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Patriarch Maximos Saigh, head of the Melkite rite in Antioch, made his introduction to the Second Vatican Council by breaking a rule. Instead of speaking Latin as the rules required, the patriarch spoke unapologetically in French.
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All of the preliminaries were now over and the Second Vatican Council got down to business. But what business would that be? Of the 70 schema (proposed documents), the council fathers had seen only seven. Of those seven, by far the most important were those on divine revelation and on the liturgy.
It didn't take long for the tide to turn at the Second Vatican Council. Curia officials had spent much of the 44 months between the day Pope John XXIII announced the council until it actually began planning for how they believed it should be carried out.
When Blessed Pope John XXIII began his speech to open the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962, many, perhaps most, of the bishops in St. Peter's Basilica expected to receive their marching orders for the council.
In mid-summer 1960, the preparations for the Second Vatican Council entered their second and final phase. Ten commissions were established to take the material submitted by bishops and Catholic universities from around the world and to develop documents to be considered by the council when it began.