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Beyond Secrecy The untold story of Canada and the Second Vatican Council.

Beyond Secrecy The untold story of Canada and the Second Vatican Council Written by Bernard M. Daly Published by Novalis, Ottawa, 2003, ISBN: 2895074062, Softcover, pp. 247, $24.95 CAN

The Second Vatican Council remains a vital part of the modern Church. Daly, a journalist from Saskatoon who joined the staff of the Canadian Bishops' Conference as communications officer, attended all four sessions held in Rome during the fall of the four years between 1962 and 1965. He had, therefore, first-hand knowledge of the activities of the Canadian bishops in Rome. In more recent years he was able to consult the private papers of the leading bishops, together with those of their principal advisors. Adding this material to the texts of all Canadian "interventions" (i.e., speeches) already in the public domain, he provides us with a solid history in explaining the Canadian contribution.

There is a downside to this national approach in understanding the council. The contribution of some 60 Canadian bishops, many of whom never spoke, or if so, perhaps only once or twice, was by its nature very limited among the 2400 bishops in attendance. If there was no Canadian on a particular committee or if no Canadian spoke on a particular schema, Daly does not discuss the subject. A note on page 218 tells us that, of the 2205 oral interventions, 63 were by the Canadians.

The contributions of Canadians varied greatly, with those of the French-speaking bishops Leger, Roy, Charbonneau, Coderre from Quebec, and Beaudoux of St. Boniface, Man, far outpacing those from the English-speaking bishops with the exception of the much-involved Ukrainian Metropolitan Maxim Hermaniuk. Needless to say, there were no "Canadian" subjects.

What evolves is a rather dry but workman-like book of summations of Canadians in Rome, without the intimacy that a personal memoir of a participant would have conveyed. It restricts the readership pretty well to professional students of the Vatican Council.

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Author:de Valk, Alphonse
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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