Monday, May 17, 2010

Excerpt: The New and The Old


B. The Hijacking Begins

8. When the Second Vatican Council came to a close on December 8, 1965, the responsibility for implementing the Conciliar teachings and decrees naturally fell upon the bishops. After all, the conciliar document Christus Dominus, which the Council Fathers had approved just weeks earlier, explained that the bishop was the Chief Shepherd and Teacher of the people in his diocese:

"The bishops themselves, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls. Together with the supreme pontiff and under his authority they are sent to continue throughout the ages the work of Christ, the eternal pastor. Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the command and the power to teach all nations, to hallow men in the truth, and to feed them. Bishops, therefore, have been made true and authentic teachers of the faith, pontiffs, and pastors through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to them" (Christus Dominus, 2).

9. However, the bishops were not exactly prepared for the task assigned to them. The entire conciliar experience confronted them with issues that they had never given a second thought to (7). Furthermore, “many of the council fathers, after they had returned to their dioceses, seemed themselves to be in a state of confusion over what they had done” (8). All of a sudden, “’Renewal experts’ sprang up everywhere, and the most contradictory explanations of the council were offered to Catholics thirsting for guidance” (9). The bishops, for their part, offered little or no catechesis themselves, leaving that task instead to the “experts”. After all, many bishops were not theological experts themselves, and up until that time, they placed a great deal of faith in their theologians. (10) When the bishops themselves began looking for guidance, they naturally turned to their theologians, trusting that they knew what they were doing and talking about. (11) However, many of the theologians were imbibed with the Modernist spirit, and they were committed to seeing their ideas permeate the entire life of the Church. This was true in two major areas—doctrine and liturgy.

10. Soon after the council, a new catechism was published under the auspicies of the Dutch bishops. The Modernist Dutch peritus, Fr. Schillebeeckx, was behind the production of the new catechism. This "Dutch Catechism" espoused what came to be known as "creedless Christianity", because it eliminated many Catholic teachings and watered down Catholic truth to a point where traditional Catholic teaching could no longer be discerned within its covers. (12) There is no mention of original sin, redemption through the Cross, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Trinity, the existence of angels, the reality of the ordained priesthood, or any other central Catholic tenets. (13) The Mass was described as a community meal, but not as a propitiatory sacrifice. The priesthood of all believers was taught to the exclusion of ordained ministry. And conscience, rather than the infallibility of the Magisterium, was emphasized as the arbitor of truth. (14) The teachings of the Dutch Catechism, though there was some Catholic truth in them, was completely harmonious with the Modernist system and Modernist ideas. Nonetheless, the Dutch Catechism was translated and published in numerous languages, and sold in massive quantity. (15) Though the Vatican expressed grave dissatisfaction, the popularity of the work left Catholics with the impression that the Modernism of the Dutch Catechism was "where the Church is at today", that the content of the catechism was the "theology of Vatican II".

11. No soooner did Sacrosanctum Concilium come out that implementation began. Shortly after the conclusion of Vatican II, more and more of the Mass was being said in the vernacular to the point where the Vatican reluctantly gave into the request of the bishops to allow the entire Mass to be said in the language of the people. (16) The Vatican recommended freestanding altars in 1964 in order to allow priests the option to celebrate Mass facing the people, (17) and practically overnight every priest had turned around and was facing the people during the celebration of Mass. Valuable high altars were destroyed and artwork removed in expensive renovations. Holy Communion, once given only by priests, was now being distributed primarily by handfuls of lay ministers. Wreckless liturgical "experimentation" took place, including "clown Masses" where priests would put on a clown costume rather than a chasuble and stole in order to "perform" while offering Mass; nuns "celebrating Mass" in place of priests; and the replacement of bread and wine at the consecration with cookies and soda or pizza and beer. (18) In short, there was a strong push to "horizontalize" the Mass, making it a community celebration rather than divine worship. And it was all justified in the "name of Vatican II", which called for "fully conscious and active participation" (SC, 14) and whose purpose was to "meet the needs of modern times" (SC, 1). These liturgical novelties, it was explained, were in the "spirit of Vatican II".

Notes: 7. Dr. James Hitchcock: "Off the Rails: Was Vatican II Hijacked?" (Crisis; June, 2004).
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Msgr. George A. Kelly: "If I Were a New Bishop" (Catholic Dossier; May/June, 2000).
11. Ibid.
12. Lorene Collins, Salvation Redefined (Toronto: Life Ethics Information Centre, 2003), 5.
13. Ibid., 14.
14. Jack Taylor: "The Modernist Persona" (This Rock; November, 1996).
15. Collins, 14.
16. Following the promulgation of the New Order of Mass, the instruction Liturgicae Instaurationes, 11, issued by the Vatican, provided for the translation of the Missal completely into vernacular languages. Once this had been done, the Latin-only Missale Romanum, practically speaking, had become obsolete, as vernacular missals were used almost exclusively.
17. The 1964 Vatican instruction Inter Oecumenici, 91, states: "The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people". Note, this is only a "preference". However, not only were freestanding altars placed in newly constructed buildings; but in practically every Church, a freestanding altar was placed and used exclusively in churches. At times, the high altars, besides falling into disuse, were even removed, many of them being shattered to pieces and carted out to the dumpster.


4. Liturgical Music and Language

Shortly after the close of the Council, the vernacular completely replaced the use of Latin at the Mass and in all liturgies. Thus, today, any use (or attempted use) of Latin in the liturgy is labeled “Pre-Vatican”. As a result, the long tradition of Gregorian Chant came to a virtual end, being replaced with modern compositions and vernacular ordinaries. As well, folk music and jazzed-up, rocked-up music began to be used in the so-called “Rock Masses”, “Polka Masses”, and the like.

Although Vatican II stated that "since the use of the [vernacular] may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended," (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36) the Council mandated that “the use of the Latin language [was] to be preserved” in the liturgy. (SC 36) Only the readings, the prayers of the faithful, and sometimes the “propers” (prayers that change from Mass to Mass) were to be in the vernacular, while the ordinary parts of the Mass (the parts that do not change) were to be said in Latin, which is why "steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (SC, 54) Likewise, the elimination of Gregorian Chant was unjustified, for "the treasure of sacred music [was] to be preserved and fostered with great care," (SC, 114) since the Church's “musical tradition [is a] treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art" (SC, 112). The pearl of this treasure in the Christian tradition was Gregorian Chant, which is why "the Church acknowledges [it] as specially suited to the Roman liturgy” and sought to ensure it “be given pride of place in liturgical services.” (SC, 116). The Council even made provisions that “an edition [of Chant] be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches," (SC, 117) thus ensuring its use everywhere. Therefore, Gregorian Chant was to be the rule rather than the exception. Other forms of music were not to be excluded, (SC 116) and of course, “people . . . have their own musical traditions [which] play a great part in their religious and social life [requiring] due importance [be] attached to their music, and a suitable place . . . given to it." (SC, 119) However, these were not supposed to exercise a monopoly, or even dominate.

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