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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reflection on Vatican Council II...

Over the years I've written and talked a lot about Vatican Council II.  Some of my notes are coherent, some are not.  I came across some correspondence I had with a peer some years back.  I thought I would share it with you.  It speaks to why the Novus Ordo will be seen in history "as the great experiment that failed."  It also speaks to the timeless truth of the TLM.

The statement was made:

Liturgy is about the work and prayer of the people - not rubrics. Anyone can read. A really good liturgist cares about how the faithful prayer through the liturgical action, not about crossing t's and dotting i's just becuase they're there.

My response follows:
If a "really good liturgist" cares about how the faithful pray through the liturgical action, then it is about crossing the t's and dotting the i's. The liturgical action is about participatio actuosa. You are making the classic error that most "liturgists" make.

The error is that there is a separation between participatio actuosa and particiaptio activa. One cannot exist without the other. Participatio actuosa is the full, conscious, and active participation of the faithful. That understanding of the liturgy includes knowing and accepting of the rubrics as well.

One of the glories of the Tridentine Mass is that it has prescribed actions for almost everything. The intention of the Council Fathers was that Sacrosanctum Concilium would streamline those moves. The Church never intended the rubrical actions to be completely eliminated, in favor of the new, but rather streamlined from the orginal. The Ordo Missae was intended to be a revision of the previous rite, not a wholesale abandonment of it. This has been made very clear since 1984, starting with the document Quattuor Abhinc Annos. I have also had the privilege of being able to read the peritti notes of Msgr. Rudolph Bandas.

However, the "liturgists" got in the way and rewrote the Mass in their own image, after the Council. Does this mean that I don't accept the Ordo Missae? Hardly, but I do see the errors of the "liturgists."

Here are some notable changes, listed by Msgr. Bandas in 1968 of which are not helpful to the liturigical life of the Church and nowhere does the Council say these things should be adopted (certain issues have been dealt with and corrected, but all have happened at some point or another):

Msgr. Bandas' notes from the first session of Vatican Council II said:
That infant baptism is to be abolished;

That children's confessions are to be omitted before first Holy Communion and postponed several years beyond the age of reason;

That general confessions and general absolutions are to replace private individual confessions; Vatican II urges the frequent reception of the sacrament, points out the great value of the Sacrament of Penance for the religious life, urges priests to make themselves easily available for confessions, and orders pastors to call in outside priests who can hear confessions in the language of the people;

That preaching should be concerned exclusively with social problems and the brotherhood of man; on the contrary, bishops and priests should "point out the divinely revealed way to give glory to God and thereby to attain to eternal happiness;"

That main altars are to be dismantled or removed; the pastor is only the administrator, not the owner, of parish property;

That the altar railing and pulpit are to be removed from churches;

That statues and the Stations of the Cross are to be eliminated;

That daily Mass is to be abolished and replaced by a bible service;

That a plain table is to replace the main altar;

That the laity may recite the whole canon of the Mass with the celebrant; this was forbidden by the commission on the liturgy in April 1968;

That provisional, temporary, movable altars, facing the people, are to be set up in front of the main altar; on January 25, 1966, the commission on the liturgy ordered these removed;

That the Latin Mass, high Mass, and choirs have been abolished;

That the laity may crowd around the altar inside the sanctuary; the directions for the participated Mass presupposed that the lay people are in the body of the church;

That the priest may say Mass without the prescribed vestments, or without candles and a crucifix;

That selections from secular writing may be read at Mass;

That the celebrant is to leave the altar after the "Lamb of God" and shake hands with the people;

That women may assist at the divine services without a head covering;

That all Canon Law has been temporarily suspended;

That a priest may leave out or change or add any word to tell Mass prayers;

That a priest may smile while saying Mass and consecrating; that communicants may smile at the priest before receiving Holy Communion; that the celebrant may add the first name of the communicant to the communion formula;

That we must receive Holy Communion standing; we may receive kneeling or standing, but if we receive standing we must come in procession and make a "reverence" to the Blessed Sacrament before receiving the Eucharist;

That the celebrant may place the Sacred Host in the hands of the communicant who then communicates himself;

That Holy Communion may be given to non-Catholics;

That the celebrant may give the chalice at Holy Communion to whomever he wishes;

That in the Latin rite the celebrant may consecrate a whole loaf of bread or a bun;

That you may have hootenanny and rock rebellion Masses;

That priests and ministers may exchange places during divine services;

That we should stop making converts;

That devotion to Our Lady should be downgraded and de-emphasized;

That the Mass is a mere "meal;"

That Holy Communion is merely "holy Food;"

That Sisters and women may act as Rectors;

That private devotions, especially the Rosary, Holy Hour, Benediction and 40 Hours Devotion are no longer to be fostered;

That at the end of Mass the priest may say: "The Mass goes on forever; carry it with you into the world."

A "spirit of the council" is genuine when it flows organically from, or is intrinsically connected with, a council decree or an official interpretation of the decree by the Holy See. A "spirit of the council" is spurious when it is opposed to a council decree or in no wise derives from it or is based upon it.

You go on about the "spirit of the liturgy," but the reality is that this "spirit of the liturgy" is found in the law of the liturgy. The law of the liturgy (or the rubrics) are very important. They provide a structure and a bridge to 2000 years of SACRED TRADITION. To simply consider that as second fiddle to the "inspriation" of the Mass is to separate the participatio activa from the pariticipatio actuosa and that nullifies both of them and it causes disunity.

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