Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Okay, some of you don't like the Ordinary Form of the Mass compared to the Extraordinary Form because you think it doesn't really follow what Sacrosanctum Concilium truly desired. But worse than that you don't like Sacrosanctum Concilium or the documents of Vatican II and would like to reject these. That makes you a neo-Protestant and like the Orthodox in rejecting an Ecumenical Council and the Magisteriums of all Popes beginning with Pope John XXIII--this is disobedience and the antithesis of the unity that the Holy Father provides to all Catholics who are obedient to him in the areas of faith, morals, canon law and their Magisterium, ordinary and extraordinary.

I think one can certainly prefer the EF Mass over the OF Mass. I have no problem with that. But the rejection of an Ecumenical Council is a mortal sin--serious matter, one knows it is serious matter to reject the Magisterium in its living and current form and one does it with full consent of the will. To die in a state of mortal sin means damnation. But surely we call upon God's mercy to lead you to right praise or Orthodoxy as Catholics.

So let's work on reforming the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in a minor way. By that I mean let's keep the 1962 Missal and its lectionary as the given. Having stated that,then let's suggest the following:

I'm working now off of the Sung Mass and the Solemn Sung Mass:

1. Since everyone is joining the ordained priest by virtue of the priesthood of all the baptized, everyone participates in everything according to their status in the Church whether ordained or lay. The altar boys assist the priest and participate with the laity in the same degree in terms of verbal responses and the laity also join in singing the parts of the Mass that pertain to them:
A. A processional hymn is sung
B. Once the procession reaches the sanctuary, the singing of this hymn ends and the Priest and the laity together say the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in the vernacular each taking their parts. There is no truncation of these prayers.

2. The Choir then sings the Introit as the priest approaches the altar to reverence it and the laity are invited to join in if able, along with the priest. The priest does not say the Introit but joins in the choir singing of it or simply listens.

2. The Kyrie and Gloria are chanted by all in the Greek/Latin and using one of the chant versions.

3. The Collect is chanted by the priest as usual for the EF Mass. The priest is not robotic in his movements but solemn and natural following the rubrics as written.

4. The Liturgy of the Word is chanted in the Vernacular with the option at the altar in the traditional positions by a lay lector for the first reading, the gradual chanted by a cantor in the choir, and the Gospel changed by the deacon or priest. The option of doing this from the ambo is allowed.

5. After the homily that is integral to the Liturgy of the Word, the Credo is chanted in Latin and the option of a litany that is prescribed is offered as an option following the Credo.

6. The altar is prepared and the offerings brought by the laity to the priest.

7. The Mass continues as usual with the Offertory Chant sung during the procession of the gifts and the actual offertory.

8. After the Offertory, the Mass continues as it would in the 1962 missal with the laity taking their parts for the Sanctus, with the priest joining in singing the Sanctus with the Laity and then the canon said in a quiet voice, but not silently, in other words, following the rubrics which explicitly says, low voice, not silent voice. The Congregation sings the Great Amen which is chanted.

9. the Congregation joins in chanting the entire Pater Noster as well as the Agnus Dei and Communion Antiphon and other chants.

The postures of the EF Mass for the congregation are standardized for both the High, Solemn High and Low Masses:

A. Stand for the Procession
B. Kneel for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar
C. Stand for the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Collect

D. Sit for the First Lesson and Gradual
E. Stand for the Gospel as soon as the Gradual is competed
F. Sit for the homily

G. Stand for the Credo and Litany
H. Sit for the Offertory procession and offertory

I. Stand for the Orate Fratres, Secret, and Preface dialogue and Preface as well as the Sanctus which is sung as a unity always
J. Kneel for the Roman Canon through the Great Amen
K. Stand for the Pater Noster and following prayers
L. Stand for the Lamb of God, kneel afterwards until the laity's Communion
M. After Holy Communion, Stand for the Prayer after Holy Communion
N. Kneel for the Ite Missa Est and Final Blessing
O. Stand for the Last Gospel and Recessional


Hammer of Fascists said...

This is in regard to your statements "[Y]ou don't like Sacrosanctum Concilium or the documents of Vatican II and would like to reject these. That makes you a neo-Protestant and like the Orthodox in rejecting an Ecumenical Council" and "[T]he rejection of an Ecumenical Council is a mortal sin."

For the record, I here point out that On August 28 at 10:26 AM, I wrote the following in my comment to your "Yikes or Likes" post:

"As before, I here state that I submit everything in this comment of mine to the Magisterium."

In light of that and similar comments I have made on this blog, I trust that your statements were not intended to apply to me.

Respectfully submitted.

John Nolan said...

Father, if it's a Solemn Mass there will be a subdeacon to sing the epistle. If it's a Missa Cantata by all means allow a lay cantor to sing the epistle but he (and it must be a he) is substituting for a cleric and should be in choir dress.

The idea of a vernacular entrance hymn followed by a lengthy recitation in English and in dialogue form of the PATFOTA is just the sort of opening a Solemn Mass doesn't need, for a simple reason - it ain't solemn. The Introit is the proper processional chant and may be lengthened if desired by adding extra psalm verses. The same applies to the Communion and Offertory.

'Liturgy of the Word' is an OF concept and to insist on its being in the vernacular would mean you couldn't use the GR Gradual and Alleluia which in any case require a competent schola and cantor(s).

It is not the priest's role to usurp the function of the schola/choir by 'joining in'. If the setting is a polyphonic one he can hardly do so anyway. The singing adds another layer to the liturgy but should not hold up the action. Hence the split Sanctus and Benedictus.

De Musica Sacra (1958) allowed the congregation to recite the Pater Noster with the priest, but only at a Low Mass. To extend this to a sung Mass is a logical development, so I'll let you have that one.

Regarding Vatican II, it should not be elevated into a super-dogma. One can argue that it has damaged the Church more than the Protestant Reformation did, and produce ample evidence to prove it. This is in no way to deny that it was an Ecumenical Council.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A5, I was not speaking about you, but there are some, like the SSPX on the right who reject large portions of it and that is why it is taking so long to fully reconcile them to the Church. On the left, we have those who say they accept Vatican II but they really don't. These people are not organized well and have no bishop that has truly set himself into a excommunicatable role on their behalf. There are probably more on the left who don't accept Vatican II or traditional Catholicism, usually out of malformation and poor catechesis rather than a truly intellectual assent to their dissent.

John Nolan said...

I recognize the church in the picture. It is the French Gothic-style Church at St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough (UK), founded by the Empress Eugenie as a mausoleum for the imperial family. She is buried here along with Napoleon III and their son the Prince Imperial, who was killed in the Zulu War of 1879, and their sarcophagi are in the crypt.

Behind the high altar you can see the magnificent Cavaille-Coll organ. Mass is OF, Latin (apart from the Scripture readings) and celebrated with the unhurried reverence you associate with the Benedictine Order. It is a truly uplifting experience. Although only a short walk from the railway station, the abbey is on a wooded hill and white peacocks roam the grounds.

The bookshop has a wide range of liturgical and chant resources (I bought my Graduale Triplex here) and the national Catholic library was recently moved here from London.

You can tell the Mass in the picture is OF since the subdeacon is incensing rather than holding the paten in a humeral veil. If the liturgy was like this everywhere, there would be no need to talk about a reform of the reform. Incidentally, there is an annual Requiem Mass for Napoleon I, England's arch-enemy, on 5 May.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, my premise is that some reforms of the Mass are required by SC but I believe in a very conservative way. The way in which the documents of Vatican II are written leave so much room for interpretation and wrong interpretation if one buys into the idea that the Second Vatican Council is a rupture with Tradition rather than a blossoming of Tradition. One has to take into account the EF Mass and its genius in order to reform it and keep its genius. It was the implementers of the reform that bought into the rupture theology of the day and bishops were befuddled by all of this, the loss of respect for their authority and relied too much on theologians who had no pastoral sensitivity, firstly, there are academicians and secondly bought into the rupture theology of the day. They, the theologians, in fact became the bishops of the Church of the 1960's and 70's and to a certain extent even today. They became gurus and mufties.

