Stop Blaming Vatican II

Some people say the docs of V2 are unclear, when they really mean they disagree with them. It’s more diplomatic to avoid accusing bishops of false teaching, and instead imply that the good bishops and pope meant well, but other people exploited loopholes and ambiguities in the documents to do bad things that the pope and bishops never intended.

By focusing on ambiguities, writers, websites, or irregular status religious orders can last as long as they want. Who’s to say when things are “clarified” enough? It’s not measurable.

In 2020 dissenters aren’t often quoting Vatican 2, they’re quoting CNN, The NY Times, etc.


I agree that a spirit of rebellion seems to pervade those that promote various and sundry interpretations of the documents, particularly in opposition to the recent pontificates. It is very necessary to be careful there as sons and daughters of the Church. The role of the magisterium is to provide us the boundary lines, so to speak, and to say, “This or that interpretation is incorrect.” The magisterium does not do your thinking for you, however. They don’t meticulously interpret every word of every document so that the laity don’t have to.
Sufficiently clear teaching is that which reasonably communicates the intended doctrine without providing an easy path to error. If a heresy or error does result from some definition, it should be swiftly corrected. That’s the reason why the authority of the Church exists.
If the Magisterium won’t speak up, then who is to say that the critics are wrong to interpret the documents as they do? If it was important to the Church that only one interpretation of V2 should exist, they should get to the task of condemning the interpretations that are wrong. And they have done this on some points, like Feeneyism, and also through talks with the SSPX, but there still exists some open questions.
As far as I can tell, the Church is permitting discussion. They are engaging in dialogue with the SSPX leadership on doctrinal matters. Theologians such as Balthasar, Ratzinger, Rahner, and others disagree about various and sundry matters deriving from the Council. This indicates to me that the “development” of V2 has not been decided quite yet. It will take time for the Church to incorporate what is edifying and to further clarify what is not.
The form of the liturgy, as well, has undergone a constant reform since V2, and even within the last decade there have been adjustments made to the translations and guidelines.

Your post is well written but the sentences are unclear as to subject.

Who or what is unclear, the documents of V2, or current pope and bishops?

If the bishops are the ones supposed to correct false teaching, shouldn’t the conservative “critics” websites let them do their job, and stop attacking the bishops and Vatican 2 docs? don’t the Laity have other jobs to do?

The Church works best when fathers and mother’s do their own unique role…when kids are not empowered to be parents, when bishops do the bishops work and laity do the Laity s job.

The Church does poorly when blurred… when nuns act like laity, when the priest drinks and swears like one of the guys, when laity sit in the Bishop’s chair and evaluate the magisterium response, instead if bringing the gospel into the public square.

Whether the pope “speaks up” against this or that dissenter or not is no excuse for my inaction on abortion.

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Yes, when a bishop clarifies a document then I think the dissension should end. I was saying that the documents themselves don’t stand on their own, and require some elaboration by teachers.

That “poor modern stripped down liturgy” is closer to the first 600 years of the Church than the clericalized version that followed it. Strangely, that “poor stripped down liturgy” is what got the Church onto its feet; strange how well it worked then.

This is too close to the responses as to why people have been failing to attend Mass weekly since its peak in attendance in about 1957. Simplistic answers might sound good; but it takes true research to understand how society at large has changed over time and how the people in the pews, not being insulated from society at large, have been impacted.

And lest you think that I am someone with no experience, I started as an altar boy in the mid 1950’s.

You think that the OF Mass that we have now is akin to the first 600 years? Huh. Maybe in some places.


I don’t think I used the word “akin”. What I said was “closer”.

As the bishops of the world said in Sacrosanctum Concilium: "21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. "

Restoration - interesting use of the word.

“34. The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.”

Nobel simplicity now is passed off as “poor… stripped down”

"50. The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary."

“are now to be discarded” is not “stripped down”.

Akin was not used in the document either. However, it was clear from the document and the decades of liturgical research that the bishops intended to look to the Mass previous to its formation into what we now know as the the EF.

And the document passed, with most of the bishops of the world present, by 2,147 yes to 4 no.


Nicaea was extremely controversial. They had to have another council later that century (Constantinople) to try to re-establish that, yes, Nicaea did have the correct determinations. It may be considered settled now, but it certainly wasn’t at the time or for a good amount of time afterwards.

The Council of Chalcedon caused a major schism in the Church that persists to this day, with the Oriental Orthodox Churches being separate from the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The dogma of papal infallibility in Vatican I was hotly debated, with some refusing to accept it even afterwards. And like the Council of Chalcedon, created a schism lasting to this day with the Old Catholics.

The Great Schism wasn’t caused by a council, but there were subsequent attempts (Second Council of Lyons, Council of Florence) to mend it, which failed due to the Orthodox rejecting the councils afterwards. That seems awfully controversial when a large portion of those at the council outright reject it afterwards.

Just because they seem settled now–at least in the Catholic Church–doesn’t mean those councils they weren’t quite controversial in their day.


Yes that always seems weird that Vatican II disses the TLM so hard.


It took about 100 years for the documents of Trent to be fulfilled/followed/employed fully.

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Actually, I don’t see anywhere in the document - or any of the other 15 documents - that the EF was “dissed” I would invite you to read it if you haven’t, and if you have, then to read it again, but without injecting personal feelings onto the document.

