Excerpt from Fr. Martin Fox’s commentary on the NCReporter’s article “Fledgling national priests’ group to tackle broad agenda”:
We have folks who go out of their way to claim the mantle of Vatican II. They are the true adherents. They express sadness, if not anger, that a newer generation does not revere the Council, does not embrace its teachings.
But here’s the true irony: this is absolutely not true; and in many cases (not all), almost precisely the opposite of the truth.
The examples are too many to cite—yet facts are facts. During the past 40-plus years of “implementing Vatican II,” we have all endured a revolution in the understanding of the Church, much of which has had to be corrected, and is still being corrected, precisely because what folks were told—“this is what Vatican II said”—was flatly false.
Vatican II never said:
> We’re birthing a new Church. Vatican II was about re-presenting the wholeness of the Faith in a new way. Got that? Not new doctrine; no new doctrine; just a new way of presenting what we always held.
> Overhaul our parish churches, destroying altar rails, smashing altars, removing artwork, and building churches that no longer look Catholic.
> Throw out catechisms and no longer teach doctrine. Yet this happened for quite awhile. When Pope John Paul II proposed a new catechism, remember who resisted it? Yep—the same crowd.
> Turn the altars around. Not a word.
> Downplaying devotions, particularly adoration of the Holy Eucharist.
> Removing tabernacles from the central point in a parish church.
> No more Latin and chant. Instead, it said, add the vernacular to the menu of choices, keeping Latin on the menu, and using it.
> It’s no longer important to celebrate the liturgy faithfully according to the norms set by the Church, but now priests and the faithful can improvise and reinvent the liturgy “for pastoral reasons.”
Now, as I said, these things are being corrected. But when the faithful join with priests in correcting these things, guess what they’re accused of? “You’re against Vatican II.”
[…] What’s coming, not too far in the future now, is a re-appraisal. That will be deeply painful for the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd, as what will happen is a more sober assessment of Vatican II’s strengths and weaknesses, and a rediscovery of what Vatican II really says. This is already happening, but it hasn’t taken center stage yet.
When that happens, I think the old, V2 pro or con dialectic will be as gone as the dinosaurs. Then it will be more about a true appreciation and application of Vatican II, as well as a recognition that Vatican II isn’t the first or last word on what it means to be Catholic. Vatican II will take its place as part of the Church’s treasures, not as the sole treasure, nor as the sole lens through which everything we believe is viewed.