As far as what you say abou the PATFOTA, you are thus making an argument for the OF's introductory rite, except the GIRM opened wide the door to substitutions that are kind of like the introit--this is the disaster. If the Introit is what is chanted even in the OF as the Processiona, with added psalm verses, in Latin or the vernacular and the priest enters the sanctuary, reverences the altar, incenses it and then goes to his chair for the "Introductory Rites" and then there is a truncation of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar to include in the Penitential Act recognition of sin and a general absolution of venial sin and then the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect. Thus the Pentitential Act is extended to the laity, who as participants in the actual sense also need an absolution from venial sin and purification prior to the Gloria and the rest of the Mass. That is why I am saying is the PATFOTA are necessary, then everyone needs to be included which means that the introit has to start afterward, or at least be interrupted for it and then it resumes as the priest approaches the altar.

I think the antipathy toward women doing anything in the sanctuary needs to be jettisoned. It is truly insulting to them when it has nothing to do with Holy Orders to which they are not called. We need to move on in this regard.

In terms of the my suggestion for the Liturgy of the Word in the vernacular, certainly the Gradual and Alleluia and anything that is chanted in Gregorian style, should be in Latin in the 1962 missal.

Marc said...

Rest assured, A5, I believe he was talking about me.

I fail to understand the point, however. How does adhesion to the Magisterium of the Church make one schismatic, neo-Protestant, reductionist, liberal, cafeteria Catholic, and a mortal sinner all at the same time?

Let me turn the questions around and ask my accuser:

1. Did Vatican II proclaim any doctrines of the faith?

2. If it did not, what is there to accept or reject?

3. If there is nothing to accept or reject, then is the continuous Magisterium of the Church not the same now as before the Council?

Conclusion: I agree the faithful owe religious assent to the pastoral ideas set forth in Vatican II. However, we owe full assent of faith to doctrinal statements set forth prior to Vatican II (as well as those recapitulated at Vatican II, which forms a very huge portion of those documents).

To argue Vatican II is to be treated like any other Ecumenical Council is erroneous. Every other Ecumenical Council explicitly proclaimed doctrine, usually anathematizing those who did not have full assent to that doctrine.

Finally, by pointing the finger at me and other Traditionalists, you are also pointing the finger at the Holy Father, who has called the Novus Ordo Missae a "banal, on the spot product." You are calling Card. Brandmuller, who spoke recently about the Council, "like the Orthodox" (that is, a heretic). You are willing to throw out the doctrinal writings of many popes in favor of documents that claim no doctrinal authority.

Finally, you continue to misrepresent the SSPX position by claiming they "reject large portions of [Vatican II]..." That is simply not true. Moreover, be aware that they would lodge a similar argument against you: You reject large portions of pre-conciliar Magisterial documents in your ready acceptance of the pastoral Vatican II documents.


Templar said...

It is taking so long to reconcile the SSPX to "The Church" because this is what passes for "The Church" now. Is it any wonder the SSPX are wary?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, it is simply wrong to say that just because Vatican II doesn't make any new "infallible" pronouncements, meaning the defining of an existing doctrine to the elevation of dogma, that you can then pick and choose as a cafeteria Catholic. How many doctrines of the Church are actually defined as dogma anyway? It is hard to determine that to be quite honest with you. The doctrine of papal infallibility, Mary's Immaculate Conception, her glorious Assumption body and soul into heaven were long standing doctrines in the Church and implied all the way back to the early Church Fathers, yet these were not dogmas until they were defined as such. Does that mean Catholics could have rejected these doctrines outright because they did the have the imprimatur of the "dogmatized?"

