Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 6, 1966
1939 Synod Personalities Are Recalled
The Synod of 1939 will be represented by two priests now serving in the archdiocese. Monsignor Joseph E. Moylan, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta, was Promoter (chairman) of the entire Savannah Synod, as well as chairman of the committee on pastors and sacraments. Monsignor Joseph Cassidy, now pastor of Sacred Heart in Milledgeville, was a member of three committees: homiletics (preaching), lay associations and clergy. The two priests are now vicars-general of the archdiocese.
The late Msgr. James King, and Fathers Philip Dagneau and Henry E. Phillips, in the archdiocese today, took part in the early Synod.
Although many of the statutes enacted in 1939 concern such expected subjects as clerical conferences and dress, parish records and divine worship, it would be a mistake to conclude that a truly pastoral tone did not prevail in them. Statue 33 states:
The pastor must remember that he is the shepherd of the entire flock; he shall therefore neglect no family within his jurisdiction. In Statue 25, priests are reminded to have a tender care for the poor and unfortunate, and never by word or act increase their sorrow.
The liturgical, ecumenical and educational changes of today will require a new orientation of many sections of the statues. Although the tone of the paragraph on the Churchs concern for the Negro conveys some of the prevailing social customs of the 1930s, it must be read in the light of history. At a time when other denominations had split into white and Negro affiliations, Catholic priests were exhorted to interest themselves deeply in the spiritual welfare of these people. Specifically this meant that priests were never to speak slightly of colored people, in private conversation or otherwise, nor refer to them by names that are common among vulgar people. In addition, the Synod reminded all who employed colored help that they were bound in conscience to pay them a decent wage.
The last national lay Congress held in the United States was in Chicago in 1891, preceded by another in Baltimore two years before. Cardinal James Gibbons and Bishop Richard Gilmour of Cleveland supported them enthusiastically, and Archbishop John Irelands confidence inspired laymen like Henry Brownson and Charles Bonaparte. However, no similar Congresses were held after 1891; various lay organizations began to use their conventions to express lay opinions.
Georgia figured in the long period in which Bishop John England (whose diocese then included this State) brought together his annual convention of priest and lay delegates to share responsibility for the administration of the Church. These were continued from 1824 to 1842, but no other diocese adopted the plan.
Now the Constitution on the Church calls for instruments erected by the Church for this purpose: so that laymen by reason of their knowledge, competence or outstanding ability may be permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church.
The Lay Congress of 1966 has this as its chief purpose.