Worth a thousand “spirits of Vatican II”

From the blog Musings of a Pertinacious Papist comes an interesting observation in the form of a photograph.

Here is an example of the changes that were to be made to the sanctuary of a church in conformity with the reforms coming from the Second Vatican Council.

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56 Responses to Worth a thousand “spirits of Vatican II”

  1. RichR says:

    That’s what I call the “Hermeneutic of Continuity.”

  2. gambletrainman says:

    Why is there a Jewish menorah just behind the altar railing on the Gospel side?

  3. catholicmidwest says:

    gambletrainman,
    I wouldn’t have noticed it til you pointed it out, but yes, that certainly looks like a menorah. I wonder the same thing.

  4. Random Friar says:

    “Spirit of Vatican II” does for hermeneutics what “Louie, Louie” did for choral enunciation.

    This is beautiful!

  5. seanl says:

    Aye, be still my heart. Thanks for posting this father.

  6. Luke says:

    Gambletrainman,

    Excellent question with a deceptively simple answer: because it belongs there.

  7. Hmm…looks like they just took out the gate in the altar rail. Funny, I can’t seem to remember which VII document mandated that

  8. That looks just like our parish!
    …except it’s not circular, there’s too many saint statues, and I can’t spot any drum set or tambourines.
    Where are the bars the dancers jump over for liturgical dance?!?!

  9. I think the gate is simply open– it’s fairly obvious on the right.

    Take heart, everyone– I actually saw one 90-degree rotation job that was later undone, completely (and at considerable expense). I am starting to see tabernacles return to the center of the sanctuary as well. What goes around, comes around.

  10. disco says:

    Yeah but random friar, I like Louie Louie.

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    Reminds me of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in London, the only bit I don’t like about that church is that the Jesuits who run the Church (it is next door to their British Headquarters) have remoddled the Confessional to a reconcilliation room.

  12. JKnott says:

    The view here looking down on that sanctuary and that wonderful universal altar rail just reminds me of home;
    the ‘home’ and consolation that every Catholic used to share in common.
    Our mother church or rather basilica looks like this except that we are not allowed to kneel at the altar rail anymore since a habitless religious at the chancery said it was illicit about 3 years ago..

  13. Di says:

    Hi I am new here but I would like to share a church that has been restored here in Cincinnati no money from the dioceses though. It is going to be all Latin when it opens for all masses.
    Enjoy they are breath taking! http://www.stmarkscincinnati.org/
    God Bless,
    Di
    By the way Father I love love love your blog, and Thank You!

  14. Daniel Latinus says:

    Actually, there are two seven-branched candelabra in the sanctuary. (The one on the Epistle Side is slightly hidden by the flowers.)

  15. The “menorahs” are of course modeled after the Jewish Temple/Tabernacle ones; but they also refer to the ones in Revelation that represent the Church and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and seven zillion other things. :) They are also stylized almond trees in blossom.

  16. hugonis says:

    If that’s the Brompton Oratory then I had the sublime pleasure of receiving Our Lord at the rail there in May.

  17. kallman says:

    If you read Michael Davies he states that VII did not actually MANDATE any changes at all, any changes were only suggestions according to him.

  18. Jack Hughes says:

    An elderly clergy friend of mine was once chaplin to an active congregation in addition to having a parish.

    Hetold me that when the liturgical ‘expert’s told the the sisters to move the tabernacle thathe told them that if they moved Jesus then he would no longer say Mass for them in the convent and they would have to come to the Church instead. They got the point fairly quickly and did not heed the advice of the ‘experts’.

  19. jbpolhamus says:

    Yes, this is the Brompton Oratory in London, and no they haven’t removed the gates. They’re open. This is a picture of Vespers, and unless I’m mistaken, that’s Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland sitting in choir, who was in town over the weekend. The changes referred to in this case denote the presence of the moveable lectern facing the congregation, where the Epistle is read during the Novus Ordo, ad Orientem masses. That’s about the only thing that’s changed.

  20. Mundabor says:

    Whoever can, should come and assist to the Solemn Latin Mass of the Oratorians at 11am.

