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.

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:

       J. A. Jungmann, one of the truly great liturgists of our time, defined the liturgy of his day, such as it could be understood in the light of historical research, as a "liturgy which is the fruit of development" . . . What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it, as in a manufacturing process, with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product (produit banal de l'instant). [Introduction by Cardinal Ratzinger to La Reforme Liturgique en question (Le-Barroux: Editions Sainte-Madeleine), 1992, pp. 7-8.]
     It is important to note that the predominant characteristic of this natural development was the addition of new prayers and gestures which manifested ever more clearly the mystery enshrined in the Mass. The Protestant Reformers removed prayers which made Catholic doctrine specific, under the guise of an alleged return to primitive simplicity. Pope Pius XII specifically condemned "certain attempts to reintroduce ancient rites and liturgies" on the grounds that they were primitive. In his encyclical Mediator Dei he wrote:
       The desire to restore everything indiscriminately to its ancient condition is neither wise nor praiseworthy. It would be wrong, for example, to want the altar restored to its ancient form of a table; to want black eliminated from liturgical colors, and pictures and statues eliminated from our churches; to require crucifixes that do not represent the bitter sufferings of the Divine Redeemer; to condemn polyphonic chants, even though they conform to the regulations of the Apostolic See . . . This attitude is an attempt to revive the "archaeologism" to which the pseudo-synod of Pistoia gave rise; it seeks also to re-introduce the pernicious errors which led to that synod and resulted from it and which the Church, the ever watchful guardian of the "deposit of faith" committed to her charge by her Divine Founder, had every right and reason to condemn. [53] For perverse designs and ventures of this sort tend to paralyze and weaken that process of sanctification by which the sacred liturgy directs the sons of adoption to their Heavenly Father of their souls' salvation. [Pars. 66-68]
The liturgical principles of Pistoia, one of which will be explained below, have been imposed throughout the Roman Rite as part of the conciliar reform, even though not specifically ordered by the Council. The CSL provided the door through which they entered.

      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:

        It is said that the Sacred Liturgy must be adapted to times and circumstances which have changed. Here also we ought to look at the consequences. For customs, even the very face of society, change fast and will change even faster. What seems agreeable to the wishes of the multitude today will appear incongruous after thirty or fifty years. We must conclude then that after thirty or fifty years all, or almost all of the liturgy would have to be changed again. This seems to be logical according to the premises, this seems logical to me, but hardly fitting (decorum) for the Sacred Liturgy, hardly useful for the dignity of the Church, hardly safe for the integrity and unity of the faith, hardly favoring the unity of discipline. While the world therefore tends to unity more and more every day, especially in its manner of working or living, are we of the Latin Church going to break the admirable liturgical unity and divide into nations, regions, even
provinces? [Kaiser, p. 130.]
       The answer, of course, is that this is precisely what the Latin Church was going to do and did-----with the disastrous consequences for the integrity and unity both of faith and discipline which Bishop Staffa had foreseen.


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