I was born in 1946; my youngest brother in 1954. All four of us kids were given a missal when we were capable of using it - about 5th grade. I asked my youngest brother if any of his classmates had a missal; he could not recall a single one - nor could I of my classmates. And I remember all too well the number of people who would come to Mass and pull out their rosary or a novena booklet and say that during the Mass, looking up when the bells were rung by the altar boy and then going back to whatever they were doing. That was what the bishops were indirectly referring to when they urged, more than once that people actively participate in the Mass.

I was an altar server, up to and including being the MC at 2 Solemn High Masses; I entered college seminary in 1964 (and attended 2 years before transferring to another university) and I most definitely do not “hate” the EF. However I choose the OF; I was never particularly good at Latin in high school and college, and prefer to listen to English rather than try to read along in English while the priest speaks Latin. That is my preference. I was part of a schola who cut a record of Gregorian Chant (CDs had not been invented) while in the seminary. I hold that complex can be beautiful (Palestrina’s Mass is beautiful if sung by a professional voice choir) and simple can be beautiful (the Mass at my local Trappist Abbey).

Dissed? No. Not in the least.

Things that sound like an episcopal diss track:

  1. The term restoration, as you note
  2. Useless repetitions
  3. Elements… which have suffered injury
  4. Elements… that were added but with little advantage

Can you imagine characterizing the Tridentine Mass to some of the popes of the past? Sounds like disrespect to me.


I don’t know - are you saying that the Early Church of say the first 6 centuries did not get it right? Or is it just that you cannot consider that 2,147 bishops f the world may have known something aout liturgy that you either do not understand, or don’t want to understand?

I am not here trying to change your spirituality. I am trying to explain why the changes were made, referencing to the document that the Church uses to explain it.

I understand that some people are particularly attracted to the EF, and I have no problem whatsoever with that - as I said, I entered seminary in college when that was the sum and substance of our liturgy. But I for one have enough experience in pre-Vatican 2 Masses to understand what the bishops were dealing with - people who went to Mass “to fulfill their obligation” and Mass was to be endured.

As to prior popes, it is entirely possible that if someone well trained in liturgy had spoken with them concerning liturgical research (which did not start until the late 1800’s early 1900’s), that those popes would have understood perfectly hat was being said. I take neither popes nor bishops for being hide-bound.

There was a recent thread about attending the Ef in these forums, and sadly some people were insisting that saying a rosary during Mass was perfectly acceptable. I find that truly sad - and I don’t care if it is the EF or the OF. It certainly was not acceptable in my family in the 1950’s.

As you have responded to what I said, as opposed to what the bishops of the world said, I would again suggest that you sit down and read Sacrosanctum Concilium from start to finish not because I have any intention of swaying you from one form of the Mass to the other, but because this is a formal document of the Church; which you prefer to attend is a different matter. But failing to understand what the Church says leaves you more likely to simply be responding to prejudices. “Dissing” being an example.

The Novus Ordo Mass is a far cry from what the early church had. One of the earliest formal liturgies is the Divine Liturgy of St. James, which has been in use since the 4th century at the latest, and is still in use today. It is nothing like the Novus Ordo liturgy.

People need to stop perpetuating the myth that Vatican II brought us back to the traditions of the early church. The Church fathers wouldn’t recognize the Catholic Church today.


Funny, I see many more people simply “fulfilling their obligation” in OF Masses today than I do at EF Masses. I see many people in shorts and sandals, reading the bulletin or checking their phones during OF Mass. At EF Mass I see people following along (or in my case, struggling to follow along) in their missals (I rarely see a missal at a Sunday OF Mass). Granted it isn’t a fair comparison, generally people at EF Masses choose to be there rather than at an OF Mass in their own parish.


Presumably they did. Are you saying the OF is identical to the liturgy of the Early Church of the first 6 centuries? I think not.

If I had seen any evidence that our current liturgy was following the directions of Vatican II, rather than the weirdness that followed, maybe I would have something to judge on this point.
I’m still waiting for the Gregorian chant training academies for men and boys.

Oh. I thought we were discussing why the language of Vatican II seems almost rude about the Tridentine Latin Mass.
I noticed that you briefly attempted to justify the use of the word “restoration”, which can be used as a pejorative term. Seemingly to mean that the liturgy had fallen into bad condition. Why were the bishops so rude about the Tridentine Mass?

Also, I notice that you didn’t attempt to answer my other objections -
Use of these terms:

  1. “Useless repetitions”
  2. “Elements… which have suffered injury”
  3. “Elements… that were added but with little advantage”

Have you read CAF long? Have you ever read here that some current churchgoers feel like Mass is something to be endured? But now it can be physically painful, with loud amplifiers, drumsets?

A difference of opinion.
If we could see past popes’ reaction to some OF Mass complete with drumset, amplifiers, and pop-style vocals, (are they watching from heaven?), I wonder what they might say.
Restoration indeed.


I googled the Liturgy of St James and it seems not to be celebrated Ad Orientem or in Latin. It is around an altar and in Greek.

We use the St. James liturgy at least once a year (on his feast day) - I can confirm it is celebrated ad orientem

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It is only celebrated Versus Populum in the Greek tradition, on a temporary altar that is placed outside the iconostasis. This is because the Greeks celebrate it with 12 priests.

In all other traditions, the Liturgy of St. James is celebrated Ad Orientem in the vernacular, per Eastern tradition.

Also, there’s more to tradition in the West than celebrating Ad Orientem and in Latin.


So which is the original liturgy of St James and which are adaptations?

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