    Formally a Novus Ordo Mass (it is apparently the first novus ordo, which was followed by the one we know and dislike today) in its solemn form, it is different from a Tridentine Mass in just some details (like the three sunday readings of the new Missal, or the bidding prayers), but it can be followed from a Tridentine booklet mass without any problem (apart perhaps from the very beginning). Talk about continuity!

    FYI, the Oratorians also have a truly beautiful, reverent Tridentine Mass every Sunday at 9am and their Novus Ordo at 10am is the most reverent I have ever heard.

    Thank God for the London Oratorians!

    Mundabor

  21. John Nolan says:

    Back in the ‘seventies they had a moveable altar and one of the Sunday masses was celebrated versus populum. This practice was discontinued in the early ‘eighties. The reason given was damage to the floor and the fact that, according to the parish magazine ‘the erecting of temporary altars in front of the main altar is not in accordance with current liturgical practice’.

    They obviously had to adapt their liturgical traditions to the NO which has resulted in something which I believe to be unique to the London Oratory. The Asperges accompanies the entrance procession; the (older) prayers are then sung from the sanctuary steps facing the people; the choir sings the Introit while the altar is being incensed and the Kyrie follows immediately afterwards.

    Vespers are in the Usus Antiquior and are occasionally broadcast for BBC Radio 3′s Choral Evensong slot.

  22. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Ummmm, what changes? Is this a joke of some sort, that the TRUE changes to the sanctuary post Vatican II were really: No changes at all?

  23. Mundabor says:

    Please also note that the Brompton Oratory (so-called: officially, the “London Oratory”) does not have any altar ad populum. Not in the sanctuary and not in any one of the side altars.

    They can do this because they are not under the Bishop of Westminster, but directly under the Pope.

    Mundabor

  24. Tim Ferguson says:

    I suspect they’re singing “Kumbaya” in choro.

  25. 2 7 branch total 14 + the six High Mass candles =20 the requite number for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament according to the older norms.

  26. Pachomius says:

    I suspect the menorah serve a much more basic purpose, too: to remind us that the Church has deep roots in Judaism. The old ordination prayers linked the deacon to the Aaronic priesthood, and for the bishop to the Levites. Our use of incense is based on Jewish temple practice, and the Liturgy of the Word may have its origins in what still happens in the synagogue*. Many of our fundamental concepts (like the idea of praying at set times of the day) derive from Judaism.

    One of my favourite conspiracy theories about Paul VI is that he was secretly part of a Jewish conspiracy (no doubt led by the Elders of Zion and their lizard-men allies from Io), because in a few pictures he’s wearing what they identify as the “Ephod” – in this case, a small gold square with precious stones arranged in a grid on it. In fact, I think the item is more properly the “Choshen” breastplate, as the “Ephod” seems to be what’s worn under the Hoshen breastplate, as a kind of vestment – but I think this misses the point. It seems to me to remind us of the nature of the episcopacy, and the position (whether as princeps inter pares or just princeps) of the Pope amongst other bishops.

    *As an aside, I recently found out that when the OT is read in a synagogue [in Hebrew, of course], it is chanted, which raises interesting points about our own liturgical practice regarding this.

  27. Kallman: If you read Michael Davies he states that VII did not actually MANDATE any changes at all, any changes were only suggestions according to him.

    If you will look through the copy of the Vatican II constitution on the sacred liturgy at
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/v2litur.htm
    I believe you will find that NO sanctuary changes whatsoever were even suggested by the Council, let alone recommended or directed.

    Moreover, in reading not only Sacrosanctum Concilium but also the minutes of the 50+ meetings of the commission that drafted the final document, taking into account hundreds of interventions by the bishops . . . I have NOT found that any such changes as turning the altar around, removal of altar rails, etc even came up for discussion.

    Any claim that any of these things “came from Vatican II” has no basis in any historical fact that I have been able to uncover.

