Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Day to Remember

By Mitchell

I listen to our classical music public radio station during the day, and one of their programs - The Writer's Almanac with the noxious Garrison Keillor - was just on in the background while I was writing that last post. I usually hit the switch any time Keillor's voice appears anywhere, but this time I was too far from the remote, and I wasn't going to interrupt my writing for that.

At any rate, he mentioned that this is the anniversary of John XXIII calling together the first session of the Second Vatican Council. He then went on with a litany of the good things the Council accomplished. Now, I'm not at all sure that this is an anniversary we should be celebrating, but you have to give the devil his due, and Keillor did get a couple of things right in his story, items that many (if not most) people often get wrong.

He said that two of the products of Vatican II were that priests were "allowed" to say Mass facing the congregation rather than the altar, and that they were "encouraged" to say Mass in the vernacular, rather than Latin.

Now, most people - especially Catholic liturgical assassins - would say in both cases that Vatican II "mandated" changes to the Mass, that it abolished Latin and got rid of the High Altar. But to his credit, Keillor (or his writers) got it right - reading the documents on the liturgy, nowhere does it say that the Mass must be said in the vernacular, or that priests can't face the altar. In fact, Latin is still to be given a place of primacy in the Mass, and Mass said "facing the people" is no more than on an equal status with Mass said "facing the altar."

It's a scandal that more Catholics don't know the truth of what Vatican II really taught, especially on the liturgy. Of course, what we have here is a prime example of the "false spirit" of Vatican II, and that would have been a great topic for Keillor to touch on.

But one miracle a day is about all we can expect.

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