From time to time, CCC features a “Vatican II Fact Check” post in which we dispel false yet widely accepted narratives that dog the Second Vatican Council. In a recent interview with the National Catholic Register, Bishop Peter Elliott of the Melbourne Archdiocese offered some remarkable observations on post-Vatican II life in the Church. I’m citing his forceful response to a question about the unintended “reforms” of the Council to once again emphasize the fact that the positions advanced on Cream City Catholic regarding liturgy are not the solitary fringe opinions of a small group of nostalgic holdovers who are hopelessly hostile to Vatican II. To quote Margaret Thatcher, “No! No! No!” We represent the true apologists for the real Vatican II.
Here you go:
What reforms did we see that were never intended by the document or were taken too far?
What was never intended, or imagined, by the Council Fathers was Communion in the hand and receiving Communion standing. These practices began in the Netherlands soon after the Council, and, later, they were authorized, a shameful episode when breaking law led to making law. Can anyone seriously argue that these practices have deepened reverence for the blessed Eucharist?
Then we come to what was never mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium, but soon spread everywhere after the Council — Mass facing the people. I eagerly supported that change, and I celebrate most Masses that way.
But now, after much reflection, I have second thoughts. Has this overemphasized the priest? Does it rest on the erroneous opinion that the Mass is a meal? Have we lost something? The mystery? So what was gained by all that expensive renovation of sanctuaries? We moved altars — but did we move hearts?
In a broader perspective, what really set in was the secularization of the liturgy. That led to the degradation of language, rituals, vessels and vestments, design, architecture and music.
The Mass became a dialogue across a table, and Communion became a queue when people go and get something. Please do not tell me that a queue is a “Communion procession.” …
These are extraordinarily insightful observations, and it is so refreshing to hear them coming from a bishop! Read the rest, it’s excellent.
We think it’s kind of a big deal that so many bishops and priests have either capitulated to, or helped fuel the “Virtual Council” over and above the real Council. Sadly, here in Milwaukee, where the residue of Weakland is still felt, there seems to be little if any interest in exposing this “Virtual Council” and recovering the real Second Vatican Council. If you would like to single out one, overarching objective of Cream City Catholic, it would have to do with the long-overdue implementation of the true intentions of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, and the complete eradication of the countless false narratives and lies regarding the Council. A modest goal, no? Thankfully, we have leaders like Bishop Elliott, among many others, to point to in order to help make our point clear.