  28. Fr. Z, I just wanted to chime in on the fact that I quite often don’t see the pictures you’ve put in your posts. Sometimes they work, but often they don’t. Sometimes it seems like they show in IE but not Google Chrome, and sometimes it’s vice versa. With this post, the only way I could bring up the picture was to dig up the direct URL for the image and put it in my browser address bar. After that, the picture did display within the post.

    Probably it’s a browser issue on my end, but I just thought you ought to know.

  29. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Pachomius, Yes, recently I mentioned to a Baptist neighbor that my parish has a good cantor. She said, “it sounds like you are Jewish, they have cantors.” St. Paul writes wonderfully about the Gentiles being grafted onto the Jewish root. Too often we forget that Jesus is Jewish. Our churches are ornate, which makes the Protestants mad, because they are not meeting houses like the Protestants have, they are temples where God physically lives, like the Jews had in Jerusalem. We have a tabernacle, they had a tabernacle, etc. Read the description in the Bible of the design and building of the temple, very ornate and lovely, they even recorded what materials went into making the things.

  30. Centristian says:

    Yeah. Well. That sure didn’t happen, did it? If only.

    As Father Z has, I believe, suggested in the past, the Church might just want to begin her “reform of the reform” by implementing the Conciliar reforms correctly and faithfully, as that novel approach hasn’t been attempted yet (universally speaking, at least).

    If today, the typical Sunday Mass in the ordinary form involved a Liturgy of the Word in the local languages, a Liturgy of the Eucharist in Latin celebrated ad orientem at the church’s original altar (the versus populum table unheard of except in rebel experimental communities), with the celebrant faithful to the black and the red and to the traditional liturgical ars celebrandi, and the music fully reflective of Catholic liturgical tradition, Father Z would, today, have the most popular birdwatching blog on the net.

    The extraordinary form of Mass would not be known as such today. It probably wouldn’t be known at all, except as a cloudy memory to an ever-decreasing number of Catholics alive before the reforms, few of whom would have any nostalgia for it, so unremarkable the changes to it. I think it is unlikely, in fact, that Mass as celebrated before the Conciliar reforms would actually be identified by Catholics as a different form of the Mass; the Missal of Paul VI would no doubt be regarded as simply the updating of that Mass, not as the replacement of it.

    Most Catholics, I think, would value the introduction of the vernacular where it makes sense to use it, and things like the offertory procession, congregational responses, the restored General Intercessions, and other elements that lend some measure of involvement and flexibility to liturgy (within reason).

    So yes, by all means, let’s begin with celebrating the reformed Mass as originally envisioned and see what that yields.

  31. pelerin says:

    Interesting comment from Mental Sausage regarding disappearing pictures on blogs. The illustrations so often form an important part of a post that it is vexing when they do not appear. I am pleased to say that I have never had a problem with Fr Z’s blog. I presume he is on a different system. All the pictures including those of the magnificent American birds in his garden are always present.

    However my parish blog and several others I follow are at present pictureless. After several weeks of absence they returned last Wednesday only to disappear again on Friday. They were back on Sunday but vanished yesterday. I have come to the conclusion that using a computer is a lesson in patience.

  32. irishgirl says:

    Yes, that’s the London Oratory! I loved going there for Mass on several of my trips to England! I remember getting ‘splattered’ in the face with holy water during the ‘Asperges’ at the start of Mass back in 1987.
    The seven-branched candlestick was a gift of [I believe] the Duchess of Norfolk in the late 19th or early 20th century. It is modeled on the menorah found on the Arch of Titus in Rome.
    The Oratorians do things right liturgical-wise! More power to them!

  33. Centristian: Most Catholics, I think, would value the introduction of the vernacular where it makes sense to use it, and things like the offertory procession, congregational responses, the restored General Intercessions, and other elements that lend some measure of involvement and flexibility to liturgy (within reason).

    I suspect you are right about this. However, the Council called for reforms like these as part of a moderate and organic revision of the traditional Latin Mass. Rather than as part of a new order (“novus ordo”) of Mass to replace the older order

    It surely did not call for a new order with radical new elements such as alternatives to the ancient Roman canon, which were never discussed or even mentioned at the Council. So we might well enjoy now the bliss you describe, if only Paul VI had been content to simply implement the actual recommendations of Vatican II.

