Tag Archives: Vatican-II

Liturgy Is For God

“There were practical reasons for the fact that [the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy] was the first [of Vatican II]. Yet looking back, we have to say that this made good sense in terms of the structure of the Council as a whole: worship, adoration, comes first. And thus God does….The Constitution on the Church, which then followed as the Council’s second text, should be seen as being inwardly bracketed together with it. The Church derives from adoration, from the task of glorifying God. Ecclesiology, of its nature, has to do with liturgy. And so it is logical, too, that the third Constitution talks about the Word of God, which calls the Church together and is at all times renewing her. The Fourth Constitution shows how the glory of God presents itself in an ethos, how the light we have received from God is carried out into the world, how only thus can God be fully glorified. In the period following the Council, of course, the Constitution on the Liturgy was understood, no longer on the basis of this fundamental primacy of adoration, but quite simply as a recipe book concerned with what we can do with the liturgy. In the meantime many liturgical experts, rushing into consideration about how we can shape the liturgy in a more attractive way, to communicate better, so as to get more and more people actively involved, have apparently quite lost sight of the fact that the liturgy is actually ‘done’ for God and not for ourselves. The more we do it for ourselves, however, the less it attracts people, because everyone can clearly sense that what is essential is increasingly eluding us.”

Pride of Place

Readers of Stuff’s post on singing before/during/after communion may find these interesting.

The Mass of Vatican II

[…]In any case, the first use of actuosa participatio, i.e., active participation, referred explicitly and exclusively to the restoration of the congregational singing of Gregorian Chant. In 1928, Pope Pius XI reiterated the point in his Apostolic Letter, Divini Cultus. Nineteen years after that, in the Magna Carta of liturgical reform, Mediator Dei, issued by Pius XII, the same term was used with the same meaning. So until the Second Vatican Council, the term “active participation” referred exclusively to the singing of Gregorian Chant by the people.

Sacramentum Caritatis: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission

42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that “the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love” (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).


62. None of the above observations should cast doubt upon the importance of such large-scale liturgies. I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, it is fitting that such liturgies be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers (183) of the Church’s tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. (184)

Indult Masses

[I revised this post on 11/20 to remove some uncharitable statements. I apologize if they offended anyone. – Funky]

This made me chuckle:

"Some people are making a lot of noise about how disruptive [changes to the English Mass] will be. Perhaps. But what I think we’re seeing is mainly the nostalgic response of older people, for whom the current translations have become ‘traditional’ — even if that tradition goes no further back than a few decades. Maybe they can petition Rome for a special Indult by virtue of which Mass can be said (oh, maybe, in one church in each Province) according to the current translation, for the sake of those who are nostalgic for ‘And also with you.’ Perhaps Rome might even promote Bishop Trautman, and bring him to Rome to oversee the ‘And also with you’ Indult?" – Fr. Jim Tucker

Wouldn’t that be poetic justice? 😉

Wuerl lets Pittsburgh have an indult mass – barely. I think he’s afraid that greater availability would spur greater demand. Perhaps if the rumors of his excellency moving to Rome are true his replacement wouldn’t be so stingy with indults. I can hope. 😉

If Latin masses were more widely available, I’d consider going regularly. It’s not that I have anything against mass in vernacular languages or that the Pittsburgh Oratorians abuse the liturgy. Actually, the Novus Ordo masses that I attend at the Newman Center are solemn and respectful. However, there’s only so much you can do with the raw material. All the fine accoutrements in the world, e.g. bells, incense, and chant, won’t make up for the inadequacies of the current missal. Even the best production values and performances won’t turn an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical into a Puccini opera.

OK, perhaps that’s bit harsh, but the Pauline mass is neither an organic growth from the Tridentine, nor a faithful realization of the conciliar recommendations. In a lot of ways, it’s downright Protestant. I say pitch the Pauline missal and start from the Tridentine again. This time, let’s ONLY make the changes that the council actually called for. Once the liturgy is completed in Latin, keep it very far away from ICEL (I Create Exotic Liturgies) and other "innovative" translation groups.

The "reform of the reform" is a noble idea and I support it. In fact, I participate in it by singing in a schola. However, I see this movement as only a stop-gap. Even if the current mass were translated and celebrated properly, it’d still be sub-standard. The Novus Ordo is not the mass of the Second Vatican Council and to say so is an insult to the participants.

On a related note, at some time in the near future, Edey will publish a post detailing Vatican II’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosantum Concilium, the changes to the missal from 1962 to 1965 and from 1965 to 1970, and why the 1970 (Novus Ordo) missal is defficient.

Addendum: A recent post at Pontifications sums up how I feel pretty well.

"Do not mistake me. I am not romanticizing pre-Vatican II liturgy, nor am I pleading for a return to the Latin Mass. But looking at American Catholic liturgy as it has developed over the past forty years, one simply has to wonder, What in the world were people thinking?! How could anyone think that colloquial liturgical language is to be preferred to a formal, hieratic language? How could anyone think that drastic reduction of ritual gestures would strengthen the mystery of the Mass? How could anyone think that the adoption of sentimental pop-music would not destroy the sense of holiness and awe that is proper to the Eucharist? How could anyone think that the radical mutilation of the rite would not undermine the conviction that the Church has received a holy tradition and is not free to make it all up as she goes along? How could anyone think that by turning the celebrant around to face the people the Mass would be magically transformed into an intimate experience of community? How could anyone think that buildings constructed in the functional architectural style of the twentieth century could ever be appropriate to house the Holy Mysteries? Hindsight, of course, is twenty-twenty; but the liturgical delusion that took hold of the Church in the 60s and 70s is truly breathtaking."

Shea Rules

I think this satire by Mark Shea just about sums up the abuses of Vatican II.

Chesterton: A Spirit of Vatican II Bibliography

"Many people know that G.K. Chesterton, a famous defender of the Catholic faith as well as a prolific writer in fields as diverse as murder mysteries, literary criticism, biography, and political, theological and economic thought, fell strangely silent in the mid-1930s and ceased to publish for nearly 50 years. As a result, some speculated he might have died. However, the last few years have seen a fresh outpouring of new and markedly different material from that now-reclusive knight of Christendom. These new writings have been communicated to the outside world through the mediation of an elite team of American theologians from several major Catholic universities. These men and women assure us that these writings authentically embody the thought of ‘the New Chesterton’–a Chesterton who is now (under their careful editorial supervision) deeply reflective of ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ sensibilities and trends."