Innovations which Vatican II did NOT call for, but which we got anyway.

I saw this on Facebook:

innovations of v2

Today a priest friend told me that Summorum Pontificum was the obituary of the Spirit of Vatican II.

More and more we will see how important Summorum Pontificum is.  It will have an ever greater impact.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Zach says:

    Nevertheless, the documents of Vatican II would likely have been subject to theological censure by the magisterium had they been released a century prior. “Believers and unbelievers agree almost unanimously that all things on earth should be ordained to humanity as to their center and summit.” Why go on apologizing for something out of which came a statement like this?

  2. John V says:

    If I may pick a nit here: Nos. 6, 7, and 8 aren’t properly phrased for inclusion under the title “Innovations Never Called for . . . ” Better to say something like
    6. Replacing Sacred Music with folk or popular style music.
    7. Excluding Gregorian Chant.
    8. Eliminating the use of Latin.

  3. Thomas S says:

    This might be a “d’uh” moment, but somebody help me… What is that background picture? It ain’t St. Peter’s.

  4. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    The liturgical implementation document produced by the Liturgical Concilium, “Inter Oecumenici”, was released while the Council was still going on.

    Inter Oecumenici did call for the banishment of the side altars and altar rails and versus populum and moving the tabernacle.

    The document actually makes a positive appeal to “the spirit of the times” as a guiding principle for liturgical change being made.

    If people want to know why we got the changes we did, they should read Inter Oecumenici and the 1969 GIRM….

  5. PTK_70 says:

    @AD,RA…Lots of meetings, surely, were going on concurrently with the proceedings of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Unless this document to which you refer was debated, hashed out, voted on, etc within the council of bishops summoned and gathered by decree of the Roman Pontiff, then this document does not form part of the patrimony of the council.

  6. pseudomodo says:

    13. Giant puppets with tambourines.

  7. Grant M says:

    I fear that in too many places the Spirit of Vatican 2 is proving to be the obituary of Summorum Pontificum

  8. MarianF says:

    They should add, “Women uncovering their heads.”

  9. Poor Yorek says:


    Unfortunately, the offending document, Inter Oecumenici , appears (unless I misunderstood the reference), in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis , 56 (1964) 898. So whilst it is not a promulgated document of the Council (not sure what you meant by “patrimony”), per se , it is an official document.

    Now, that doesn’t mean an infallible one, much less a coherent one, of course! But it was an official act of a Curial Office and concludes in the normal way:

    This Instruction was prepared by the Consilium by mandate of Pope Paul VI, and presented to the Pope by Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, President of the Consilium. After having carefully considered the Instruction, in consultation with the Consilium and the Congregation of Rites, Pope Paul in an audience granted to Cardinal Arcadio Maria Larraona, Prefect of the Congregation of Rites, gave it specific approval as a whole and in its parts, confirmed it by his authority, and ordered it to be published and faithfully observed by all concerned, beginning on the first Sunday of Lent, 7 March 1965.

    Now I think I need a shower.

  10. Nan says:

    14. Liturgical dancers


  11. KatieL56 says:

    15. Theme Masses.
    I have a nit pick with I believe #4. All Masses have Eucharistic Ministers –the priest. What we have with lay people are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (or Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist –I’ve seen both terms).

  12. PTK_70 says:

    @Poor Yorek…Doubtless the document in question, official as it may be, carries not the weight of a conciliar constitution. Nor, and this is the salient point, is it a product of the council of bishops summoned and gathered in Rome in the mid 1960s.

  13. Hans says:

    Thomas S, it in the Foro Traiano, Trajan’s Forum, looking mostly north toward Trajan’s Column with St. Peter atop it. (Roughly here 8FHJVFWM+4X in gOOGLE mAPS.)

    Don’t forget 11a, “The active discouragement of Devotional Life.” (I mean, it’s one thing to say the Rosary isn’t best prayed during Mass [one could argue the point], but another to discourage it all together as was done in many places.)

  14. LeoM says:

    The document on the sacred liturgy is Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    Inter Ocumenici is on the relations with the Eastern Churches. [No. It’s the instruction on the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium. HERE]

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Article 13 of Inter Oecumenici calls for all liturgies to be “carried out as perfectly as possible,” for “rubrics” to be “observed exactly and ceremonies carried out with dignity,” and that “Churches and chapels, all sacred furnishings and vestments, shall bear the mark of genuine Christian art….” Article 20 reiterates that no individual person is supposed to mess around with the liturgy on his own authority, “doing harm to the liturgy and to its reform.”

    Article 15 says that all seminaries should have sung Masses on Sundays and big holy days. Also, Article 17 says that in all seminaries, “Religious devotions… shall be held in due esteem.” And also for seminaries, holding devotions in common is encouraged, while saying the Office in common is commanded.

    Article 19 encourages pastors to help out lay religious associations, and for lay religious association members to regard themselves as helpful promoters of parish liturgical life.

    Article 36 says you should only swing the thurible 3 times toward the choir when incensing clergy who aren’t bishop.

    Article 40 says that vernacular translations are to be prepared “in conformity with the rules of art” and “conform to the same Latin liturgical text.” Lectionaries should have a high quality appearance to “prompt greater reverence for the word of God and for sacred objects.”

    (Incidentally, this goes toward the question of whether one should read readings from a tablet. So my intuition that you would at least need a nice cover case that isn’t all ripped up is correct.)

    Interestingly, Article 42 says that new _melodies_ for the vernacular singing of Mass parts must be approved by the relevant ecclesiastical authority. So if somebody has a cruddy melody that gets approved, there really is someone to blame beside the publisher!

    And the bit about “stuff you should do now, before the new Mass books come out,” they still mandate all kinds of singing and chanting during Mass. Article 59 demands that “the Christian faithful” must “know how to recite or sing together in Latin… the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass proper to them.” And it’s the pastor’s responsibility to “carefully see to it” that this is done.

    Now, as to altars, Article 91 just says that “The main altar should _preferably_ be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people.” Article 94 says that at the Ordinary’s discretion, “the cross and candlesticks required on the altar for the various liturgical rites _may also_ be placed next to it.” Tabernacles should be on the altar, on a minor altar, or, “in accord with lawful custom,” in a separate “special and properly adorned part of the church. ” Article 97 says that the choir and organ should be somewhere that lets them “best to fulfill their part in the liturgy” and doesn’t seem to totally cut them off from the community. (So yeah, nothing stopping you from having a loft.) Article 98 says that the people should be able to see and hear what goes on at the altar, and that “modern sound equipment” is okay.

    Nothing about altar rails. Nooooooothing.

    So yeah, Inter Oecumenici was also observed selectively. Verrrrrry selectively.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Inter Oecumenici” is a document from the Sacred Congregation of Rites, subtitled “Instruction on Implementing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.”

    As customary, the title comes from the beginning of the document: “Among [“Inter”] the Second Vatican Ecumenical [“Oecumenici”] Council’s achievements….”

  17. hwriggles4 says:

    I’m surprised that no one here has mentioned that “the Spirit of Vatican II” that was “popular” and “implemented” welcomed a more casual atmosphere at Mass. I am in my mid-40s, and I remember in the early 70s getting dressed up a bit for Mass, and mom instructing my older brother and I to behave or we would be disciplined after we got home. I am old enough to remember that most people were dressed in their “Sunday Best” – my dad ushered at his church, so he always wore a suit, no ifs, ands, or buts. Around 1977, that attitude really changed. I remember arguing with my mom that other kids wore jeans and tennis shoes to Mass, so why couldn’t I? I also recall a more social atmosphere at the Mass, with people having side conversations, chewing gum (that’s a big no no), adults reading the bulletin during the homily, people leaving early, etc.