    And perhaps no one one would ever have invented the term “Tridentine Mass”–which I’d never heard in the days prior to the Council, when it was simply “the Mass”.

  34. gambletrainman says:

    Speaking of what was or was not to change under Vatican II, we had a priest who came to our parish about once every 6 weeks. He was a former Trappist Monk from Kentucky, and was an observer at Vatican II. Fro him, personally, Vatican II helped him out as he was in poor health, and the rules were relaxed to the point where he could reside with his brother, who was a medical doctor. He told me on one occasion, that what came out “in the spirit of Vatican II”, liturgically, never was legally mandated. A lot of these changes came about because of liberal priests and bishops who wanted to destroy the church.

  35. Centristian says:

    @Henry Edwards:

    “It surely did not call for a new order with radical new elements such as alternatives to the ancient Roman canon, which were never discussed or even mentioned at the Council. So we might well enjoy now the bliss you describe, if only Paul VI had been content to simply implement the actual recommendations of Vatican II.”

    I can’t say that I have any real issues with the Missal allowing for a choice of Eucharistic Prayers. The venerable Roman Canon remains, after all, but it is now supplemented by others that were composed either new or that were based upon ancient anaphora. I think they represent a positive embellishment to the liturgy, actually, and that the very presence of alternate anaphora represents a genuine liturgical reform. I think they enrich the liturgy rather than detract from it.

    I would, however, that Eucharistic Prayer II were authentically the Anaphora of Apostolic Tradition and not a rewrite based upon it. It is beautiful and majestic as it is. I wonder that they didn’t just offer it as it was. They didn’t improve upon it. III and IV are new, but I think lovely and rich. There are some passages of III that are all but iconic, now: “from age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from East to West a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.” Beautiful. EP IV I so seldom hear, but it is nonetheless magnificent.

    While I appreciate the reform that offers a choice of four anaphora, I perhaps demure from the idea of a mutiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers. I think limiting the choice to the “big four” would not be unwise. To have endless new anaphora is a mistake, I think, and unseemly, too. Having too many seems, somehow, to water down the majesty and venerability of the Canon, somehow. The Canon should be a thing familiar to the ears of worshippers, not foreign to them. That having been said, I cannot ever recall hearing any Eucharistic Prayers at Mass apart from I, II, III, & IV.

    Of course, if the Liturgy of the Eucharist were routinely celebrated in Latin, and ad orientem on top of it, I wonder how many Catholics would even be fully aware of the different anaphora, in any case.

  36. Pachomius says:

    Centristian: The problem is, there are more than four options. I think the full number is something like twelve or even twenty – because there are special Eucharistic prayers for reconciliation, and for masses with children, and for this, that and the other. Oh, and there’s Eucharistic Prayer V (batteries not included, available only in Brazil), which seems hugely banal to me.

    To be honest, I think a good compromise on the ‘new’ missal would be to eliminate many of the options (e.g., Eucharistic Prayers II & IV, the optional ways to omit the penitential rite or kyrie, the options for the creed, and the rest of the Ordinary, etc.) and to wed it to the old Calendar, updated with any new feasts as necessary, and restoring the old propers, etc. The ordination prayers could be similarly updated, and it would be a great improvement, I think.

    It would also help if it could be widely understood that options are options and not to be taken as normative. But then, it’d be nice if people would stop saying we use incense in churches because mediaeval people smelled, and I don’t see that happening any time soon…

  37. Centristian says:

    “To be honest, I think a good compromise on the ‘new’ missal would be to eliminate many of the options (e.g., Eucharistic Prayers II & IV, the optional ways to omit the penitential rite or kyrie, the options for the creed, and the rest of the Ordinary, etc.)”

    On this we are in agreement. The ability of the celebrant to opt out of the “Confiteor”, altogether, in the course of the penitential rite, or to opt out of the penitential rite altogether when the sprinkling rite is used, instead, is altogether too “optional” as I see it. There are too many options, at times, and all of these changing options represent disorder, to me, rather than order. The Roman Rite should be characterized by order, of course; she glories in it.

