Thursday, December 05, 2013

"Is Your Liturgy Like What Vatican II Intended?"

On the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Peter Kwasniewski, in "Is Your Liturgy Like What Vatican II Intended?" (New Liturgical Movement, December 4, 2013), presents a list of 12 positive principles from that document and asks:
Is this what you experience, week in, week out?

Is not the monumental failure to implement much of Sacrosanctum Concilium a scandal?

What became of the great promise of the original liturgical movement? It is hard to escape the impression that Sacrosanctum Concilium was largely a dead letter within a year or two of its promulgation. Should we be happy or sad about that? Indifference seems to be far the greatest reaction. And surely that is unworthy of Catholics.
And he concludes:
I have been quite surprised throughout my adult life that the places where these points from Vatican II are most being lived, week in and week out, are the chapels of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and similar communities, where the traditional Roman Rite is exclusively celebrated. This is not to say that the usus antiquior itself embodies every recommendation made (for better or for worse) by the Council Fathers, but rather, that the grand theological vision of Sacrosanctum Concilium—the centrality, dignity, and solemnity of the sacred liturgy, with the devout chanting of its prayers by priest, schola, and people—is being lived out in these communities, and in very few others. That should give us considerable food for thought.

While proponents of the new liturgical movement have reservations about many of the formulations in Sacrosanctum Concilium, it is nevertheless obvious that both those who adhere to the usus antiquior and those who promote a “reform of the reform” model are far more faithful to the explicit teaching of the Council than any of the progressives have been. In the past fifty years, we have seen the rigorous implementation of the suppositious “spirit” of the Council and of its weaker and woolier passages. Now that the Year of Faith has ended—a year full of many surprises—let us continue to pray for and work towards the implementation of the best and clearest of the Council’s teaching.


Ralph Roister-Doister


(1) V2 was an historical event. It was something that happened in space and time. Is there really any debate about that?

(2) At events such as this, it is presumed by the general teaching of the Church that in some fashion the actions of council participants are guided by the Holy Spirit. That certainly was the claim of many of the participants at V2 about themselves and their works.

(3) The documents of the council are presumably its chief fruit. But in this case there was an attitude on the part of many that these documents were at most a “first fruit.” That is, they were the first signs of an emerging new theological “style” (as one prominent writer, John J. O’Malley, has put it) which had yet to be fully explicated.

(4) And who better to develop and explicate it than those council participants who, again presumably under the aegis of the Holy Spirit, wrote, revised, approved of and signed off on those documents?

(5) According to this interpretation of events and documents, there is no “rupture” between council documents and post-council “spirit”: Both are expressions of the “Spirit of Vatican II,” and ultimately of God Himself, in His Third Person.

(6) So, finally, who better to unpack the meaning of Vatican II documents, who better to unpack the presumed message of the Holy Spirit, than those council participants (and their Pope – Paul VI), who thrilled to it at the historical event of V2, and who captured it, they believed, in sixteen basic documents, including Sacrosanctum Concilium?

(7) In light of this inspiration, and the hermeneutic those who claim it have developed for it (which strikes many skeptics as a kind of pastoral “blank check”), Bugnini’s child, the Novus Ordo mass, was not a “monumental failure to implement much of Sacrosanctum Concilium,” but the fully evolved, fully realized expression of the inspiration whose “first fruit” it was. In other words, the Novus Ordo supersedes SC in the same way that a Ford Mustang supersedes a Model T.

One can only imagine the amusement of the supercilious rupturist reading Kwasniewski’s claim that the Church has not yet implemented Sacrosanctum Concilium: “in truth, old boy, we have already evolved far beyond it!” But don’t let the caricature of ingrained modernist snootiness distract you from the significance of his point. If the event of Vatican II, an event which led to the production of several hundred pages of documents, was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, then what is wrong with the modernist argument that those who were so inspired are best positioned to interpret that inspiration and act on it? Joseph Ratzinger, our “pope emeritus,” was there, and presumably partook of any inspiration that was conspicuous on the premises. He signed off on all of the papal documents (and, along with his collaborator Rahner, had much to do with their contents), and in the years immediately following the council, seemed quite content with its results. Only in the seventies did he develop a concern with the “Spirit of Vatican II.”

In the matter of V2, “in for a penny, in for a pound” seems to me the inescapable point. If you accept the Holy Spirit as the guarantor of V2, then you must accept the Spirit of V2 initiatives in their entirety as exactly what the Church needs. Welcome to the last fifty years of spirited “reform” (or rupture, if you wish). Lay claim to your inheritance, live with it, and quit the cottage industry of cobbling together mitigating “hermeneutics” which allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

If you cannot find it in your heart to do this, then the idea of the Holy Spirit as the guarantor of Vatican II must be reexamined.

Dark Horse


Okay Rallf,

But I think I woud have said Ford Pinto insted of Ford Mustang. And I still would prefer the Model T.

I am not Spartacus


Jean Guitton, close friend of the, lamentable, Pope Paul VI:

The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy... there was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or at least to correct, or at least to relax, what was too Catholic, in the traditional sense, in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass...

As the great Dr Mattei noted, the majority of Fathers arrived in Rome for the Council already exhausted with the Roman Rite; that is, they were ripe for the modernists plucking and because the modernists had written the schema for S.C. the Council agreed to "debate" this schema first for if you are going to change the doctrine of the masses you must first change the doctrine of the Mass.

Out with the Priest, in with the President; out with the Holy Sacrifice of Propitiation, in with the Lord's Supper; out with the High Stone Altars, in with the crummy card tables; out with the Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony, in with the songs of the sodomites, out with the Propers suffused with idea of sin and penitential requirements, in with God loves you just as you are, darlin'.

The entire revolution of the 60s modernists can be summed up;

When in Rome, do as the Genevans.

And if anyone complains that old saying has been changed so as to mean something different than what has been meant traditionally, admit the change while denying the difference in meaning for now everything is changed but nothing is different in the discontinuity within continuity.

Ralph Roister-Doister


"the Novus Ordo mass, was not a “monumental failure to implement much of Sacrosanctum Concilium,” but the fully evolved, fully realized expression of the inspiration whose “first fruit” it was. In other words, the Novus Ordo supersedes SC in the same way that a Ford Mustang supersedes a Model T."

Regarding this point of mine, consider Christopher Ferrara's article:




Yes, I've seen Ferrara's article. Brilliant. Which means that Peter Kwasniewski's reading of SC is about as far as someone with traditionalist sympathies can go in following the Benedictine attempt to salvage the Council via the "hermeneutic of reform and continuity."

So I'm wondering: what's the alternative? I suppose the alternative someone like Ferrara attempts is that of navigating the treacherous straits between the Scylla of denying the indefectability of the Council and the Charybdis of denying the heteropraxis issuing from the malignant viruses or "time bombs" which constitute the legacy of the Council.

These are treacherous times indeed!

I am not Spartacus


Dear Sheldon. The Fathers during the V2 revolution chose to act pastorally, not infallibly which, to me at least, is proof positive that the Holy Ghost was active during the Council.

Ok, go ahead you who think you are the best and the brightest; work your will. You'll reap what you sow.

Meantime, we who are Traditionalists must wait on the Lord.