“The Council did not create new articles of faith, nor did it replace existing ones with new ones. Its only concern was to make it possible to hold the same faith under different circumstances, to revitalize it. As for the work that preceded the Council, it seems to have been more intensive in Germany than elsewhere, for Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, the primary source in which the documents of the Council had their origin. But many of these documents were issued too abruptly. To many of the faithful, most of them seemed to be a challenge to the creativity of the individual congregation, in which separate groups constructed their own “liturgies” from week to week with a zeal that was as commendable as it was misplaced. To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness. The difference between liturgy and festivity, between liturgy and social event, disappeared gradually and imperceptibly, as witness the fact that many priests, imitating the etiquette of polite society, feel that they ought not to receive Holy Communion until the congregation has received; that they should no longer venture to say “I bless you” [German euch: familiar form of plural “you”]—thus dissolving the fundamental liturgical relationship between them and their congregation. In this context belong also the often obnoxious and banal greeting which, it must be admitted, many congregations tolerate with a kind of patient forbearance. In the period before the new missal made its appearance, but after the old one had already been characterized as “old-fashioned”, people forgot that there is a “rite”, that is, a prescribed liturgical form, and that liturgy is genuinely liturgy only if it is not subject to the will of those who celebrate it.” See: The Feast of Faith, pp. 83–85. Tip: WDTPRS
Ask yourselves how many people around you believe that Vatican II brought new teachings that replaced the old ones? I would bet very many. That is because it was taught and is still being taught in many places that such was and is the case. This is not true because the deposit of faith was with us from the moment Christ left the earth–it has become interpreted and expounded upon since then but nothing added to Christ's teachings are legitimate. There is a difference between expounding and evolving–the second implies change. Modernism, the heresy identified by Pope Pius X in 1910 via the encyclical Pascendi, wished to clarify just that doctrine is not relative to the century in which it is taught. Vatican II wished to say, I believe, that the presentation (of the same material) may be.
Now, how about new liturgy? Well, the fact that the new missal was called the “novus ordo” or new order (officially or unofficially I'm not sure) doesn't help very much to show us we aren't replacing/evolving doctrine. It is an excellent point by Benedict that most people forgot that there is a “rite”, an aspect in which they are the same liturgy. Perhaps a better name would have been “the missal of Paul VI.”
Pope Benedict was dead on with this. It also helps that he saw the whole sequence of events unfold and is now trying (with much opposition) to correct it.
Here follow some other relevant quotes about the liturgy that you can interpret as you like:
Did you see that “us” in that last paragraph?
Is Pope Benedict XVI an extremist/traditionalist? I have heard him called that before. We talked about what it means to call someone an extremist earlier…you are just relativising what they are saying instead of addressing the content of their words. NO ONE BELIEVES IN RELATIVISM. Labelling someone can be useful but it is not the discussion itself. He is not necessarily advocating the return of the “Latin mass”, he is advocating the return of its manner such that the rite returns to develop in the hermeneutic of continuity.
Why is it that the liturgy is often the most prominent aspect that comes to a new seminarian's attention? We are liturgical creatures…the hippies did it well with Jimi Hendrix. When you devote your life to an ideal and to a person (not Jimi Hendrix) you want to ensure reverence in your liturgy, the most concrete and immediate expression for that which you hold profoundly dear (again, not Jimi). Here is a video I made back in 2007 that I thought would be relevant to share here:
The same is true for those who are being called to the priesthood but instead just don't care. Often the indifference would be replaced by attraction if the profundity of the liturgy were properly communicating the immense mystery of God. Yes, God is mysterious–unlike the future of empirical science. Dawkins thinks empirical scientific discovery will increase exponentially.
Here is a video I created back in 2007:
“Our task, our primary goal, is not a discussion of any particular articles of the fundamental doctrine of the Church, nor that we repeat at greater length what has been repeatedly taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which we think to be well known and familiar to all. For this a Council was not necessary. But at the present time what is needed is that the entire Christian teaching with no part omitted, be accepted by all in our time with fresh zeal, with serene and tranquil minds, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council. It is necessary that as all sincere cultivators of the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic reality ardently desire that the same doctrine be more fully and deeply understood that consciences be more deeply imbued and formed by it; it is necessary that such certain and immutable doctrine, to which we owe the obedience of faith, be scrutinized and expounded with the method that our times require. One thing is the deposit of faith and the truths contained in our venerable doctrine, another thing is the way they are announced, with the same meaning and the same content.”
-Pope John XXIII Opening of Vatican II (L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English 6 June 2001, page 9)
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