    Perhaps someone could explain all of these options in such a way that they would make more sense to me. I don’t condemn them, I only profess a lack of ability to see their merit. I also don’t see the merits of a rubric that says, for example, “he (the celebrant) may use these or similar words”. “Similar” clearly means different things to different celebrants.

    In my opinion, the Introductory Rites and the Penitential Rite should be rather more fixed, as it were. It would seem to me that the sprinkling rite should be normal at a Sunday choral Mass, not occasional, and that it should not replace the penitential rite when used. It should rather precede it. The “Confiteor” should not be an option, either. It should always obtain, by my way of thinking.

  38. Centristian,

    “from age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from East to West a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name.”

    Which, however poetic and even “iconic”, will as of this coming Advent be replaced with an accurate translation in agreement with the rising-setting terminology that appears in Holy Scripture:

    “you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”

    But, however beautiful may be portions of some of the alternate Eucharistic prayers, I wonder how a person can really pray them as Pope Pius X urged–”praying with the Priest the holy words said by him. … associating your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words”.

    If ….. He also feels a personal obligation to–with conscious and explicit prayer–offer each Mass for the both the living and the dead. The Roman canon offers a place before the consecration to insert one’s “prayer list” for the living, and for the dead after the consecration. Whereas EP II offers no such opportunity (and EP III little chance), so with either alternative one must choose between following the priest, or ignoring him for one’s personal prayer.

    That said, however, my original intent was not to reference perceived deficiencies in the alternate Eucharistic prayers, but simply to cite their mere presence as specific aspects of the Mass of Paul VI not having any antecedents in Vatican II. Indeed, regarding the liturgy alone, the rupture that concerns some may be between Vatican II and the newer Mass, rather than between Vatican II and the older Mass.

  39. Centristian says:

    @Henry Edwards:

    “you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”

    Even better. ;^)

    “The Roman canon offers a place before the consecration to insert one’s ‘prayer list’ for the living, and for the dead after the consecration. Whereas EP II offers no such opportunity (and EP III little chance), so with either alternative one must choose between following the priest, or ignoring him for one’s personal prayer.”

    I’m not sure what you mean, actually. All the Eucharistic Prayers feature prayers for the living and the dead. They may not, like the Roman Canon, include “N. and N.” in the actual text, but the prayers are there, of course, and it’s only natural to call to mind any loved ones or departed loved ones whom one may be specifically praying for at those moments. I don’t think one literally has to run all of their names through one’s mind before the celebran moves on in order for it to apply to them, though. God knows who they are. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you.

    At any rate, the General Intercessions provide a place and a moment to specifically remember individuals, living and dead, for whom we wish to pray.

  40. Fine, Centristian, if 3 to 5 seconds each (say) suffices for your prayers for the living and the dead, then you’ve got no problem. Any Eucharistic prayer will work for you.

  41. MichaelJ says:

    I have trouble wrapping my head around the concept of “What we see today was not mandated by the Vatican II Council”. On the one hand, it seems pretty obvious that the Council documents did not even come close to mandating or even suggesting the changes that were made as a result. On the other, the Council Fathers, who actually wrote and approved the documents were the ones who returned home and actually implemented the changes we see.

    The way I see it, in order to believe that the Council was “hijacked” I must believe either that:
    A. We today are able to understand the intent of the Vatican II Council better than the actual authors of the Vatican II documents
    - or –
    B. Not one of the 2000 or so Council Fathers – not one – upon seeing what was being implemented had the guts to stand up and say “Hey, wait a minute, that is not what we intended”

    Other explanations?

  42. Winfield says:

    Henry Edwards makes two important points: the time allotted for prayers for the dead is indeed very brief, especially when one’s parish priest tends to hurry through Mass by omitting so much (the Confiteor, incense, the Roman Canon, Asperges even after the renewal of Baptismal vows at Easter, a period of silence after the sermon, and the like). In that context, having to make the choice of either following the priest or praying on one’s own (the result of which can be the failure to do either well) is in part a symptom of the numerous choices proffered. If one can take one’s pick from so many alternatives, the importance of each is reduced, as is the incentive to pay close attention to detail and excel in the ars celebrandi.