    I heard a statistic that in 1958 70% of Catholics in the United States attended weekly Mass. Even if you only had two hours sleep the night before, you got up and went to 8:00 a.m. Mass. Today, Mass attendance across the average U.S. Diocese is around 25% to 33%, and most dioceses today have Masses in late afternoons and early evenings, so there really isn’t much of an excuse to skip Mass. Years ago, I would often work a 12 hour graveyard shift on Saturday nights, and leave work at 0700 on Sunday morning. I had time to go home, shower, change, and usher 9:15 a.m. Mass – I would go to bed about 11:00 am.

  18. robtbrown says:

    NB: Infallibility pertains to doctrine and nothing else. It has nothing to do with position of the altar, liturgical language (or no), liturgical gestures, furniture in a church, and nomination of bishops. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Niente.

  19. Absit invidia says:

    We did this to ourselves. The Church foolhardily brought in outside “experts” to rupture centuries of growth and gave the chaff equal standing with the wheat. Now the weeds have overtaken our Lord’s garden and the Church encouraged this.

  20. robtbrown says:

    #12 Confession.

    A few days ago I went to Confession at the downtown Redemptorist Church, which I have often done.

    After I made my Confession, the priest asked for an Act of Contrition. As I’ve done for over 40 years in the US and various European countries, I said the Latin AofC: Deus meus . . .

    When I finished, the priest paused, then said: “What was that all about?”
    Me: “Father, that was a Latin Act of Contrition.”
    Confessor: “Oh.” Then he said nothing, after which:
    Me: “I studied Latin in Rome for 6 years”
    C: “Are you a priest or religious?”
    Me: “No, if I’m a priest or religious, I’m required to tell you”
    Then he said that there are priests who have never studied Latin, after which I mentioned that Vat II said that Latin was supposed to be part of their seminary education.
    He then recommended that I always mention to a Confessor that a Latin AofC is forthcoming.
    I left the box wondering whether I’m supposed to bring a Curriculum Vitae with me whenever I go to Confession.

    Later, I told a priest friend that later during mass the priest-confessor (probably c. 50 yrs old) said “He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to his FRIENDS . . . ”

    The friend said “Not only can’t he read Latin, he also can’t read English.”

  21. robtbrown says:

    should be: probably c 60 yrs old

  22. acardnal says:

    robtbrown, I enjoyed your “confession” story.

  23. acardnal says:

    robtbrown, it’s funny because over 40 yrs ago that priest would have been giving you absolution in Latin! How times have changed.

  24. servulus indignus Christi says:

    This is just silly…many apologists for VII like to point out what happened that the council did not explicitly call for, failing to recognize that it DIDN’T HAVE TO. By the few explicit novelties it did mention and by merely tampering with matters previously deemed and treated as sacrosanct it canonized the ‘logic’ of novelty and gave it an official stamp. ???o? ??? ??????, ?????? ?’?? ?????? ???????. and indeed…a ????? ???? did clearly prevail. Let us stop apologizing for VII and simply make an authentic ad fontes return.

    [Use unicode.]

  25. servulus indignus Christi says:

    I see this site doesn’t take Greek script….”They opened the skin and all the winds rushed out” -Ulysses

  26. un-ionized says:

    Spiritual pride.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    I repeat a quotation from a priest who is now dead who entered the seminary way before Vat II and ordained before Vat II. He told me years ago that he and many of his peers entered the seminary in the early 1950s in order to “make the Church more protestant.” His word exactly. He said his peers, now all of them mostly gone, wanted to make a type of pan-Christianity in order to spread Christianity….what I would call the watered down Gospel and what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace”.

    That at least one generation before Vat II received ordination with the intent to change the Church should leave no one in doubt that Vat II was a result, not a cause. of something happening in the Church years before….Modernism.

    All the above on the list as well as some of the murkiness in the four great documents of Vat II are a result of Modernism, which still plagues most of the diocesan seminaries both here and abroad.

  28. PTK_70 says:

    At the end of the day, if one abhors and rejects the patrimony of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, one doesn’t have to be Roman Catholic. One can go be something else.

