Home Forum Sacred Liturgy On Vatican II and the Novus Ordo

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    The Maestro

    Louie’s recent posting is a matter of some interest to me. While I agree with him on many issues about Vatican II, I do agree with Monsignor Charles Pope that Vatican II isn’t primarily responsible for the liturgical reform that produced the Novus Ordo. The reform began with Pope Pius XII, before the Council, and with a strong precedent even further back in Pius X. This article explores this issue in depth: http://foretasteofwisdom.blogspot.com/2015/01/vatican-ii-and-origins-of-liturgical.html

    An excerpt which could help provide matter for discussion:

    “It is my belief that many traditionalists adopt a too simplistic understanding of today’s crisis, as if prior to the Council the liturgical condition of the Church was fine and dandy. In reality, the liturgical crisis has its roots far before the Council. Reliable historical evidence shows that the liturgical state of the Church was far from perfect before the Council. While the reform itself began in the 20th century, its origins might be traced back even further to a situation that began to grow during the Counter-Reformation, in the aftermath of the Council of Trent. (Was there a “Spirit of Trent” like the “Spirit of Vatican II”?) This was period of growing liturgical minimalism, and otherwise distorted approaches to liturgy. The Divine Office had come to be seen as a private priestly prayer, rather than public liturgical worship, and its importance alongside the Mass became vastly under-appreciated – this is still the case today. Private devotions began to take the place of liturgy, and the riches of the liturgy ceased to feed the regular spiritual lives of the faithful. The liturgy was now just one among many devotions, and one among many sources of doctrinal teaching. The spirit of the liturgy was dying away; Masses and the Office were no longer sung regularly, contrary to the custom of ancient Christian worship. Low Mass became the norm, Sung Mass the exception. Eventually the sense of the sensible beauty and grandeur of the liturgy was lost. Tradition in general lost the importance it once had in the minds of the faithful. This resulted in poor liturgies in practice, even while the official forms in the books remained theoretically intact. A hyper-devotion to the cult of the saints sprang up in the Counter-Reformation, resulting in the cluttering of the Roman calendar, and the disappearance of the entire weekly Psalter. Pope Pius X rightly sought to resolve this problem, but his solution involved sacrificing other aspects of the liturgical tradition. His reform gave rise to the notion in the mind of priests and faithful that the liturgical forms were subject to the authoritative decisions of the pope, who was thus the supreme arbiter and even creator of Catholic liturgies – an idea completely alien to the traditions of liturgical development. This was made possible by the growing prominence of the papacy ever since the Council of Trent, paving the way for the complete authoritative overhaul of the liturgy later in the 20th century, by Popes Pius XII and Paul VI. Already in the 20th century, still before the Council, priests were turning the altars around towards the faithful, moving tabernacles to the side, introducing innovative forms of concelebration, celebrating in hideous modern Churches, introducing the vernacular, etc. The crisis was already in the early stages of its viral growth.”

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