    But I’m particularly taken by HE’s statement, “Indeed, regarding the liturgy alone, the rupture that concerns some may be between Vatican II and the newer Mass, rather than between Vatican II and the older Mass.” I’ve never heard it put quite that way before in a discussion of liturgy, and it’s an intriguing idea that deserves wide consideration.

  43. dominic1955 says:

    No, actually many of the Council Fathers spoke up and said, “This is not what we intended.” Archbishop Lefebvre , Cardinal Ottaviani, Cardinal Browne, Cardinal Siri, and the rest of the Coetus Internationalis Patrum all did so to varying degrees. Various other bishops who were Council Fathers said their piece as well, even the old bishop of Grand Island, NE (Bishop Paschang) spoke about how what we got wasn’t really for the best, etc. etc.

  44. dominic1955 says:

    “The extraordinary form of Mass would not be known as such today. It probably wouldn’t be known at all, except as a cloudy memory to an ever-decreasing number of Catholics alive before the reforms, few of whom would have any nostalgia for it, so unremarkable the changes to it. I think it is unlikely, in fact, that Mass as celebrated before the Conciliar reforms would actually be identified by Catholics as a different form of the Mass; the Missal of Paul VI would no doubt be regarded as simply the updating of that Mass, not as the replacement of it.”

    Except that the changes that affected more than the externals are the real problematic ones. Sure, most people probably wouldn’t care, but most people still don’t care even though the difference between the old Mass and how the new Mass is celebrated in most areas is vast.

    The calendar, the various feasts and seasons that got axed, the actual rubrics, the readings etc. etc. are the real issue even though the externals are important. Still, no degree of external improvement will really fix the problems brought on by the NO.

  45. MichaelJ says:

    No, actually many of the Council Fathers spoke up and said, “This is not what we intended.”

    Are you sure about this? I am reasonably famiiliar (although perhaps not familliar enough) with the objections raised by Cardinal Ottaviani,for example, but he never actually claimed, to the best of my knowledge, that the “intent” of the Council was being thwarted. He never asked “Why did you create the Novus Ordo because the Vatican II Council never said to create a New Mass?”

  46. Maltese says:

    A beautiful sanctuary does not a deficient rite remake. Lutherans and Anglicans/Episcopalians are know to have some very beautiful worship space, yet their eucharists are devoid of salvific effect.

  47. MichaelJ: “What we see today was not mandated by the Vatican II Council”

    This is not only true, but–with the pertinent factual basis, and perhaps (as in my case) a personal memory of the 1960s–it’s not so hard to understand how it happened.

    And this is precisely what Pope Benedict evidently believes–having played a prominent role in Vatican II himself–with his “hermeneutic of continuity” thesis that Vatican II (accurately interpreted) is in continuity with the preceding tradition, and hence that the rupture observed today must be a rupture between what the Council intended, and what we got.

    The bishops came home to a chaotic period in history unlike anything they seen before, or had contemplated during the Council itself. It was a different world, and they were like deer in the headlights, reading like everyone else distorted secular media reports of what they had done at the Council.

    They found that they were no longer in charge of the liturgy or much of anything else in their own dioceses. As Card. Ratzinger has explained—in the Fontgombault proceedings, for instance—the hierarchy had lost control, and direction of liturgical reform was now in the hands of a structure of “experts” that the bishops had never contended with before. The hierarchy was circumvented as the national and international groups and commissions essentially directed the liturgical reform at parish and diocesan levels, with their own direction coming straight from Rome–though not from the now-called Congregation for Divine Worship, but from a separate contending structure headed by Msgr. Bugnini who reported directly to Pope Paul–rather than through the hierarchy, and dispensed by hordes of “experts” crawling the landscape, coming into parishes (like mine) and explaining the “spirit of Vatican II” without our bishop even knowing of their presence.

