OBITUARY: Spirit of Vatican II – RIP – 52 years of age

The often amusing Eye of the Tiber had this.

CINCINNATI, OH- A Solemn High Requiem Mass was held Thursday at St. Martura Church in downtown Cincinnati for the Spirit of Vatican II, aged 52. After suffering a progressively debilitating illness for the last ten years of its life as a new generation of priests re-examined the Council in light of Sacred Tradition, the Spirit of Vatican II passed away quietly in its sleep last Tuesday.

“The Requiem Mass really brought closure to the community,” said 26-year old Father David Flannigan, FSSP, who celebrated the Mass with Deacon Brady Schwartz, 32, and Subdeacon Anthony LaViera, 23. “While the death of the Spirit of Vatican II was certainly expected, we were glad to offer Mass for its repose.”  [I would like to have been the celebrant for that one.  Perhaps I’ll schedule my own.]

“What a beautiful Mass!” commented long-time parishioner Gladys O’Neal. “I hadn’t seen black vestments since I was a little girl. And as much as I love the song On Eagle’s Wings, the Dies Irae sequence really got me thinking about the Four Last Things.”

The Spirit of Vatican II is survived by a dwindling number of aging hippies who dropped out of seminary in the ‘70’s, some faded felt banners, and tambourines presently gathering dust in storage.

Do I hear and “Amen!”?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. VexillaRegis says:

    The whole thing seemed off, and then I saw: The Eye of the Tiber. Wasn’t fooled, but it was funny!

  2. Urs says:

    AMEN! oh how I hope this is true….but I fear that it may not be…yet. ButI sure do like the way they think and the way that they pray!

  3. Urs says:

    AMEN! oh how I hope this is true….but I fear that it may not be…yet. ButI sure do like the way they think and the way that they pray!

  4. Urs says:

    you got me, Fr. Z! :p

  5. oldcanon2257 says:

    I hope the Holy Father does not put “Little Bugnini” (otherwise known as Abp. Piero Marini) in as new prefect of CDW. Else, the parody obituary above would have been for nothing.

    Wish the Ratzingerian Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith were called back to be the new Prefect of CDW.

    Wish the Siri-an Mgr. Guido Marini had been consecrated bishop when our beloved Papa Benedict consecrated Abp. Ganswein in the last days of his pontificate. Just to hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) had that occurred. He would have made a great Secretary of CDW.

    In the traditional Ordo, the Feast of Saint Pius X was yesterday (September 03). May St. Pius intercede for us to have all things restored in Christ.

  6. i am joining the latin mass society,and ,also,attending mass at the nearest sspx chapel in my area.god bless you father and may the spirit of vatican 11 be put to history alongside the -praise and self referential blather of the aged hippies who have done their best to destroy the church for the last fifty years.!!god bless.philip johnson.

  7. Andrew D says:

    Hopefully I’ll live to see the conversion of all Catholic Churches from the “spirit of vactican II” back to the Extraordinary Form. Right now I have to drive an hour and a half to Mass from Asheville, NC to Greenville, SC on Sunday because the five Churches in metro Asheville are pretty much all “spirit” and “social justice.” It’s worth it though to be a sanctuary where the Mass is focused on Our Lord and not us or the priest; where the music isn’t distractful, protestant-style and where the people show reverence and socialize OUTSIDE the Church, AFTER Mass.

  8. Unwilling says:

    I do hope that before he “passed away quietly”, he was given Extreme Unction and had a chance to receive absolution for his so many and grievous offences. I fear that, otherwise, pleas of “RIP” will be as vain as those of Dives up from the other place.

  9. fuprete says:

    25 Rules for Celebrating Mass
    Dear brother priests of these modern times,
    In today’s Church there are many challenges and you have many duties. As a brother priest for 35 years (now retired for health reasons) I have learned several important lessons working among you, and I know how hard you labor to fulfill your pastoral obligations. Therefore I am most humbly presenting to you a summary of simple suggestions that may be useful for you. Many of you have already implemented all or some of these and I commend you for this. However, it may be that some of you may wish to learn of other possibilities for your parish and consider putting them into practice. Also, these recommendations are not exhaustive. Others can be learned, especially from priests ordained in the 60’s and 70’s and others who embraced the spirit of Vatican II.
    For the most part these guidelines concern the liturgy. I should hope nonetheless that the spirit in which these are suggested will carry over to other parts of your priestly life. Furthermore, these are not presented in any particular order of importance. I leave it to you to determine which are especially relevant to your situation.
    One final word: I have been hearing lately that there is widespread ignorance among recently ordained clergy about the practices presented here. They are in danger of being forgotten. I trust that with your accumulated wisdom you will endeavor to instruct these junior clergy in the necessity of growing. They must come to understand how important it will be in their future lives to accept the wisdom of their elders and broaden their minds.
    1. At the beginning of every Sunday liturgy, take time to welcome everyone and invite visitors to tell where they are from. Insist the faithful applaud to welcome them. And smile and be nice.
    2. Don’t feel bound to wear all the traditional vestments, particularly the alb and chasuble. You are still able to say Mass even without them. And smile and be nice.
    3. Adapt the liturgical greeting: you can create your own if you think it will be more relevant to the people. Do not be rigid and use the exact words as written in the book. And smile and be nice.
    4. After the opening greeting, take a few minutes to do your first homily of the day. Then, end it calling upon the people to “reflect” on their lives. Avoid asking the congregation to “repent of their sins.” This will cause a sense of guilt among the people. And smile and be nice. Do not allow more than two seconds before beginning the “Lord have mercy.” Never, never, use the prayer that begins with “I confess” And smile and be nice.
    5. Be creative in the invocations that go with the “Lord have mercy.” Try to find some way of inserting something about the latest social issues. And smile and be nice.
    6. Skip the absolution go right to the “Gloria.” And smile and be nice.
    7. Some special rules for homilies: avoid talking about sins, especially those so common in our time; never mention hell, purgatory, or the other Last Things that might create a sense of fear or guilt in anyone; never waste time explaining how the Catholic Church is the only one true faith; never ask non-Catholics who are present to consider the Catholic Faith for themselves. And smile and be nice.
    8. Although Church law forbids using glass containers of wine for the Eucharistic Prayer, this is one of many rules that are not important. Use them because they are really cool. And smile and be nice.
    9. Have a team of people in the parish bake the bread for the Eucharist. Add special ingredients, like honey, to make the bread tasty. Some say this renders the sacrament invalid. What do they know? And smile and be nice.
    10. Whenever you address the people, be sure to say “sisters” first and “brothers” second often enough to show you are not a sexist. And smile and be nice.
    11. The next rule is similar to # 11. Change prayers and readings as often as possible to make them gender inclusive. And smile and be nice.
    12. For the Eucharistic prayer never use the Roman Canon. The Church used it for too many centuries as it is. And smile and be nice.
    13. When praying the Eucharistic Prayer, look toward the people as much as you can. After all, the prayer is really to them, isn’t it? And smile and be nice.
    14. Do not worry about little details in the instructions such as bows and genuflections. And smile and be nice.
    15. At the words “This is my Body” be sure to break the large host in halves while you extend it toward the faithful. Avoid that bowing rule! And smile and be nice.
    16. Lift the consecrated host and chalice just high enough so that the people in the first couple of pews can see them, and be quick about it. And smile and be nice.
    17. Hold hands with the servers on the altar when you pray the Lord’s Prayer. And smile and be nice.
    18. At the sign of peace you have a great chance to make yourself popular. Get down off the altar and shake as many hands as you can. And smile and be nice.
    19. Encourage the people to take communion only in the hand. Taking it on the tongue is a clear sign of a traditionalist radical. And smile and be nice.
    20. Be sure the laity who give communion are known as “Eucharistic Ministers” instead of “extraordinary ministers.” Be certain that you use them even when not really needed so they do not feel left out. And smile and be nice.
    21. Be sure that at least 90% or more of the Eucharistic Ministers are female. It is one way to make up for the Church’s sexism. And smile and be nice.
    22. Don’t ever say anything to the congregation about how they dress or about their conduct in the Church. If you do, the people might not like you. And smile and be nice.
    23. Don’t allow the Music Director to use any Latin like the Gloria, Credo or Sanctus. Yes, several popes have suggested this, but what do they know? And smile and be nice.
    24. Once again, encourage applause by thanking all the ministers, people with birthdays, and as many others you can. And smile and be nice.
    25. When radical traditionalists complain about your liturgies, ignore them. They are troublemakers. You don’t have to be nice to them.
    These are only some of the most important liturgical practices for being a modern priest. But there are other rules of life that a young priest will have to learn. Here are a few:
    1. Never get involved with saying the old Latin mass. What the pope was thinking when he allowed it to be used again was probably a sign of dementia. Good thing he quit. But you will really be thought a radical by other priests if you get involved with it.
    2. In fact, it is very important with your brother priests that you not say or do anything that will make them think you a traditionalist. It is the quickest way to ruin your career and make them talk about you behind your back.
    3. Never remind your brother priests about any of their own violations of liturgical or canon law. This could make you very unpopular.
    4. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours when you can but just give it up if you don’t have time.
    5. Keep a large quantity of liquor around and have some daily.
    6. Don’t be seen wearing your cassock or religious habit too often among other clergy. They might think you are a traditionalist.