There are some new theologies concerning existing doctrine in the Church that are not yet classified as dogmas, such as the role of the laity in the life of the Church as institution and her liturgy not to mention their role in the world and called to various lay apostolates or "ministries." There is the "dogmatic" constitution of the Church and clarification of doctrines concerning the Word of God and a number of other doctrines, but not "dogmatized." But they remain doctrines with more developed theology. While doctrines can't change and new ones can't be made up, these must be found in the Tradition of the Church, existing doctrines can be explained in new ways and given more prominence. The Second Vatican Council as a "missionary, pastoral Council" certainly did that in terms of the laity and their role in the Church and the refinement of the baptismal priesthood of all who are fully initiated into the Church. There nothing new there, but a new emphasis is discovered, a theology to promote it and a liturgy that signifies it by the call the actual participation and the opening of various liturgical ministries to the laity and also allowing the laity a voice in the administration of the parish, especially its finances or secular aspects, but all participating in the teaching ministry of the Church and a number of other things that were de-emphasized in the pre-Vatican II model of Church, but were nonetheless, still present even there.

The existing doctrines as explained at Vatican II and given new prominence, the dogmas that are reiterated with new theologies to describe them are normative for all Catholics, they are not optional.

John Nolan said...

Father, thanks for the clarification. If we are talking about the Roman Rite, then the PATFOTA do not depend for their efficacity on being done in dialogue form with the congregation which is not always practicable anyway - imagine a Low Mass at the high altar of a large cathedral which would be well-nigh inaudible in the nave. The Missa Recitata (where the congregation not only say the responses but join in the Kyrie, Gloria &c and even the Propers which in a sung Mass would be the preserve of the schola) was actually recommended by the SCR in 1935, subject to the approval of the local ordinary) but was never really implemented in English-speaking countries and is only relevant to the Low Mass. When the third Confiteor and the absolutions were made optional in 1960 no-one suggested that the Misereatur and Indulgentiam at the beginning of Mass did not apply to the faithful, even though the Introit was being sung at this point.

As for women in the sanctuary, this is against the tradition not just of the Roman Rite but of the Eastern rites as well. It was not allowed when the NO was introduced in 1970. The idea that it insults women is ludicrous. I know a woman who has a high-flying job in the UN and competes with men on equal terms. Her background is Ukrainian Catholic and she is offended when a woman so much as reads the lesson at Mass, so she attends the Oratory when in London. The sanctuary is reserved for clerics or those substituting for clerics (servers are actually 'lay clerks'). The ministries of acolyte and lector are still reserved to men. You don't overturn the Tradition of both East and West for the sake of late 20th century political correctness. Certainly a priority for ROTR.

Marc said...

Father, the things you mentioned are not the things that those who take issue with portions of Vatican II are talking about.

The greatest strength of Vatican II is its statements about the role of the laity in the world. That makes sense because such statements are necessarily pastoral in nature.

I disagree with you regarding so-called ministries for the laity during the liturgy. It is a distortion and confusion of the priestly order that tends toward clericalism and actually downplays the legitimate role of the laity (that is, in the world offering sacrifices and winning souls for Our Lord).

You seem to be equating recently pronounced dogmas like the Assumption with things stated at Vatican II when you say, "Does that mean Catholics could have rejected these doctrines outright because they did the have the imprimatur of the 'dogmatized?'" However, you are forgetting the very premise that Vatican II dogmatized nothing.

Finally, as stated before, I am not picking and choosing. I do not find it particularly difficult to identify the dogmas of the Church. After all, I own a copy of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma and the Roman Catechism. The dogmas are in there.

You seem to be choosing documents like Unitatis redintegratio, a pastoral document, over documents like Mortalium Animos, a doctrinal document. While I agree that the former is owed religious assent of the intellect and will insofar as it expounds the doctrine of the Church, the latter, as part of the continuing Magisterium of the Church and in conformity with the Apostolic Tradition, is owed full assent of faith.

In accordance with your conclusion, I will say that I agree that the doctrines of the Church are not optional. Mortalium Animos is not optional. In fact, it is the lense through which the Holy Father wishes us to view Unitatis redintegratio. That is necessary from a logical perspective considering Vatican II declared no doctrine.

Honestly, I really do not find this to be particularly controversial.


Also, I agree with Templar. Any "full communion" with that "Church" is meaningless.

