Pre-Vatican II Ecclesiology?
Ecclesiology is the study of the nature of the Church. It is said that in pre-Vatican II times the ecclesiology was too clerical. That is captured in the first picture above where the Mass is the clerical domain of the priest and his private celebration as he has his back to the people, says many of the prayers, in particular the Roman Canon, quietly and there is a clear distinction between his prayers and the prayers of the congregation, for example the double Confiteor at the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the double "Communion Rite" for the priest and then for the laity.
Apart from altar boys who were meant to be seminarians in recruiting, there was no lay participation in the first picture, such as lay lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The emphasis is on the ordained priestly action, not the priestly action of the baptized which the second picture captures as the priest is facing the people and the people have a "buy-in" to what he is doing.
The nature of most post-Vatican II parish is less clerical today. Lay people bring Holy Communion to the sick and home bound. There are full-time ministries for lay people, such as DRE's and Youth Directors, Music Directors and pastoral assistants. Even our schools are totally lay run with principal and teachers. This is decidedly a different model of ecclesiology than what most parishes experienced prior to Vatican II.
It is important to understand that the battles over the liturgy are tied into a perceived ecclesiology also.The Second Vatican Council called the laity to holiness although I am not sure that means busy-ness, liturgical or otherwise.
The ecclesiology of holiness means participating fully in the Liturgy of the Church by praying the Mass. The move to encourage the laity to cease with devotions during the Mass such as the rosary or other devotions, coming in late and leaving early was an important shift. (It was said, you still fulfilled your obligation if you came to Mass for the Gospel reading and technically you could leave after receiving Holy Communion which many people did in the pre-Vatican II Church!)
But I believe apart from the legitimate participation of the laity in the parts of the Mass once reserved to the altar boys and choirs (which was meant to be a symbolic participation of the laity anyway)that the ecclesiology of Vatican II was meant not so much for churchy ministries but for the laity's life in the world and bringing the Catholic faith and morals to the marketplace or the public square.
What has happened though is that the laity have brought their distorted "private devotions" to the public square, not the Church's faith and morals. By that I mean they bring not the actual participation of the faith and morals of the Church to the public square but something that is a parody of that, such as pro-choice beliefs, pro-contraception beliefs and a whole host of beliefs that are not in keeping with the faith and morals of the Church.
Maybe we need to revisit Vatican II's ecclesiology and emphasize it to the priests and laity of the Church. Maybe on this 50th anniversary of Vatican II we should actually read the documents of Vatican II and begin to implement them. What do you think?