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The Danger of Equating Vatican II and the Liturgical Reform
New Liturgical Movement ^ | 1/20/2014 | PETER KWASNIEWSKI

Posted on 01/20/2014 3:38:40 AM PST by markomalley

Pope John Paul II pointed out: “For many people, the message of the Second Vatican Council was perceived principally through the liturgical reform” (Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 12).

That’s just the problem in a nutshell, isn’t it? If the liturgical reform itself was bungled—and, in the wake of the scathing critiques of Gamber, Ratzinger, Nichols, Lang, Mosebach, Robinson, Reid, et alia, it is no longer intellectually honest to think that it was not, in some very important respects—and, what is worse, if its implementation was still further compromised by the prevailing secularism of the environment into which it was launched, one must ask: What version, or rather, what caricature, of Vatican II did those many people perceive whose idea of the Council came, perhaps exclusively, from the liturgical revolution?

They took in little or nothing of the authentic doctrine of the Council—the salubrious doctrine that, according to John XXIII’s intention and the very words of Vatican II itself, fully accorded with the teaching of former ecumenical councils, especially those of Trent and Vatican I. Instead of bread, the faithful were given a stone. Instead of substantive content, the faithful were given a hermeneutic, a manner of viewing the Church, her teaching, her tradition, her liturgy—and it was decisively one of rupture and discontinuity. To be Catholic in those heady days meant to be different, to be other, to be up-to-date; it certainly did not mean to be stably the same, consistent with one’s past, reliant on tradition. The Church was no longer the Mystical Body and Immaculate Bride of Christ; the Church was reform, reform without an end in sight, without even much of a plan, reform for the sake of reform. As the famous Protestant theologian Karl Barth asked in the wake of the Council: “When will the Church know that it is sufficiently updated?” I think that’s what you call a rhetorical question.

Tragically, generations of clergy have been trained in the same hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity, including most of the world’s bishops. That is why the unexpected resurgence of traditional forms of faith and worship among young people, mounting at times to passionate commitment, is a source of bewilderment, consternation, and even anger to them. Due to their training and mental habits, such clergy equate today’s liturgy and its multitudinous aberrations with Vatican II, and hence equate a love of or preference for the traditional liturgy and the culture surrounding it with a rejection of Vatican II. This might be true for some people, but it isn't true across the board, and it need not be true at all.

It does not seem to matter that the traditional liturgy and the integral Catholic life it sustains is, in fact, profoundly in harmony with the best and greatest teachings of the Council—one need only think of Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, and even Sacrosanctum Concilium. It does not matter that Pope Benedict XVI, the greatest theologian to sit on the Chair of Peter for centuries, saw continuity between his own liturgical doctrine and praxis and that of the Council to which he made significant contributions. No, it does not matter, because it doesn’t look that way to Catholics ignorant of the Council’s documents, ignorant of the liturgical patrimony of the Church, and poorly formed by almost fifty years of liturgical abuse.


Pasquale Cati, Council of Trent
What is necessary today is to show, patiently, persistently, and accurately, with the humility and confidence born of careful study, that the fathers of Vatican II did not desire or ask for the liturgical reform that came out of Bugnini’s Consilium, that the Novus Ordo Missae is not in full accord with Sacrosanctum Concilium (see here or here), and that the teaching of the sixteen official documents of Vatican II supports rather than dismantles traditional Catholic theology and piety. The least we can do, in any case, is not to allow ourselves to be tossed to and fro, carried about by every wind of secondhand half-truths or tendentious readings that emphasize rupture, whether modernist or traditionalist in source.

It is true that there are problems, difficulties, and ambiguities in the conciliar documents. It is true that not every formulation is immune to legitimate criticism—even Ratzinger complained that parts of Gaudium et Spes were “downright Pelagian.” And it is beyond doubt that there were bishops and periti at the Council who sought to infuse modernism into the documents and, to some extent, succeeded in influencing the formulations. But it is still more certain that the final documents, reviewed so many times and passed through the crucible of papal and conciliar scrutiny, are, with few exceptions, sound in content and form; and it is most certain that they are free from error in faith and morals, being the formal acts of an ecumenical council and solemnly promulgated by the Pope. We must never, as it were, abandon the Council to the modernists; this would only play into the devil’s hands.

