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Among the controversial topics surrounding the Second Vatican Council, none tend to be more polarizing than the Sacred Liturgy. Here to tell us more about what Vatican II did, and did not, say about liturgical reform is Church Militant's Nick Wylie.
Liturgical debate is increasing after recent restrictions of the Traditional Latin Mass.
In tonight's In-Depth report, we discuss the liturgical reform actually called for by the Council Fathers.
The assembly, in December 1963, promulgated its first of 16 texts, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, marking the first time a council ever produced a liturgical document. The bishops ratified the text by a vote of 2,147 to 4.
Sacrosanctum Concilium acknowledged the liturgy as "a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree."
The text called for revisions to the Liturgy of the time — the 1962 Roman Missal.
The constitution declared, "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved."
Sacrosanctum specifically called for Latin to be retained and taught to the laity so they could understand certain parts of the Mass that pertained to them.
The constitution confirmed the pride of place of Gregorian chant and the use of the pipe organ within the Mass.
The document also mandated a greater use of Scripture in the Liturgy and homilies expounding upon the meanings of those passages.
The fathers also called for each diocese to set up commissions on Sacred Liturgy, sacred music and sacred art, full of experts to assure the beauty of worship.
Much of what the council called for has unfortunately not been implemented.
Rarely is Latin used in any part of the Novus Ordo Mass.
Most parishes have completely abandoned the sacred music of the Church and sought to implement poorly composed modern melodies.
While more Scripture was added to the Novus Ordo, proper preaching on these passages has been deficient.
Dioceses have also failed to compile teams of experts to safeguard the beauty of worship and ornamentation of churches, leaving the laity to suffer many liturgical abuses.
Nowhere does Sacrosanctum Concilium call for the priest to face the people, Communion on the hand, extraordinary ministers, girl altar servers or any other harmful liturgical innovation.
Neither the 1962 missal nor the Novus Ordo missal deliver the Mass called for by the Holy Spirit through the Council Fathers. So the liturgy wars will continue until Sacrosanctum Concilium is truly implemented.
Sacrosanctum also proclaims the need to preach faith and penance, preparing the faithful to properly receive the sacraments and observe all the Church teaches.