[quote=palmas85]What exactly did we take from the Eastern Rites? I’ve been to several over the years, and they are a lot more reverent by and large then are the typical Novus Ordo Masses. And don’t even bring up the Orthodox, who really put us to shame in that department.
I think it it is fairly obvious that the reforms that were actually implemented, more participation by the laity, less activity by the priest, a more communal atmosphere, reception under both species, receiving in the hand etc, while certainly early church practices, albeit in totally different circumstances and points of view, were also the same reforms called for by men like Luther, Cranmer, Calvin etc. All designed primarily to devalue the priestly class, referred to by Luther as an abomination, and elevate the laity to a sort of special priesthood where the ordained priesthood would be totally irreleveant and unnecessary. .
First, we have to recognize that there are similar desires between the Council Father and the “reformers.” Both wanted to emphasize the “priesthood of all believers” – but totally different understandings were to be conveyed by these ideas. Luther himself retained the idea of a sacramental priesthood, but those who came after him (Calvin, Zwingli, et al) were not at all in favor of such a position. Cranmer, however, is an interesting study. He did want to retain the sacramental priesthood (and, in fact, this is evident in his reform) but he also wanted to bring a greater sense of equality (egalitarianism) to the liturgy.
The Council Fathers, Pope Paul VI and the consilium members never wanted to do away with the sacramental priesthood. They were fully aware of the importance of the role of the priest in the community and in the liturgy. What they did want to get rid of is the “priest as one-man-band” where the priest did everything. They were successful at this, and the reforms reflect that very attitude. Let’s be careful to avoid being pulled into the polemics of the anti-Vatican II crowd for they have taken reality and twisted it such that it no longer accurately reflects the mindset of either the “reformers” or the consilium.
As for mentioning the Eastern Churches, we cannot consider the approach that was taken without looking at the Eastern liturgies for they were studied very carefully with an eye to what could be useful in the Latin tradition. Further, many of the interventions by Patriarch Maximos IV of the Melkite Church had direct bearing on the Liturgy and significantly influenced the consilium. Among the major points he made were the use of the vernacular in the Liturgy, communion under both species, and standing to receive communion. Communion in the hand is not a part of the the current Eastern praxis except for the clergy. In looking at the debates on this it’s interesting that the actual thnking behind the restoration of this is not at all clear. Yet, it is certainly a legitimate option that was used in the past (and, despite all claims to the contrary, never condemned, simply abandoned).