In any case, it is not simply this most recent Council that gives us our map and marching orders; it is the entirety of Catholic Tradition and the totality of the Magisterium for the past 2,000 years, of which this Council is but a part, and within which it is rightly understood. We know that in principle, no reading of Vatican II can possibly be right that results in formal contradiction between past and present. We are guided by all of the Church’s teaching, not just the most recent. Indeed, we are blessed to belong to a body that, while it develops over time, cannot essentially change. The partisans of perpetual change can have their bizarre liturgies and politically correct catechisms, but they will no longer—or not for much longer—be Catholics.


TOPICS: Catholic
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1 posted on 01/20/2014 3:38:40 AM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley

Vatican II was a disaster and the change to the liturgy (which was unexpected and last minute) was its outward expression and what allowed it to be imposed ruthlessly on the whole Church and, in my opinion, to bring it close to destruction.

I’m not saying that changes and reforms weren’t necessary, because there was a need for a re expression of the truths of the Faith - although there were a number of good theologians doing just that - in modern language and also in terms that took into account the development of a world increasingly based on science and technology. There was a need to treat morality not as just a legal code, but as something that came out of love for God. There was a need to simplify many practices (for example, things ranging from elaborate ceremonials that had lost their meaning to complicated religious habits that required a staff of lay laundresses to iron and maintain) . And there was a need to improve the liturgy, which was often celebrated carelessly, hastily and in a decidedly dreary way at the parish level, in most US parishes, certainly.

But there was no need to destroy anything or even to make radical changes. However, once the shepherds turned out to be weak and confused, the canny wolves simply rushed in and acted so fast, attacking not the sheep first but the shepherds and destroying those who tried to resist, that the entire Church was unrecognizable in the space of about five years. And we won’t even talk about the many shepherds who turned out to be secret wolves themselves.

It’s hard for me to say anything good about Vatican II except that I know the intentions of many if not most of the people involved in it were good. But the handful of evil people triumphed because they were treacherous and ruthless. Christ gave us his word that the Church cannot be destroyed but it was pretty hard to remember that at times.

If its supporters want to “rescue” Vatican II on its miserable 50th anniversary, they should be realistic about it and should be willing to discuss, not its supposed ideals, but its actual horrible, devastating, soul-destroying effect.


2 posted on 01/20/2014 4:04:24 AM PST by livius
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To: livius
Vatican II was a disaster and the change to the liturgy (which was unexpected and last minute) was its outward expression and what allowed it to be imposed ruthlessly on the whole Church and, in my opinion, to bring it close to destruction.

When I actually read the documents of Vatican II, the only one that I see as being problematic (in parts) is Gaudium et Spes (again, IMHO). But when I see what was done in the name of Vatican II, that's when I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Having said that, I really think that there must have been deep, underlying problems (like "Modernism" and "indifferentism" and "Americanism" -- a la "Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae", that is) for a number of years prior to Vatican II. As I see it, had those underlying problems not existed prior to the Council, there wouldn't have been the hordes of Mongols waiting to storm the gate immediately on 8 Dec 1965 when the Council was closed.

Personally, I think we would do well to identify and work to correct those underlying issues.

3 posted on 01/20/2014 4:52:27 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: livius
Christ gave us his word that the Church cannot be destroyed...

Too many confuse the Vatican for the Church. The Vatican could be flattened yet the church that Christ established would continue in Spirit and Truth.

4 posted on 01/20/2014 4:57:06 AM PST by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
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To: Excellence

This didn’t affect just the Vatican. These destructive “reforms” swept through the entire Church.


