It is becoming more widely known that what common know-how says about the proclamations of Vatican II are worlds apart from what the council actually envisioned. This is largely due to the efforts of faithful Catholics encouraging all to read the documents of the council and form their own impressions, rather than going by the very loose, even dishonest, interpretations of certain unorthodox people that shall go unnamed. Here are some pertinent sections from Sacrosanctum Concilium:
- Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
- … 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.
- In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office.
- The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
- In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.
The Council Fathers clearly envisioned that use of Latin would be retained in Holy Mass and Divine Office, and that Gregorian chant, polyphony, and the organ would be retained for sacred music. The sections that I cited above all contain a clause somewhere along the lines of “… but if this is not possible, restrictions are loosened to accommodate a next-best scenario”. But I think one would have to be either naive or polemic to believe that settling on the “four-hymn” Mass with no Latin or Gregorian chant/polyphony/organ, justifying it with the exceptionary clauses of SC but and then leaving the issue alone entirely, is fulfilling the Fathers’ wishes.
So, CAF, here is my question to you: do you think that we are morally obligated to encourage and work so that the celebration of Holy Mass and Divine Office will be in accordance with the ideals of the Second Vatican Council? Of course there are a few exceptions to these ideals – for example, it was never really expected that missions outside of Europe and the Americas would always have all-Latin Masses – but generally speaking: assuming no extraordinary circumstances, do you think one is at fault, or even sins, by not encouraging their parish or diocese to try and use Latin and Gregorian chant?