What was your first encounter with the "Spirit of VCII"?
(06-27-2009, 12:26 PM)information Wrote:
(06-27-2009, 10:18 AM)Nic Wrote: That is indeed sad, and I have heard many stories similar to what happened to you concerning the "early days" of the installation of Vatican II edicts.

...but, my friend, have hope.  You say that things will "never be the same again."  I must disagree with that statement.  The Church will triumph over this malignant storm of heresy.  She has won out over every other calamity, and this time we have the assurance of Our Lady that her Immaculate Heart will prevail.

  It seems to me that The Church will get stronger as a result of this. like an inoculation for the flu can make you sick for awhile but afterward you can fight off the sickness more easily.

But at what cost?  The Faith is shattered for millions, many of whom will not make it to Heaven. 
It was the weekend after I was Baptised, February of 1970. The Mass that followed my Baptism was, as I remember rather revernt it included Latin and some nice hymns on the organ. However, the next weekend was a "horse of a different color". There was a band made up of "long-haired" friends of somebody and they were playing guitars, drums and a tamborine. I got up and left.

I still wonder how I survived to become a Trad Catholic because it took me 4 years to find a small chapel where a retired priest was saying the old Mass.
Well, I was born in 1981, and I was raised with the new Mass, so nothing ever seemed out of place about anything to me.  Until we moved to Virginia Beach and went to a church there were things were...very odd.  It was like some...I don't know.  The church itself looked like somebody's living room.  Kneeling was forbidden.  And everyone was required to wear name tags.  We were far more concerned with one another than with God, and even though I was only nine years old, I could tell that something was very wrong with that church.  They also had a thing where during the Prayers of the Faithful, anyone could yell out an intention.  One time I yelled out that we should pray for the conversion of my Jewish cousins.  Yeah, that...didn't go over well  :laughing:
I was born in 1969, so I never knew anything but the new way, but some things still seemed wrong.  I suppose one of the first was when they tore down our old church and built a new fan-shaped one.  Some people were upset to lose the building they grew up in and didn't care that it was starting to break down and becoming expensive to maintain, but I was too young to be attached to it, so I could understand the need.  But the new style was such an extreme change.  They could have rebuilt in more or less the same old style, with better insulation and more efficient heating.  They didn't have to sit people practically facing each other and make the place look like a branch library with a Cross on top.

Other little things stood out.  Somehow I always knew tambourines weren't really appropriate at Mass.  We still had some old nuns in full habit, so I recall thinking something wasn't quite right that some only wore a veil.  (None had completely abandoned the "nun look" then.)  I didn't know a thing about politics then, but I sensed that sermons and Catechism classes about nuclear disarmament (always about disarming us, of course, never them) were a little off.  Many people still took Communion on the tongue, and some women wore veils, so I think I had a vague notion that those people were more serious about their religion somehow, but was never curious enough to ask why.  My generation didn't realize things were changing around us, though it's easy to look back now and see that they were.

We knew there had been a Catholicism that involved nuns in habits, priests in cassocks and collars, Latin, Communion on the tongue, confessionals, and so on; and I think on some level some of us realized that our Catholicism was a pretty lightweight reflection of that.  But we were also taught that that old way was in the distant past, about like men wearing armor and crashing into each other on horseback.
Sorry if this long, and boring, self-indulgent etc, but I felt like looking it up now that I'm on holidays (yay!). Something I got off my chest a few years ago, which I'm not embarassed about putting here because no-one knows me and I've had a few beers.  ;D From my lap-top "what the hell are you doing with your life" memoirs:

A few years ago I uncovered some old photos of my childhood bedroom which literally had to be seen to be believed. The walls were decked out in old-fashioned, sentimental religious pictures, such as the one of Christ surrounded by smiling, well-groomed children in a typically Victorian garden, sunlight streaming through the tree-tops and the wind caressing the little girls’ locks. A tidy white-pine desk was adorned with little statues of the Holy Family, the Sacred Heart, First Communion gifts, the picture of a Guardian Angel watching children crossing a crumbling bridge, St Bernadette kneeling before Our Lady... It looked more like a sanctuary than a bedroom. I couldn't believe I'd ever been that way.

