|| Liturgical Time
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.
Detonating the Time Bombs
One of the first points made in the preface to the CSL is that the Council intends to "nurture whatever can contribute to the unity of all who believe in Christ: and to strengthen those aspects of the Church which can help to summon all of mankind into her embrace." In drafting the Constitution, Father Bugnini clearly envisaged the liturgy as a means of promoting ecumenism. (See his comment on pp. 58-59 below.) It follows from this that the traditional Roman Mass, which emphasized precisely those aspects of our Faith most unacceptable to Protestants, must be considered as hampering ecumenism. In order to promote ecumenism, radical reform would be necessary.
There had, of course, been liturgical development in the past within the Roman Rite, as in all rites, but this had taken place by a scarcely perceptible process of natural development. In his Introduction to the French edition of The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
Since the Second Vatican Council, tabernacles throughout the English-speaking world have been removed from their rightful place of honor in the center of the high altar. There is not one word in the CSL that even hints at this deplorable practice. It was, however, part of the program of the "young wolves" of the Liturgical Movement, and Pope Pius XII was well aware of this. The great Pontiff made his position on the tabernacle clear in an address to a liturgical congress in Assisi in 1956. He insisted that those who clung wholeheartedly to the teaching of the Council of Trent would have "no thought of formulating objections against the presence of the tabernacle on the altar." He had no doubt as to the true motivation of those seeking to change the traditional practice: "There is question, not so much of the material presence of the tabernacle on the altar, as of a tendency to which we would like to call your attention, that of a lessening of esteem for the presence and action of Christ in the tabernacle." This holy Pontiff then summed up the authentic Catholic position in one profound and perceptive sentence: "To separate tabernacle from altar is to separate two things which by their origin and nature should remain united." If this was true in 1956, it is still true today. [A detailed history of the post-Vatican II campaign to remove the tabernacle from the high altar is provided in my booklet The Catholic Sanctuary and the Second Vatican Council (Rockford, IL: TAN, 1997).]
It is worth pointing out that the "circumstances and needs of modern times," which Article 4 of the CSL claims that the liturgy must be adjusted to meet, have occurred with great regularity throughout history. It is of the nature of time to become more modern with the passing of each second, and if the Church had adapted the liturgy to keep up with the constant succession of modern times and new circumstances, there would never have been any liturgical stability at all. If this need for adaptation of the liturgy does exist, it must always have existed. The corpus of papal teaching on the liturgy is readily available, but papal teaching on the need to adapt the liturgy to keep pace with modern times is conspicuous only by its absence-----and this is hardly surprising when this alleged "need" is examined in a dispassionate and rational manner. When do times become modern? How long do they remain modern? What are the criteria by which modernity is assessed? When does one modernity cease and another modernity come into being?
The complete fallacy of this "adaptation-to-modernity" thesis was certainly not lost upon some of the Council Fathers. Bishop (later Cardinal) Dino Staffa pointed out the theological consequences of an "adapted liturgy" on October 24, 1962. He told 2,337 assembled Fathers: