On June 30, 1962, the Holy Office issued a monitum (warning) regarding the writings of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, some of which were posthumously published, are being edited and are gaining a good deal of success."


"Prescinding from a judgement about those points that concern the positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine."


"For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers."


"Given at Rome, from the palace of the Holy Office, on the thirtieth day of June, 1962.

 Sebastianus Masala, Notarius"


Time Magazine obituary Aug. 13, 1979 - Alfredo Ottaviani: 1890-1979

(Alfredo Ottaviani was Prefect of the Holy Office - November 7, 1959  to January 6, 1968.)


His personal motto was Semper idem (always the same) and he lived up to it with matchless rigor. Prior to the liberalizing Second Vatican Council, Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani was one of the most feared and powerful princes of the Roman Catholic world. His authority as a ranking doctrinal watchdog came from his influence within the Holy Office. Ottaviani was half blind but, the Vatican saying went, "sees more with one eye than most see with two." Armed with a steely mind and consummate dedication, he became in his own word, a "carabiniere" (policeman) of orthodoxy. Even after the windows of the Vatican were finally opened to change, he never ceased to resist innovation. When he died last week of bronchial pneumonia at age 88, most of the reforms he had fought against—among them ecumenism, religious tolerance, the new Mass, the softening of censorship—were secure.


The Holy Office was charged with matters of apostasy, heresy and the regulation of doctrinal matters regarding faith and morals. It once acted as censor too. At various times Ottaviani tried to silence a Who's Who of 20th century Catholic theologians, including Karl Rahner, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Yves Congar and John Courtney Murray.


His power seemed to evaporate in one humiliating and dramatic day. At Vatican II's first session in 1962, he was orating against liturgical reform and ran well beyond the ten-minute limit on speeches. When the presiding officer ruled him out of order, a wave of applause by the assembled fathers of the council suddenly swept the Basilica. Deeply shocked, Ottaviani boycotted the proceedings for ten days thereafter. When he returned, the fathers rejected his main doctrinal proposal at the first session.


The following year, Ottaviani's own domain came under attack when Germany's Josef Cardinal Frings charged that the Holy Office's secretive methods were "an object of scandal" to the world. Pope Paul VI, just after the council closed, ordered a sweeping liberalization of the Holy Office.


In Ottaviani's era the Holy Office also had a voice on external matters. In 1949 he signed the decree excommunicating Catholics who joined or aided the Communists, but with very little effect. In a 1953 speech that outraged Protestants, Ottaviani declared that rulers of predominantly Catholic states had a duty to protect "the religious unity of a people who unanimously know themselves to be in secure possession of religious truth." Vatican II rejected such thinking. Years later, he publicly denounced Pope Paul's reformed Mass as "nearly heretical."

See TIME articles below.


A Cardianl Carabiniere - TIME, Aug 13, 1979



The Cardinal's Setback - TIME, Nov 23, 1962


From Henri Cardinal de Lubac's book, Entretien autour du Vatican II - Discussion about Vatican II:

“Allow me to recall something that happened. Joseph Ratzinger, an expert at the Council, was also the private secretary of Card. Frings, Archbishop of Cologne. Blind, the old Cardinal largely utilized his secretary to write his interventions. Now then, one of these interventions became memorable: it was a radical criticism of the methods of the Holy Office.”


From the 1998 book, The Interrupted Leap, by Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Krätzl of Vienna:

"Ratzinger was the chief adviser for Cardinal Joseph Frings, the aging cardinal of Cologne, Germany. … The cardinal was nearly blind by 1962, the year Vatican II opened and he relied on Ratzinger and another aide to summarize each day's paperwork and speeches, as well as to draft his interventions. ... It was thus Joseph Ratzinger who is said to have penned Frings' famous line about the Holy Office, asserting that its "methods and behavior do not conform to the modern era and are a source of scandal to the world."