Did Vatican II "open the door" to liturgical abuse?

Someone told me that Vatican II “opened the door” to liturgical abuse, I thought this was absolutely ridiculous. Your thoughts?

There was liturgical abuse before Vatican II. This is rarely ever mentioned. It was not as widespread, but it existed. In addition, the world has changed in more ways in the past 50 years than in any other 50 year period. It is impossible, and irresponsible to attribute the spreading of abuses to Vatican II alone. Blaming Vatican II distracts from finding the actual causes.

If the pre-VII Mass was the only form used today, there would still be “abuse.”

The Priests who are guilty of liturgical abuse in today’s OF Mass would most likely do a shabby job with the pre-VII Mass.

There would still be some problems either way. Plus, in some places, Parishes might not have enough men in the Minor Orders to allow anything more than a Low Mass.

Lets keep in prospective that the Priests who celebrate the EF today are usually very ritualistic - loveing liturgy & ritual. So they are going to do a great job with the EF and OF.

I agree.

I figure most priests didn’t know Latin well enough to purposfully abuse the liturgy. Perhaps the liturgical abuses of the time were more thanks to local customs that over the years made their way into the mass? Masses are now done in the vernacular and it may be easier for the priest to change a word here or there since they have a better grasp on the language. This wasn’t the intention of the council. What Vatican II really opened the door to was the option of change and this was heavily taken advantage of.

I grew up in a Jesuit Parish waaaaaaaay before V II -like in the 1940’s- in which all of the priests were fluent in Latin - to the point where they would have personal conversations in Latin with each other just for the fun of it.
Anyway, I was an Altar Boy from about 8 years old on, and I distinctly remember priests who would rush through a Low Mass in about 15 minutes…and berate the Altar Boys because we did not say our responses fast enough. Of course, these Masses were never in public, but in their private Chapel in the Rectory.

Indeed. Vatican II decided on guidelines for continuing Mass reforms. (They had been started back in the late 40’s.) What Vatican II also did was to commission the work of language and liturgy to certain committees and then allow the final version with various options to be available at the parish level. I suppose one can always say this or that is not what Vatican II intended but ultimately the different cultures (African, British, French, Spanish, American, etc.) would determine what would be appropriate for those cultures. (Via dancing, clapping, music, adlibbing, translations, etc.)

  1. Many pre-V2 Masses were horrendous. Folk music wasn’t invented by V2. It was popular at the time. There were pre-V2 folk Mass settings. Also, priests often slurred their Latin (with a Boston accent) at light speed so that not even those fluent in Latin could understand it. In fact, that still happens today in the EF. People just tend not to notice because they don’t know Latin anyway.

  2. Everyone experimented with everything in the 60s and 70s, not just Catholics. It can even be argued that V2 was a product of its times, not the instigator. Had V2 not happened, priests still would’ve experimented. After all there was no pre-V2 prohibition against versus populum.

  3. Never in the history of religion have lay people been so aware of the rubrics. We notice abuses today because you can read the GIRM online. Even 20 years ago, the priest could’ve invented some part of the Mass and nobody in the pews would’ve known any better.

  4. Some “abuses” aren’t really abuses. People get really sensitive about practices they don’t like and call them abuses when they’re actually permitted. E.g., you can hold hands during the Our Father. In fact, this is how legitimate traditions begin. Someone changes something and it catches on. A few hundred years later, it becomes the norm. In 2314, the GIRM will say, “All hold hands during the Our Father.” BTW, I don’t like holding hands during the Our Father but it’s not an abuse.

We hear this often. Yet the very first changes made after Vatican II removed the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel, and shortened the communion formula. Why was all that?

The accent couldn’t be helped at any rate. My parish priest has something of an Irish accent when he says the mass in Latin (not a bad thing; his voice in sung masses resembles Sydney MacEwan!) and the other preist who sometimes says mass has more of a Spanish one. Likely thanks to my listening of many masses with Italian soloists I do my best to make my responses in the mass in more of an Italiante tone. :smiley:

It is in the immature or wild parts of our human nature to take advantage of change. When the substitute teacher would come to class, many students would make up the curriculum for the sub. So too, did some in the Church change a few things to suit their whims. I have heard a few priests improvise with the communion prayers, inserting some strange reference such as “Forgive us our sins, especially the sin of a lack of imagination.” Were they intentionally taking advantage or were they taught by a rogue?

Vatican II in itself did not ‘open the door’ to liturgical abuse. Vatican II was actually a set of 16 fairly conservative documents, and Sacrosanctum Concilium was not radical and liberal by any means. Sacrosanctum Concilium said that Latin be kept in the Mass (in some form), that the Gregorian chant should be given pride of place in the Liturgy, the pipe organ be held in high esteem, and that popular devotional practices of the Catholic faithful be highly commended.

It wasn’t Vatican II that led to a rise in liturgical abuse, it was the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ mentality that saw the wording of Vatican II documents simply as a starting point, as a sign pointing towards further unwritten ‘reforms’. So they ‘pushed the envelope’ right up to the edge of what was permitted and then used the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ to justify going beyond the boundaries. A kind of, “You need to break the rules to make new rules” mentality. Perhaps viewing themselves as pioneers helping to mould a new progressive Church for the benefit of future generations.

Vatican II was very much needed, and the documents set out a well needed framework of how the Church ought to engage with post-modern society, but the documents were not an embracing of post-modern society, which is what the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ movement seemed to think.

Thankfully the priests that attended seminaries under John Paul II and Benedict XVI seem to be inclined to take Vatican II documents as they are written, and not in a ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ interpretation as some slightly older priests seem to. I think that the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ movement is diminishing, let’s hope it doesn’t see a new resurgence.

There was liturgical abuse before Vatican II. Priests often rushed through the Masses, and skipped parts. I said an entire Low Mass once (I’m not a priest, I just said the words) and I said it pretty fast, and it still took me 25 minutes. The only explanation is that the priests skipped some parts to make it shorter.

There are those who say that if we restored the EF, there would be less liturgical abuse. That’s not true. The diocesan priests that abuse the Novus Ordo would probably abuse the EF. That is why I don’t ask my pastor for a TLM, because I won’t allow him to abuse the EF (I know that sounds uncharitable, but it’s true).

There’s going to be liturgical abuse, no matter how strict you make the Mass.

Thank you all for your inputs!

God Bless!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.