Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rewriting History

A few weeks back I read an essay from a conciliar priest who characterized the pre-Vatican II Church as a place where the faithful didn't understand what was going on at Mass; who buried themselves in private devotions instead of praying as a community; who said their own Rosaries instead of following what happened at the altar. In the new Mass, the author intimated, people could better understand what was going on and pray along with the priest.

How many people in the Catholic Churches today pray the Rosary at all, let alone at Mass, was not mentioned.

That last remark is not merely a bon mot: it is illustrative of the consequences of the conciliar reforms. After the modernizers had their way, a great many people stopped taking any sort of pious activity or devotion seriously, and a large number simply ceased attending Mass altogether. This neglect and abandonment was not merely a casualty of an era of the world through which the Church passed; rather, it was the direct consequence of the banalization of the Faith itself and of the Mass.

Note too that the insinuation that the majority of the faithful weren't keeping up at Mass or were isolated in pious little cocoons is so gross a misrepresentation that it amounts to a lie. The majority of people in the pews didn't want to see their beautiful liturgy thrown into the back alley or tossed into the dumpster (which all too frequently is literally what happened). And asserting that the little old half-deaf grandma in the back corner telling her beads during Mass was the norm for how the faithful as a whole prayed the Mass is a fabrication.

In my 1962 Missal I find this instruction:

The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by the Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.

According to the traditional thinking of the Church, there are several legitimate ways to attend to Mass. Praying the Rosary and meditating on the mysteries is indeed one of them, and it was adopted by a few. The method mentioned above is, according to the best thinking of the traditional Church, the best way, and it was the method the vast majority used.

And kindly note this: the words cited above were authored by Pope St. Pius X, who died in 1914 just after the outbreak of WWI. Thus, fully a half-century before the conciliarists went to work scrapping the Church's heritage, the Pope had used the full authority and dignity of His office to remind Catholics of the most efficacious way to pray Mass. What Pope Pius said was not novel in his day: contra the modernist revisionists, He was re-iterating what the Church had already long been saying.

Don't heed the revisionists: they're trying too hard to rationalize the grave failings of the conciliar experiment.


savannah said...

One could also consider that if the Holy Rosary were more fervently pray by all Catholic and not just used as visual reminder/decor on an individual's rear-view mirror, others in the world might witness incredible miracles unfolding before their eyes. Pope Pius XII, Ingruentium Malorum, explains as such. Instead, not all understand its beauty; which, ultimately terminates in those having to suffer the incredible pain of hearing Our Lady's gift related to hemroids, a "rosary of hemroids".

Sean said...

An acquaintance passed this relevant insight along:

"Our children will occasionally see someone who is praying the Rosary during Mass and once every two years one of them will ask about it.

"We notice that it is frequently a parishioner who makes a habit of going to several Masses in a day. We then explain that perhaps they forgot their glasses or their Missal, or perhaps they simply do not feel well enough to read due to a headache, etc. It is not for us to judge this. The children are usually edified and usually it is our next First Communicant who thinks to ask.

"We rarely ever see this at Sunday and Holy Day Masses."