Liturgical Time Bombs
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.

Destruction of the Roman Rite and Loss of Faith

Destruction of the Roman Rite

Father Louis Bouyer, devastated by the contrast between what, as a leading member of the Liturgical Movement, he had hoped the implementation of the CSL would achieve, and what it did in fact achieve, had the integrity to state:

          We must speak plainly: there is practically no liturgy worthy of the name today in the Catholic Church. [Bouyer, p. 99.]
       Msgr. Gamber sums up the true effect of the post-conciliar reform in one devastating sentence:
          At this critical juncture, the traditional Roman rite, more than one thousand years old, has been destroyed. [Gamber, p. 99.]
       Is he exaggerating? Not at all. His claim is endorsed from the opposite end of the liturgical spectrum by that "great master of the international liturgical world," Father Joseph Gelineau, who remarks with commendable honesty and no sign of regret:
           Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass that we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different.

To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists (le rite romain tel que nous l'avons connu n'existe plus). It has been destroyed (il est détruit). [Gelineau, pp. 9-10.]

   The CSL has already been cited to the effect that "This most sacred Council declares that holy 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." How you preserve and foster something by destroying it is something that even Archbishop Bugnini might have found difficult to explain. The Archbishop, of course, insisted that he was responsible not for destruction, but for restoration, and that from 1948 he had spent "twenty-seven years devoted to restoring splendor and charm, youthful beauty, trenchancy, and a sweet fragrance to the public prayer of the Church." [Bugnini, p. xxiii.] Those who remember the liturgy as it was, or have the good fortune to assist at the Traditional Mass today, will beg to differ with Archbishop Bugnini and will concur with Msgr. Gamber:
      The real destruction of the traditional Mass, of the traditional Roman rite with a history of more than one thousand years, is the wholesale destruction of the Faith on which it was based, a Faith that had been the source of our piety and of our courage to bear witness to Christ and His Church, the inspiration of countless Catholics over many centuries. Will someone, some day, be able to say the same thing about the new Mass? [Gamber, p. 102.]
   They certainly will not! The total incompatibility of any radical reform of the Catholic liturgy with the ethos and traditions of the Church is well expressed by Professor James Hitchcock:
The radical and deliberate alteration of ritual leads inevitably to the radical alteration of belief as well. This radical alteration causes an immediate loss of contact with the living past of the community, which comes instead to be a deadening burden. The desire to shed the burden of the past is incompatible with Catholicism, which accepts history as an organic development from ancient roots and expresses this acceptance in a deep respect for Tradition." [James Hitchcock, The Recovery of the Sacred (New York: Seabury Press, 1974), p. 59.]
Loss of Faith

    The most evident instance of the fact that the radical alteration of ritual leads to the radical alteration of belief is, of course, the reform of the apostate Thomas Cranmer. In his classic history of the Reformation in England, Monsignor Philip Hughes explains:

All but insensibly, as the years went by, the beliefs enshrined in the old, and now disused, rites, and kept alive by these rites in men's minds and affections, would disappear-----without the need of any systematic missionary effort to preach them down." [Philip Hughes, The Reformation in England, vol. II (London: Hollis & Carter, 1953), p. 111.]
 Thus, in the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), the majority of English Catholics, and almost all their children, lost their faith in the Real Presence, not by a preaching campaign against it, but by participating for decades in a liturgy from which the ritual signs of reverence, which kept this belief alive in their minds and affections, had been removed. That the radical and deliberate alteration of the ritual of the Mass since Vatican II has led inevitably to the radical alteration of belief in the Real Presence was made clear in the February 1995 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review. An article by Germain Grisez and Russell Shaw lamented the fact that belief in the Real Presence in the United States "has not simply grown dim, but, seemingly, been extinguished." The two authors blamed some of the authorized or mandated changes in the liturgy since the Second Vatican Council, such as the use of English in the Eucharistic Prayer, the multiplication of the forms of that prayer, the emphasis on the celebrating community, the reduction of the Eucharistic fast, Communion in the hand, and the exchange of the sign of peace before Communion. The conclusion of Grisez and Shaw is that "In the general crisis of the Church in the USA, no individual crisis is more serious and urgent than this one." [NOTE 5] The survey on which they based this judgment showed that most American Catholics today describe the consecrated bread and wine at Mass as "symbolic reminders" of Christ rather than things that are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Only among Catholics 65 and older did even the slimmest majority-----51 percent-----say that at Mass the bread and wine are changed into Christ's Body and Blood, instead of serving merely as symbolic reminders of Christ. Among Catholics in the age-brackets 18-29 and 30-44, 70 percent considered the consecrated Host and Precious Blood to be merely "symbolic reminders."

   During the 45-year reign of Elizabeth I, belief in the Real Presence among English Catholics was transformed into belief in the real absence. This is already becoming the case in the English-speaking world within four decades of what a Monsignor friend of mine calls the Second Vatican Disaster.

The Mass That Will Not Die

The beauty, the worth, the perfection of the Traditional Latin Mass of the Catholic Church, so universally acknowledged and admired, was described by Fr. Faber in his book The Blessed Sacrament as "the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven." He continues:

   It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with celestial charming, so that our very senses seem to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste and touch beyond what earth can give. [Cited in N. Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder, 1908), p.337.]

     Archbishop Bugnini intended to consign this angelic liturgy to oblivion. However, this rite of Mass, which Cardinal Newman said that he could attend forever and not be tired, has proved to be the Mass that will not die. It is celebrated more often with every day that passes, and all those who have a true sensus catholicus, a Catholic instinct, will concur with Msgr. Gamber:

         In the final analysis, this means that in the future the traditional rite of Mass must be retained in the Roman Catholic Church . . . as the primary liturgical form for the celebration of Mass. It must become once more the norm of our faith and the symbol of Catholic unity throughout the world, a rock of stability in a period of upheaval and never-ending change. [Gamber, p. 114.]
5. In the Traditional Latin Mass, only the consecrated hands of a priest could touch the sacred vessels or the Host. Laymen received Holy Communion kneeling, on the tongue, and only from the consecrated hands of a priest. In a typical parish today, Holy Communion is received in the hand, from an extraordinary minister (lay person), by a standing communicant. This means that every traditional sign of reverence has been abandoned or made optional, and belief in the Real Presence has been abandoned with these signs of reverence. The innovators have, as Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed it, replaced holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity, discouraged reverence in the face of mystery, precluded awe, and all but extinguished a sense of sacredness.


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