|"By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them." (Matt 7:16)|
There has been much writing and commentary over recent years addressing the documents of Vatican II pointing to the many insertions in those writings, which by their word structuring, allow for differing interpretation. Because this particular phenomenon was unheard of in the compositions of all the past General Councils of the Church, many have suspected that these writings were purposely structured in such manner that would allow reinterpretation after the Council. "The texts of the official Counciliar and post-Counciliar documents are carefully written. In the majority of cases, when they adhere to progressivist principles, they leave a door open for an interpretation that could be made according to Tradition." 1 Some have even referred to these inserted ambiguities as "time bombs."
The conjecture put forth pointing to these purposeful insertions is supported by the reality now seen whereby in every instance of potential double meaning, the one coming to the fore is, that which reverses the center of attention from the transcendent (God), to that of the world (man/modernism). Moreover, these inversions have served to subject the Church to an internally driven chaos and destruction never before experienced in its history.2
There is one of these insertions/wordings, however that stands out especially as the most abused, misrepresented and destructive of them all. It pertains to the sacred Liturgy and you see its workings in the vast majority of Masses one might attend in our day. This composition is found in one sentence (no. 14) in the "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" (Sacrosanctum Concilium). It reads: "In the restoration and promotion of the sacred Liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else..."
The assertion that the Mass must employ "the full and active participation" of the people is an open-ended declaration that, lacking specifics, has led to every form of excess and abuse. Rome directly confronted these aberrations as far back as 1980 when the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship issued its warning and "INSTRUCTION CONCERNING WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARISTIC MYSTERY" (Inaestimabile Donum). We read:
"But these...aspects cannot suppress concern at the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world: the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing communion while the priests refrain from doing so): an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred (abandonment of liturgical vestments, the Eucharist celebrated outside church without real need, lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, etc.): misunderstanding of the ecclesial character of the liturgy (the use of private texts, the proliferation of unapproved Eucharistic Prayers, the manipulation of the liturgical texts for social and political ends).. In these cases we are face to face with a real falsification of the Catholic liturgy: "One who offers worship to God on the Church's behalf in a way contrary to that which is laid down by the Church with God-given authority and which is customary in the Church is guilty of falsification." (St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, 2-2, q. 93, a. 1.)
None of these things can bring good results. The consequences are - and cannot fail to be - the impairing of the unity of faith and worship in the Church, doctrinal uncertainty, scandal and bewilderment among the People of God, and the near inevitability of violent reactions.
The faithful have a right to a true Liturgy, which means the Liturgy desired and laid down by the Church, which has in fact indicated where adaptations may be made as called for by pastoral requirements in different places, or by different faithful. The use of unauthorized texts means a loss of the necessary connection between the lex orandi and the lex credendi. The Second Vatican Council's admonition in this regard must be remembered: "No person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove or change anything in the Liturgy on his own authority." And Paul VI of venerable memory stated that: "Anyone who takes advantage of the reform to indulge in arbitrary experiments is wasting energy and offending the ecclesial sense."
The holy sanctuary set aside and prominent, incorporating the altar of Christ's sacrifice and the tabernacle preserving His real presence, has always rightfully been revered and treated as a holy space (read Moses before God in the burning bush). Now we witness the sanctuary and sacristy, before and during Mass, as the "peoples activity center" with men, women and children, in every form of profane dress, flowing to and fro, all "actively participating" in "ministry," of course.
Most all of this extraordinary lay activity is neither mandated by the Church nor essential to the Mass. Indeed, it detracts from the sacred Liturgy by the fact that such activity obstructs attentiveness on Christ whose adoration and beseeching should be our first and paramount intention at any Mass. For the Modernist, however, whose priorities are to the world and thus the divination of man, the call for "the full and active participation by all the people," in the absence of specificity, presents itself as a tool for asserting lay participations in the Liturgy far in excess of the original intent of the framers of the Vatican II documents. Moreover, this is precisely what has been done
If this abuse continues to run unabated in parishes allowing or furthering such activity, then the empirical record now decisively established from recent decades, shows that those parishes are headed for decline, if not dissolution. The truly faithful recognize and know when Christ is being withdrawn from them and they will seek Him elsewhere. May God have mercy on us!
1 Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Author
2 This present day crisis in the Church attributed directly to the heresy of Modernism was foretold accurately by Pope St. Pius X prior to his death (1835 - 1914).