Do the documents of Vatican II say


I was at Bible study today when we went off on a tangent and our leader mentioned how great Vatican II was because it put the Mass in the vernacular and the priest faced the people. I’ve read several of the documents, but I don’t have a photographic memory, so I’m wondering if you all can help me out. Did Vatican II specifically say that the priest should celebrate Mass facing the people? If so, in what document? If not, are there any other documents from the Vatican that say Mass should be celebrated with the priest facing one way or another?

I don’t mean for this thread to be about whether VII was good or bad, or even if one way is better than another way, so please don’t go off topic. I just think that people say VII did this when it really didn’t, and I’m wondering if this is one of those times.

Thanks in advance.




If not, are there any other documents from the Vatican that say Mass should be celebrated with the priest facing one way or another?

Both ad orientem and ad populum are approved. The Novus Ordo can also be celebrated ad orientem, though it rarely is.



Just to add a point of interest:

Prior to Vatican II, Mass could be said in the vernacular. All that was needed was an OK from the local Bishop.

I don’t seem to remember a lot of complaining about the Latin Mass prior to Vatican II and I don’t remember vast numbers of parishes begging the arch dioceses for permission to say the Mass in English.

So my question is: Why…did the Mass change to English after Vatican II :confused:



The Vatican council was spread over a number of years, and it was conducted with all the hoopla that you can imagine, especially when “television” and “television news” were really becoming the things people could not live without. So, the media brought the council into the homes of catholics and developed in them such expectations.

What happened in my diocese, as far as I could tell, is nothing. I didn’t see the bishop holding workshops about what had happened. Things just were developed behind the scenes. We moved into the era of a lot of guitar masses and hootenanny masses, as they were called. A lot of people were upset, but that was not newsworthy, except now in the falloff in Mass attendance.

This change in unabated, at least in my parish, where now the late Sunday mass is the children’s Mass, where many dumbing-down things happen.



Sacrosanctum Concilium called for the treasures of scripture to be opened up to the people and this therefore required the readings (of which there were now two) and the Gospel to be read in the vernacular. The introduction of the Prayers of the Faithful would also be re-introduced, adding another section in the vernacular. With so much vernacular specifically introduced, along with the call for full, active, and conscious participation by the faithful in the liturgy, it was only logical that most of the Mass would be celebrated in the vernacular.



No, and for the most part, he shouldn’t. The rubrics say that for the presidential prayers (such as the Collect), the priest should be facing the people, which makes sense. But not celebrating the Eucharistic Prayer ad orientem is senseless 99.9% of the time (the .1% exception being for the historical cathedrals and monasteries that were built with versus populem in mind, which is OK).



It eventually changed to Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, French, and whatever other language there were translators for. I doubt if the older Mass had as many attempted translations.



Do you have a link or a citation to a source that confirms this? And do you mean the entire Mass, or parts such as the readings?



This is incorrect. Bits and pieces of certain liturgies (eg Baptism) could be done in the vernacular, but the majority of liturgical texts as a whole, including all of the Mass parts, had to be in Latin all the time.



[quote="Elizium23] Do you have a link or a citation to a source that confirms this? And do you mean the entire Mass, or parts such as the readings?

1962 -1964 St Ignatius Cathedral, (Chapel of the University of San Francisco) Several Masses said in English with permission of the Archbishop. I was there.

Sunday Mass at the Cathedral in Osaka Japan said in ENGLISH. 1964. I was there. I asked the priest who said Mass about the language. He said there was a large portion of English speaking Catholic westerners in the community and most Catholic Japanese were fluent in English so…it was “convenient” to use English…Also, according to him, Latin was very difficult to translate effectively into Japanese.

I will do as much research as possible to support my claim. But nothing is stopping you guys from finding something proving me wrong.



I agree with you.

It is a sad commentary.



K, but by that time the 1962 Missal as such didn’t really exist anymore. Or, that is to say, “the Latin Mass,” as such, didn’t exist anymore. This is not prior to Vatican II but during it. The 1962 Missal existed unscathed, so to speak, only for a very short time. So from sometime in early Church history to 196xish, in the West, the vast majority of words in the liturgy were in Latin (or Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic as the case may be for those who wish to call me out on that). I guarantee that in 1960, for example, the Mass itself in Osaka would have been entirely in Latin/sacral tongue, not English, nor Japanese.



That would have been after Pope John died. His Veterum Sapientia essentially banned the mutable vernacular.



Perhaps somebody should mention that Eastern Catholics have used the vernacular for a long time, so Fulton Sheen for instance was able to celebrate the Mass in English before Vatican II by celebrating in a non-Roman rite.



“His” Veterum Sapientia was a document of Vatican II and was not promulgated until 1965.
Then it took a few years to to work through channels.



Do you have source for this? VS was only translated into English and Spanish (yrs?) so in that sense it has to this day not worked itself through all channels. My understanding is that Veterum Sapientia is an Apostolic Constitution, the highest level of decree issued by the Pope (per Wiki) and was issued only a few months before Pope John XXIII convened Vatican II.




Veterum Sapientia is NOT a document of Vatican II. I confused it with another document. My fault for not maintaining fluency in Latin. :doh2:



You are correct, it was an Apostolic Constitution by Pope John XXIII and was issued only a few months before Vatican II.

However, Vatican II nullified Veterum Sapientia as well as The Roman synod that was convened by John XXIII. It was declared “tanquam non fuerit.” “As if it had never been.”



How does one nullify the wisdom of the ancient fathers, Pius XI, Trent, etc.? Don’t forget, Vatican II itself gave more authoritative weight to successive Popes rather than one Pope.

AFAIK, Vatican II reinforced it and VS is still in effect. See Canon 249, for example.



That’s a good question, Pro.

Someone must have nullified it…otherwise the Mass would be in Latin today.


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