Efforts are better spent getting the actual liberals and neo-Protestants in line than arguing with the SSPX who simply wish to believe what the Church has always believed. Thankfully, the Holy Father understands this situation:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, you'll have to name any liberal groups that have bishops that have ordained bishops themsleves without papal approbation that thus makes them like the SSPX--it's the bishop situation that is the biggest problem and why the Vatican is more stringent in trying first to reconcile the bishops and bring them back into the full communion of the Church with the pope.
If a liberal version of the SSPX develops, I doubt that the Vatican would spend much time trying to reconcile those bishops as the Vatican is doing with the SSPX. But as I note, I know of no similar group in the left wing of the Church led by a bishop that has done what LeFebreve did.

Unknown said...

Being a formally trained Master of Ceremonies, I would like to offer my critique, if I may.

I think that to include the faithful in the reciting of prayers is to misunderstand the idea of participatio actuosa. What goes on in the sanctuary is clearly that of the priest and his ministers. The faithful have a role and that is one of worshipping. They should not be required to interrupt their worship so that they must respond to the prayers. That is why there are altar servers. It is this misguided understanding of participation which has caused so much trouble in the Church today.

I think that the important part of the Mass is that the priest completes each action separate from the faithful. He must say all parts of the Mass, because it is his prayer to the Father, on behalf of the faithful. It is not just he who is presiding while the faithful celebrate. So, to have the priest recite the introit whilst it is being chanted is important, as is the same for the other parts of the Mass, the offertory, the communion, etc...the priest must know that his prayer is 100% complete, regardless of the actions of the faithful in chanting or singing.

As for the postures, I think that you've changed nothing. But, I would not chastise anyone who chooses to kneel at any given point or for however long he chooses. That is his expression of worship and if it is a way for him to give greater glory to God, by all means the parish church should allow it. However, the same is not true for one who is clearly out of sync with the rest of the parish church, ie. standing rather than kneeling, because he is drawing undue attention to himself by said actions. The same cannot readily be said about the one who kneels.

IMHO, the only changes which are necessary to the TLM are the additions of the saints who have been canonized since 1962. Other than that, the TLM is not in need of any alteration.

If you are looking to hybridize the Novus Ordo, that is a whole different subject and I have a great number of thoughts about that.

Unknown said...

"Marc, you'll have to name any liberal groups that have bishops that have ordained bishops themsleves without papal approbation that thus makes them like the SSPX..."

Father/Marc, I don't mean to butt in here, but there are more than a few. The Old Catholics, the PNCC, the Willibrord Society, (former)Archbishop Milingo's ordinands, etc...there are far more "liberal" factions out there as opposed to "traditional," they just don't get the press the traddy's do. Go figure.

Marc said...

Father, that is a good point. I would compare the situation of these SSPX bishops with that of Uniate bishops and former Anglican "bishops." That is to say, the excommunications, if they were ever valid, have been lifted. Therefore, the barrier at this point is the perceived doctrinal issues only. The Uniate bishops and fomer Anglican "bishops" have not had to jump through the hoops the SSPX bishops have (at least they have not had to do so publicly).

Considering the Orthodox are actually schismatic and the Anglicans are heretics, having a doctrinal discussion in the public arena would be fruitful.

I challenge you to find a Uniate bishop, by the way, who cares anything about Vatican II or any Council beyond the First Seven... Yet, they are in "full Communion."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, I also disagree with you about Unitatis redintegratio. It does indeed offer a "doctrine" on ecumenism based upon solid doctrinal and biblical principles. Is it a defined dogma? NO! Doctrine is a different term than dogma. Has I mentioned most of the Church's doctrines have not been solemnly defined as dogma, but they still bind Catholics, just as Canon Law is not doctrine, but the laws are binding on Catholics!

In a sense, we can say that there may be more development and refinement of Unitatis redintegratio and in fact there has been, especially what it means that the Catholic Church subsists....There have been many post-Vatican II clarifications on the doctrine of ecumenism.