    As I said at the beginning, these are not all the suggestions I would make after my 35 years as a priest. But they should be good start.

    Your brother in the ministry.

    P.S. I hope it is obvious that this is all a satire. But in my ministry and life I have witnessed all of the above at one time or another. Many priests defend these practices as legitimate and they are quite touchy if anyone suggests otherwise. Of course, not every priest does any or all these things. Recently there have been signs that the newly ordained in recent years are not too keen on the things I have listed. I know this for certain because many priests my age and older are complaining about them! Still, it seems to me that some priests do not understand how these behaviors at the altar can easily undermine, even unintentionally, the faith of the people.

    Finally, I must conclude that no matter what I have written, there remains always a special bond of love among priests that I have enjoyed for many years. We are profoundly united with one another in Christ and I have no intention of offending my brothers. What I have written is meant as a gentle form of asking some of them to reconsider what they think and do. In the meantime I will try to take a closer look at myself too!

    Fr. Joseph Danielson

  10. JesusFreak84 says:

    Hasten the day, Lord; hasten the day…

  11. robtbrown says:

    I have it on good authority that on its death bed Spirit of Vat II was pleading to be healed by its patron St Karl Rahner.

  12. HyacinthClare says:

    Amen and amen, JesusFreak.

  13. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    You hear a mega-decibel AMEN along with the 118th, the 145th, and the 150th Psalms.

  14. Robbie says:

    I would like to think the Spirit of VII has died, but I think new life has been breathed into it.

  15. Sonshine135 says:

    The Death of the “Spirit of Vatican II” is a self fulfilling prophecy. Catholics that fall int this category are not those who sustain the church. They are often well meaning. They are often friendly. They are often nice and pleasant, but they have no moral foundation. When I “woke up” from the Spirit of Vatican II delusion and left the Matrix, I lost many friends who could not understand why I would want to “go back to the old ways”. Well, the answer is obvious from the outside. How well has the Spirit of Vatican II worked out? How many souls have been lost to Cafeteria Catholicism?

  16. Salvelinus says:

    @Robbie – I fully agree that the aging hippies are in the midst of their final ‘Hoorah!’ This may prove very dangerous, not only for the liturgy but also the Faith in general (October Synod, et al).

