The Barbarians' Charter

Paragraph 128 of the Liturgy Constitution could well be described as a charter authorizing the liturgical barbarians to enter the sanctuaries of our churches to wreak havoc at their will. It reads as follows:

Along with the revision of the liturgical books, as laid down in Article 25, there is to be an early revision of the canons and ecclesiastical statutes which govern the disposition of material things involved in sacred worship. These laws refer especially to the worth and well-planned construction of sacred buildings, the shape and construction of altars, the nobility, location and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle, the suitability and dignity of the baptistry, the proper use of sacred images, embellishments, and vestments. Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished; and any which are helpful are to be retained if already in use, and introduced where they are lacking. According to the norm of Article 22 of the Constitution, the territorial bodies of bishops are empowered to adapt matters to the needs and customs of their different regions; this applies especially to the materials and form of sacred furnishings and vestments.

I am sure that the first reaction of the reader will be to insist that describing this passage as a charter for liturgical barbarism is not simply unfair but ridiculous. Nonetheless, if you ask a bishop who has vandalized the sanctuary of his cathedral, or has ordered a parish priest to vandalize the sanctuary of his church, how he can claim the sanction of Vatican II for such barbarism, he will almost certainly refer you to this paragraph. Read it  carefully once more, look for one little word which the bishops would hardly have noticed when glancing through the draft of the Constitution before casting their almost unanimous vote in its favor-----"location." Yes, reference is made to the location of the tabernacle. There is not a word in the Constitution which says tabernacles should be removed, let alone a direct command to do so, but that one little word-----"location"
-----has been used to justify the greatest act of disrespect to our Eucharistic King since the Protestant Reformers banished Him from churches they had appropriated in the sixteenth century. To a certain extent I have more respect for them than for the pseudo-Catholic bishops who claim to believe in the Real Presence, and then thrust the Blessed Sacrament aside from Its traditional position of honor on the high altar.

It would be most unjust to censure the many orthodox bishops who voted for the Liturgy Constitution for failing to notice the time bombs it contained. If you had described what has happened in almost every sanctuary since the Council to one of the bishops in 1963, he would have laughed at you. As Archbishop Dwyer said concerning the possibility of Latin vanishing from the Mass, "it seemed so far beyond the realm of the possible as to be ridiculous". There also appeared to be more than adequate safeguards in the Constitution itself to prevent the possibility of abuses. Article 23 stated: "There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing." Could anyone in his right mind even suggest that the vandalization of Catholic sanctuaries was genuinely and certainly demanded by the good of the Church? And just before Article 128, the Barbarians' Charter, Article 123 had stated: "In the course of the centuries the Church has brought into existence a treasury of sacred art which must be preserved with every care." Article 124 stated: "When churches are to be built, let great care be taken that they be suitable for the celebration of services and for the active participation of the faithful." Note carefully that this article refers only to the building of new churches; there is no reference to adapting existing ones. Article 126 commands bishops to insure that "sacred furnishings and works of value are not disposed of or destroyed, for they are ornaments in God's house". With such safeguards included in the Constitution, how could any bishops possibly have foreseen that Article 128 could serve as a charter for barbarism?

Emphasis in bold, that of the Web Master.

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