Keep in mind that even the "theory" if you will of Limbo is a doctrine, but not defined as a developed doctrine to the same extent that Unitatis redintegratio is. In fact the Magisterium hasn't developed the doctrine of Limbo in any way whatsoever and seems to have negated a goodly portion of it but not entirely as far as I can tell.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Andy, you make my point though, these guys are excommunicated and there is no intention of trying to reconcile them to the Church for most of what they believe is heterodox even is they have bishops leading the way. The point about the SSPX is that they haven't denied anything in the Deposit of Faith, but have rejected papal authority in terms of Church discipline and the pope's right to approve the ordination of bishops and also to insist on the acceptance of an Ecumenical Council even is nuanced.

Marc said...

Mortalium Animos offers the doctrine. Unitatis redintegratio purports to provide pastoral directives regarding the same arena as the former. It fails in most respects to do so accurately. I believe the doctrine, you believe the erroneous pastoral explanations.

Regarding limbo, consider the following papal pronouncements and then please tell me where the Magisterium has negated this:

Pope St. Innocent, 414: “But that which Your Fraternity asserts the Pelagians preach, that even without the grace of Baptism infants are able to be endowed with the rewards of eternal life, is quite idiotic.” (Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 2016.)

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Letentur coeli,” Sess. 6, July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: “We define also that… the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.” (Denz. 693)

Pope Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, Aug. 28, 1794:
“26. The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of the children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk” – Condemned as false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools. (Denz. 1596)

Pope Martin V, Council of Constance, Session 15, July 6, 1415 - Condemning the articles of John Wyclif - Proposition 6: “Those who claim that the children of the faithful dying without sacramental baptism will not be saved, are stupid and presumptuous in saying this.”- Condemned (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, p. 422.)

Pope St. Zosimus, The Council of Carthage, Canon on Sin and Grace, 417 A.D.- “It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: ‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions’ [John 14:2]: that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema.” (Denzinger 102, authentic addition to Can. 2.)

The Catechism of St. Pius X:

11 Q. When should infants be brought to the Church to be baptised?

A. Infants should be brought to the Church to be baptised as soon as possible.

12 Q. Why such anxiety to have infants receive Baptism?

A. There should be the greatest anxiety to have infants baptised because, on account of their tender age, they are exposed to many dangers of death, and cannot be saved without Baptism.

My Commentary: Limbo is theological hypothesis that seeks to soften the only other theological hypothesis, that is the hypothesis of St. Augustine that unbaptized infants go to Hell proper. These are the Church's theological hypotheses. Any other hypothesis denies the dogma of original sin.

Unknown said...

That's not exactly true, Father. There have been numerous attempts to reconcile the Old Catholics and the PNCC to the Church. Also, they did something that the SSPX never did and that is to flat deny an infallible teaching of the Magisterium. The SSPX never did that.

So, while it is possible to correlate the disobedience, it is not possible to correlate the corrective action taken. The SSPX did nothing to warrant the scrutiny they have been placed under. They deny no dogma, nor do they intend to do anything contrary to Holy Mother Church.

The examples I cite do. Big difference.

Unknown said...


You speak of the Unitatis Redintegratio as being doctrinal. You say, "It does indeed offer a "doctrine" on ecumenism based upon solid doctrinal and biblical principles."

How so, specifically? I don't see how there is a doctrinal statement which can possibly supersede the traditional notion of:

1. Religious tolerance for ecclesial communions

2. Ecumenism for the Orthodox

3. Evangelization for the non-Christian

To me, the document in question muddies the waters as opposed to defining more clearly the doctrine which I just put forth in three.

How do you reconcile UR as being a doctrine?

Henry Edwards said...

I wonder whether this thread is not rendered as ambiguous as some Vatican II documents (for example) by confusion between the categories doctrine and dogma on the hand, and prudential and pastoral recommendations on the other hand.

It is unnecessary--and irrelevant to the assessment of Vatican II--to quibble about whether this or that doctrine or dogma is infallibly defined or not. Both terms refer to beliefs in which assent to the magisterium (whether ordinary or extraordinary) is required, and which are necessary for fullness of faith.

