A thought experiment: there were no Vatican ll reforms. What is the state of the Church in the Anglophone world in 2018?

Exceedingly well said.

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I think that would be extraordinarily distressing if such a thing could ever happen. So . . . no.


Reversing Vatican 2 will not fix the culture shock of the '70s

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Well really more the 60s, but point taken.


Eh? It’s splitting hairs at this point, but the council ended in '69.
(edit: nope, '65. See post 47)

Either way, same result.

'62 - '65

Called in 1959

Ah, okay. My bad then. Will edit post.

It was fine before the Council?

The peak of attendance at Mass was about 1957. According to CARA, That equated to 60% of Catholics attending Mass weekly. and the lines for confession were not particularly any different than than they are now for the number of people attending Mass regularly - in fact, due to the drop off, they may actually be effectively “longer” - in other words, the percentage of those attending Mass may now be higher.

Mass attendance started dropping off then, and has continued at a fairly even pace since then, in spite of the anecdotal comments about large numbers quitting after the OF was put in place; but then, anecdotal commentary never likes the reality of numbers.

Significantly fewer than half of any given group of attendees had a missal. The rest were saying their Rosary or were engaged in reading other devotional tracts, none of which were centered on the Eucharist. and we would continue to have some men, sitting in the last pews, who as before likely came late and left early, and some of whom could be could reading the local Catholic paper during Mass. Note: all of this comes from sociological surveys made during Mass, in research done in the early to mid 1950’s, and is consistent with my experience (having been born in 1946).

The use of the Baltimore Catechism would still be in place, so people would know doctrine. But, as before, the majority would be doctrinally educated, but too often have little connection to faith, other than as a rule-based behavior. One of the constant questions was “How late can I come to Mass and still fulfill my obligation”, the corollary of “how soon can I leave…”. Both questions show an attitude of enduring Mass - a Low Mass on Sunday taking 30 to 40 minutes at most; a High Mass adding 10 to maybe 20 minutes depending on what the choir sang And we did not have Solemn High Masses every rainy Tuesday - one a year (Christmas at or near midnight).

We would not have the lay theologians like we do now, as much of that was an opening to the faithful to study theology - so likely no Scott Hahn’s, or Brant Pitre. And likely we would have seen the continul erosion of Perpetual Adoration.

We would, however, have had the sexual abuse crisis, as a high percentage of the abusers were ordained prior to the Council. And the bishops who failed so terribly to respond properly to the crisis would have done so because so many were the product of pre-Vatican 2; a Church which had the 1st Vatican Council with focus on the Pope, but little or no focus on the bishops, and they in large part would have continued with the bureaucratic mindset rather than the shepherd mindset. What drove the secrecy aspect of the bishops’ reactions would still be firmly in place.


Some of us were around when Jack Kennedy went to the Baptists and said, in so many words, “I will be Catholic in private, but I will not let the Church tell me what to do as President”.

He made it very clear that the Church would not have a place at the table when it came to conversations about Politics Yes, we were in retreat from the world, if one listened to him.

Is it better, then, to have Catholic politicians who set aside Church teachings to get elected?

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When I was a kid, born in 1956, most people attending Mass didn’t approach for communion. This is a major change provoked in part by the V2 council. The idea of virtually everyone in attendance receiving is something relatively new

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People just need to accept Vatican II happened. The idea was to make the Church more accessible for the era.

I don’t know about you, but fasting for 3 hours before Communion? No thanks.

I don’t think that not having those reforms just to say we didn’t change in the 1960s is very flawed reasoning for a couple of reasons.

First, a lot of the problems in the West didn’t start with Flower Power or the sexual revolution. The kind of cultural changes they are talking about made their way long before that.

Second, the Church has historically been very malleable on certain cultural practices. That’s why a lot of people get confused and think the Church just took in pagan rituals willy-nilly, but in reality, it’s been a powerful force for evangelization.

Third, any argument that the Protestants are infiltrating the Church is really bogus at this point. I won’t even say it happened, but the main driving cultural force is not Protestantism. It’s a conflict between Western liberalists of all stripes vs. post-modernists and to some degree the emergence of sharia law.

I think rehashing Vatican II (which may be a banned topic on here) is a complete waste of time. We need to move on as a Church, see the world for it is today and head up those new challenges. I’m tired of us being tossed around by other Faiths/philosophies which has not served us well in the last 50 years.


I’m taking the OP at his/her word. It’s just a thought experiment.

Huh. I never thought of this as a big deal and I’ve tried it myself from time to time. Fasting from midnight to communion is a far bigger challenge for some. Still doable in many circumstances.

Holy cow, I hope that doesn’t happen. One of the most significant events in the last 100 years of Church history should never be a banned topic here.


Oh, we cared about saving souls back then; we had penny collections to save pagan babies. But the greater majority of active Catholics (meaning whose who attended Mass regularly) focused on doctrine and discipline as their primary focus. If those babies could be baptized, they could be saved. And being saved was following the rules, but extended precious little beyond that for the average pew warmer.

And I am a firm believer that Bishop Robert Barron is exactly on point. He calls himself a “post liberal”. not retreating to pre-Vatican 2 perspective, and moving beyond the post Vatican 2 perspective. As he notes, post Vatican 2 was centered on the experiential side - what am I experiencing. By his definition, post liberal is a move to a Christocentric faith.

And that “only pastoral Council” had the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation,and the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, so maybe we can get past that bit of blather implying that doctrine and dogma were not part of the Council. No, it did not define any new doctrine or dogma, but the bit of it only being “pastoral” is used to minimize and by implication, trivialize any significance of the Council.


Would you mind providing your references / sources for this statement?

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The Latin Mass is still being said.

In the words of Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich:

  1. “I wish the time were here when the Pope dressed in red will. reign. I see the Apostles, not those of the past, but the apostles of the last. times, and it seems to me, the Pope is among them I was likewise told if I remember right that he (Satan) will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000


Fr. Anibale Bugnini headed a commission that included protestants set up by paul VI with the purpose to implement the Councils teaching on the liturgy. Fr. Bugnini stated that one of his intentions in designing the Novus Ordo was “to strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.” L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965


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The EF was not “thrown away” to small communities. When less than 3% of the parishes in the US have any form of the EF, and a significant number of them only having it on a weekday, or less than weekly, the reality comes to the surface - the vast majority of people prefer the OF. And I have spoken in the past with people a generation and 2 generations older than me, and to a person, when asked if they liked the changes to the Mass, to a person they said “Oh yes!” and followed that with their joy to have the Mass in English. few remarked about the direction the priest faced, with more liking ad populum than not, and none ever discussed changes to the rubrics. And they were all people who had been born to farm families, and most were still connected to farms - none of them city people.

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