by Thomas J. Craughwell
Is Pope Benedict about to abolish Vatican II? Not quite. What he is doing, in fact, is implementing one of the council's guarantees, spelled out in its document on the Mass, Sacrosanctum Consilium, "In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way." Of course, it didn't pan out that way. In 1969 Pope Paul VI virtually banned the traditional Mass and imposed on the Church the Novus Ordo Missae, the New Order of the Mass that has been the norm in Catholic parishes around the globe ever since.
Paul VI's Mass was no simple vernacular translation of the traditional text; this was a major edit-and-rewrite job that recast the role of the priest, the people, and even God's place in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church. It was, in short, a revolution. And as Robespierre could tell you, once a revolution gets rolling, it's hard to tell exactly where it will end up.
Once the new Mass was put in place, the progressives went on a rampage the likes of which the Church had not seen since the Reformation. On Sunday mornings, while the parish clergy hung out in the rectory, members of the laity distributed Communion to congregations who were instructed to stand, not kneel, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and urged to take the Sacred Host, the consecrated bread, in their hands rather than receive it on their tongue. Then came the church "wreckovations" -- altars were smashed, communion rails ripped out, statues hauled away to the dumpster or banished to obscure corners of the church, and elaborately decorated interiors whitewashed. The documents of Vatican II did not call for any of these soul-and-gut wrenching innovations, but when confronted the progressives claimed that their actions were in keeping with "the spirit of Vatican II."
The-not-too-subtle message of this revolution was, if the Mass, the thing the Church held most sacred, could be monkeyed with, then it was open season on doctrine, discipline, religious authority, religious vows, church music, education, sexuality, marriage, and life itself. As the Catholic Church sank into chaos, many Catholics jumped ship. A 1958 Gallup poll found that in the United States 75 percent of Catholics went to Mass every Sunday; today the number has dropped to 25 percent. By the way, on any given Sunday in France, the bishops can count on seeing about five percent of the population...
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Monday, January 22, 2007
Pope Benedict & Vatican II
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: As I've said all along, Vatican II isn't the problem. The botched implementation of Vatican II is!