The documents of Vatican II surely contain much doctrine or dogma that must be accepted, but it seems to me an open question whether they contain any doctrine or dogma with new moral or theological content, beyond that already believed prior to the council.

The problem may be that recent generations--of priests no less than pew sitters--seem to have little concept of the meaning of the term "doctrine", as opposed to a prudential recommendation for pastoral action or policy approach or liturgical procedure that is not a matter of faith, and thus requiring belief.

For instance, one might read Sacrosanctum Concilium, and find no new liturgical or theological doctrine, only recommended pastoral actions or liturgical changes that may have seemed appropriate to meet the perceived needs of the Church in the 1960s, but may seem irrelevant or even counter to the needs of the Church now, a half century later. Certainly, no one is required to have "faith" in a pastoral recommendation made fifty years ago, especially if subsequent experience has shown that its results are contrary to what it sought.

So it seems to me that an assessment of Vatican II requires a determination of what, if anything, it recommended then and not yet done, there is in it that still needs to be done now in an entirely different time.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, when we have cardinals including the former Cardinal Ratzinger questioning the advisability of a manufactured liturgy after Vatican II, I would agree with what you are saying. And when you have to have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarifying documents of the Second Vatican Council, that tells you that precision in theological language wasn't always the gift of these documents.

So I think theologians and bishops are free to question as well as priests and laity, but it is still the role of the Magisterium to interpret these documents and ultimately change course or revise time-centered decisions.

I personally think that if we went back to an entirely 1962 missal that I would want a lot of vernacular allowed and I still hold up the 1965 missal as that template. But that's just my opinion. More than likely we'll still get a compromised Mass even in the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald, I fully agree that it is the province of the Magisterium to determine the proper interpretation of the documents. This is not the province of laymen, priests, of even of theologians.

So, in a sense it may be pointless for us simple folk--certainly, pointless for me if not for you--to debate these matters so far above our level responsibility, but evidently we just cannot stop ourselves.

As for Sacrosantum Concilium, my opinion is that the principles of organic development could be observed by going back to 1962 and initially only introducing vernacular in a prescribed manner--certainly the scriptural readings and perhaps also the collects. Other changes, including some recommended in SC, could be considered carefully in due course and implemented at a sensible space determined by the Holy Spirit.

I do believe that 1965, which I thought refreshing at the time, was a step too far to take at once, violating as it did the fact that, historically, valid organic development in the liturgy has always had its roots in the gradual spread and wider adoption of legitimate local customs. That is, from the bottom up rather than from the top down, with final codification for the whole Church--as in the Mass of Pius V--being the final rather than the initial step.

Anonymous 2 said...


Your discussion of Limbo troubled me. A quick review of the relevant Wikipedia entry on the topic (not, admittedly, a finally authoritative source), suggests, once again, that the topic is more complex than it might at first appear to be:

Marc said...

A2, is there something particular in the Wiki article that you are referencing?

I agree it is a complex topic. Much of the complexity comes from the International Theological Commission statement of a few years ago that articulated the false view of "original grace". Keep in mind that Commission is not authoritative in any way despite what the media reported at the time of that publication.

I know a very good sermon available online in audio form (from a diocesan priest), if you are keen to think more about this topic, I will provide a link to that for your consideration.


Anonymous said...

A2 and others,

Here's the link for the discussion of the doctrine of limbo of the infants. It includes a bonus introduction contra Sedevacantism, as well.


Gene said...

There is an issue of "theo-logic" with the controversial doctrine of Limbo. To assert it is, indeed, to deny the doctrine of Original Sin. We must consign the eternal destiny of infants who die unbaptized to the Mystery of God's grace and the boundlessness of His mercy. This is a similar conundrum to Calvin's "double predestination," so called. He became a victim of his own theo-logic. To deny predestination is to compromise Christology and the "unconditional" nature of Salvation. To assert it seems to make God the author of evil. Again, some things demand that we only stand humbly in awe before them. There is not a theological answer for everything, despite the pressure upon the Church to offer one.