    The better choice, though, is to get on board with Summorum Pontificum and the hermeneutic of continuity and the rediscovery of versus CUM populo worship…in the barque of St. Peter.

  29. jaykay says:

    PTK-70:I don’t think anyone around here is either abhorring or rejecting the “patrimony” of V2. What they are deploring, perhaps abhorring, is the wilful misuse of its genuine teaching.

    What is “versus cum populo”, b.t.w.? “Against with the people”? Romanes eunt domus? :)

    Strongly agree with you on SP, and looking forward to being able to attend the 4th Sunday Rorate Mass in Dublin’s Latin Mass Chaplaincy, with the wonderful Lassus Scholars singing. So many young people there, and young families.

  30. PTK_70 says:

    @jaykay…Not being a Latinist, I can’t claim credit for the expression. I got it from someone else. But ‘versus’ I think means turned or facing. ‘CUM populo’ means with the people. So all together: facing with the people. I take it as synonymous with ‘ad orientem’. FWIW I choose to capitalize ‘cum’ so as to emphasize the togetherness, if you will, of priest and people when he faces towards the apse.

    I’ve heard it said that the Church neither started nor ended with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. This seems almost too obvious to even write. If, as you indicate, no commenters around here delight in the rejection of the SVEC, then I suppose together we are on our way to cementing the legacy of the beloved pope emeritus.

  31. jaykay says:

    PTK-70 (sorry, can’t do the underscore, mobile device): Sorry again! You’re quite right. Versus is of course “turned” (vertor is the verb)and I was thinking of “adversus”. In other words, not looking at what you’d actually written. Silly me, and the kind of thing I’d have been punished for back in those far-off Latin-learning days. So yes, “versus cum populo (ad Deum)”, I understand.

    But no, I don’t think anyone regularly commenting here does actually “delight in the rejection” of the Council. Fr. doesn’t tend to go along with that kind of silliness, as I’ve seen over the 10-or-so years I’ve been reading the blog. Now, a wishing for a return to the “correct” interpretation, a return to what was actually intended by the majority of the Fathers assembled (including the one who confirmed me not many years later)… yes, that’s more the geist hereabouts.

  32. jaykay says:

    One of those days… “verto”, not “vertor”. Would definitely have got punished for that one too. I’d have had to remain passive, of course. O.k., sorry about that.

  33. LeeF says:

    At the NO parish I live in, or neighboring ones:

    1) I am generally the only one receiving communion on the tongue
    2) Never a thought given to facing other than towards the people
    3) If there are altar girls, rarely are there boys wanting to serve with them
    4) when too many eucharistic ministers are scheduled, they don’t know to get out of the way for the deacon who is sometimes left without being able to give communion despite being an ordinary minister of same
    5) tabernacle is visible through a window where it resides in the weekday chapel
    6 & 7) over-used junk by Marty Haugens & Dan Schutte are their idea of sacred music
    8) Latin only used during Lent and occasionally Advent, and then only for Agnus Dei
    9) newer church (er . . I mean worship space) that never had a rail – and they won’t even put in smaller kneelers for deacon and altar servers
    10) new age meaningless “art” and resurrected Jesus statue
    11) devotional life never mentioned – occasionally someone older than me is seen with a rosary before Mass but not often (too busy talking before Mass -what is the use of a “gathering space”)
    12) confession schedule once a month or by appointment – priests never talk about need for same or possibility many are not going to heaven

  34. Benedict Joseph says:

    Supertradmum: Yours provides a fascinating insight. I am possessed of a curiosity about what was going on in the minds of priests, religious and laity in the forties and fifties that allowed for the explosion that was to come. I was very young in the fifties, but I recall a certain behavior, I might almost say “cavalier” behavior, in younger priests. Quite the opposite comportment among their seniors and all the sisters — young or old (but always wise and kind). Also, while the laity were very observant of their duties — all the fasts, Sunday mass, Holy Days of Obligation — you hated going to confession mostly because the lines were too long — there was a bit of a low key “resentment” for lack a better word. I think it might have been in response to living in a primarily Protestant culture — and they really did not have much regard for Catholics.
    It is an area of research that now will never be accomplished. They are mostly all gone.