5 posted on 01/20/2014 5:23:28 AM PST by livius
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To: markomalley
Tragically, generations of clergy have been trained in the same hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity, including most of the world’s bishops. That is why the unexpected resurgence of traditional forms of faith and worship among young people, mounting at times to passionate commitment, is a source of bewilderment, consternation, and even anger to them. Due to their training and mental habits, such clergy equate today’s liturgy and its multitudinous aberrations with Vatican II, and hence equate a love of or preference for the traditional liturgy and the culture surrounding it with a rejection of Vatican II. This might be true for some people, but it isn't true across the board, and it need not be true at all.

PFL

6 posted on 01/20/2014 5:27:55 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: markomalley

There were definitely people awaiting their opportunity. Modernism was a reality, and the efforts to deal with it hadn’t really solved the problem. They tried to suppress it, but this wasn’t successful because it just drove it underground.

I think, actually, that many of the good theologians and bishops saw Vatican II as a possible way of restating and re-proclaiming orthodoxy and putting an end to modernist tendencies once and for all (or until the next time heresy bubbled up). They thought they’d be cutting away all of the bureaucratic accretions that prevented a clear expression of orthodox Faith.

But the Modernists had already installed themselves, quietly and secretly, during their time of theoretical suppression, and as soon as they saw this opening, they seized it. The good bishops were blindsided (this was particularly true in the case of the liturgical reforms) and had never expected this destruction and rejection of legitimate authority and even of the concept of truth.

I think they also didn’t realize how far Marxism had extended itself into the social thinking of the Church; the only people who seemed to take this seriously were some rather cranky and sometimes rather wacky elderly bishops, and people ignored them - even though they were obviously correct in their warnings.

This, of course, occurred in the context of what the Europeans call the “Revolution of ‘68,” referring to the student demonstrations and the whole current of destructive leftist thought, combined with the “sexual revolution,” that swept both Europe and the US. It was in the air.

Another thing that I think has never been examined (except perhaps by Malachi Martin) is the huge influence exercised by the US Church, whose many leftists and shallow thinkers were relentless in their Protestantizing and neutering of the Church, wanting to convert it into a bland, harmless social appurtenance of the welfare state.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be examined. I just wish somebody other than a radical fringe (that would probably be us!) would be willing to be honest about it. Instead, on the 50th anniversary, we’re supposed to ignore the wreckage and praise Vatican II for how wonderful it was.


7 posted on 01/20/2014 5:37:44 AM PST by livius
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To: markomalley
Vatican II was a disaster and the change to the liturgy (which was unexpected and last minute) was its outward expression and what allowed it to be imposed ruthlessly on the whole Church and, in my opinion, to bring it close to destruction.

Absolutely. It was the begining of the end of the end. They never recovered. From the priests and nuns running around in street clothes, homosexuals getting into the seminaries, grabbing the Host with bare hands, guitars all over, etc. You name it.

There's nothing that Vatican II did that was good. It was a marketing scheme on a grand scale to get more people into the church and it failed miserably.

Instead of resisting the new world crap and new age nonsense, the church caved.

8 posted on 01/20/2014 5:43:02 AM PST by laweeks
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To: livius

The U. S. Bishops interpreted Vatican II liberally. You will be surprised at much did not really get changed.


9 posted on 01/20/2014 6:13:36 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley

**I really think that there must have been deep, underlying problems (like “Modernism” and “indifferentism” and “Americanism**

Good observation


10 posted on 01/20/2014 6:14:52 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

You will be surprised at how much did not really get changed.


11 posted on 01/20/2014 6:16:35 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Alex Murphy

PFL?


12 posted on 01/20/2014 7:45:47 AM PST by piusv
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To: markomalley
When I actually read the documents of Vatican II, the only one that I see as being problematic (in parts) is Gaudium et Spes (again, IMHO).

