The posting by “Cat” is a wonderful window into what she and her family observed and felt as they attended Mass for the first time and came into the Catholic church. It should act as a sign to those who worry that the changes in the church brought about by Vatican II are problematic.
To me, the current liturgy brings the people closer to God and one another. One thing that I recall from my childhood attending the Latin Mass was that so many people were not following the liturgy but praying the rosary or reading from little books they brought with them. There was a great disconnect. We had to be alerted by bells at the Consecration. Now the people actually participate and offer the sacrifice of the Mass along with the Celebrant. I would think that is more like what the first Christian services were like.
DorianGregorian points out several of the changes, and then comments:
“It is sickening that all of this has been allowed to happen…”
Let’s take a look at a few of those changes and see what is so “sickening” about them.
“The Celebrant faces the congregation” – Did Jesus face away from the people when he preached and taught? Don’t think so. So in this regard we are going back to an earlier “tradition”.
“Elimination of Gregorian Chant” - replaced by music of “man”. So where did Gregorian chant come from, if not man? The great majority of today’s liturgical hymns are drawn directly from scripture. I can’t think of a much better or more meaningful source. I will admit that Gregorian chant is beautiful and should have a place in the Church, but at most Masses our current music is perfectly fine.
“Simplification of Vestments” – An improvement, but I personally think they could go even further. Again, what did Jesus and the early Apostles wear when they preached to the crowds and broke bread with their followers?
“Communion in Hand” – How was it done at the Last Supper, and in the early church? Why is my hand a less worthy receptacle than my tongue?
Greater participation by laity, including “altar girls” – The people are the Church, the Body of Christ. Why shouldn’t we all have a role, including “girls”? Considering that women were the majority of followers at the Cross, and were the first to see the risen Christ, they appear to have an equal claim to serving Him.
“Use of the vernacular” – Let’s see…what one language did the early church use throughout the Christian world? It wasn’t Latin, was it? It seems that in some places it was Aramaic, in others Hebrew, in others Greek, and in others some other local language. So having a liturgy in a language that the people understand is a bad thing? Has this destroyed the “unity of the Church”? I would contend that it does just the opposite. It tells me that the Catholic church is for all people, of all languages, not just for an elite few who understand Latin.
The one change that I personally noticed that seemed to be a concession to Protestants was adding the doxology (“The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours”) to the end of the Lord’s Prayer. But that apparently was not a big issue.
What really amazes me is that some people act like these changes were the result of some sort of conspiracy by “Protestants in disguise” working inside the Vatican. As I recall, Vatican II involved two Popes, Cardinals and the Bishops of the Church. I don’t know if you could get more Catholic than that.
JReducation gave very lucid and thorough explanations of the changes in defense of the Church’s liturgy, and emphasized theology and faith over liturgical forms as a reason to come to and remain in the church. I would concur; “substance” before “form”.