Roman Catholics: Reformists in Command

By calling together the second Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul VI had hoped to gauge—and to control—the growing resentment against his absolute rule. Instead, after last week's discussions in the Vatican's Hall of Broken Heads, reformists out to curb the Pontiff's power were clearly in command. The 144 assembled prelates, in fact, had taken a groping first step toward something resembling parliamentary government in the Roman Catholic Church.

This week the bishops will vote on a summary of reforms drawn up after days of debates and vigorous lobbying, which drew hundreds of...

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