E.g. (IMO):

33. Through his labors and his native endowments man has ceaselessly striven to better his life. Today, however, especially with the help of science and technology, he has extended his mastery over nearly the whole of nature and continues to do so. Thanks to increased opportunities for many kinds of social contact among nations, the human family is gradually recognizing that it comprises a single world community and is making itself so. Hence many benefits once looked for, especially from heavenly powers, man has now enterprisingly procured for himself.

But when I see what was done in the name of Vatican II, that's when I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Even if the intention was not to tear down the sides of the sheepfold and abandon the sheep to the wolves, it was certainly the outcome. Religious relativism is inevitable when traditions and disciplines that are visibly and distinctly Catholic have been discarded and trampled in order to appeal to those who are open to the Gospel but perhaps not to the Catholic Church. While the focus was on wooing those outside the Church, many within Her have wandered off. At best, the current ecumenical approach is based on the naive presumption that emphasizing common elements leads to conversion. This approach is similar to a business that conceals its unique, proprietary product in the back room while displaying commonly available products in the front window in an effort to attract customers. Jesus Christ - His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, His Eucharist Presence, is forgotten, reverence is abandoned, and the Church is falsely perceived as just one among many. This IMO is the rottenest fruit of VII.

13 posted on 01/20/2014 7:50:49 AM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: piusv
“Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation.” - Pope Francis

According to Francis, nothing to see here, move on folks.

14 posted on 01/20/2014 7:53:42 AM PST by piusv
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To: livius; markomalley

Mark said: “Having said that, I really think that there must have been deep, underlying problems (like “Modernism” and “indifferentism” and “Americanism” — a la “Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae”, that is) for a number of years prior to Vatican II.”

Livius is near squarely on point. I can’t write well today, but last year I conducted quite a bit of research to see if I could identify precisely what the problem was. The result of that research was to identify the Transcendental movement as the core of the problem and oddly, it was a problem never successfully addressed by the Church. Pope Pius, I believe, (working from memory here) did address it and its spawn, “secular humanism”, but never effectively.

I could probably write a book on this subject but very few if any would be interested. Bishop Fulton Sheen “got it” and wrote concerning Pope Pius 1907 encyclical, (a synthesis of all heresies called Modernism by Pope Pius in his 1907 encyclical “Pascendi Dominici Gregis);

“Modern philosophy has seen the birth of a new nation of God...It is God in evolution. God ‘is’ not. He ‘becomes.’ In the beginning was not the Lord, but in the beginning was ‘Movement.’ From this movement God is born by successive creations. As the world progresses, He progresses; as the world acquires perfection, He acquires perfection. (Moreover) man is a necessary step in the evolution of God. Just as man came from the beast, God will come from man...”

I could go on but the clear problem is the embrace of Darwinian evolution and its “fit” into the human centric philosophies.

Unless and until the Church squarely addresses this problem, matters will only worsen. And part of the progress of that descent is found in recent articles wherein authors discuss a fact newly found to them, i.e., that a majority of “Americans” don’t believe in anything.

Think about that for a moment and the examples of the effects of profound disbelief in anything other than the importance of constant consumerism and you will find such things as people being shot and killed...........for their Nike tennis shoes.

Without God at the Center of all existence, human kind descends into Paganism, or worse, Nihilism.


15 posted on 01/20/2014 8:11:33 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: Rich21IE
Fantastic post, Rich!

The result of that research was to identify the Transcendental movement as the core of the problem and oddly, it was a problem never successfully addressed by the Church.

You have hit something that I've never seen offered before as the source of the problem, but something that is very true (at least in the US). Transcendentalism had a big influence on 19th century American Protestants. We're talking about mainstream Protestant denominations and people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, btw, not about Southern Baptists or the revival movements of Upstate New York (which spawned Mormonism!).

Some American converts were Transcendentalists, such as Orestes Brownson, and other Catholics who wanted to reach out to unchurched or Protestant Americans adopted some of the language and even some of the philosophical underpinnings of this movement. This eventually resulted in the strain of Modernism known as Americanism.