    Back in Rome, Paul VI had (as indicated) given implementation of Vatican II over to a far out avant garde quite different from those who had guided the liturgical deliberations at Vatican II. (For instance, John XXIII had exiled Bugnini before the Council, and he played no role during it, but Paul VI brought him back in charge afterwards.)

    Your possibility B does not apply. My own bishop opposed what the traveling “experts” were saying the spirit of Vatican II required, but to no avail, even though he was what today we’d call a strong bishop. The tide of events was irresistible, even for a strong bishop.

    But most of the bishops home for Vatican II probably did, in fact, lack a thorough understanding of the documents their votes had approved. They had not written them themselves. The documents were all written by commissions of “experts”. They were written in Latin much more difficult to read than the easy Vulgate scriptural Latin that bishops presumably could read. In any event, it is quite unlikely that many bishops had actually read much of them in detail. Instead, they voted on the basis of vernacular explanations by groups of “experts”. For instance, Ab. Lefebvre’s own peritus advised him to go ahead and vote placet on the liturgical constitution, that it was no big deal and nothing much would happen as a result of it–that it was mostly just the usual platitudes that never went anywhere.

    In regard to your possibility B, nobody in the 1960s after the Council—not the bishops who had not written or read them, not the priests who were told by traveling experts what they allegedly said, not the poor laymen who had no clue to anything—had any way to discover what the Council had actually done. Hard as is to fathom in the present internet age, none of the above had access to any vernacular translations of the documents in real time. So they had no basis to counter the claims of what the “spirit of Vatican II” required.

    Details are easily supplied regarding particular aspects of the post-conciliar rupture. For the Mass, for instance, it was announced initially that the 1965-66 missal—essentially a traditional English hand-missal translation of the Tridentine Mass (but with minimal simplifications such as elimination of the Judica me psalm from the prayers at the foot of the altar and the final Gospel at the end of Mass)—was the definitive liturgical product of Vatican II.

    This was plainly and explicitly stated in missals like my 1966 St. Joseph Missal, and it was believed by lay, priests, and bishops alike. For instance, when the Novus Ordo was unveiled in a Sistine Chapel demo at the 1968 bishops synod, Cardinal Heenan famously demanded to know just who were these people who had, unbeknownst to anyone else, been working in secret to develop a new liturgy going beyond what they had previously seen or understood.

    Then, after the bishops at the synod overwhelmingly disapproved the new order of Mass, they apparently thought it was dead. Nevertheless, chaos continued to reign, and by the time Paul VI surprised them in late 1969 by officially promulgating the Novus Ordo, there were several hundred different unofficial Eucharistic prayers circulating in use. I was a parish “liturgy commentator” at that time, and it almost seemed that a new EP was showing up almost every week in the loose leaf binder on the altar.

    So it was plausible that Pope Paul VI could be convinced—and it may even have been true—that true emergency conditions existed and required the emergency action of the NO with its only four EP’s to stabilize the situation. As indeed it did, in my observation.

    At any rate, though the pertinent historical facts are numerous, they can with enough time (which I’m out of) all be fitted together in a coherent picture.

  48. But in short, MichalJ, the assumption that everyone after Vatican II expected a wholly new missal—in the sense that we now refer to the Novus Ordo—is in error. In fact, I believe that few expected any such thing.

    For instance, the Vatican Secretary of State was apparently in the same boat with insiders like Cardinal Heenan. On page 118 of the 2001 Fontgombault proceedings (“Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger”) we read that

    ”in a letter to the monks of Beuron which served as a preface to the ‘Shott’ (people’s missal) of 1965, the Cardinal Secretary of State officially declared that this Missal was the definitive realization of the Council’s commands.”