  35. AnnTherese says:

    Growing up in Vatican II era did not hurt me, and in fact, set me on a path of 35 years of ministry and a rich and strong spiritual life.

    Our church started the ad orientum Eucharistic prayer style this Advent. It doesn’t bother me or move me, spiritually. I have had the privilege of standing in the Upper Room in Jerusalem (well, it’s said to be the actual space), and during the Consecration at each Mass, me eyes close and I return to that space and imagine the Last Supper. So I’m not really paying attention to where the priest is facing. I’m listening to the words, while present in my mind and heart with the disciples and their families at the first Eucharistic meal.

    Praying the Liturgy well is important– but equally or more important is how we take the Christ we have received out into the world, how being Catholic bears fruit in our day-to-day world. I’d like to hear more about how ad orientum, receiving Communion on the tongue, etc. impacts how you live your faith outside of church. Really, I would love to hear your insights on this. Thank you!

  36. un-ionized says:

    AnnTherese, in my own life, the more reverent worship causes me to treat things outside of Mass with more reverence, such as being more careful of other people and their needs.

  37. PTK_70 says:

    Speaking for myself, AnnTherese, I see ‘ad orientem’ worship in the Catholic Church as a powerful corrective to the modern tendency – both as individuals and as society – to sideline God. It’s not about getting to a happier happy place, which only I can experience. It’s about getting oriented to the Source, the ineffable, the Other, the mysterious. I will then, presumably, live in a more God-oriented manner. People will, presumably, take this “God orientation” to their workplaces. Then, by a slow and quiet process, our families and our neighbors and our communities and our culture will all take on a different character, a “God oriented” character. Someone else will have better things to say about this than me.

  38. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    AnnTherese, the Mass is not a re-presentation of the Last Supper, but of Calvary. The Last Supper was in anticipation of the Sacrifice of Calvary. If we were saved by the Last Supper, then Calvary would not have been necessary. The next big event would not have been the Resurrection (possible only because of Calvary), but the Ascension. That would be a very different religion.

  39. un-ionized says:

    GratefultobeCatholic, you are very right. Protestants believe that their communion services, which never are about a sacrifice, reenact the Last Supper and they teach their people that Catholics believe they are resacrificing Jesus at the Mass, which is futile, stupid, and blasphemous. It’s quite a difference in mindset. I always wondered why the Methodists required the consecration of the elements to be performed by an elder since they believe nothing really happens, that communion is entirely symbolic. Never got an answer! There is no consistency there at all.

  40. Nan says:

    AnnTherese, it’s not receiving Communion on the tongue per se but acting in obedience to God; when I am obedient, I can handle anything and good things happen because of that obedience. Because of that obedience I have received consolations of the sort men seek their entire lives and been put in a position to do things I could never have imagined. Getting to a point of obedience is hard work.

    I recently posted on how I live my faith outside of Mass so won’t bore people with that again. I don’t remember what post it was on. Right now I’m discerning service and have no idea how that’s going to play out.

    I haven’t been to the Upper Room although if the Church says it’s the actual place, you can be sure that it is the actual place.

  41. un-ionized says:

    Nan, what does “discerning service” mean? I don’t know all the specific language that church people use yet. Whatever happens, rest assured you always end up being where God wants you to be, even in a figurative or literal garbage dump.

  42. Nan says:

    Father spiritual director has assigned me to do service. He gave an example of a type of service but it’s up to me to figure something out.

  43. WYMiriam says:

    Zach, may I suggest that you read further than the first sentence of the first chapter of Gaudium et spes? You can do so at the Vatican webite:

    That quote of yours is taken way out of context.

  44. Pingback: FRIDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

Comments are closed.