Around the time of the Second Vatican Council some of our sound practices were simply dropped, as if they were no longer needed. For example, the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass which included the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.
QUAERITUR: Does anyone believe that the Devil stopped attacking in the 60’s?
My recollection of the 60’s suggests that the attacks redoubled and with great effect.
Consider how the reformers of the rite of Baptism, approved by Paul VI, dropped the exorcisms despite the teaching of the Church about the Enemy and the effects of Original Sin. Consider how the orations of Holy Mass in the Roman Rite were stripped of their clear references to sin, expiation, propitiation, judgment.
It is as if the Church simply caved in before the world and its Prince.
“But Father! But Father!”, you snivelers yammer from behind your Fishwrap, “The Council was lead by the spirit! The spirit of the Council! Everything is so much better now! It’s undeniable. But yoooooou… you and your … your… GAH! Vatican II didn’t go nearly FAR ENOUGH! Küng says so! But yooooou… you can’t see that because you don’t have the spirit of the Council? And she doesn’t like you at all! Why? WHY?!? Because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”
I love Vatican II so much that I won’t lie about it.
Today at the ever-more-useful Crisis there is a great piece which urges the return to the use of exorcism prayers and other devotions to fight the evil of the Enemy of our souls.
Here is the front part, but be sure to go there to read the whole thing. My emphases and comments.
A Call to Restore Prayers of Exorcism
R. JARED STAUDT
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII added the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel to the prayers he had already ordered to be said after the Low Mass in 1884. The origin of the prayer is subject to much speculation, particularly about whether or not Leo received a locution with the voices of Jesus and the devil. Regardless of the exact details of this alleged event, which some deny for being unsubstantiated, there are some historical testimonies to the fact that a mystical experience moved the Pope to compose the prayer and to have it said daily throughout the world. [I believe the accounts about Leo and the locution.]
On June 29, 1972, Pope Bl. Paul VI, who stopped the recitation of the prayer, seemed to confirm an element’s of Leo’s prophecy, stating in his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” [One source close to Paul VI thought that by the phrase the Pope mean liturgical abuses. HERE] This built upon Leo’s sense that the devil would have extraordinary influence in the twentieth century, including within the Church. [Which is clearly the state of affairs now.] Paul continued his reflection on the influence of the devil on November 15 of that same year in a general audience entitled “Deliver Us from Evil,” arguing that “one of the major needs [of the Church] is defense from that evil we call the Devil.” Pope Paul, referencing Ephesians 6:11-12, argued that we need to withstand the evil one with the armor of God.
Was a large part of the smoke of Satan entering the Church our denial of his influence and a laying down of our spiritual arms to confront him? [Was it Pius XII who said that the Devil’s greatest victory was getting us to deny his existence?] For too long we have denied or overlooked the influence of the devil on our lives and the Church. Therefore, we have grown lax in seeking the Lord’s power to overcome his opposition. Praying for this deliverance is central to Christian prayer, as we see even at the end of the Our Father, which has been translated, “deliver us from the evil one.” After being tempted, Christ commanded the devil, “away with you Satan!” and cast out many demons in his ministry. Our Lord took spiritual warfare seriously and recognized our need for deliverance, as he brought “freedom to captives.” He also gave power and authority to his disciples to exorcise: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons” (Mk 16:17; see Luke 9:1). This power has been overlooked of late, as belief in the influence of the evil one now appears superstitious to many.
Take the example of exorcism prayer in the Rite of Baptism as part of the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council, promulgated in 1969 by Paul VI. It is fascinating that the Associated Press quoted Bl. Paul as questioning the revised prayer in the audience I referenced above (though these lines have been removed from the official text). The AP article reads: “In his speech. Pope Paul appeared to regret that in the new rite of baptism, which he approved three years ago, less emphasis is given to exorcism. This is the part in which the priest orders Satan to get out of the new Christian. ‘I don’t know whether this is realistic,’ he said of the revised exorcism.” In the audience, Paul recognized both the increased influence on the devil and that the Church had softened her response. [Paul also seemed to lament the loss of Latin in our liturgical worship even as he allowed it to be expunged. Incredible.]
This world has its Prince.
We are in a constant state of spiritual warfare. The Enemy neither lays down arms nor ceases the attack just because we idiots stop defending ourselves. How stupid is that, anyway?
For the umpteenth time, no initiative we undertake in the Church will succeed without a revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship. We must reclaim what has been lost and reintegrate it into our regular practices and daily lives. We need what was won for us and handed down through the centuries of our forebears’ experience. We need a wide-spread renewal of the older, traditional Roman Rite.
Fathers! Use the older Rituale Romanum. Learn the older, traditional Mass. Say it often. Turn those altars back towards the Lord. Don’t be afraid. Reinstate devotions such as novenas and Exposition with Benediction. Bring the Church’s language Latin back into your liturgical lives. Reclaim your patrimony, your identity.