It wasn't necessarily combatted in the right way, because, for one thing, Europeans didn't know a thing about Transcendentalism and didn't think Americans were capable of rational thought anyway. The result was that they made crude attempts to suppress it and also that they regarded any American as suspect but at the same time not worthy of a rational examination.

Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists, for example, struggled with being called an Americanist, although he was not. He wanted to get out and preach the Gospel to Americans in ways that they understood, such as street corner preaching, but the group that he founded was extremely orthodox. (This was before Vatican II - the Paulists went into a tailspin after Vatican II and Isaac Hecker would have rejected them out of hand had he lived to see it.) At the same time, others of his contemporaries were dreaming of a Church that would be perfectly acceptable to mainstream Protestant Americans, that would not have any trace of "immigrant" devotional practices, and that would not separate Catholics in any way from what they perceived as "real" American life.

But I think the European - that is, Rome's - ignorance of this problem was what allowed it to fester and end up by silently spreading its infection throughout the American Church. Obviously, classic Modernism, combined with a heavy leftist tilt in European social thought, was still a problem in Europe at the time of Vatican II, so it was not entirely the fault of the US. But I think that many of the worst of the so-called "reforms," particularly in the area of the liturgy and also, oddly enough, in Eucharistic theology, resulted from the influence of Americans who were influenced by Americanism, which was in turn influenced by Transcendentalism.

16 posted on 01/20/2014 8:40:53 AM PST by livius
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To: BlatherNaut
Jesus Christ - His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, His Eucharist Presence, is forgotten, reverence is abandoned, and the Church is falsely perceived as just one among many. This IMO is the rottenest fruit of VII.

It's probably also the source of all the other problems (disciplinary, moral, etc.).

17 posted on 01/20/2014 8:42:17 AM PST by livius
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To: Rich21IE
Modern philosophy has also been heavily influenced by Kant's phenomenology (there can be no objective commonly understood absolutes). The logical outcome of his theory is, of course, atheism.

Synopsis: Phenomena exist only insofar as the mind perceives them as ideas The ultimate reality (the thing-in-itself, "ding an sich") cannot be experienced by the human mind We experience the world as we perceive it through our (human) nature We cannot know how things are in themselves We cannot know the objects of the world, but only our perceptions of such objects...

http://www.scaruffi.com/phi/kant.html

18 posted on 01/20/2014 8:47:43 AM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: Rich21IE

When you speak of “transcendentalism”, are you talking about “vital immanence” as was described in Pascendi?


19 posted on 01/20/2014 8:58:32 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

Yes, I believe so.....in the sense that Transcendental Idealism suggests we “intuit” to and understanding of God, and thus as in vital immanence, religion arises purely from within man himself, deriving all its credibility and force from man’s own personal experience as its source. Religion essentially arises from an inner sentiment in the heart of man, and this sentiment is not only where the modernists locate faith, it is also where they locate revelation itself. Vital immanence tells us that, in a sense, man creates God.

Thus, in combination with the adoption of Darwinian Evolution wherein man is “evolving”, thus as well, God must be evolving such that those matters which once were sinful in God’s eyes are no longer so. This is of course, all heretical.

I wish I could locate my research notes. It takes days for me to recreate my previous understanding of the problem. But as I recall my research, the problem begins with the ditching of Thomism by philosophical successors to Nietzsche and Kierkegaard and the embrace of Existentialism by people such as John Paul Sartre.


20 posted on 01/20/2014 9:47:59 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: BlatherNaut

Very true. All of which is why I abandoned my research because it became apparent to me that the modern world view of life itself is, on the one hand so pervasive, and on the other so corrupted that its pointless to address the problem from a philosophical perspective.

