In 1968, a questionnaire was sent to 12,000 liturgical experts. The first question was whether the proper texts of the introit should be omitted in recited Masses. Of the 1,388 responses, 71% voted in favor of recited introits and 29% voted to omit them.
To the next question, whether the “antiphons of the introit should be revised, so that they could be recited for spiritual fruit,” 91% answered affirmative. On the basis of these results, the Consilium of April 1968 decided that both the introit and communion antiphons should be recited in Masses without music, and that these texts should be revised for the new Missale Romanum.
Did you get that? 12,000 letters sent … yet only 1,388 responded. Moreover, the questionnaire only asked about Introits. Nothing was said about the Communion antiphons! This would indicate they really didn’t love the liturgy; they wanted to change the liturgy. And they did so based on responses from less than 11%.
The changes were only meant to apply to spoken Masses (“Masses without music”). Tietze correctly points out 2 that “it was always made clear that the Gregorian texts had primacy in sung Masses”—but this was ignored. Pew books like the Jogues Missal do restore the proper way (placing English versions alongside the official Latin) but why did it take five decades for such a book to arrive?
Bishop Charrière of Switzerland wrote the following around the time of the Second Vatican Council. The emphases are his, not mine:
E DO ACKNOWLEDGE that … more or less substantial changes are being requested from Rome. But those who are pleased with today’s situation—those who live the Liturgy as given by the Roman Church—are not complaining and do not say anything. Don’t we also have to give large consideration to the majority who are content? Isn’t their number as great—maybe greater—than the number of those who complain?
We are being told of a desire, which then tends to become widespread, for a substantial modification of the Liturgy. What is really universal is the desire to see the faithful always participating in the Mass to a greater extent and to see the priests always living from their liturgical prayer. But as for how this better participation of the faithful and priests can be achieved, we do not believe that those who speak the more loudly, those who somehow impatiently keep asking for endless changes, do represent the majority. A general survey of all the bishops would perhaps let us know the thoughts of those who do not say anything but who are content to see the Liturgy kept in its present form.
Finally, after such a long time, individual groups—and I believe CCW is one such group—are going back to the true liturgical movement, which was meant to help Catholics better appreciate the sacred liturgy.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The 1903 Motu Proprio of Pope Pius X said: “Filled as we are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, we deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church.”
2 You can read Tietze’s full article.