Thoughts on Vatican II and a question for you
#6
(07-23-2009, 03:12 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: If Vatican II was never convened and the Novus Ordo Mass never issued, do you think <A HREF="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm#III" Target="_blank"><A HREF="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm#III" Target="_blank">Modernists</A></A> would have gained a stronghold anyway and brought their novelties into the TLM? Of course any attempts to do so would have been greatly restricted rubrics wise. But I'm thinking also of liberal and unorthodox sermons.

Yes, the Modernists would have done exactly what you stated...and, in fact, they actually did so for many years prior to the Council.  I sadly do not have my references handy, but I know there are instances of the use of "people's altars," laymen processing to the altar like the presentation of the gifts, lay homilies and so forth since at least the 1940s.  I seem to recall that someplace in Minnesota (possibly invovling St. John's University?) was especially intent on bringing about a liturgical revolution in the decades leading up to the 1960s.

I do not think we should kid ourselves in thinking that bad catechesis, sloppy liturgy, unorthodox or heretical sermons, or any other less than desireable trait of the last 100 years is new.  As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun.  If the liturgy had always been practiced with piety and according to the rubrics, there never would be a need for a pope or bishop to compose a statement stating the necessity of piety and obedience while celebrating Mass...yet there are hundreds of documents dating back hundreds of years that do just that.  There were heretics before the twentieth century, and there will be heretics in the future.  Although some people appear to believe otherwise, the traditional Latin Mass IN AND OF ITSELF is not a safeguard against heresy or simple stupidity.  If it were, then there would have been no problems for the first 1970 years after Christ's birth.

I somewhat agree with you Lisa that, at least in some parts of the US, there was a bit of "laziness" on the part of the faithful and clerics.  I think it had as much to do with the composition, history and general climate of the nation itself rather than an overall "impiety" of the faithful, though.  Many parts of the country were heavily influenced by Irish Catholicism which is externally remarkably different than "German Catholicism," "French Catholicism," "Italian Catholicism," etc...  To a degree this was due to the way the Church and the faithful had to survive in Ireland for many years - many of the traits of Irish Catholicism immigrated to the US along with the Irish themselves.  I sadly do not have the resources or the time at the moment to delve into this topic more, but hopefully somebody else does.  I do not intend to imply that Irish Catholics were lazy - rather, I mean that they might appear externally lazy to an ignorant eye.

In short, I think that most people (laymen and clerics) in most places were very devout in their practice of the Faith...they generally tried very hard to do the right thing, to worship God properly, and so forth.  Their methods of piety may not have been ideal and may have even been at odds with what some popes and bishops stated on the matter, but I think they truly put out a pious and concerted effort to save their souls and the souls of their family and friends.  Sadly, some "traits" of certain groups became ingrained in American Catholicism which allowed and at times fostered the negative changes within the Church.  For example, the silent Low Mass became the standard for every Mass at many parishes - few had Solemn High Masses even on principal feasts, Sunday Vespers were often neglected, sermons were ineffectual, and so on.  I do not mean to disparage Low Masses - I quite like them, myself.  However, some people "need" more than a Low Mass each week to be spiritually fulfilled - they "need" the chant, hymns, incense, pageantry, etc...  I think many priests were misled by the Modernists so that the parish priests believed the New Mass would essentially enable them to have the "richness" of the Solemn High Mass at each Mass they celebrated.  The sad fact of the matter, though, is that nearly every New Mass celebrated today is the equivalent to a poorly celebrated Low Mass...in which the congregation is forced to externally "participate" while doing very little (if anything) to foster interior participation.

I believe that, if nothing else, the "cultural force" of many Catholics would have withstood the Modernist charge for a few years (decades?) if the situation remained as it was in the 1950s.  People were very attached to the Faith not just because it was the Faith, but because it was also their heritage.  They would have been upset about changes to the Mass, rejection of popular devotions, etc...simply because it was a change and not what was "in their blood."  Many would have succomed sooner or later, though, depending on how the official fight against Modernism was waged.  Left to our own devices, we can only survive for a short while.  I really am hard-pressed to think that Vatican II or liturgical changes after Vatican II improved matters very much for the laity.  Sure, they could see the action on the altar better when the priest turned his back to the tabernacle...but did they internalize any better what they were able to see?  You would think that people would be better able to understand the prayers of the Mass when said in the vernacular, but do most people really understand the Mass any more now than 60 years ago?  They may have realized that loving and helping your neighbor is a requirement of a good Christian, but what have they neglected in the name of pursuing "social justice?"  I think that the general aims of Vatican II were well-intentioned...that is, it wanted to make the Faith more important, understandable and appreciated by the laity.  But it seems to have had the exact opposite effect (for a variety of reasons).  I do not think we can blame only the Council for the dreariness of the past 40-50 years, but I also do not think it should be held up as an example of the way a Council should be held, should be presented to the people, etc...  It was conducted and presented in such a way that peole "knew the Faith was changing," when in fact the Faith cannot change.  It allowed very diverse and harmful things to be done and said, and the hierarchy of the past 50 years have been very reluctant to put their collective foot down and declare "Enough is enough of this heretical silliness of the Spirit of Vatican II."

I hope this long-winded - and probably confused - answer helps!  I am sure when I re-read it I will notice that I came nowhere close to answering your question...I apologize!

[Edited for clarification in the last main paragraph.]
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Re: Thoughts on Vatican II and a question for you - by Miles_Dei - 07-23-2009, 04:10 PM



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