But, in a Council whose convoking Pontiff expected it to end by Christmas, Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces soon disappeared from the agenda. Even stranger is the question of the dog which barked in the night (But, Holmes, the dog did not bark in the night! Exactly, Watson). Vatican II was supposed to be a Council about the world of Today and the problems of its own day. And there is no doubt that, at the heart of the Cold War, in the decade when the Cuban crisis nearly precipitated a holocaust, Communism, a militant ideology claiming to be the end of all religion, was the great Question of the Day. Previous Councils had condemned the errors of their own day; Vatican II failed even to mention Communism, either in practical terms or by addressing its errors. This was not for want of attempts by Council Fathers to raise the question in the aula; Fathers who had themselves physically suffered at the hands of the oppressors (pre-Constantinian Christians termed them confessores) addressed their Venerable Brethren movingly ... good quotations are given in Mattei. But any and every such initiative mysteriously disappeared.
The reason seems to be twofold. S John XXIII wished the Council to be positive rather than negative; to discern what is good in the World rather than to condemn its errors. And, under B Paul VI, the Ostpolitik made it impossible to mention the enemies of the Church behind the Iron Curtain. Indeed, there seems to have been an agreement with Moskow that, in return for the Vatican's silence on Communism, observers would be allowed to travel from Russia to the Council.
The final part of this review should follow below.