Second Vatican Council

President voices hope council will aid peace

(The following is the complete reprint of a 1962 article run in The Criterion in the final days leading up to the Second Vatican Council)

Criterion logo from the 1960sWASHINGTON—President Kennedy in a special message to His Holiness Pope John XXIII has expressed his hopes for the success of the Second Vatican Council, particularly that it will promote world peace.

The President told Pope John in a letter made public by the White House (Oct. 5):

“We hope that the council will be able to present in clear and persuasive language effective solutions to the many problems confronting all of us and, more specifically, that its decisions will significantly advance the cause of international peace and understanding.”

President Kennedy’s letter to the Pope was dated September 27, two weeks before the ecumenical council’s October 11 opening in Rome.

The President said that in the three years since Pope John announced his intention of convoking an ecumenical council, millions of Americans—including many non-Catholics—have watched “with lively and sympathetic interest” the preparations for “this extraordinarily important council.”

Americans, he said, have also read “with particular interest and with genuine admiration for your all-embracing concern for the welfare of humanity” the Pope’s “several inspiring statements” on the background and aims of the council.

The President said that despite “staggering problems” people all over the world have found “renewed confidence and courage” in the thought that the council will give special attention to the economic and social problems of the world and particularly of underdeveloped nations.

After emphasizing his hopes that the council will contribute to world peace, Mr. Kennedy extended personal greetings to the Pope on behalf of himself and Mrs. Kennedy, who had an audience with Pope John last March.

He concluded by expressing the hope that the council will fulfill the Pope’s “fondest hopes and dreams for a worldwide renewal of fellowship and love and for the establishment of a just and lasting peace.”

Local site Links: