Read THIS article in the Catholic Herald about the development of the Novus Ordo
December 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Today is the 55th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which took place on December 4, 1963. It is a cause for amazement just how much nonsense people have attributed to it, how much harm they have justified by airy appeals to its supposed requirements.
Today, there are few who could tell you accurately what Vatican II actually did say about the liturgy—and more importantly, what it did not say. It may be helpful, therefore, to offer a brief overview of the most salient features of the Council’s teaching on the liturgy.
The introduction of Sacrosanctum Concilium exhibits a mystical, contemplative, symbolic vision of liturgy. The remainder enunciates two controlling principles for renewal: first, “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation (actuosa participatio) in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (§14); second, “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (§23).
In a 1998 address, John Paul II explained the meaning of the first principle:
Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song, and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness, and listening: indeed, it demands it. … In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be countercultural.
As for the second principle, the Constitution generally models the modesty it recommends. It brings forward various proposals, yet there is a surprising absence of the very things people most often associate with Vatican II.
Thus, the Council never said that Mass should cease to be in Latin and should only be in the vernacular. The Constitution reaffirmed that the fixed parts of the Mass would continue to be in Latin, the very language of the Roman Rite, but gave permission to vernacularize some parts, such as the readings and the general intercessions (§36; cf. §101). After stating that the people’s language may be used for some parts, the Council added: “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” (§54). Latin remains, to this day, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and of her liturgy. It is surprising, to say the least, that the aforementioned desiderata of Vatican II are only rarely achieved.
The Council never said that Gregorian chant should be set aside in favor of new songs. On the contrary, the Council acknowledged Gregorian chant as “specially suited to the Roman liturgy” and deserving “foremost place” (principum locum) in the celebration of Mass, along with the great musical compositions of our heritage (§114–§117). New songs could be added as long as they suited the liturgy—which most of the new songs after the Council didn’t and still don’t.
The Council breathed not a word about the priest “facing the people” over a table. The Council assumed that Mass would continue to be offered at an altar by a priest facing eastwards, so that priest and people were together aligned towards the East, symbol of the Christ who is to come—the universal custom of all liturgical rites, Eastern and Western, from the beginning. In fact, the rubrics of the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI presuppose that the priest is facing eastwards.
The Council never dictated that tabernacles be moved from the center of the church, that sanctuaries be “reordered,” or that altar rails be removed. It said nothing about receiving communion in the hand while standing. It assumed that communion under both species would continue to be of rare occurrence among the non-ordained (cf. §55); extraordinary ministers of holy communion are nowhere mentioned. Lastly, the Council did not downplay or discourage traditional practices of piety such as Eucharistic adoration and Marian devotions.
Consider how Pope John Paul II, in a 2001 address, explained the essence of the Mass:
The celebration of the Liturgy is an act of the virtue of religion that, consistent with its nature, must be characterized by a profound sense of the sacred. In this, man and the entire community must be aware of being, in a special way, in the presence of Him who is thrice-holy and transcendent. Consequently, the attitude of imploring cannot but be permeated by reverence and by the sense of awe that comes from knowing that one is in the presence of the majesty of God. … [The Mass] has, as its primary aim, to present to the Divine Majesty the living, pure, and holy sacrifice offered on Calvary once and for all by the Lord Jesus, who is present each time the Church celebrates Holy Mass, and to express the worship due to God in spirit and truth.
Anyone who attends a Catholic liturgy ought to be able to see, hear, and internalize the attitude and the aim of which the late Holy Father speaks. Pope Benedict XVI taught us, in word and in deed, the very same lessons. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote many years ago:
In the history of the postconciliar period, the Constitution on the Liturgy was certainly no longer understood from the viewpoint of the basic primacy of adoration, but rather as a recipe book of what we can do with the liturgy. In the meantime, the fact that the liturgy is actually ‘made’ for God and not for ourselves seems to have escaped the minds of those who are busy pondering how to give the liturgy an ever more attractive and communicable shape, actively involving an ever greater number of people. However, the more we make it for ourselves, the less attractive it is, because everyone perceives clearly that the essential focus on God has increasingly been lost.
Thanks to many acts and documents of Benedict XVI, above all Summorum Pontificum, the future of Catholic liturgy looks bright again—if only we will trust and embrace the age-old tradition of the Church. This treasury of wisdom and beauty is far more valuable than the wares of the so-called experts who set up their trade in the temple. When the Lord in His mercy wills it, He will prepare a whip of cords and drive them out.
The Christian people who have suffered so much from the “spirit of Vatican II” deserve to know what Vatican II really taught and did not teach about the liturgy—what it asked for, and what it did not ask for. Sacrosanctum Concilium will not come off looking blameless, but it cannot be blamed for the most obviously disastrous things that happened to the liturgy in the mid- to late 1960s. For this, the blame lies largely elsewhere, as a new biography shows with utmost clarity.
It is nauseating and profoundly shocking to see this sacrilegious
piece of garbage round the pope’s neck!
17. Since, however, We have spoken fully elsewhere on the Christian education of youth, let Us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: "As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously," - and this is also expressed succinctly in the Code of Canon Law - "The primary end of marriage is the procreation
53. And now, Venerable Brethren, we shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. Some justify this criminal abuse on the ground that they are weary of children and wish to gratify their desires without their consequent burden. Others say that they cannot on the one hand remain continent nor on the other can they have children because of the difficulties whether on the part of the mother or on the part of family circumstances.
54. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
55. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it."
56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: "They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.
58. As regards the evil use of matrimony, to pass over the arguments which are shameful, not infrequently others that are false and exaggerated are put forward. Holy Mother Church very well understands and clearly appreciates all that is said regarding the health of the mother and the danger to her life. And who would not grieve to think of these things? Who is not filled with the greatest admiration when he sees a mother risking her life with heroic fortitude, that she may preserve the life of the offspring which she has conceived? God alone, all bountiful and all merciful as He is, can reward her for the fulfillment of the office allotted to her by nature, and will assuredly repay her in a measure full to overflowing.
59. Holy Church knows well that not infrequently one of the parties is sinned against rather than sinning, when for a grave cause he or she reluctantly allows the perversion of the right order. In such a case, there is no sin, provided that, mindful of the law of charity, he or she does not neglect to seek to dissuade and to deter the partner from sin. Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.
60. We are deeply touched by the sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children.
61. However, they should take care lest the calamitous state of their external affairs should be the occasion for a much more calamitous error. No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian Faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent. "Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you."
62. This same doctrine was again solemnly repeated and confirmed by the Church in the condemnation of the Jansenist heresy which dared to utter this blasphemy against the goodness of God: "Some precepts of God are, when one considers the powers which man possesses, impossible of fulfillment even to the just who wish to keep the law and strive to do so; grace is lacking whereby these laws could be fulfilled."
Áve María, grátia pléna, Dóminus técum;
benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Jésus.
Sáncta María, Máter Déi,
óra pro nóbis peccatóribus, nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstræ.
with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when thou art near,
O King of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand,
Than if a host did round me stand.
destined time is fixed by thee,
And death doth know his hour.
Did warriors strong around me throng,
They could not stay his power;
No walls of stone can man defend
When thou thy messenger dost send.
life I yield to thy decree,
And bow to thy control
In peaceful calm, for from thine arm
No power can wrest my soul.
Could earthly omens e’er appal
A man that heeds the heavenly call!
child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait
Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs,
Thou art our trust, O King of kings.