The Vatican Council today completed three years of work with the promulgation by Pope Paul of the last four of its 16 decrees and declarations reshaping the structure of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Pope; various shots of bishops inside St. Peter's today; French Foreign Minister Couve de Murville looking on.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Vatican Council today completed three years of work with the promulgation by Pope Paul of the last four of its 16 decrees and declarations reshaping the structure of the Roman Catholic Church. The three thousand bishops will return to their dioceses in all parts of the world after the final open-air ceremony tomorrow.
Today was also a milestone in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and its relations with the Orthodox Church...Pope Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople annulled the excommunications which leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church hurled at each other in 1954.
There was an Orthodox delegation today in St. Peter's, and in Istanbul, a Vatican delegation was present when Archbishop Athenagoras read out the declaration in his cathedral.
The two leaders recognise that their gesture will not end the differences between their churches but they asked their followers to recognise it as an expression of a sincere common desire for reconciliation.
In the formal voting today on the four remaining decrees, the opposition fell away on two of them which had been regarded as contentious: a decree on nuclear war, social justice and racial equality and a declaration on religious liberty. The other two concerned missionary activity and priests.
(M. Couve de Murville is in Rome for talks with his opposite number which will include the Common Market and the date for the next meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Six.)