Hi! My name is Martha and this is my first visit to this threads. I don’t quite understand what I’m doing, but I hope to get some help from some of you guys. I am a cradle catholic and I believe that the catholic church is the one true church established by Jesus while he was on earth. What I am confused about is all the different changes that came about after Vatican II. Things that weren’t allowed are ok now and it seems that the awe of God is gone from our churches. Do any of you feel this way.
Hi Martha - welcome! I don’t claim to be very well versed in the documents of Vatican II. Of course it brought about changes in different areas such as the sacred liturgy and the Church’s relationship with the laity. However, it seems to me that many of these changes which we are told came out of Vatican II are actually the result of un-thorough reading of the documents and blatant disobedience on the part of a number of people in the Church. One of the main things we hear - and it is often a topic of discussion here - is the “reorganisation of the sanctuary”. Even some of our great cathedrals have been destroyed by authorities who have ripped out the beautiful, ornate high altars and have taken Christ (in the tabernacle) out of focus and moved Him to the sideline. One church I know reordered its interior a few years ago - amidst much protest. The traditional seating was reorganised so as the people were no longer facing the tabernacle and the altar - the seats were put facing into the nave, with the altar half way down the nave. The reason “we have to bring the people to the centre of the Mass” - this reasoning makes me angry and sad: CHRIST is the centre of the Mass, and while Vatican II may have wanted more lay participation in the Mass, the intention was not that Christ would fade into the background.
Other treasures of the Church we thrown out by priests misreading the texts. There were many traditional polyphonic choirs (specialising in the music of Palestrina etc) which were done away with because such choirs were seen by some as disencouraging lay participation in the Mass. This sort of thing was never permitted by Vatican II. Ancient music from chant to the works of Renaissance masters are regarded by the Church as the music to which all Church music should aspire. And what do we have today - too few polyphonic choirs, the average parish church hasn’t had a piece of Gregorian Chant sung in over half a century, if ever. Not only that, but there are so many people - many here on CAF - who lament the dire quality of music in their churches.
Then we get the Second Vatican Council being used by some priests as an excuse for their abuses during the liturgy. I read a story - I think it was on this forum - where the priest (if I remember correctly) did not make the sign of the Cross at the beginning of Mass. When the person asked the priest about it, they were told that Vatican II got rid of the requirement to make the sign of the Cross at the start of Mass! An absurd statement, but there are so few people who know or understand in detail what Vatican II actually did want, that they can be fooled by people who put everything strange or new down to Vatican II when in fact, it is their own disobedience to the Church which is often at fault.
In your opinion, why have all these changes been allowed to happen by our bishops, cardinals, and even our Popes. What will it take to make Jesus the center of the mass again and to bend our knees at the sound of His name again? Our Father ALMIGHTY deserves more. Martha
Martha I only find in the churches I attend that Jesus in fact remains the centre of the Mass and that He is loved and honoured. It’s sad that this isn’t your experience in your region. I pray it soon will be so.
God bless you for your love and concern for our God,
Martha, I don’t have a definitive answer to this - but I am sure that a lot of it is down to hasty interpretations of documents of the Council - even by individual bishops. We had a case in Ireland (in fact it’s ongoing) with a bishop who wants to reorganise the sanctuary of his cathedral to bring it “in line with Vatican II” requirements. This was despite much public protest and media attention. Incidentally a letter has turned up which was published in a local newspaper about a decade ago by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in which he stated that there was no need to change the sanctuary of that same cathedral! Imagine - despite this letter from one of the highest ranking Churchmen, the bishop has, even a decade later, attempted to proceed with his plans. But, while the shepherds are supposed to lead the flock, we ourselves have a responsibility to ensure that Christ is not lost. We have a major part in making sure that Christ is the focus of the Mass, and we must sometimes work harder to ensure that we maintain our focus on Him - for example, in churches where the seating can make it more tempting to focus on the person sitting across from you rather than the Sacrifice of the Altar. Where there are blatant abuses - like where the priest claims that the sign of the cross is not necessary since Vatican II - we have a duty to, as charitably as possible, bring the issue to the attention of the priest. The duty of realising the decrees of Vatican II falls to all of us - from the Holy Father down to all of the lay Faithful - but I know it would be much easier to to do so if there was a universal interpretation, so as we’d all be singing from the same hymn sheet!
Thank you for your response. I guess I think that there should be more love, devotion, and awe of Jesus and what He did for us during the mass. Our priest, God help him, has many problems and he tries to help us as if we have the same problems during mass. Maybe some of us do, but we also need to hear from God on how to save our souls, do penance, convert sinners, etc. Every Sunday its the same sermon, “Stay in the Moment”. Use your fingers to bring you back. I’m sorry if I sound bitter or angry, I just have to forgive him, pray for him (which I do) and go just to receive Our Lord. Martha:shrug: