So, I confess I give Vatican II a bad rap sometimes – mostly because it’s what I’m supposed to do: a traddy convert from a conservative religious tradition. But I do enjoy most of the fruits of the Council, as long as they are applied with what Pope Benedict calls the “Hermeneutic of Continuity”, by which he means that we must assume in all Christian Charity that what was there in the faith before the Council is there in the Faith after.
The Liturgy, for example, should be in Latin and the Vernacular. The music should not be strummed. And there’s nothing wrong with a Rosary said while Mass is going on. The simple beauty of the Novus Ordo done right (see above), ad orientem, with full ceremonial, and beautiful music, is clearly the same Mass as the previous generations served.
What I didn’t know was the why of the Council itself. Recently, listening to Fr Anthony and Fr Harrison on the Clerically Speaking podcast, I got a good bit more context.
A priest had shared with the Dominican Tertiaries that one priest known to him used to pass through the Roman Canon in the 1962 Missal saying, soto voce, “Wordy wordy wordy wordy…” we were shocked. But listen to this podcast episode to hear more about the Liturgy of the Golden Age when the spiritual formation of clergy was nil.
Here’s a link to the show on SoundCloud. It’s linked to begin right at the important part (38:57 into the show). It goes from there to the end of the episode.
The conversation about what was happening in the last 100 years before the Council was, for me, earthshaking because the implication is that the issues we think of today as “caused by V2” were caused by the younger clergy coming though V2. CLergy who are implicated in the sex scandals were in formation before the council.
Continuity is a good thing… but continuity with the church before the 20th century and the spiritual poverty caused by the horrors of 2 World Wars.
So… yeah… it was a groundbreaking learning for me.