Litt mer om Vatikankonsilet og messen

Jeg siterte nylig gammel prest som angra en del på det han hadde gjort ved innføringa av den ny liturgien. På Father Z.’s blog har denne historien ført til en lang debatt, med 125 kommentarer så langt, noen ganske dårlige og tendensiøse, men noen svært gode.

Her tar jeg med tre kommenterer derfra. Den første sier at i hans menighet var den tids liturgiske bevegelse kommet langt, men flotte messer (TLM) med aktiv deltakelse av hele menigheten. Det argumenteres for at det var slike messer Vatikankonsilet egentlig ønska å få innført over hele verden. I den andre kommentaren er man egentlig enig i denne påstanden, men denne personen har svært negative minner om messene på 60-tallet. Den tredje kommentaren er fra en prest som også er selvkristisk til hvordan han oppførte seg på tidlig 70-tall.

I must have been an extremely fortunate Catholic. I was in a parish immediately prior to Vatican II that participated in the “Liturgical Movement.” Hence, I learned from a very early age, 6 or so, to learn the responses to the Mass in Latin, and by the time I was 10 I could sing 5 or 6 of the Latin chant ordinaries. When the changes began in late 1964 I was thorougly confused and angry because I LOVED the Mass in which I was “actually” participating. However, in speaking with my confreres from other parishes in that period, I learned that I was one of the very lucky ones because for most of them, the Mass was a very distant experience. That being said, I now know, that what the Council Fathers desired was for the Faithful to participate in the Mass as I did back then. When you read Sacrosanctum Concilium, it appears they were trying to universalize the experience I had. Unfortunately, liturgical “reform” was highjacked by progressives who distorted what the Council Fathers desired and we are only today beginning to recover what they truly meant by liturgical reform, i.e. to do what I was already doing on the eve of the Council.


I do believe that you are right. What you had in your parish before the Council is what the Council documents propose.

Unfortunately, it seems, the usual experience was different. At least in my parish. We had sung Mass only twice a year (Christmas and Easter) – even though we had a Catholic school where there might have been a choir to sing Requiems, if nothing else. We didn’t even have “dialogue Mass” until the vernacular come in!

My memories of Mass as a child were kneeling and reading my English (I was a “public” and we were denied bilingual Missals for some reason that I never understood) and waiting to hear the bell ring to know if I was in the right place. The priest was inaudible. It was prayerful, but I was always attracted to music and it made me sad. At least we go to sing “Holy God We Praise thy Name” after Benediction if we went to the 11 am Mass.

If only your experience had been the norm, perhaps the reforms would have been different. We went from silent low Mass to vernacular said Mass (soon with Peter, Paul, and Mary hymn sandwich) in about 18 months. Sad.


As a young priest in the 1970s, I looked down on those who had given up Mass because of the changes. My thinking was that the “new” Mass is valid, so why don’t they accept it. There’s some truth in that. But it’s a limited and cold truth. “Limited” because it doesn’t sufficiently consider the human-ness of faith and worship. I now believe that I was arrogant, insensitive and immature in my judgement of them. Certainly the present Holy Father is emphasising the importance of beauty – the beauty of music, architecture, vestements, and ritual. “Ritual” requires predictability and repetion. It has the same effect as a mantra. The celebration of the novus ordo, at its best, could express these qualities. (It would’nt need to be solemn or “High”.) The tragedy of the last 40 years is that our parishes rarely experience it at its best. It is sobering to think that the reason why fewer are attending Mass could be in front of our eyes – the Mass itself! (Or rather the way it is celebrated.) If I wanted to enjoy myself, the Church would be the last place I’d look to! Anyone else could provide that. What the Church can offer is a sense of the transcendent. That’s what we seek. But that’s what our liturgy tends to lack. In the motu proprio Pope Benedict expressed his intention that the extraordinary form would influence or inform the celebration of the novus ordo Mass. It has certainly done that for me!

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