Despite having been one of the most famous defenders of the traditional Magisterium of the Church, at the end of Vatican Council II, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani gave up his ideals and aligned himself with Paul VI and the progressivist current.|
Indeed, on October 28, 1965, he granted an interview to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in which he affirmed that thenceforth he would defend the new principles of Vatican II.
The reason for the interview was to address the rumor that the name of the Holy Office, whose Prefect he was, would change soon, as actually happened. The interview was given on the eve of Ottaviani's 75th birthday.
We reproduce an excerpt in French of this interview taken from the chronicle of Vatican II by Henri Fesquet. Le Journal du Concile by Fesquet, an special envoy of the Parisian newspaper Le Monde, became known for providing the best scoops of the Council.
Right top, the front page of Le Journal du Concile. Below right, the mentioned excerpt of Ottaviani, below left, our translation from of the full text in French.
Responding to a question of the journalist, Cardinal Ottaviani declared:
"I am a soldier who watches over the gold reserve. Do you think I would fulfill my duty by arguing, abandoning my post, turning a blind eye? My son, 75 years are 75 years! I lived them defending certain principles and certain laws. If you tell the old soldier that the laws are going to change, it is obvious that as an old soldier he will do everything to keep them from changing.
"But if, nonetheless, they change, God will certainly give him the strength to place himself in the defense of the new treasure in which he believes. Once the new laws become the treasure of the Church, an enrichment of the gold reserve, then only one principle counts: to serve the Church. And this service means to be faithful to her laws."
(Alfredo Ottaviani, Interview to Corriere della Sera, October 28, 1965, apud Henri Fesquet, Le Journal du Concile, Foulcalier: Robert Morel, 1966, p. 1019)