IS EMINENCE, Blase J. Cupich, yesterday published an article (8 paragraphs) which he calls “The Gift of Traditionis Custodes.” His article has been widely shared on the internet. In a nutshell, Cardinal Cupich condemns diversity, demanding rigid uniformity when it comes to liturgical praxis. Some have pointed out that his proposal contradicts Vatican II, which said: “Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, §37).
What Did The Cardinal Say? Blase Cupich is currently the Archbishop of Chicago, and has been a cardinal since 2016. In his article, Cardinal Cupich condemns what he characterizes as “division” which seeks to “undermine the reforms of the Second Vatican Council through the rejection of the most important of them: the reform of the Roman Rite.” In other words, Cardinal Cupich says everyone must accept the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II; in his verbiage we must adopt “a unitary celebratory form.”
We’ve Already Been Told: So what exactly are those reforms? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine them. The Second Vatican Council told us what it wanted.
Some unequivocal Vatican II mandates:
Vatican II said Gregorian Chant was to be given “first place in liturgical services” (SC §116). There is no confusion whatsoever as to the meaning of Cantus Gregorianus.
Choirs Diligently Promoted:
Vatican II said “choirs must be diligently promoted” (SC §114). Needless to say, choirs must sing music for choirs. Choral music has nothing to do with goofy Broadway songs promoted by companies like OCP.
Liturgy Of The Hours:
Vatican II said “the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office” (SC §101). Even a small child can understand the meaning of this unambiguous directive.
More (!) about the Liturgy of the Hours:
Vatican II said: “By the venerable tradition of the universal Church, Lauds as morning prayer and Vespers as evening prayer are the two hinges on which the daily office turns; hence they are to be considered as the chief hours and are to be celebrated as such” (SC §89a). Vatican II said: “It is, moreover, fitting that the office, both in choir and in common, be sung when possible. Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually” (SC §100). As far as I know, only Extraordinary Form parishes are doing this!
Preserved AND Fostered:
Vatican II said “the treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care” (SC §101). Dishonest liturgists often act as though preserved and fostered with great care actually means “forbidden and made illegal.”
Greater Than Any Other Art:
Sculptors and painters get angry about this one, but Vatican II said: “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art” (SC §112). Only a brain-dead person would claim that Vatican II made that statement so that Catholics would destroy and denigrate this great treasure.
Vatican II specifically recommended polyphony (SC §116) for liturgical celebrations. No sane person disputes the meaning of polyphony. No sane person would claim that tunes by Marty Haugen, David Haas, or Rory Cooney constitute polyphony.
Congregations Must Learn Some Latin:
Vatican II said: “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC §54). Father Louis Bouyer—one of the most important reformers and a close friend of Pope Paul VI—said these are the parts “which everybody can learn by heart and sing: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei.”
Latin Not Optional:
Some people really hate this, but Vatican II said “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (SC §36). The wording of the document makes it clear this was a command, not a suggestion.
More About Latin!
Vatican II said the local bishop can “decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used” (SC §36). Notice the document specifically says the local bishop can decide whether the vernacular can be used. Yet dishonest people pretend that Vatican II somehow eliminated the use of Latin!
After Vatican II, the question arose whether priests were allowed to say private Masses in the vernacular. That’s because when it comes to the vernacular, Vatican II said “the limits of its employment may be extended” for Masses with the people (SC §36). That is one reason why an important document called Inter Oecumenici—which was promulgated on the feast of Saint Jean de Brébeuf in 1964—specifically said: “Missals to be used in the liturgy, however, shall contain besides the vernacular version the Latin text as well.” To my knowledge, the question of whether priests are allowed to say private Mass in the vernacular was never officially resolved.
Vatican II said: “In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things” (SC §120).
You can learn more about the history of Vatican II by visiting these articles.
Conclusion: Vatican II did not oversee a liturgical reform. The actual reform happened half a decade later, when many of the important people who took part in it (such as Monsignor Higinio Anglés and Dom Placide Bruylants) had already died by the time the Novus Ordo Missæ was released.
Addendum: For the record, Vatican II never mentioned any of the following: Altars facing the people; Female Altar servers; Lay Catholics proclaiming the readings inside the Sanctuary; Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion; Communion received in the hand; the complete elimination of the Gregorian Propers (which are extremely ancient); new Eucharistic Prayers; destruction of Altar rails; goofy secular music during Mass; the list goes on and on!