    We all must keep our attitudes positive and continue with the Liturgical Reform (The Real one) that Pope Benedict began. We also must not be shy to nicely correct those that start spreading open heresy since we love the 2,000 years prior to the novel ideas rearing their heads again.

    (Fr. Z – Prepare for Fishwrappers coming into your combox soon to “poison the well”. They are already getting their cannons ready since that whole publication runs off the dying hope of a “revitalization and full implementation of Vatican II – Whatever that means)

  17. mysticalrose says:

    Would that this were true…

  18. Joseph-Mary says:

    Have experienced all Fr. Joseph mentions and more. Have experienced a homosexual priest and that adds a few more suggestions to the list.
    Even in a ‘good’ parish with a good pastor who once would mention some of the hard truths, he no longer ever does. Just fluff in homilies which leaves the people open to further catechizing by the world. And the priests that do speak out, the ones who defend the Eucharist are persecuted even by their bishops so that only compounds the silence on moral issues.
    I wish the ‘spirit’ of VII (not the Holy Spirit) would pass away but right now there seems to be a second wind with very embarrassing actions and words by some prelates in very high places.
    Truthfully, if the SSPX would achieve a canonical place, I would very likely attend.

  19. Some of the funniest things about this Eye of the Tiber post are in the comments. Example:

    Q: What do you call a Catholic priest who says mass with Eucharistic Prayer 2, facing the people, with altar girls, hand holding, and congregational singing?

    A: Episcopalian.

  20. Gerard Plourde says:

    I think that the difficulty arises in the fact that often what is called “the spirit of Vatican II” bears little resemblance to the actual work of the Council. There is much to be said for the pastoral statements that the Council produced and for the heightened understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass (including a broader understanding of the Extraordinary Form) that it engendered.

    Regarding the liturgical fruits of the Council, it should be noted that both forms in use in the Latin Rite have their strengths. While the grandeur of the Extraordinary Form is conducive to a heightened recognition of the worship due to our Creator, the expanded Lectionary of the Ordinary Form provides valuable instruction and recognition of the continuity of His saving plan for His creation. Reverently celebrated, the Ordinary Form provides a licit and accessible way for broad constituencies of the faithful to participate in the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.

    Finally, we should recognize that to be Catholic means to be universal. Thanks to the work of the Council, we have come to appreciate the gift the Divine Liturgies of the Unaite Eastern Churches brings. We should be no less aware that the reverent celebration of the two forms available to the Latin Rite contribute to the chorus of appropriate worship.

  21. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Gerard Plourde is right to distinguish the Council from the supposed spirit and to see the merits of both Forms of Holy Mass, the grandeur of the MEF, the expanded lectionary of the MOF.

    In liturgy one of the greatest achievements of the Council was the Liturgy of the Hours, bringing back the Cathedral Office of the first six centuries, an Office for laity led by clerics. Now the Divine Office is easily available for laity. Would that we had Lauds and Vespers daily in our churches! Would that the new translation of LOTH were already with us!

  22. Laura R. says:

    Henry Edwards, I have to defend my former Episcopalian confreres: they don’t go in for liturgical hand-holding, at least they didn’t when I left five years ago. They do have some limits (and they kneel at the altar rail to receive communion, too).

  23. robtbrown says:



    1. Priests who are not in a parish and unable to concelebrate should not bother saying mass.

    2. Only say Laudes during the morning and Vespers during the evening. If they are said at any other time during the day or night, it is an affront to God and His Creation. The same is true for the other hours.

  24. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Robbie said:

    ” I think new life has been breathed into it.”

    I agree. I’m sure a Part II of this article will come out, reporting that the Spirit of Vatican II resurrected as a zombie, multiplied itself by eating the brains of the complacent and under-catechized, and is now wreaking a zombie apocalypse havoc on all the progress made by pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

  25. robtbrown says:

    Sid Cundiff says,

    In liturgy one of the greatest achievements of the Council was the Liturgy of the Hours, bringing back the Cathedral Office of the first six centuries, an Office for laity led by clerics. Now the Divine Office is easily available for laity. Would that we had Lauds and Vespers daily in our churches! Would that the new translation of LOTH were already with us!

