on the laity and the theological commission.2 This article examines the iter of the texts on associations from these mixed commissions, to the commission on bishops and the commission on the lay apostolate, and finally to the Decree on the Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam actuositatem, which was approved by the council and promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965. The debates that shaped the conciliar formulations of these texts remain foundational for canonists and theologians , as they indicate several issues settled by the council and signal others that were not resolved. During the dramatic “new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful” (Pope John Paul II)3 that followed Vatican II, many of these issues were raised anew in the Church. The council’s approach to topics like the right of association in the Church, the insertion of associations in the particular church, and the relationship of ecclesiastical authority with associations provides theological and ecclesiological foundations that are to guide the development of canonical norms for contemporary associations and movements of the faithful.4 5 AS 5/1: 116, 132, 200. Vincenzo Carbone, “Gli schemi preparatori del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano Secondo,” Monitor Ecclesiasticus 96 (1971) 57–58. 6 In mid-October 1960 Achille Glorieux raised the issue of the theological principles in De apostolatu laicorum with the General Secretary, Cardinal Felici. Glorieux was told, however, that “each commission is autonomous in its own work, since unification and harmonization will be done by the central commission.” Quoted in Joseph A. Komonchak, “The Struggle for the Council During the Preparation of Vatican II (1960–1962),” in History of Vatican II, eds. Giuseppe Alberigo and Joseph Komonchak, 5 vols. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995–2006) 1: 173. See also Alberto Melloni, “Parallelismi, nodi communi e ipotesi conflittuali nelle strutture della preparazione del Vaticano II,” in Verso il Concilio Vaticano II (1960–1962): Passaggi e problemi della preparazione conciliare, eds. Giuseppe Alberigo and Alberto Melloni (Genoa: Marietti, 1993) 445–482. 7 A Declaratio preceding the 1962 draft of De apostolatu laicorum stated that “doctrinalquestionsexceededthecompetenceofthiscommission ”andthat,assuch,theschema did not treat doctrinal questions, unless the matter itself required it. In such cases, the commission reported, “we invoked the traditional doctrine” (ADP 2/4: 469). Grootaers commented that the commission on the laity ultimately found this mixed commission to be a disappointment. Even though the commission made possible some valuable exchanges regarding the principles underlying De apostolatu laicorum, he concluded that collaboration associations of the faithful 435 The Mixed Commissions The first mixed commission, drawn from the commissions on discipline and on the lay apostolate, was asked to formulate recommendations for the council based on De fidelium associationibus. In early 1963 Msgr. Alvaro Del Portillo presented to the Central Commission the mixed commission ’s strong opinion that the council should...


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