But those photos were all I needed to unlock some memories. I remembered that I was that way! The first thing I remembered was the little shop outside of the Church my family went to in the country town of Smeaton which sold “holy things”. There were so many beautiful things to choose from among all those trinkets! The smallest things were always the best - the big flashy things didn't appeal to a Good Little Boy. Some of those little statues were on my desk in the photo. I remembered my sincere prayers for “the sick, the poor and the lonely” every night when I went to bed, and the sound of my mother singing "The Lord is My Shepherd" and A.A. Milne's "Vespers" in her voice that seemed to come from Heaven. I remembered my half-blind, half-deaf, eccentric, piano-teaching, Presbyterian Great Aunt warbling Amazing Grace as she cooked cakes in the kitchen, and how I really believed that she had been blind and now could see. I remembered the simple rhythm of my life – playing matchbox cars or cricket with my brother, practising the piano, reading Hardy Boys books, wrestling kids in the playground, watching Tattslotto with my grandma every Saturday night. I’ll even admit that I remembered my teddy bear Brownie, and how I cried when my mother sewed clothes onto him because I thought it must have hurt! But most of all I remembered how much I loved God. How well I knew Him, and how close we were.

I’m sorry if that sounds too sugary for some, but my childhood really was that sweet and simple. I was raised with everything a child could hope for - loving parents, material comforts, a kind of holy peace and optimism. As far as painting a picture of my Primary School days goes, I was essentially a happy and active kid, if a little prone to "day-dreaming". I never experienced teasing or feelings of inadequacy, like so many people whose memories of Primary School haunt them, and I never felt ill-will towards anyone. I liked work and play, and being liked by my friends and teacher. Pretty normal and healthy really.

I may be revising my history a little, but it seems clear in my memory that the only “bad” memory of my childhood is the weirdness of some of the adults, and, paradoxically, the weirdness of the adults came across most of all to me in my Primary School religion classes. The teachers' idea of religion seemed totally different to anything I'd been brought up with before coming to school, just as the methods of education were different to the education I’d received from my mother and my picture-books before I went to school. I remember partaking in strange rituals of song-and-dance, where we'd sing nonsensical things like "If I were a butterfly I'd thank you Lord for giving me wings" and "We are the church and He is the steeple,/ His banner over me is love", while we 7-year-olds anxiously contorted our uncoordinated bodies into various shapes that the teacher modeled for us up front. I remember working out of some activity book called something like "Learning in Love", in which we'd colour pictures of smiling cartoon figures of Jesus and the Apostles passing around fish and things. I remember endless lessons about sharing and friendship, which I didn't really consider to be particularly to do with loving Jesus at all - I thought they were just "good" things to do. I remember that the girls would occasionally exit the room and come back dressed in lacy white dresses to practise dancing for the upcoming Parish Mass, while all of us boys, who were supposed to be colouring in pictures or something, gawped at them. I remember "Father Joe", or just "Joe", who looked incredibly, almost impossibly sort of youthful and vital and wore open-collared shirts (which I thought was funny for a Father) and talked to us with very white teeth and very blue eyes about all that sharing stuff every so often. I remember the enormous silver glittery "thing" that hung on a steel cable from the ceiling of the church, which in later years I realized was something like a prop from Jesus Christ Superstar - a cross between a giant disco ball and a Salvador Dali painting. I distinctly remember feeling that there was something a bit fishy, a bit strange, about all this – that the adults were playing some sort of weird game that was meant to be for the kids but which was actually utterly adult and foreign to a child’s understanding. I honestly remember all of that as the most "weird" thing about my childhood. I didn't know then why I felt that way about it, but for a child who had those old-fashioned pictures and statues festooning his bedroom and who thought adults were meant to be close to God in His order of things, it felt like school was in some ways another planet altogether.
When I decided to become Catholic all Ihad to go on for references were old movies so I thought the Church was all traditional. Well I went down to the University parish and was told to go into Sister Doris's office to register for RCIA. I went to this office and there was this skinny woman in a tight running suit in he mid 60's. I said "Uh Hi I am looking for Sister Doris the Nun" she replied "I am Doris you dont have to call me sister" I very honestly asked " I thought Nuns wore habits" "well" she said "Not since Vatican II made the Church relevant".
(06-27-2009, 04:37 PM)timoose Wrote: Nic, I take your point, but please tell me what our sin was? We are derided as the generation that prayed, paid, and obeyed. We thought that Priests were alter Christi and if we obeyed, they would help us get to heaven. No one had told us it was necessary for our salvation to get a license in Theology, and none of us were prepared. I'm not defending the "changers" but what of those that fell away? Jesus came for the lost sheep, are we now the Church of the Pharisees, with great disdain for those publicans and sinners? I'm not accusing, but asking sincerely about the logical extension of your premise, is all?

