Vatican II and the Roman Rite


#1

I have a question about the Mass of the second Vatican council, and I was wondering why was the Roman Rite changed when the Latin Mass is so perfect? I don’t understand why such a beautiful liturgy would be replaced. Plus, why does the Priest now face the people instead of God in the tabernacle? This is something that I keep questioning and I desire to learn why the change. Thank you and may God bless!


#2

Read this.


#3

One increasingly held view is that what happened liturgically after the Council was, to a lesser or greater degree, not actually desired and mandated by the Council.

There is such a thing that happened called the Second Vatican Council, and the Council Fathers did write a document called Sacrosanctum Concilium, but often, after reading the document, you come away scratching your head, asking yourself, “I do not see how what we got was, in practice, what was called for.”

That is all I shall say.


#4

Aside from seconding what Oneofthewomen said (i.e., actually read the documents of the Second Vatican Council), I also want to say a few things:

The Extraordinary Form (what you incorrectly call the Latin Mass, as the Ordinary Form is also in Latin, although may be performed in the vernacular). The answer is that no Mass here on earth is perfect. There is only one perfect Mass, being perpetually performed in Heaven. Other than that, Mass seeks to unite us as much as possible with that perfect Mass. However, we change. History, how we approach the world, and how we understand things all change. Mass is not about something new, but about the same everlasting Truth presented in a different and more understandable way. The Extraordinary Form has not always existed. It was codified to address new understandings, new approaches, and new theological developments. We can debate and discuss whether the changes that were made were appropriate or not, but whether change itself is always bad (which seems to be a common idea among some people) is ridiculous.

Secondly, you have your facts wrong. It is not that the priest faced the tabernacle and Christ, but rather that he faced East. This is what is important. Previous to the codification of the Extraordinary Form, it was more common for priest to face whichever way was East, whether that was versus popularum (facing the people) or ad orientum (facing East; also, forgive my Latin spelling).


#5

Turning the Priest towards the people regardless of Church orientation (Versus Populum) - Not in any Vatican II document.

Removal of altar railings - Not in any Vatican II document.

Communion in the hand vs. Kneeling on the tongue - Not in any Vatican II document.

The complete wholesale removal of Latin from the liturgy - Not in any Vatican II document. Actually, it was supposed to be retained to a certain extent in the liturgy according to Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The over-use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (at almost Mass) - Not in any Vatican II document.

The elimination of Gregorian chant in Catholic liturgy - Not in any Vatican II document. On the contrary, it was actually to be retained.

Liturgical innovations (novelties) by Parish Priests - Not in any Vatican II document.

The removal of the tabernacle from the Sanctuary (in many cases) - Not in any Vatican II document.

I could go on, but I think you get the general idea. The problems came after the Council with the interpretations (or misinterpretations) of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium).

mda


#6

Maybe there is no perfect Mass, but that is hardly what those of us who love the Extraordinary Form complain about. The EF came to be slowly, through centuries, and always adding to the reverence. The OF in some way was too “radical” of a change, and it has been literally proven that in 40 years that change was not something anyone in their right mind would call good.

I love the Ordinary Form, don’t get me wrong. But it is simply too open to errors, customization, irreverence. You simply cannot find this in the EF. Everything took centuries to be what it is, and everything had a solid mystical meaning. In fact, we could not understand the Ordinary Form if we don’t study what the usus antiquor was!

For instance: sometimes people are puzzled at the sign of the cross when the priest says “that they may become for us the body and blood”, and they mistakenly assume that this is when the transubstantiation takes place. That’s because in the usus antiquor the priest would trace many, many crosses at different moments of the liturgy, since the cross is not a “magic sign” but an invocation (or, for a priest, a giving) of God’s blessing. The transubstantiation would actually be fulfilled (as far as my understanding goes) when the priest says: “this is my body” and, later, “this is the chalice of my blood”. Which is why they are followed by an elevation.

I expect the Extraordinary Form to become more and more popular, and more and more priests to learn how to serve it, to the extent that it will be offered much more and in more places, and the people will begin to (most naturally) prefer it to the Ordinary Form. I also expect as a result that the Ordinary Form will become increasingly more reverent and be freed from many of the small customizations and abuses that make it a sorrowful experience for many of us, while for others, blessed with a veil of non-understanding, it is perfectly fine no matter what.

Our standpoint, as faithful Catholics in union with the Holy Father and obedience to the Church, is in fact not very different from the one that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had when he wrote:

What happened after the Council was altogether different: instead of a liturgy fruit of continuous development, a fabricated liturgy was put in its place. A living growing process was abandoned and the fabrication started. There was no further wish to continue the organic evolution and maturation of the living being throughout the centuries and they were replaced – as if in a technical production – by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. …]

Consequently, the trend is the increasingly marked retreat of those who do not look to the liturgy for a spiritual show-master but for the encounter with the living God

And how true are these words! How often in the Ordinary Form our experience depends on the priest and on the way he does things.

I invite you to read the Study of the New Order of the Mass, which literally notified the Holy Father of the issues that were in the novus ordo of the Mass, and which - as it is factually well known - moved the Holy Father to allow extra time before the mandatory implementation, and to personally change the seventh article of the Institution Generalis Missali Romani.

In reality, what took place has been very complex, beyond anyone’s personal understanding.

I was very surprised to learn that a humble servant of God, Fr. Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B., founder of the French Benedictine Congregation, had written in 1840 a modest work called “Liturgical Institutions”, which contained a section called “the anti-liturgical heresy” a summary of the doctrine and liturgical practice of the Protestants from the XIVth to the XVIIIth century. Quite a few of this writing confirms the worries of those who study and understand the usus antiquor.

I was even more surprised to find that the idea of no longer facing ad orientem as a shepherd that leads the faithful, but to instead face “the people” (forgive me, but it sounds rather populist) in fact originated from Martin Luther himself, who in the book Deutsche Messe und Ordnung des Gottesdienstes of 1526 wrote (my translation, sorry):

We shall keep the priestly ornaments, the altar, the lights until they are exhausted or until we do not consider that we ought to change them. We will let, however, others do otherwise; but in the true Mass, among true Christians, it would be necessary that the altar did not remain as it currently is and that the priest faced the people …]. But this can wait.

And speaking someplace else against Rome, he would write: “when we will have turned their altars around, we will have destroyed their religion.”

Now I don’t want to be dramatic, and I do think that he was overly optimistic, but it is quite fascinating how some changes have deeper, ancient history and, sorry to say, simply do not arise from the Catholic spirit, or in the words of the two cardinals to the Holy Father, “a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass”.


#7

Actually it was an excellent post, I wish you had gone on. Is there any document that mentions these aspects? I’d personally be interested in learning more. For instance, we do not bow at the name of the Lord in the O.F. and I am wondering if there was an actual instruction to cease to do so. I am also puzzled at the removal of the headcovering for ladies.


#8

Do we need yet another thread on this issue that usually slips into acrimony and uncharitable behaviour?


#9

Ah yes, yet another thread bashing the Ordinary for of the Mass.

Here’s the problem…

The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite was promulgated by Servant of God, Pope Paul VI. That makes it totally and completely valid. No matter what anyone wants to believe, the Holy Spirit inspired the conclave to pick him as the Pope and that same Spirit guided his labors.

To suggest, implicitly or explicitly that the OF is somehow lacking validity or appropriateness for the worship of God, because it’s not explicitly dictated in the documents of the council, is wrong. The successor of St. Peter is not the president. He does not require passage of legislation from others. If Pope Benedict XVI decided that the ordinary form was suppressed, it would be. If he decided that the extraordinary form was suppressed, it would be. Period. If you want to worship using the extraordinary form, great, Our Lord is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity. But don’t denigrate the lawful celebration of the ordinary from, where the same is true.


#10

I’m not bashing the Ordinary form, I’m just curious, i never been to the EF before, atleast yet.


