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New Left Review I/23, January-February 1964

Vatican Council

The first session of the Vatican Council was convened by John xxiii, the second session by his successor, Paul vi. This change of leadership has been sharply felt. In both sessions the vast majority of Council fathers have shown themselves, in both debates and votes, strongly in favour of the renovation of Catholicism, its theology and its organization. As long as Roncalli was alive this trend enjoyed the support of the pope himself. But the advent of Paul vi has utterly changed the situation. The reforming wing is still in the majority and at times has been extremely combative, but it has not succeeded in winning the overwhelming majority of votes prescribed by the rules. Indeed, it has often been held in check by the intervention (direct or indirect) of the pope.

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