Vatican II is fifty years behind us, but some of its highlights are still bright. Like we are still effected by what happened on November 14, 1963. Up to that day it was easy to know the Church's stand on any question. We'd say, "Our Church says . . "
We knew the pope was infallible, and that he shared that gift with that cardinal who was the Prefect of the Holy Office. Since 1957 that post had been held by Cardinal Alfredo Octavian, and we knew of cases where he had silenced theologians who had differed from him.
Now, Pope John in 1960 had appointed the several cardinal prefects of the Curia to oversee the composition of the sixteen schema that summarized our Church's position in the areas chosen for the Council's consideration.
In line with that procedure, Cardinal Ottaviani, as Prefect of the Holy Office, was given the task of assembling a team of bishops and scholars to compose a schema explaining how the Church had always seen the gift off Divine Revelation that was entrusted to her.
On that fourteenth of November Cardinal Ottaviani had another bishop read the schema his team had prepared for explaining Divine Revelation, but he spoke first, assuring the Cardinals and bishops that what they were about to hear was the Church's indisputable teaching on the substance of Revelation.
The team's first chapter of their schema led off by stating that, with the Church's Magisterium empowered to decide on questionable questions, both the Church's Tradition and the Scriptures are the purveyors of Divine Revelation.
With the floor open for comments, one cardinal after another rejected Ottaviani's assertion that church tradition could be seen as divinely inspired. I was pleased with my St. Louis's Cardinal Ritter suggesting that the whole of Ottaviani's schema be discarded.
With the Church's cardinals expressing various understanding of our Faith, I felt empowered to do the same. St. Anselm had defined theology as Faith seeking understanding, I felt we can be theologians, seeking understanding our Faith.