#11

[quote="R_C, post:6, topic:307397"]
Maybe there is no perfect Mass, but that is hardly what those of us who love the Extraordinary Form complain about. The EF came to be slowly, through centuries, and always adding to the reverence. The OF in some way was too "radical" of a change, and it has been literally proven that in 40 years that change was not something anyone in their right mind would call good.

[/quote]

No it hasn't "been proven" that the OF has been not good for the church. Under the OF, the church has gathered more Catholics than it ever has in history, and has doubled her size in 40 years.

In the west we have a problem with mass attendance and with struggling with the materialisst heresy... but no one "in their right mind" would take a look at that correlation and immediately apply it as a situation of causation (because that's a logical fallacy) without doing a little research on how the OF is performing in non-western countries (which is to say FABULOUSLY... so much so in places like vietnam that they have to export priests to the west because they have too many).

I love the Ordinary Form, don't get me wrong. But it is simply too open to errors, customization, irreverence. You simply cannot find this in the EF. Everything took centuries to be what it is, and everything had a solid mystical meaning. In fact, we could not understand the Ordinary Form if we don't study what the usus antiquor was!

Nonsense. The EF was similarly susceptable to errors and priests taking shortcuts. The difference is that for nearly half of the liturgy, the priest is facing away from the congregation and speaking inaudibly. You would never even know if the priest was being innovative or skipping parts of the order of the mass.

Two things make errors more apparent: the order of the mass, the GIRM, and the rubrics of worship are now widely available online. It no longer takes more than a cursory effort to look up the way that mass should be done. As a result, we have more people than ever who are in a position to recognize mistakes and/or abuses. Second, the priest is facing the congregation and speaking audibly in a language that we are fluent in. We can literally HEAR and UNDERSTAND if he skips a part of the liturgy.

There is this fairy tale belief that somehow magically before V-II and the OF that all priests were good upstanding people, and that magically the OF transformed some of them into innovative dirtbags... but that fairy tale is without any basis.

For instance: sometimes people are puzzled at the sign of the cross when the priest says "that they may become for us the body and blood", and they mistakenly assume that this is when the transubstantiation takes place. That's because in the usus antiquor the priest would trace many, many crosses at different moments of the liturgy, since the cross is not a "magic sign" but an invocation (or, for a priest, a giving) of God's blessing. The transubstantiation would actually be fulfilled (as far as my understanding goes) when the priest says: "this is my body" and, later, "this is the chalice of my blood". Which is why they are followed by an elevation.

Do you really think that people who are so lazy as to not understand the point when transubstantiation occurs are really going to magically research enough about latin to understand when it occurs in the EF?

I expect the Extraordinary Form to become more and more popular, and more and more priests to learn how to serve it, to the extent that it will be offered much more and in more places, and the people will begin to (most naturally) prefer it to the Ordinary Form. I also expect as a result that the Ordinary Form will become increasingly more reverent and be freed from many of the small customizations and abuses that make it a sorrowful experience for many of us, while for others, blessed with a veil of non-understanding, it is perfectly fine no matter what.

I don't. In 50 years the EF still has approximately 1.7 million adherents (according to figures gathered by the Vatican).

I expect enforcement of the rubrics of the OF to improve and better ethical and moral training of priests to be instituted in following the proper rubrics of the mass.

And how true are these words! How often in the Ordinary Form our experience depends on the priest and on the way he does things.

The same could be said of the EF. Our local EF is a clownshow of cheap decor where the priest likes to give his homilies on how all the local OF masses are leading people directly into hell because of... gasp... where the choir is placed. That's garbage.

I was even more surprised to find that the idea of no longer facing ad orientem as a shepherd that leads the faithful, but to instead face "the people" (forgive me, but it sounds rather populist) in fact originated from Martin Luther himself

And you should have been surprised to find that out... because it's patently untrue. Not only was versus populem used in the church before Martin Luther was even a possibility, it was the NORM until about the 6th or 7th century. It was a modification made to the mass to establish "ad orientum" in the first place (not that such a modification was WRONG, but that doesn't make it definitive either).


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.