    When was the Divine Office not easily available for the laity? Where is it more available now than before VatII?

    There has never been Cathedral Office in the US because of no Cathedral canons. That has not changed.

  26. RJHighland says:

    I pray that this Requiem mass is, at some point in my life time, offered up in every Catholic Church on the planet. St. Patrick’s in NYC is in great need of this Requiem mass for the “Spirit of Vatican II”, the false spirit is alive and well there.

  27. frjim4321 says:

    Matthew 12:31-32

    Mark 3:28-30

    Luke 12:10

    ‘Nuff said.

  28. Lin says:

    Our parish is trying to survive a pastor who does most if not all of the items in Father Joseph’s post above. He is also a HUGE follower of Rahner, someone I had never heard of before his arrival two years ago. Almost every sermon includes some reference to the “spirit of Vatican II.” All catechized parishioners have left. It is so sad! Pray for our priests! Without priests, no Eucharist!

  29. Eugene says:

    @fr jim4321- please clarify, are you implying this story and related comments are sins against THE Holy Spirit and therefore not forgiveable?
    I read this as a somewhat funny but mostly commentary on the false interpretation and false “spirit” of a council, surely the sin lies with the supporters of this false spirit including many in the hierarchy, priests and the nuns gone wild of the lcwr.
    By their fruits you shall know them and we have gathered the bitter harvest for the past fifty years and enough is enough.

  30. RJHighland says:

    Fr. Jim, you like so may confuse the Holy Ghost with the Spirit of Vatican II, one is the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity the “Spirit of Vatican II” came through the cracks in the foundation of the Church that Pope Paul VI referred to. I don’t know, but with the track record of Vatican II the Holy Ghost may take it as a blasphamy to believe He had anything to do with the twisting of Church teaching in the last 50 yrs. So many of the bishops and priests that that have so loudly proclaimed the “Spirit of Vatican II” also seem to be the same ones that have cost the Church billions in child abuse law suits, coincidence, I don’t think so. I doubt that many if hardly any of the molestors wore cassocks, but I bet quite a few wore Birkenstocks.

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    “I don’t think so. I doubt that many if hardly any of the molestors wore cassocks, but I bet quite a few wore Birkenstocks.”

    Sadly, in Philadelphia (and I’m sure Philadelphia reflects the norm) the record clearly shows that the distinction could not be made by such a simple test. Abusers could be found equally in both groups. The “cassock” (by which I take to mean the more traditionally oriented) group apparently used an abuse of their authority to overcome their victims while the “Birkenstock” (the “cool’ or “relevant” for lack of a better term) crowd ensnared their victims through their popularity or their “ability to relate”.

  32. Gerard Plourde says:


    I think that Sid’s point is that following Vatican II a greater effort was made to include the laity who were not vowed religious in the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. An effort was made to not only publish the current four-volume set but also to make a simpler single volume form available to the general laity. I know of many parishes that publicly celebrate a Morning Office prior to morning Mass, something that, to my knowledge, was nonexistent before the Council and the attendant liturgical reforms . The sheer size of the United States would preclude the majority of the population if the Cathedral Office were the only form.

  33. RJHighland says:

    I hear ya, even at the Methodist Church I attended with my parents in my college years the faithful processed up to an altar rail (up on the altar/stage) and knelt to recieve bread and grape juice as a symbol of the body and blood of our Lord from the pastor, I entered the Catholic Church and they taught me to receive the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord standing and in the hand from a lay person, it was rather confusing to me, but I did it for awhile. It eventually became one of the many reasons I ended up only attending the TLM. Oh I forgot I was taught at my parish to form my hand in the form of a crown, that made it better and so much more reverent than kneeling and on the tongue I guess. When I discovered Card. Bernardin was the one that pushed the standing in the hand concept through the USCCB it clearified for me what was going on in the Church. What saddened me the most I think was finding out he had been elevated by St. John Paul II, still haven’t figured where that piece fits into the puzzle. The answer to the question should be “A Joke”, but sadly if you add a twist of effeminate behavior it is the typical Catholic priest in my Diocese. Where have all the carpenters, fishermen and zelots gone? Probably to a TLM near you.

