in Vatican II: Excerpts
The Destruction of Catholic Faith
Through Changes in Catholic Worship
by Michael Davies
Published on the Web with Permission of the Author.An Unsuspected Blueprint for Revolution
Why then did these bishops endorse the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy? Professor Louis Salleron has been cited as stating that the CSL appeared to be the crowning achievement of the work of liturgical renewal which had been in progress for a hundred years. Why could this have appeared to be the case when, in fact, the CSL was a blueprint for revolution? The 1,922 bishops who cast their placet ("Yes") votes for the Constitution on December 7, 1962 would certainly have been reassured by stipulations it contained which gave the impression that there was no possibility of any radical liturgical reform. Article 4 of the CSL certainly gives the impression that there is no danger of any drastic change in any of the existing rites of Mass, among which the Roman Rite was clearly paramount: "This most sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal authority and dignity: that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way." (Emphasis added.) But these reassuring words are qualified by the additional directive of the Council that "where necessary the rites be carefully and thoroughly revised in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances of modern times." No explanation is given as to how it is possible both to preserve and foster these rites and, at the same time, to revise them to meet certain unspecified circumstances and unspecified needs of modern times. Nor is it explained how such a revision could be carried out in the light of sound tradition when it had been the sound and invariable tradition of the Roman Rite never to undertake any drastic revision of its rites, a tradition of well over 1,000 years' standing, which had been breached only during the Protestant Reformation, when every heretical sect devised new rites to correspond with its heretical teachings.
Article 23 of the CSL requires that, in order to maintain "sound tradition," a careful investigation is to be made before revising any part of the liturgy. "This investigation should be theological, historical and pastoral." If this were not reassuring enough, Article 23 also mandates that: "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 should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."
It would be most enlightening to be told the exact process by which, for example, the new Offertory prayers (based on a Jewish form of grace before meals) grew from "forms already existing." The Consilium presumably interpreted this phrase as meaning already existing in the liturgy of any religion. [Emphasis added by Web Master.]
There is a most bitter irony in another admonition contained in Article 23: "As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions are to be carefully avoided." Today it is hard to recognize that some adjacent parishes even belong to the same religion, so great is the contrast between their respective modes of celebrating Mass.
Clauses such as Article 4 and Article 23 would certainly have reassured the bishops that there would be no radical changes in the liturgy of the Mass, but there were other clauses which did indeed open the way to radical or even revolutionary change. Archbishop Lefebvre was in no doubt as to the nature of these clauses. He stated: "There were time bombs in the Council." [Lefebvre, p. 135.] These "time bombs" were ambiguous passages inserted in the official documents by the liberal periti or experts-----passages which would be interpreted in an untraditional, progressivist sense after the Council closed. The answer to Cardinal Ottaviani's question as to whether the Council Fathers were planning a revolution (see page 1) is that the majority of the Fathers, the 3,000 bishops, [2,860 Council Fathers attended all or part of the four sessions-----a combined total of 281 days. (Wiltgen, p. 287.)] most certainly were not, but that some of the influential periti, the experts who accompanied the bishops to Rome, definitely had this intention.
The Council of the Periti
It is not exaggerating in any way to claim that the liberal periti hijacked Pope John's Council, a fact I have documented in great detail in my book on Vatican II. [Davies, Pope John's Council, Chapter 5.] Douglas Woodruff, one of England's outstanding Catholic scholars, was editor of The Tablet during the Council. In one of his reports he remarked: "For in a sense this Council has been the Council of the periti, silent in the aula but so effective in the commissions and at bishops' ears." [The Tablet, November 27, 1965, p. 1318.] This is an exceptionally perceptive comment, and it would be hard to improve on "the Council of the periti" as a one-phrase description of Vatican II. Bishop Lucey of Cork and Ross (Ireland) stated that the periti were more powerful than most bishops, even though they had no vote, "because they had the ear of a Cardinal or the head of a national group of bishops, and they were influential in the drafting of Council documents. The expert . . . is the person with power." [[Catholic Standard (Dublin), October 17, 1973.]
The "time bombs" referred to by Archbishop Lefebvre were, as has been explained, the ambiguous passages inserted in the official documents by the liberal periti which could weaken the presentation of traditional Catholic teaching: by abandoning the traditional terminology, by omissions, or by ambiguous phraseology which could be compatible with a non-Catholic interpretation. Cardinal Heenan testifies: "A determined group could wear down opposition and produce a formula patient of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation." [The Tablet, May 18, 1968.] Archbishop Lefebvre went to the extent of describing the Council documents as "a mass of ambiguities, vagueness and sentimentality, things which now clearly admit all interpretations and have left all doors open." [Lefebvre, pp. 109-110.] In his book A Crown of Thorns, Cardinal Heenan wrote: