Hva tenkte konsilbiskopene om Sacrosanctum Concilium?

Kenneth Whitehead skriver om utgangspunktet for liturgiforandringene i sin bok «Mass Misunderstanding», eller gjør han egentlig det? Det virker på meg som han sier at liturgiforandringene hadde nokså lite med konsilet å gjøre; at man i Sacrosanctum Concilium (som ble vedtatt i 1963 med 2147 mot 4 stemmer) åpnet for en viss bruk av folkspråket, og kom med noen få andre generelle (og nokså forsiktige) punkter om hvordan liturgien skulle revideres. Slik skriver Whitehead:
As Cardinal Ratzinger, again, recorded in his book of memoirs entitled Milestones that has been quoted previously:

«The reform of the liturgy in the spirit of the liturgical movement was not a priority for the majority of the Fathers, and for many not even a consideration. Thus, for example, in his outline of themes after the beginning of the Council, Cardinal Montini – who as Paul VI would be the real pope of the Council – said quite clearly that he did not see the reform of the liturgy as a substantial task in the Council. The liturgy and its reform had, since the end of World War 1, become a pressing question only in France and Germany, and indeed above all from the perspective of the purest possible restoration of the ancient Roman liturgy, to which belonged the active involvement of the people in the liturgical event. These two countries, which at that time enjoyed theological leadership in the Church (and we must of course add Belgium and the Netherlands), had during the preparation phase succeeded in putting through a schema on the sacred liturgy, which quite naturally found its place in the general theme of the Church, The fact that this text became the first subject for the Council’s discussions really had nothing to do with the majority of the Fathers having an intense interest in the liturgical question. Quite simply, no great disagreements were expected in this area, and the undertaking was viewed as a kind of practical exercise to learn and test the method of conciliar work …»

If this is at all an accurate account of how the Vatican II liturgical reforms actually got started and carried forward – and there certainly cannot be any doubt that the young Father Joseph Ratzinger was there! – then the subsequent history of these liturgical reforms, along with the Mass misunderstandings that have stemmed from them and have persisted since, have to be considered all the more amazing. Surely it is necessary to go back to the Council itself in order to acquire even a glimmer of understanding of what really happened, and why it happened, and what the consequences of it are for us today.

I samme kapittel skriver Whitehead mer om hva som skjedde med liturgien – og hvorfor:
The main point here is that the real causes of Pope Benedict’s «deformations» which have brought about such widespread discontent on the part of so many serious Catholics today, so much of which has been directed principally at the liturgical reforms decreed by the Second Vatican Council – these causes almost certainly extend far beyond the liturgical sphere itself and pertain to current Catholic life and belief generally. It is almost a truism that the liturgical reforms were badly managed and imperfectly carried out, particularly in the beginning. Nobody knew how to effect a complete renewal of the Church’s entire liturgy, after all; the results were almost bound to be mixed at best. Back in the good old days of Pope Pius XII before the Council, however, almost all Catholics still believed in the and hence the Mass of that day was indeed a solemn occasion that was regularly celebrated with the reverence and awe – and the sacrality – that unfortunately became so often lacking later on.

Take, the so-called folk Mass, for example! Its putative popularity surely stems as much from defective belief as from any changes instituted by liberal liturgists – for the fact of the matter is that their ideas stem from the same kind of defective belief as well!

When, in addition to all the official changes that were being made to carry out the reform mandated by the Council, the authorities of the Church also proved either unwilling or unable to correct many of the other mistakes and missteps that were occurring – they were not always so stellar in how they upheld the Church’s doctrinal and moral teachings, after all, any more than they were always prepared to correct abuses in the liturgy! – the unsatisfactory results that then came about were almost inevitable. Only fairly recently have things – thankfully – become more stabilized, holding out the prospect that we might now finally be able to realize some of the hopes that the Council Fathers so ardently wished for when they called for the reforms they wanted to see implemented. This was surely the hope of Pope Benedict XVI as well in issuing Summorum Pontificum.

For the fact remains that a general Council of the Catholic Church did call for the reform and renewal of the sacred liturgy. Even if this reform was not carried out as well as it should have been; even if some of its results partook too much of the kind of liturgy «fabricated» by «experts» which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, among others, had himself so often and so aptly criticized – nevertheless the fact that this new liturgy was authorized and was duly put in place by the authority of the Catholic Church all this surely called for a greater degree of acceptance from serious, loyal, and «orthodox» Catholics than the Novus Ordo has sometimes received in at least some quarters of the Church.

Similarly, the rather considerable literature that has been produced in the course of the post-conciliar era extolling the «traditional Mass» at the expense of the Novus Ordo has never been very helpful in the practical order. For one thing, it has focused unduly on the negative in a way that has helped to take away some of the joy that should always come from the practice of the faith. For another thing, the Catholic bishops – upon whom the prospects for any real liturgical improvement usually rested – tended to see this Tridentinist literature simply as negative criticism, and perhaps even as rejection, of the Second Vatican Council itself (which it not infrequently
was). However, since the bishops correctly saw themselves as strictly obliged to carry out the mandates of the Council, they were very little disposed to heed criticisms which seemed to call the Council itself into question. Any «dialogue» on these questions – and there was hardly any – was almost bound to be a dialogue of the deaf.

It may not perhaps even be too much to suggest as well that the tenor of much of the drum beat of criticism on liturgical matters that so often harkened back to Tridentine models contributed to keeping the bishops firmly lodged in the camp of the liberal liturgical reformers – unwilling, perhaps, even to consider that «mistakes were made.»

All these things have formed part of the «Mass misunderstandings» that have unhappily proliferated in the Catholic Church virtually since the end of Vatican Council II. In one very important sense, of course, it seems clear that «an enemy has done this» (Mt 13:28). In another sense, it is really quite amazing that these misunderstandings have come about and have persisted in the way that they have. The Council Fathers would not even remotely have imagined such an outcome.

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