  34. jflare says:

    Spirit of Vatican II RIP, huh?
    If ONLY!

    Um, I’m not a Protestant, so listing a group of verses doesn’t necessarily tell me anything of use. I’d recommend a brief summary of the points being made.

  35. jflare says:

    “All catechized parishioners have left.”

    If I may nitpick slightly, it appears to me that one catechized parishioner has not. God be with you!

  36. Liam says:

    Those dusty tambourines might just have a new home among the womyn pries…er…prei…re…witches for their “ordinations”. [Now now…]

  37. frjim4321 says:

    Eugene says:
    4 September 2014 at 8:59 pm
    @fr jim4321- please clarify, are you implying this story and related comments are sins against THE Holy Spirit and therefore not forgiveable?

    Yes, that is how I have always read comments such as this. Very much so.

  38. Mike says:

    @frjim4321: Your habitual piquant obliquity to irony notwithstanding, I am struggling to understand how a private interpretation of Scripture at variance with the Magisterium, with a veiled apparent intent of damning the people to whom you think it applies, falls within the bounds of charity, let alone pastoral care.

  39. Imrahil says:

    Rev’d dear Fr Jim, and for general information,

    there are “six kinds of sin against the Holy Ghost, viz. despair [of salvation], presumption [of being certainly saved, in spite even of unrepented sins, due to one’s own merits or gorgeousness], impenitence [in the hour of death], obstinacy, resisting the known truth, envy of our brother’s spiritual good, which are assigned by the Master [of Sentences]”. St. Thomas, S. th. II/II 14 II, paraphrase (with addition of short explanations in brackets).

    The same, “the sin against the Holy Ghost is [in a way] the same as the sin committed through certain malice […], i. e. the very choosing of evil”, loc. cit. article I.

    For source:

    How anyone can subsum under that disagreement with a certain trend, even if that be a good trend, is beyond me (even if deviation were heresy, only resistance against known truth belongs here), to be silent of the fact that the punishment the Bible teaches as for those sinners would imply to treat the manner with extra caution.

    (Oh and forgive, please, if I myself have not applied such extra caution here…)

  40. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    robtbrown, by “Cathedral Office” the scholarly literature means a non-monastic, parochial Divine Office offered in parishes and offered daily in the first six centuries of the Church, it dying out in the Western Church after the first six centuries. See the best book on this, indeed the best book that I’ve found on the history of the Office: Robert Taft, S.J, The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West: The Origins of the Divine Office and its Meaning for Today, 2nd rev. ed. 1993, chapters 4, 8-11. Also worthwhile is Reinhard Meßner, Einführung in die Liturgiewissenschaft , 2nd rev. ed., 2009, chap. 4, “Die Tagzeitenliturgie”, pp227-301.

  41. Uxixu says:

    Perhaps an Exorcism (that is the proper rite from the Rituale) of the Smoke of Satan before the Requiem Mass, just to be safe, dear reverend Father?

  42. Michelle says:

    Andrew D, if you check these comments again, you may wish to visit Our Lady of the Angels in Marion, NC or St. Charles Borremeo in Morganton, NC. Both would be closer to Asheville & OLA offers the TLM on Sunday mornings, although it is still a rather small group (the church is a mission in a small mountain town). St. Charles is Novus Ordo but very reverently celebrated – I believe their priest used to be a high-church Anglican and their liturgical sensibilities apparently stuck with him.

  43. Lin says:

    @jflare……….I left, too!

Comments are closed.