UPPOSE I locked you in prison for two years. Then suppose I claimed that you enjoy being in prison, because, “After all, you’ve been there for two years.” Obviously, my logic is flawed, but the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy recently used similar logic in a document “reflecting upon 50 years of liturgical reform.” Attempting to cite “abundant fruits” of postconciliar reform, they wrote:
Translation of liturgical texts into vernacular languages, for example, has been a monumental success…
This assertion is offensive for two reasons. First, similar to the “prison” analogy above, the vernacular was imposed upon the people. 1 This was happening as early as the mid-1960s, as pages 22-23 of this 1968 paper by Msgr. Overath prove … and he even cites specific dioceses! Others can judge how successful the vernacular has been, but its imposition does not de facto make it a “monumental success.”
Second, the USCCB document was supposed to talk about how magnificently the Council documents were implemented, yet those same documents specifically mandate that Latin be preserved. This was not a suggestion, as you can see by reading page 18. Citing the elimination of Latin as a positive postconciliar fruit is like saying, “It rained this morning; that’s why the ground is so dry.”
HOWEVER, THE RADICAL REFORMERS 2 didn’t count on the fact that so many ordinary Catholics would sacrifice mightily to preserve the Traditional Latin Mass. Consider the Facebook group Populus Summorum Pontificum, which in a very short time has gotten 14,000+ followers. They post beautiful pictures each day of the Extraordinary Form from all over the world. Here are just a few examples from last week:
Because of the unbelievable, unlikely, and totally unexpected triumph of the Extraordinary Form, I believe that eventually “the questions” will have to be answered … and there are so many! Here are two examples:
1. For 40+ years—with the full support of the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy—99% of American parishes have ignored the clear requirement of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) which says that songs replacing the Mass Propers must be approved by the local diocesan bishop. 3 What other parts of the GIRM can we contradict?
2. For 40+ years, we have ignored the clear directives of the Second Vatican Council, mandating that Gregorian chant be given first place in liturgical worship. What other parts of Vatican II may we ignore?
These questions are nothing new. Dr. Rudolf Fischer wrote as follows in an open letter to Bishop Volk in 1966:
In the light of unanimous experience in almost all parts of Germany, regarding the manner in which the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has been treated, both in practice and in the Catholic press, since it came into force on 7 March 1965, it is necessary to ask the following question: Does the Constitution have any legal force, or is it merely a pathetic, unenforceable patchwork of rhetoric?
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The methods used to eliminate Latin were often brazen. For example, the Vatican decreed on 26 September 1964 (Inter Oecumenici, §57) that all Missals must contain both Latin & vernacular. But Archbishop Bugnini created a loophole, claiming Asian printers were too incompetent to correctly print Latin characters.
2 Speaking of these radical reformers, Ferdinand Cardinal Antonelli wrote:
The Consilium is merely an assembly of people, many of them incompetent, and others well advanced on the road to novelty. The discussions are extremely hurried. Discussions are based on impressions and the voting is chaotic. […] Many of those who have influenced the reform […] have no love, and no veneration of that which has been handed down to us. They begin by despising everything that is actually there.
It would be difficult to find a more knowledgeable person than Cardinal Antonelli, since he was Secretary of the Consilium.
3 Very soon, we will publish an article providing full documentation on this issue. Our documentation is so thorough that it is not subject to interpretation. I touched on this briefly in the middle of this article but much more is coming.