Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Vision of Vatican II

By now it must be obvious that I don't have much time to blog. I wish I had more. There's a discipline to blogging regularly and I think that the public aspect of that allows for an interchange of ideas that can be healthy.

It's been almost two months since my last post. At the time I wrote it, I was pretty bent with various elements that I find within the Church that I mistakenly ascribed to Vatican II. I am beginning to discover that Vatican II was largely hijacked in its implementation, especially here in the United States. So what I am fighting is not Vatican II, but the common misunderstandings of it. And worse, the perverse (read that, skewed, or crooked) implementations of it.

I alluded to the Council's document on the Liturgy in my last post: Sacrosanctum Concilium. It really doesn't take very long to read and I encourage anyone reading this to do so. You may be surprised at what it says as opposed to what you may have been told it said.

Vatican II did not change everything. Rather it clarified a number of things in order to allow the Church to face many of the challenges of our modern era. so this raises the question in my mind: how many parishes are truly working to implement the vision of Vatican II according to this document?

As I alluded to in my last post, the document still holds that Latin be the primary language of the Mass. It also states that Gregorian Chant has pride of place as far as music goes, but it allows for other forms, most prominently hymns accompanied by organ.

I have actually been in a number of parishes in my short time in the Catholic Church. The only time I have heard any Latin is in my own home parish. And we only do it rarely. I have seen a lot of use of the organ, but I have never heard Gregorian Chant. Actually, a priest who has been saying Mass at our parish chants the "Lord Have Mercy" with us. But outside of that, I have never experienced chant during Mass.

What I have encountered are a lot of muscial variations. I have especially been exposed to hymns composed over the last 20 or 30 years that downplay the distinctives of our faith and emphasize feeling good about our relationship with God. I have also encountered a fair amount of "creative license" on the part of priests who think that the written texts of the Eucharistic Prayers need improvement to make it more meaningful to the people.

By the way, has anyone noticed that the modern version of the Confiteor (I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters...") is a tremendously dumbed-down version of the original? Whereas we used to acknowledge our sins and unworthiness (if that's a word) before God, the angels, and the saints, and we asked for their prayers, now we throw our "brothers and sisters" into that mix as well. It's as if all the people attending Mass with us are just as worthy as the saints and angels to hear our confession and pray for us to be holy.

All of this to say that things are not generally being done according to the vision of Vatican II. But there is hope. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is continally working to bring us back to that proper balance that is the vision of Vatican II. There are many parishes that are working to bring us back to the same. It is my hope that the process will continue and that many more will join in.


Hidden One said...

The current Confiteor is definitely a disaster.

Have you read "Redemptionis Sacramentum"? It's even more scandalous to liberals than SC, and it's not less binding.

Keith said...

Haven't read that one. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

JM said...

Vatican II said this in it's Constitution Dei Verbum:
"Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."

Vatican II showed that traditions should be kept with loyalty.