November 8, 2013

What was in the news on Nov. 8, 1963?

Priests respond to the tragedy at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and the Roman Curia vies for control of the council

Criterion logo from the 1960sBy Brandon A. Evans

This week, we continue to examine what was going on in the Church and the world 50 years ago as seen through the pages of The Criterion.

Here are some of the items found in the Nov. 8, 1963, issue of The Criterion:

  • Curia in council showdown over authority of bishops
    • “VATICAN CITY—The opening discussion on the schema ‘On Bishops and the Government of Dioceses’ in the ecumenical council indicated a short, hard-hitting battle in the week to come with the Roman Curia a sure loser. One of the clear issues was whether or not powers exercised exclusively by the Roman Curia should be returned to bishops of dioceses. The Roman Curia—the congregations and offices which assist the pope in the central administration and government of the worldwide Church—was not technically a party to the debate, since technically it has nothing to do with the council. The Fathers of the council are such because they are bishops of varying degrees of eminence, title and powers, whether pope, cardinal, archbishop, bishop or otherwise, as set down in canon law. The members of the Curia are in the council as bishops, but they obviously have not forgotten, either in the council’s preparation or in its progress, the interests of the Curia. And therein the current battle lies.”
  • Many priests assisted at Coliseum disaster
    • “Dozens of priests administered last rites and gave spiritual comfort to survivors in the wake of the tragic explosion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on the Vigil of All Saints. The catastrophe, attributed to the explosion of bottled gas tanks, occurred only a few minutes before the closing act of a ‘Holiday on Ice’ opening night presentation. By Criterion press time Thursday morning, 68 persons were dead and 13 more were still on hospital critical lists. An additional 375 were injured less seriously. An unofficial count revealed that 12 to 15 priests, mainly from neighboring northside parishes, were at the Coliseum during the night giving spiritual ministrations. Others worked at the various Marion County hospitals where the injured were taken. Many of the clergy stayed until the early morning hours despite heavy Mass schedules on the following day—the Feast of All Saints. … In an interview, Father [James P.] Higgins, [superintendent of Cathedral High School,] commented on the unselfishness of many of the injured, who were more concerned about the fate of missing relatives than about their own well-being. … Father Higgins, who in his eight years as police chaplain has seen human tragedy in every conceivable form, stated that the scene he encountered at the Coliseum is etched deeply in his memory. ‘To think that many of these souls,’ he added, ‘were blasted into eternity in the flick of an eyelash—when death was farthest from their minds—is a sobering realization.’ ”
  • Telegram
    • “Archbishop Paul C. Schulte: Holy Father deeply distressed by disaster which has stricken Your Excellency’s Archdiocese. Expresses heartfelt sympathy, Promises prayers, Imparts to injured and surviving families, in pledge of consoling divine graces, paternal apostolic blessing. Cardinal Cicognani.”
  • West Baden hosting nuclear war parley
  • Five laymen honored at CYO dinner
  • CFM Federation plans racial visitation day
  • Telegram
  • What American layman John Cogley said to the African bishops
  • ‘Significant developments’: American bishops beginning to make council impression
  • Sees complete freedom of action by the laity
  • Vietnam Buddhist crisis is labeled as political
  • Parish sponsors program for non-Catholic spouse
  • Editor comments from Rome: October 30, 1963, was the day Pope Paul’s council really began
  • St. Louis rights march includes priests, nuns
  • 36 held in riot over ‘The Deputy’
  • Fifth week of council brought vital moves
  • Priest gives address on ‘Reformation Day’

(Read all of these stories from our Nov. 8, 1963, issue by logging on to our special archives.)

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