18 February 2012

More on Abp. Sheen & Humor at Vatican II: Cardinal Ottaviani, Chicks, Bars, etc.

The amount of humor that anyone gets out of the world is the size of the world in which he lives. Materialists have only this cosmos as the raw material for their humor. Not so with 2,500 bishops, who are using time only for the sake of eternity and who, therefore, live in the heavens by hope as well as on the earth. There is a greater raw material for humor when one expects another life than this one; then there is no burden to take the world too seriously. The humor of the Council came out of the various characterizations that were printed and spoken about those in Council. For example, Cardinal Ottaviani had as his motto Semper Idem (Always the Same). Because he was generally opposed to any changes by the Fathers, stories soon became current that one day he asked the taxi driver to drive him to the Council but the driver took him to Trent, a town in northern Italy where a Council was held in the sixteenth century.

Under the two great tiers which seated about 1,200 bishops on each side of the basilica, there were two coffee bars. It was not long before the Fathers found names for them. One was called Bar-Jona, which was part of the Hebrew name for St. Peter.

Referring to the camaraderie that prevailed among the bishops, this rhyme was composed by a bishop from Australia's great desert at the beginning of the Council:

Call us comrades, or cobbers or mates,
Or even buddies, the term in the States.
Secure in the knowledge
We belong to the College,
With the Pope we're to have tête-à-têtes.

Cardinal Suenens, when he addressed the Council on the subject of women, inspired this humorous reflection:

Said Suenens, in one Congregatio:
I'm weary of this Segregatio.
The Patres are churls,
Let's bring in the girls,
Though there's sure to be some admiratio.

The theologians and other experts or Periti were not allowed to mingle among the Council members. Several of them were conspicuous for slipping into the restricted area, which prompted a jingle ascribed to Cardinal Felice reminding them to remain in their proper places:

Our Secretary's not sympathetic
To an expert who's peripatetic.
He thinks a Peritus
Should remain in his situs
Unless he's rather dyspeptic.

With regard to the sacredness of life and the discussion on the limitation of birth, these lines appeared:

Some moralists claim that the Pill
May be used even though you're not ill.
It gives the ability
To banish fertility
But I can't really think it's God's Will.

Finally, when the time came for the bishops to leave at the closing of the Council, this last rhyme came from Bishop John P. O'Loughlin, who had so delighted the Council Fathers:

As we bishops depart from old Roma
We can proudly display our diploma
At the Council's finale
We say "buon natale"
And "goodbye" to Bar-Jona's aroma.