Comments on what happened with the liturgical reform after Vatican II

At The Catholic Thing today there is an engaging piece about what happened with the liturgical reform after Vatican II.

On Grace, at Candlemas

There is a special poignancy in a year like this, when Septuagesima precedes Candlemas; when preparations towards Easter have begun ere the light of Christmas has quite passed.

It is as if the seasons are re-arranging, in an unearthly kaleidoscopic dance, where what comes after precedes what came before. I think of T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”:

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic. . . .

Of course, this is lost, as so much was lost, in the liturgical “reforms” after Vatican II, when Septuagesima was simply discarded. But the Old Mass is returning, and the recovery of our heritage has already begun.

I don’t know what the reformers were thinking, in their stripping down of our calendar – shoving a few “ordinary Sundays” into the gap they had made by isolating Lent, which now comes without its own “adventual” preparation, and the poetry of the signaling through those preceding Sundays: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima. . .

Instead, out of nowhere, blam!, Ash Wednesday.

Being no liturgical expert, I say this only as a participant in the Mass, or mere observer. No doubt some better tyro could put me in my place.

But as a reader through the last few years of (for instance) the “WDTPRS” series on Father Z’s blog, in which he patiently expounds the successive ICEL translations, in light of Latin and tradition, I do get a vision of the carnage.

It is as if everything that was poetic, and poetically sustaining in the Old Mass, was intentionally demolished; and each replacement made intentionally glib, with verbal exchanges between pulpit and pews in the spirit of a kindergarten drill. I find these post-modern “verses and responses” painful, embarrassing: an insult to the intelligence of the Catholic adults who did not come for a weekly pep talk, but to the Sacrifice, and Communion with Our Lord.


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Another poetic loss: most of the Sequences, and those remaining, being optional, like the Roman Canon, rarely heard.

  2. PTK_70 says:

    The author’s grumble about being treated as kindergarteners is right on point. Catholic laypeople (in the U.S. anyway) are not, as a whole, the huddled and poor immigrant masses of a century ago. Today in the Catholic fold are successful businessmen, investors, doctors, lawyers, public servants, military officers. And this is how it should be.

Comments are closed.