Indeed there is a different level of culpability for different Catholics.  But, much of the things that have been taught by clergy and laity alike in the past 40 plus years is obviously contradictory to the Ancient Faith.  God wants those who will take the time to seek Him.  I find it very hard to believe, and keep in mind that I am a convert to the Faith only 5 years ago, that any person calling themselves "Catholic" in these days cannot see the absolute change in our religion.  I am a convert and I can see it easily, and a rather new convert at that.  Those who have been in the Church for years should know what the Church teaches.  I think that every person labelling themselves as Catholic knows this to be true, it is just that there are those that refuse to stand up against error (which is the same thing as condoning error), and those who like the change to a more modern, ecumenical and liberal Church that respects all religions except for Traditional Catholicism, whose adherents are labelled as rebels and schismatics.  It all goes back to the level of seeking God and the truth, which is within every Christian's responsibility to do.  I learned rather quickly that "when in doubt, cling to Tradition."
(06-27-2009, 02:30 PM)Walty Wrote: Actually, upon reading all of these responses, I'm really amazed.

I'm still not sure how or why, but it's funny how the Spirit of Vatican II progressed throughout the 60s into today.  I went to Catholic school my entire life, but I was born in 1987, so the concept of the spirit of Vatican II, much less even knowing that the Church had been different before this Vatican II thing was lost on me until late high school.  But all the same, upon reflection, things just continually got less and less reverent as I progressed through school.  When I was in 1st and 2nd grade I remember distinctly the ringing of the bells during consecration (of course I had no idea what consecration or the Eucharist really were), but by the time I had gotten to 5th grade and into middle school, that wasn't done anywhere in my hometown.  We still had two nuns in the early 90s, one teacher and one the principal.  They didn't wear habits, but they at least wore their caps or hats (I'm not sure of the official name), but by the end of elementary school at least one of them had gotten rid of that as well.  Now, I don't think there are any nuns at all associated with any of the Catholic schools in town, and the big building next to my elementary school that housed the very elderly nuns has been torn down for more parking lot.

Anyway, I just thought it interesting how it still progressed more and more toward Modernism even in the 90s.  I cannot imagine having gone through it in the 60s, however, such as you did.  All of us youngins would be in some frightful states in life if you had not preserved your sense of, or returned to, what you knew to the holy and reverent.  Thank you.

That's been my experience, too. I was born in 1984, so like you, the "Spirit of Vatican II" had just become "the Church" to me, but elementary school was a ton better than my catholic highschool, and BOTH of those times were better than when I returned a few years ago. I keep hearing from neo-cons that it's "getting better" and maybe it is a little bit with EWTN and Pope Benedict allowing full use of the TLM, and making people kneel and receive on the tongue at his Masses, but seriously, I can't see how it's any better for the average Catholic than it was 20 years ago. Not that the "average Catholic" cares or anything...
(06-29-2009, 12:39 AM)Benno Wrote: I distinctly remember feeling that there was something a bit fishy, a bit strange, about all this – that the adults were playing some sort of weird game that was meant to be for the kids but which was actually utterly adult and foreign to a child’s understanding.

That's a great way of putting it.  When I read about the changes in the last 60s and early 70s, there's a sense that many people thought Vatican II said "anything goes."  (Whether it did or not, that's what they thought.)  It really seems to have been part game, part experiment--let's change something today and see what happens.  In the book "Sisters," by John Fialty (very good book, I'll do a real review of it soon), there's this passage about a psychologist who brought "encounter therapy" into a convent and basically destroyed it:
Quote:"I thought I was helping to make them [the sisters] more virtuous," explained Dr. Coulson, who used the fact that he was a Catholic and a University of Notre Dame graduate to sell the IHMs on the experiment.  He found that the technique helped break down what structure remained in the IHMs.  It attacked the notion of faith and quiet self-sacrifice that had made the order such a fixture in Los Angeles in the first place.