The worst part of all of this is that in abandoning Thomism, modern, (19th Century/20th Century) philosophers have entirely negated the existence of the human soul. The irony in this is that on the one hand, they attempt to explain human existence as “experience” while on the other, they indirectly deny the existence of the human soul which means that they have an essentially flawed understanding of what it is to be fully human. Its kinda like trying to explain the existence and life of the chicken all the while denying the existence of the egg.


21 posted on 01/20/2014 9:59:20 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: livius

All quite true.

As I’ve read your post 3 times over, the idea came to me that in a sense, what you’ve described may lie at the core of my discomfort with Pope Francis. Francis seems to be coming from an entirely different angle and the problem with Francis is that it’s near impossible to decode his philosophical underpinnings which appear to be rooted in some convoluted South American experience which isn’t well documented in English.


22 posted on 01/20/2014 10:04:37 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: Rich21IE

OK. Just wanted to make sure that we were talking about the same concept while using different terms. The immediate end to such a philosophy is pantheism...where we all are our little gods...and, of course, if we all are our own little gods then the ultimate end is that nothing is God.


23 posted on 01/20/2014 10:25:10 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

And therein lies the path to chaos.


24 posted on 01/20/2014 11:03:18 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: Rich21IE
Very true. All of which is why I abandoned my research because it became apparent to me that the modern world view of life itself is, on the one hand so pervasive, and on the other so corrupted that its pointless to address the problem from a philosophical perspective.

I agree with you 100%. The problem IMO would be most effectively addressed by a return to the scriptural understanding of the nature of man (God's metaphor of sheep) and a pragmatic approach encompassing the clear and succinct style of pre-VII teaching along with a re-integration of some of the pre-VII spiritual practices. How are people to know the truth if the shepherds deliberately avoid eschatological discussions? References to the eternal consequences of sin have become verboten. Human nature responds best to a combination of carrot and stick. And we sheep need structure as well as training. Since VII, many of the spiritual aids and guideposts that kept us walking toward the narrow gate (family rosary, novenas, saints, processions, litanies, devotions, etc.) are no longer actively encouraged, are viewed as anachronisms, and are sometimes even treated with contempt (Pope Francis: I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: "Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries." Why don't they say, 'we pray for you, we ask...', but this thing of counting... And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through - not you, because you are not old - to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today...").

Disparagement of the structures and prayers and reverent liturgy in the form of the TLM by spiritual elitists post VII who possess a naive view of human nature and who thus do not believe that an authentic relationship with God is served by the traditional practices that have produced countless saints has contributed to the unfortunate post-VII results ( e.g. loss of belief in the Real Presence, the empty confessional, the rejection of authority, shrinking attendance...).

25 posted on 01/20/2014 11:34:54 AM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: BlatherNaut

I agree but I don’t have any answers as to how to get this thing back on track other than to note that I’ve encountered several anecdotal reports to the effect that in Parishes where they’ve reintroduced the TLM they’ve seen a large uptick in attendance.

It may be the case that the Laity leads the Sheppard back to the true path.


26 posted on 01/20/2014 11:55:31 AM PST by Rich21IE
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To: markomalley

It was as if Trent had been highjacked by Calvinists, and we did get a hint of what might have happened in that case in the Jansenist heresy. But what happened after the Council was that there was a rebellion in the Church by the lower clergy and by many orders of nuns, pretty much as there during the Reformation. But it didn’t start with the Council, it was that the council, like the Council of 1512, did not go “its job.” Did not contain a rebellion that was already, under the surface, already begun.


27 posted on 01/20/2014 11:23:32 PM PST by RobbyS (quotes)
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To: BlatherNaut

The reforms went against human nature. One does not suddenly tell people that the way they have worshipped all their lives, the way that their parents and grandparents had worshipped all their lives, was now to be disregarded. It was like Jacobinism, a devaluation of the past rather than building on it. A lot of lay people thought that if even the priests and nuns did not think it mattered, then to hell with it. So they stopped coming to mass, old and young alike.


28 posted on 01/20/2014 11:30:45 PM PST by RobbyS (quotes)
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