Privilege of the Ordained
THE NEUMANN PRESS, 1990
Published on the Web with Permission of the Author
4. The Council and Liturgical Reform
The standard response given to the faithful who complain about the endless succession of liturgical innovations which have been foisted upon them since Vatican II is that these innovations were ordered by, authorized by, or are a response to the Council. I have a copy of a letter sent by an English bishop to a group of Catholics who pleaded with him to prevent the vandalization of the sanctuary in their parish church, particularly the removal of the tabernacle from the high altar. The bishop informed them that these changes had been ordered by the Liturgy Constitution of the Second Vatican Council. There is not one word in this Constitution which so much as hints at the possibility of removing the tabernacle from the high altar. Nor does the Constitution mention Mass facing the people, lay-ministers of Communion, dancing in the sanctuary, or Communion in the hand. Pope Paul VI complained that: "Some priests and members of the faithful mask with the name 'conciliar' those personal interpretations and erroneous practices that are injurious, even scandalous, and at times sacrilegious."
The practice of Communion in the hand was introduced soon after Vatican II by ecumenically-minded priests in Holland who wished to ape the Protestant practice. This was done as an act of calculated defiance of liturgical law and legitimate ecclesiastical authority. The Dutch rebels soon found imitators among the progressive clergy in Germany, Belgium, and France. Sadly, most bishops reacted with the weakness which has characterized Western hierarchies since the Council, when faced with defiance by Liberal clerics, they failed to take prompt disciplinary action and the abuse spread. Thus the practice, which had already become unacceptable to Catholics in view of the Protestant signification it had acquired during the Reformation, became additionally tainted as the symbol par excellence of liturgical anarchy, the banner of those who had defied the authority of Rome, and more than a thousand years of unbroken Catholic tradition.
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