But evidence that this grand-scale experiment might be dangerous to the order came in only gradually.  "Yeah, we attacked their faith," he admits in an interview, "but only in terms of a deeper faith, a Freudian faith if you will."

Doesn't that sound fun and exciting?  (Of course, it begs the question of why the faith of sisters needed to be "broken down" in the first place.)  That same attitude ran through everything, from Liturgy to architecture to religious clothing to personal devotions.  Everything had to be broken down and experimented with to see what neat stuff might happen.

Nic Wrote:I find it very hard to believe, and keep in mind that I am a convert to the Faith only 5 years ago, that any person calling themselves "Catholic" in these days cannot see the absolute change in our religion.  I am a convert and I can see it easily, and a rather new convert at that.  Those who have been in the Church for years should know what the Church teaches.  I think that every person labelling themselves as Catholic knows this to be true,[...]

No, they really don't.  That may be hard for a convert to believe, but for cradle Catholics, it's just how we were taught.  The younger people never knew any different.  If the priests and nuns didn't seem to think it was important for us to know Church teaching, who were we to argue?  What teaching we did encounter was presented to us as a vague set of bromides about love and peace, with none of the specifics of a real Catechism.

I know plenty of people who truly think they're good Catholics, who miss Sunday Mass when it's too inconvenient, rarely (if ever) go to Confession, think all faiths are more or less valid, and think there's nothing wrong with using birth control.  They're not refusing to see anything or avoiding the truth; they're simply reflecting what they were taught.  It's how they were taught in Catholic school or CCD classes, and it's been reinforced from the pulpit.  These aren't even liberals who like the modern Church; some of them complain about guitar Masses and tracksuit-wearing sisters as much as any trad.  They just don't know anything else.
cgraye Wrote:They also had a thing where during the Prayers of the Faithful, anyone could yell out an intention.  One time I yelled out that we should pray for the conversion of my Jewish cousins.  Yeah, that...didn't go over well

Funniest quote so far, I think.  Which reminds me... The "spirit of VII" is a tragic and, I'm sure, evil influence  in the Church.  However, I think that a part of restoring the Church is to face the problem with seriousness, diligence, prayer, faith, and mirth.  I'm just as angry as the next trad, but I also think that God gave us laughter for very good reason.  Now, a convert's story, which is anything but funny...

I converted to Catholicism from atheism a little over three years ago.  I became a Catholic a little over two years ago.  My great great grandfather was a Ruthinian Rite Eastern Catholic priest who was moved to the states from Georgia, with a wife and family, etc.  He was also a very good religious artist.  One of the churches he designed and painted was St. Clement's in Chicago.  I had been to St. Clement's before, and it stood out to me as a beautiful Catholic church, so I thought I would do RCIA there (I was a very naive convert).  The RCIA class was headed by a fairly conservative woman with multiple degrees from Notre Dame.  It was also run by several other members of the congregation, most of whom were embedded dissenters and open homosexuals.  We never opened the Catechism and when we read the scripture passages on Sunday, we were asked how we felt about them.  Almost everything we talked about was heavily tinged with the social justice stuff (even the stuff the head woman talked about), and on the few occasions when she wasn't there, all we talked about was how backwards the Church was and had always been, how some day there would be women priests, married clergy, full endorsement of homosexuality, etc. etc.  We were told to dissent, and how to go about it.  I remember Call to Action being mentioned several times.  Things were more tame when the head woman was there, which I still find strange.   Finally , I had to leave the parish when, after the election of Obama, the parish decided it would have a clebration party.  Most of the priests there have their heads in the right place  (for NO priests), but are (as far as I could tell) completely at the mercy of these dissenters.  This was confirmed for me later when one of the priests confided in me that he was on medication for stroke-level high blood pressure because of the criticisms he would undergo from the embedded dissenters, about everything under the sun.  He got tons of flack from them once because he said the word "marriage" in a sermon, because "they" can't get married.  Maybe they've changed their tune now that, in many cases, they can...

So it's not always about bad clergy.  I think at least equally often, it's embedded dissenters in a parish.  The priest also told me that some left after Benedict became pope because they could no longer be members of a "homophobic" church, if you can believe it.  But he said that many stayed and have dug in their heals in order to change the Church from the inside.  Very scary stuff...

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