    Incidentally, Bishops Olmsted and Cordileone are sponsoring a conference in Phoenix in October focusing on the 1965 “interim missal” (as it is now referred to):
    http://www.diocesephoenix.org/worship-liturgy-office.php

    The 1965 Ordinary of the Mass, a moderate revision of the TLM rather than a “new order”, can be examined at
    http://www.coreyzelinski.8m.com/1965_Mass/

  49. Maltese says:

    But most of the bishops home for Vatican II probably did, in fact, lack a thorough understanding of the documents their votes had approved. They had not written them themselves. The documents were all written by commissions of “experts”. They were written in Latin much more difficult to read than the easy Vulgate scriptural Latin that bishops presumably could read. In any event, it is quite unlikely that many bishops had actually read much of them in detail. Instead, they voted on the basis of vernacular explanations by groups of “experts”. For instance, Ab. Lefebvre’s own peritus advised him to go ahead and vote placet on the liturgical constitution, that it was no big deal and nothing much would happen as a result of it–that it was mostly just the usual platitudes that never went anywhere

    VERY interesting!

    This is kinda like Congress and the Senate passing a 3,000 page health care bill, and Pelosi going on record saying, “we’ll know what’s in it once we pass it”!

  50. pinoytraddie says:

    The Tabernacle is Too big for The Altar! (Go London Oratory!)

  51. Pachomius says:

    Henry Edwards:

    Two small-ish points: First, that the 1965 MR is indeed relatively minor in its changes (from 1962) compared to the 1970 MR, but I feel I ought to point out that the 1965 MR was the one which caused the creation of groups like the LMS, so it was no less ‘problematic’ in terms of there being some who disliked it.

    Second, what was seen in 1968, and what Ottaviani et al. criticised in their letter/document of 1969, was not the 1970 Missale Romanum as published. There were several revisions made in the mean-time, and after receiving Paul VI’s response, Ottaviani said he was satisfied with the 1970 MR.

  52. kat says:

    It seems often that what is recognized as different in the N.O. Missae are different prayers, etc. added or deleted; and that if everything in the N.O. Missae were just done “by the red and black” it would be all okay.

    Cardinal Ottaviani and others recognized and pointed out to the Pope himself that the N.O. Missae’s problem is THEOLOGICAL. The writers of it were trying desperately to REMOVE those parts that were supposedly holding back the Protestants from returning to the Fold. Hence, although one may argue that one may still believe explicitly what the Church teaches about the Mass as one reads the N.O. Mass prayers, one problem really is that a Protestant could also read the same prayers and believe what HE believes.

    Here is what Cardinal Ottaviani wrote to the pope (but this is just the opening letter; to read the accompanying study would take more time.):

    Letter from Cardinal Ottaviani to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
    Rome
    September 25, 1969
    Most Holy Father,
    Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo
    Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequdam Constitutionem de Sacra
    Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the
    sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:
    1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of
    theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we
    consider the innovations implied or taken for granted, which may of course be evaluated in
    different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking
    departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the
    Council of Trent. The “canons” of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an
    insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.
    2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such
    reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not
    seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of
    perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty
    the suspicion, already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been
    believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred
    deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply
    demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete
    bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of
    an indubitable lessening of faith. Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an
    agonizing crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.
    3. We are certain that these considerations. which can only reach Your Holiness by the living
    voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so
    profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been
    the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary
    harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the
    abrogation of that law. Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such
    painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the
    Church, lamented by You our common Father. not to deprive us of the possibility of
    continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V,
    so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic
    World.
    A. Card. Ottaviani
    A. Card. Bacci
    Feast of St. Pius X

  53. Pachomius: There were several revisions made in the mean-time, and after receiving Paul VI’s response, Ottaviani said he was satisfied with the 1970 MR.

    I have not heard this, and would appreciate your providing a reference for Card. Ottaviani’s endorsement of the Novus Ordo.

  54. shane says:

    Abp Lefebvre recommended continued use of the 1965 interim missal for monasteries. It was only in 1984 that the *1962* Missal became mandatory for SSPX priests, before that there was greater diversity (some saying the 1967 rite, and others using pre-Pius XII forms). Personally I’ve never understood the animus the liturgical movement had against the Last Gospel and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. I fail to see how omitting them enhances the liturgy in any way.

  55. James Joseph says:

    @gambletrainman

    Every Catholic church has a menorah in it: Six candles and a Crucifix with the seventh candle unlit unless the bishop is hanging around.

    Hope that helps.