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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

Liturgy Expert Inadvertently Admits Catastrophe

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Perhaps the gloomiest aspect of the deep winter some dare to call the "springtime of Vatican II" is the ruin of Roman liturgy that followed the unprecedented decision of Pope Paul VI to push aside the traditional Latin Mass of 1500 years’ standing and replace it with his own new Mass, the Novus Ordo, translated into the vernacular. This mind-boggling decision led immediately to liturgical chaos. Today, thirty years later, even Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is constrained to admit: "I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part on the collapse of the liturgy." (La Mia Vita, quoted by Michael Davies in The Latin Mass, Fall 1997)

An even more telling admission is a recent statement by Monsignor Peter Elliott, the author of "Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite" and episcopal vicar for religious education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. In an interview with Zenit news on May 1, 2003, Msgr. Elliot, while refusing to admit that the liturgical "reform" of Paul VI was a disastrous mistake, did say that he hoped rapprochement with the schismatic Eastern churches would proceed quickly because "we have much to learn from the East: a sense of mystery, transcendence, the liturgy as a taste of Heaven. The Eastern Churches also understand the liturgy as an action, both divine and human. In the West we often want to control, plan, even manipulate worship, so it centers more on us than on God. Liturgy becomes what we do, rather than the transforming work of the Holy Spirit."

This is a devastating, though surely unintended, admission. Since when has the Roman Catholic Church needed help from the schismatic Eastern churches in bringing mystery, transcendence and a foretaste of Heaven to Her liturgy? Since when does the West fail to understand that the liturgy is "both divine and human" and that it must center on God? Answer: Only since the reforms of Paul VI, the abandonment of the traditional Latin rite of Mass in 1970, and the consequent collapse of the Roman liturgy.

Even as they refuse to admit disaster explicitly, members of the Novus Ordo establishment cannot help but admit it implicitly, as does Msgr. Elliot by observing that Catholics in the Novus Ordo have "much to learn" from the Eastern schismatics concerning the majesty, transcendence and divinity of the liturgy of the Mass. That says it all. What a catastrophe!

Of course, those Catholics who have held fast to the traditional Latin Mass these past thirty years, even at the cost of persecution, have never lost sight of what the liturgy is supposed to be. We can only hope that Pope John Paul II will free the traditional Mass from its absurd captivity on "indult" reservations by conceding what his own commission of cardinals told him in 1986: that the traditional Mass was never actually banned by Paul VI, and that any Catholic priest in the Roman Rite is free offer the traditional liturgy instead of the Novus Ordo.

The confusion over the legal status of the traditional Mass is only symptomatic of the diabolical disorientation that has affected so much of the Church since that fateful year of 1960, when Our Lady indicated the Third Secret  —  all of it  —  was to be revealed. The disastrous state of the liturgy implicitly conceded by Msgr. Elliot is surely part of what the Secret foretold.